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Thread: What to do with my Winchester 73?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Near Enterprise Landing

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

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    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
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    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
    Join Date
    May 2013
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    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.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    the Ark
    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
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    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.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.

    Old age, and treachery will always over come youth, and skill.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master superior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Pocatello Id
    Does it happen to say “ one of 1000” anywhere on it?

  9. #9

    Minerat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Jefferson County, CO
    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.

    Life Member NRA
    Member: Clear Creek County Sportsman Association

    Kilo Charlie zero Golf Papa Tango

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    MrWolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    NE West Virginia
    I would send it to me and get a JM Marlin

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Sweet Home Oregon
    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.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    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
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    S.E. OKLA.
    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
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    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
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    North Central Texas
    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!

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

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Central NY
    Yes, clean it well and shoot it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    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

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    SE Ohio
    Naw, I would leave it alone, clean bore and shoot mild cast.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Western Australia
    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
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