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Old September 8, 2019, 07:57 PM   #1
Rookie21
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Hunting Question for the Win 1873 in 45LC

Is a modern reproduction of a Winchester Model 1873 lever action in 45 Colt a viable hunting rifle/cartridge combination for North American White Tail Deer and Feral Hogs?
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Old September 8, 2019, 08:50 PM   #2
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Being a reproduction doesn't make the 45 Colt any less lethal. The answer is yes, it's a very adequate cartridge for deer and hogs.
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Old September 8, 2019, 09:20 PM   #3
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Yes, but; it not going to be like a high power rifle with massive tissue damage or dramatic effect on a near miss spine shot. You need to take extra care with shot placement. I would omit the word "very" and simple say "adequate". It is all on the OP to make the shot.

I have a friend who has taken a few white tails with factory spec 44/40 ammo. He did not have to ask, if you catch my drift. I was skeptical and he show me wrong.

Someone is building an 1873 in 44mag. I am more than a little leary of that combo. It does make me think that certain of the reproductions could be juiced up just a tiny bit.
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Old September 8, 2019, 09:27 PM   #4
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On a separate post I own and hunt both a model 1892 and a Marlin lever in 44mag. Those are in my not so humble opinion far superior rifles in a better round. Light, strong, short, powerful and reasonably nostalgic.
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Old September 8, 2019, 09:37 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I really like the idea of owning and hunting with an 1873. Where I will be hunting does not offer long shots at all. Lots of woods or brush hunting. And it’s such a classic rifle. I worry however as I know little about the construction.. I’ve read it can be “fragile”. Anyone care to weigh in on that thought?
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Old September 8, 2019, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
I’ve read it can be “fragile”. Anyone care to weigh in on that thought?

Howdy

The Winchester Model 1873, along with the 1860 Henry and the 1866 Winchester were known as 'toggle link' actions.

Here are two photos of an Uberti replica of the 1873 Winchester with the side plate removed to show the toggle link action.

In the first photo the action is closed and the toggle links are fully extended, holding the bolt in position. There are actually four links, you can only see two, but there are two more on the other side of the action that are mirror images of the pair that are visible. Notice the toggle links have three pivot points, one at the front attached to the bolt, one in the middle attached to an extension of the lever, and one at the rear, pivoting against the frame.






In the second photo, the lever has been rotated all the way and the links are folded. Notice the middle pivot point has been been pulled down and back and the front link has pulled the bolt straight back. The firing pin extension has cocked the hammer, and the lifter arm has raised the brass carrier block straight up. You can see the top of it poking up above the frame. In this condition the carrier would have thrown the spent cartridge case out of the action, and another one is riding in the carrier, ready to be shoved into the chamber when the lever is closed again.

Those with sharp eyes will notice this rifle has after market lever springs.






OK, the thing about a toggle link rifle is there is no positive locking of the toggles. They are simply holding the bolt in battery against a cartridge in the chamber by virtue of the fact that the three pivot points are lined up. In fact, the middle pivot point is slightly higher than the other two when the rifle is in battery, but that does not really matter. The rearward thrust of the fired cartridge is contained by the links being extended straight. Notice too, the frame of the rifle is 'skeletonized'. A lot of the frame is simply void. When the side plates are screwed on they actually provide no support to the frame.

I would not say the toggle link rifles are fragile. When they were first invented, the toggle link rifles were up to the task of being safe to shoot with the Black Powder cartridges of the day. The 44 Henry Rimfire with the Henry and '66, the 44-40, 38-40, 32-20, and believe it or not, 22 Short in the Model 1873. Every replica toggle link rifle made by Uberti in Italy is proofed in government proof houses, and is strong enough for the SAMMI spec loads of the cartridge it is chambered for. However due to the nature of their construction, loads more powerful than standard SAAMI loads must not be fired in them. A friend once bought a used Uberti 1873 chambered for 357 Magnum but brought it back when he found a crack in the frame. No idea why it happened. Yes, Uberti does chamber the 1873 Model for 44 Magnum, and it is also proofed for the cartridge. However I have misgivings about how well it would hold up over time with lots of full power 44 Mags being fired in it. Remember, all proofing does is prove that the firearm can take the pressure of one proof round, which are generally about 30% higher pressure than the SAAMI max. It makes no claim what will happen after 10,000 rounds.





Now let's talk about the Model 1892 Winchester for a moment.

John M Browning designed the Model 1892, adapting it from his design of the larger Model 1886 Winchester.

The frame of the Model 1892 was solid, it was not skeletonized. When the lever was operated, a pair of locking lugs were pulled down from their position locking the bolt.






When the lever was closed, the locking lugs slid up into grooves in the frame and the bolt, firmly locking the bolt in battery.






