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Thread: What to do with my Winchester 73?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    What to do with my Winchester 73?

    I have a Winchester Model 73 that came from my wife's side of the family. Octagon barrel, 38-40. No one knows any history about it.

    Barrel is 3/4 sewer pipe but shoots 2" groups at 50 yards with cast.

    The wood is so oil laden you can hardly see any grain.

    The "best" thing is that some one has personalized it by fine engraving with a cold chisel. Wood on both sides and both sides of the receiver. A round apparently went off in the magazine tube sometime in the past and I replaced it.

    There is zero sentimental value and no one knows who " LA " is. Leave it like it is, refinish the stocks, or something else. I'm leaning toward doing what I can for the stocks and leaving the rest as is. Mechanically sound, chambers and ejects. I think we can all agree it has no collectors value. It does have the dust cover intact.

    I believe that "LA" probably stands for the previous owner.........Little Annie oakley, but alas no provenance.


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    762
    Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
    My amendment can beat up your amendment.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Oh my gosh that's the best gun description I've seen here in a while
    My vote is for boiling the oil out of the stocks, I'm on the fence about reboring to 44-40, and leaving the engraved provenances intact.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    To my eye, LA stands for leave alone. It is unique, shoot the snot out of it!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    If it shoots 2 inches at 50 yards with cast, I would leave the barrel original and enjoy it as-is.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Leave it as it is and shoot it. I use one in similar condition for NRA Levergun Matches. Get asked all the time, if it’s safe to shoot. Faint traces of rifling at the muzzle, it shoots 4” at 100 meters.
    Rick

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Uh oh. Now you'll have to get a '73 six shooter to go with it.
    Get the 4 5/8" barrel.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'd leave the stock alone, scrub out the barrel as best ya can, cast & shoot mild-ish loads, and enjoy it like it is.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit chat. This ain't no retirement home.
    EVERYONE!!
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master superior's Avatar
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    Does it happen to say “ one of 1000” anywhere on it?

  9. #9
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    Minerat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I'd leave the stock alone, scrub out the barrel as best ya can, cast & shoot mild-ish loads, and enjoy it like it is.
    This would be my course if action too. My wifes grandfather scribed his name or initials on all his guns. Must have been the thing to do with your tools back then.
    Steve,

    Life Member NRA
    Member: Clear Creek County Sportsman Association


    Kilo Charlie zero Golf Papa Tango

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    MrWolf's Avatar
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    I would send it to me and get a JM Marlin

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
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    My Winchester 73 is also a 38WCF. Mine is also "scruffy" but I gently cleaned it and just shoot it. It really likes BP loads and my 175 grain Lee's TC.

    Yours is very cool and my vote would be to leever rite. Shoot it as is and relish the totally originalness and individul coolness of an old workhorse.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    The beautiful thing about that rifle is that you can do with it whatever you want! It's not going to be a museum piece - I don't think anyone would fault you for either course of action.

    Me, I'd either shoot it as is, or take it on as a restoration project. I don't believe you can devalue it more than it's already been, so it's a win win for you.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    What Texas by God said " shoot the snot out of it ",, and LA ,, means leave it alone ,, that's why the feller stamped it all over!!!!


    coffee's ready ,, Hootmix.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If it were me it would be in the mail to John Taylor for a reline job. He usually does so good a job that you cannot tell it's been reglned. if a family heirloom do it anyway as obviously your the only one shooting it. My cousin had a 93 marlin in 30-30 i checked the barrel out one day and the rifling was pretty worn. I explained the process and at the time was way more money than he could scrape together. After he passed I was going to write his widow after some respectful amount of time had passed. I did call only to learn that the rifle had been sold to one of the family members. Oh well. Frank

  15. #15
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    I have one that must have come from the same family!

    While there are no letters gouged in the receiver, the magazine tube was battered then somewhat straightened out, someone tried to cold blue it at some point, it has Uberti toggles in it, the right sideplate is a hair too small, the stock is beat and battered and the rifle has been carried so much by the rear of the forearm, that the wood is visibly thinned there. It's a 38 WCF as well and the bore was hopeless, so I sent it to John Taylor to have the barrel lined. (Never have been able to figure out how a barrel that's never been "lined" can be "relined", but I digress...) It's amazing how much wear a 133 year old rifle can exhibit!



    Mine shoots wonderfully. For hunting I cast a 192 gr. FP from an RCBS 40-180 mould. A compressed charge of Swiss 3Fg pushed this bullet a hair over 1400 fps! But l normally load 8.0 - 9.0 grs. of Unique or Herco which gives 1200-1300 fps.



    So, I say at most, have the barrel lined and leave the rest alone and shoot it!

    35W
    "Only accurate rifles are interesting." -Col. Townsend Whelen.
    NRA Life Member
    Certified Texas Hunter Education Instructor

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Yes, clean it well and shoot it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    I'd rather have an original like that with 'true character' than to have a half dozen new Uberti '73s on the same platform! Shoot it, enjoy the heck out of it and TREASURE IT!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    I would have it relined.

    Neat to take an old beat up rifle to the range and shoot good groups.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    Naw, I would leave it alone, clean bore and shoot mild cast.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    And here I was thinking that LA must have meant Lever Action
    I'm with the majority here, if it shoots well then clean it and keep shooting it. You may spend a heap of money in a barrel liner or have it bored out and it just may not shoot any better.

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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