View Full Version : How strong is the 1866 Winchester?

November 29, 2010, 03:49 PM
Is the 1866 about the same strength as the '73 or is it weaker because of the brass? I would like to shoot full power traditional 45colts from it(not Ruger only). Is the action strong enough for this?

November 29, 2010, 04:00 PM
I have an original 73 made in 1886 and while I haven't had a 66, the action is mostly the same except for the brass. I am not sure how much difference you would notice between the two but you have to remember that these guns by design were made to handle BP loads. They use a toggle link system to lock up the bolt and this system is not nearly as strong as a 92 action. I have done some gunsmithing on them and from what I have learned that if you have any problem from hot loads the toggle link and its posts will probably cause slack in the headspace of either gun if shot enough with 'Hot' loads. I love the 18766s & 1873s but if you if you just want to shoot a lot of full power loads I would suggest getting a 1892 which is much stronger by design.

November 29, 2010, 04:54 PM
I wouldn't do that if I were you. I have a steel frame Henry in .44-40 and once loaded 'Rifle' loads instead of pistol loads and it had head separations on 5/5 shots so I stopped shooting them and reloaded them as 'Pistol' and never had another problem. The toggle linkage is 'springy' and will stretch brass to the breaking point if the loads are too hot. JMHO

November 29, 2010, 08:46 PM
It was designed for 40 grs. of bp. I wouldn't go over that pressure. The toggles will give out before anything else does.

Ideal Tool
November 29, 2010, 09:57 PM
The Winchester 1866 came out 7 years before the .44-40 was even thought of. It was chambered for the same rimfire ctg. as the earlier Henry: 28gr. black, 200gr. lead.

November 29, 2010, 11:24 PM
I have a Uberti 1866 "winchester" carbine and a Uberti 1873 carbine, both in .44-40. The 1866 will handle full charge black powder loads and standard factory smokeless loads with no problem. Just no hot or high power loads and you are fine. All modern made firearms have to be able to withstand SAAMI (standard factory) loads. By the way, the same advice goes for the 1873 too.

Andy Griffith
December 1, 2010, 09:43 AM
Uberti 1866's won't have any problem digesting any standard pressure "off the shelf" .45 Colt ammunition from the major manufacturers, or equivalent handloads.

December 2, 2010, 07:28 AM
Thanks. All I want is a load that will replicate the original load. Nothing wild. Thanks for your answers