The construction of the Model 1892 simply stood head and shoulders above the toggle link rifles as far as strength was concerned. With modern steels replica 1892 Winchesters are routinely chambered for 44 Magnum and even 454 Casull. In addition, a Model 1892 is lighter than a Model 1873. A 24" Model 1873 weighs 8 pounds 12 ounces. A 24" Model 1892 weighs 7 pounds 12 ounces. I just weighed them.

I'm not a hunter, but if I was I can tell you I would want to be carrying a lighter and stronger Model 1892 through the woods than a heavier Model 1873.
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Old September 9, 2019, 12:34 AM   #7
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Yes. 45 LC in a lever gun makes for a decent hog rifle. For deer, it's quite viable but I wouldn't be reaching out beyond 100 yards with it. The 1873 are good looking rifles. As noted above, later Winchester and Marlin designs are much stronger but 45 LC loaded to SAAMI spec will kill deer and hogs.
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Old September 9, 2019, 06:23 AM   #8
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in my 44-40 win 92 and 44-40 baby sharps I shoot a 200gr JFP at 1600 fps(can be loaded higher, but not needed) and I have never recovered a bullet from a deer, in my 73 in 44-40 I shoot a cast 200 gr bullet at 1200 fps and in my 73 in 38-40 I shoot a cast 180 gr bullet at 1200 fps, in my 92 win in 38-40 I shoot a 180 gr JFP at 1600 fps( can be loaded higher, but not needed). my rule is to shoot only at standing broadside deer with a clear double lung shot at under 100 yards. punching a 44 40 slug or 38-40 slug thru both lungs puts them down pretty quick.
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Old September 9, 2019, 07:49 AM   #9
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Thank you for the responses. Especially yours Driftwood Johnson. That was detailed and informative and the pictures helped me understand what you were talking about. Thank you. I have a Winchester 94 carbine in 30-30. While it’s size and weight is nice to carry in the woods I don’t care much for the recoil when just shooting it for target work and practice at the range. Perhaps to hunt with it’s better but it’s not just the recoil - the action feels chunky. An 1873 is said to be smoother. Thank you very much for the input.
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Old September 9, 2019, 12:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
An 1873 is said to be smoother.
You are getting all your information from the internet, rather than shooters of these rifles, aren't you?

Yes, the toggle link rifles such as the 1873 tend to be a little bit smoother than the 1892. That is why Cowboy Action Shooters prefer them.

Here is a photo of the carrier of my 1860 Henry in the fully raised position with the lever all the way forward. The carrier and it's operation on the Henry are exactly the same as a Model 1866 or 1873. There is a slight difference in the Henry carrier, but it is not relevant to this discussion.







In this view the carrier is all the way down and is about to rise to present a fresh cartridge to the chamber. If you look carefully you will see the bullet of the round on the carrier is preventing the next round in the magazine from moving backwards under the spring pressure of the magazine follower. The cartridge in these photos is the 44-40, but the operation with a 45 Colt is identical.






In this photo, the carrier has risen up, and the round on the carrier is aligned with the chamber. When the bolt moves forward as the lever closes the round will be pushed straight into the chamber. Picture a World War Two submarine movie with the crew shoving a torpedo into a torpedo tube. With the toggle link rifles, the cartridge is presented straight on to the chamber and it is a simple push forward to chamber it. That is part of the reason why a toggle link rifle tends to be smoother than the 1892 Model.









The Model 1892 uses a tilting carrier, very similar to your Model 1894. In this photo the lever has started closing and the carrier has tilted up, pointing the cartridge at the chamber.






A view from the side.






In this view the bolt has started shoving the round into the chamber. The rim will slide through the slots on the guide rails on either side of the cartridge.






Please note that all the bullets in these photos are round nosed flat point bullets. For safety sake you do not want to use pointed bullets in a tubular magazine rifle. RNFP bullets feed best in these rifles. Truncated Cone bullets also feed well. Semi-Wadcutters may hang up feeding into the chamber, particularly with a tilting carrier such as the 1892. The sharp shoulder can sometimes catch on the edge of the chamber. The old WCF cartridges with a slight taper, such as 44-40, 38-40, and 32-40 feed the best. That's why Winchester put the taper on them. Rifles chambered for 45 Colt is a completely modern adaptation, it was never done until the 1980s. However most rifles will feed the straight walled 45 Colt just fine, so long as you use RNFP or Truncated Cone bullets.

Yes, a toggle link rifle such as the 1873 tends to be a little bit smoother cycling the action then the 1892. But don't forget, those guys you are reading about who shoot the 1873 in competition are shooting rifles that have been slicked up specifically for competition. The springs have been lightened, and the parts have been smoothed over so there is almost no resistance from friction. These guys can empty ten shots out of a rifle, ten shots out of two revolvers, and two or more shots from a shotgun in under 30 seconds. They can probably dump ten rounds out of their rifle in six seconds or so.

Are you going to be reloading for the second shot that quickly?

