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Thread: Original 3rd Model Winchester 1873

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Original 3rd Model Winchester 1873

    As the title states, I have an original 3rd Model 1873 with a 20 inch barrel chambered in .44 WCF and made in 1885 by serial number. I have some dies, brass, and mold on order. Problem, the bore slugs at .462 caliber. Kind of at a loss here, any help or anyone that has had a similar problem. I have shot some factory .44-40 jacketed through it a few years ago and did notice that there wasn't much in the way of accuracy with it, but it was fun to shoot. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    If you are positive as to the bore neasurement, consider relining. This will give you a new bore and preserve the external finish, markings and patina.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 08-19-2017 at 10:52 PM.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks Outpost75, might just make it a wall hanger and get a newer rifle.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeynick39 View Post
    Thanks Outpost75, might just make it a wall hanger and get a newer rifle.
    Relining is affordable and skillfully done gives a very satisfactory result. I've had John Taylor reline several rifles for me, and he hangs out on this forum. You might want to send him a PM.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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    Keep it to yourself.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    462 is 45-70 territory.

    check to see if it ain't a smoothbore.
    they used to make a 44-40 chambered shot type round that had a wooden type bullet full of rat shot.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    runfiverun, you are correct, it is a smoothbore. I don't believe that it started out in life as such, but was re-purposed by a previous owner after it got terribly pitted from black powder usage (just my thoughts). I did notice a faint rifle land towards the muzzle and machining chatter marks about the rest of the bore, soooo................

    Since I have some brass, dies, and mould enroute, time to shop for some new hardware:
    rifle:
    https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/...3+44-40+CCH+OB

    pistol:
    http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/pro...-2-44-wcf.html

    Need to find a good tang peep for it. Thought I found a Marble's, but it says it's for the Miroku version and will have to check the rifle out to see if it is indeed made in Japan or not.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    HeavyMetal's Avatar
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    If the rest of the rifle is in decent shape I'd reline it in a heart beat!!

    Condition is the main factor of course and you'll have to make the final decision here.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    I think I would re-line it too.

    after I went through all the trouble of making some shot shells and playing around shooting grass hoppers and bees and stuff for a while.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  9. #9
    My Mid 1st-2nd generation 1873 slugged .434". Factory rounds sounded like a blow of air exiting the barrel rather than a crack and accuracy was all over. I've shot .433" bullets loaded tight TrailBoss that done well and now I have loaded .430" soft lead Boolits backed by 30.5 grains of Goex FFg BP that did well also. They say with softer lead Boolits and BP will expand the Boolits to seal to the lands. But since yours is smooth, I'd go ahead and have it relined. Thought about it on mine, but right now it has some accuracy. Next will be from a bench and a chronograph.


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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Look at it this way, since it's a smooth bore, half of the lining job is done anyway!
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    You 're looking at about $400 to reline it, definitely a lot less than a new gun. Plus, you get to keep that authentic patina.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning
    That is a huge hole to have to deal with ! Largest we have measured is in that .435-.436 diameter. That barrel is badly pitted especially at the chamber. At the muzzle it is .432. Could you please slug it again. Then measure it with a micrometer carefully.

    Is there rifling in that barrel ? Some 73's were purpose bored for "shows" as tossed glass ball busters.
    If you have a 45 Colt brass see if that will chamber with light finger pressure.
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by missionary5155 View Post
    Good morning
    That is a huge hole to have to deal with ! Largest we have measured is in that .435-.436 diameter. That barrel is badly pitted especially at the chamber. At the muzzle it is .432. Could you please slug it again. Then measure it with a micrometer carefully.

    Is there rifling in that barrel ? Some 73's were purpose bored for "shows" as tossed glass ball busters.
    If you have a 45 Colt brass see if that will chamber with light finger pressure.
    Mike in Peru
    No, no rifling to speak of. Been researching the re-lining process and that looks like the route I will take.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Try here for barrel lining: www.johntaylormachine.com

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Sooo how have we gotten 14 posts into this and still no pictures of said gun?

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  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Here are the pictures:








  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Like that dark red Winchester stain color.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Beautiful gun I hope one day I can afford some history like that.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check