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Old December 27, 2012, 10:27 AM   #1
CCCLVII
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1873 lever gun and hot loads?

I have a friend that is getting out of cowboy action shooting... getting old and has no one to pass his guns on to. He offered me a sweet deal on an Uberti 1873 lever action in 357 magnum (one of my favorite rounds).

They gun is extremely pretty. I like it lots.

Any way the only real use I would have for it is may be taking some white tale and possibly some smaller Oregon pigs (they are very small compared to the southern versions) I also have family in Indiana where hunting is hand gun caliber only so I may try that some day.

Can the 1873 handle hotter (still in SAAMI spec) such as buffalo bore and hotter (still at or under max) reloads in 357 magnum?

It is a great looking gun but I dont need another safe queen. the wife is already saying I have too many guns and I may need to justify it to her... the Indiana thing would probibly work
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:43 AM   #2
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I'm certainly not an expert, but from what I understand, the 1873 action is not nearly as robust as some of the later options (toggle link vs. locking lugs). I was looking at them myself (to complement my .38 revolvers), because the shell lifter design would seem to accommodate both .38's and .357's, but the price kept me away. Ended up with a Rossi, a little rough finish wise, but shoots pretty well!

Gunblast has a pretty good article on them.
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:49 AM   #3
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:53 AM   #4
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I recommend you try to find some drawings or somehow learn the internal workings of the 1873.

The "lockup",if you want to call it that,is simply the toggle links that move the bolt.It is not a strong system,I am not an expert on them but I believe you will find the 1873 will not hold up well to hot rodding.

It was designed for black powder pressures;OK,the modern one with modern steels will be SAAMI safe with SAAMI .357 loads.

If it was mine,and I wanted it to last a long time.I might load 38 spl +P loads in 357 cases and make the bean cans bounce.

Again,I do not own one,and I'm not the expert,but that is my suggestion.
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Old December 27, 2012, 03:48 PM   #5
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As others have said, the 1873 action is not very stout, but it is plenty strong for the 357 Mag. That said, you don't need to hotrod the 357 to kill deer or pigs with it. "The Gun That Won The West" in .44-40 (200 gr bullet at 1,200 fps) almost wiped out any species in the USA that people considered worth eating in the last quarter of the 19th Century, including antelope, whitetail deer, and black bears, so I imagine the 1873 can still do the job. Take it out and give it a go.
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Old December 27, 2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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This pretty much mirrors the thinking I have on a Taurus Lightning. It probably won't blow up with factory loaded ammo, and that's not my concern.
I shoot cowboy loads exclusively to keep the action from stretching. I really like the rifle and want to keep shooting it, at least my lifetime. I just can't get over a Colt 45 pump and it's gentle ways.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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I would stick with standard factory loads. The one thing you are not considering is the bullets. The bullets used in 357 pistol ammo is designed for around 1200-1400fps with a 158gr bullet. The extra velocity from a rifle barrel could give bullet blow up at higher velocities unless you choose a tougher bullet and hand load for it. Hornaday XTPs are a good choice.

I shot a coyote with a Rossi 357 loaded to about 1800fps using a Winchester 158gr hollow point. It exploded and nearly cut that little dog in half. It would not have been a good choice for deer. I now use 160gr soft points loaded to around 1600fps. In test they hold together pretty well.

Brian Pearce did an article on 357 lever guns in april 2006 Rifle mag IIRC and I would suggest you get a copy from Riflemag.com It will give you a good basis for hunting with a 357 rifle. I have a marlin 357 with the ballard rifling and its my favorite gun. Good luck with yours.
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Old December 27, 2012, 09:40 PM   #8
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The 1873 toggle link action can be cycled very fast but is on the weak side for hot load use ! Most folks I know that own them have had the actions tuned for speed and they intend to use mostly light loads for fast multiple target acquisition ! Its amazing to watch someone that is well practiced with a 1873 Winchester...blink of the eye quick !
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:44 PM   #9
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I have tons of experience with the '73. Remember first that you're talking about a revolver round, not a rifle round. Any round that will shoot in a revolver will do just fine in a '73. If you're not a Cowboy Shooter you'll never likely shoot the gun enough to hurt it. These clones are made with modern high grade steel of a quality far higher than anything available in the late 1800s. If you stay away from light bullets, say less than 140 gr you won't have a problem with bullets 'blowing up'. I've killed may deer with a Marlin lever action in .357. Stay under 100 yards and take care with your shots and you'll do fine. The only time a bullet failed to exit, shooting through the chest, was one my daughter killed. It ran maybe 20 yards then dropped. The '73 will shoot a .44-40 round pushing a 200 gr bullet at least 1200 fps. The .357 will likely hit 1600 fps from a rifle but the bullet is only 158 gr. Not really that much difference.
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:10 AM   #10
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44 mag.

If the 73 and it's togle linkage bolt and design cannot take high pressure loads and cartridges then why is Uberti is offering a 44Mag 1873 Short Rifle??? Do they know something more that we do not? A slick 1873 chambered in .44 Magnun would be something and the 44 Mag chamber pressure is way-over what people on this thread concider maximum pressure for the 1873 design. So what gives??? How good is the design and how much pressure can the design take??? Will the rifle shoot loose or blow-up after a 100 rounds or 500??? Or does Uberti know something we don's or have they modified the action lock-up to handle the increased pressure of the .44 Magnum???

V/R
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:38 AM   #11
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I've been working up a load for my '73 clone for like 5 or 6 years now, going from pyrodex to unique to 2400 with 255 to 230 HP cast. I'm told it's safer to work up a stout load with a smaller base than my .45 Colt. I'm using 17 gr. of 2400 with a 230 grain cast hollow point that I believe is less than 17,000 cup.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:50 AM   #12
WIN1886
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In comparison :

Would you use Buffalo Bore +P ammo in Uberti's Springfield Trapdoor ? They are using modern steel as well but the design is not as strong as most that followed ! I wouldn't use hot Buffalo Bore ammo in my older S&W 629 either....no need ! Maybe contact Uberti and see what they recommend....I already know that my local gunsmith that works on 1873 clones doesn't recommend it !
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
If the 73 and it's togle linkage bolt and design cannot take high pressure loads and cartridges then why is Uberti is offering a 44Mag 1873 Short Rifle??? Do they know something more that we do not? A slick 1873 chambered in .44 Magnun would be something and the 44 Mag chamber pressure is way-over what people on this thread concider maximum pressure for the 1873 design. So what gives??? How good is the design and how much pressure can the design take??? Will the rifle shoot loose or blow-up after a 100 rounds or 500??? Or does Uberti know something we don's or have they modified the action lock-up to handle the increased pressure of the .44 Magnum???
Unless I am mistaken (possable) the old SAAMI on the 357 magnum was like 42000 or 45000. I believe buffalo bore still loads to the old spec.

The 44 mag SAAMI is lower pressure than the old 357 SAAMI rating.
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Old December 29, 2012, 06:59 PM   #14
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Use heavy bullets (158 - 200 gr.) at moderate pressures. Going with a fast light bullet is not the way you want to go with a rifle shooting a pistol cartridge. You will be able to reach velocities very easily that will cause the light jacketed bullets to come apart rapidly. I like to use heavy cast SWC flat point bullets in all of my lever guns. I have a 180 gr. cast load that is easy to shoot and packs a serious thump on the target. The .357 mag. in a rifle barrel is much more powerful than it is in a pistol barrel. Much more. It also shoots a much flatter trajectory than I would have believed. Elmer was right again.
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