The 1892 action is a little bit clunkier than the toggle link rifles, but really not all that much. All my 1892s are original Winchesters. Some of them have been smoothed up a bit, some have not. We have a saying in CAS that with the 1892 a really fast shooter can get ahead of the rifle and cause it to jam. Probably the carrier is rising so fast that as a round tries to enter the chamber at an angle the round jumps up a little bit and jams against the top edge of the chamber. Remember what I said about the toggle links shoving the round straight forward like a torpedo going into a torpedo tube? Less chance of jamming. I am not a super fast shooter, and I never jam my '92s because I am just a little bit more deliberate with them.

At one time I owned modern made 1892 that I won in a raffle. I think it was a Rossi. Fresh out of the box it was a little bit stiff. I sold it without ever firing it, because I already had several originals and I used the money as a down payment on my Henry. If I was a hunter, I would have had no problem walking through the woods with that rifle. As I said before, lighter and stronger than a toggle link.

Funny thing you mentioned your 1894. I was just shooting mine last week. This board only allows me to post six photos per post, so I am going to start another post to talk about the Model 1894.

I will tell you at this point that yes, a Model 1894 chambered for 30-30 is going to kick more than either the 1873 or the 1892 chambered for 45 Colt. The rounds are simply not as powerful as the 30-30. In a rifle of similar weight, the 30-30 will kick more.

We will talk about clunky in a moment.
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Old September 9, 2019, 12:48 PM   #11
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OK, lets talk about the 1894 for a moment.

The 1894 model is basically an adaptation of the earlier 1892 Model. In order to chamber the longer 38-55 and 30-30 rounds, Browning had to stretch the frame. And he added a hinged floor plate. Go back to my photos of the 1892 and you will see the frame is solid on the bottom. The hinged floor plate was necessary to make everything work. Yeah, Marlins don't have a hinged floor plate, but we are talking about Winchesters here.





So part of the clunkiness of the 1894 action is getting all that stuff to work. Incidentally, the 1894 action has been adapted for 45 Colt and I DO NOT recommend it. CAS shooters with them are always complaining that it is not a good design. They tend to jam easily.



Another difference between the 1892 and the 1894 is that Browning got rid of the twin locking lugs of the 1892 and used a single locking lug all the way at the back of the bolt.






Anyway, I was shooting a couple of old 1894s last week. The octagon barrelled rifle at the top of the photo is a little bit older, it was made in 1895. The carbine below was made in the 1940s.

Yes, they do kick, even with 150 grain bullets. Much more than a rifle chambered for 44-40 (or 45 Colt). And the older rifle had some feeding problems. I had to be sure the round on the carrier did not pop up, jamming the action. If I was going to be hunting with these, I would probably do something about that. But they are just range toys and I don't really care if I have to baby them a little bit. The carbine was a bit smoother. By the way, the rifle weighs 9 pounds even, the carbine weighs 6 pounds 14 ounces. Guess which one I would choose to carry through the woods?






I am still suggesting you look into a Model 1892, rather than a Model 1873. Lighter and stronger, and smooth enough for your needs.
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Old September 9, 2019, 01:15 PM   #12
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1,353 and 1,776 pixels is TOO BIG!
The metal is not the same in a modern reproduction of a Winchester Model 1873 isn't the same thing as a vintage 1873. As mentioned, a .45 Colt, being a big thing going slow, will do nicely for under 100 yard deer hunting.
"...don’t care much for the recoil..." Got rid of a Win 94 years ago for exactly the same reason. Far too much felt recoil for the power and accuracy of the cartridge out of a 6 pound lever action.
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Old September 9, 2019, 05:27 PM   #13
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Wow! So much information! Thanks. I was in fact getting my info from reading some things on the internet but where else would I? Nobody I know locally has either of these models (the ‘92 or the ‘73).

I see on gunbroker some modern made or current production “Winchester” Model 1892 rifles and carbines but they have a tang safety built in. Not very period correct. The rifles look nice and I’ve found some in the caliber and barrel configuration I’d want and at affordable prices too but I don’t know about that tang safety.. and despite the recommendations I still am very attached to the beauty of the 1873. I am leaning towards a ‘92 now but I feel more of a stuck in the middle sort of position. The 92 is more affordable - that will have a hefty impact on my decision.
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Old September 9, 2019, 07:38 PM   #14
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I have shot numerous hogs with numerous lever actions, and personally I wouldn't use a .45 colt caliber for large game out to 100 yds, although they will do the job at shorter distances. You are putting yourself into a marginal situation by trying to kill something at the longer distances.
I have shot hogs at 50 yards using an original 73' Winchester carbine in 44/40 and also with a 92' in 38/40. Both worked as they should, but I think lack the energy for longer shots. You are just taking a large risk in losing wounded game in some situations with these type of cartridges.
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Old September 9, 2019, 10:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
I see on gunbroker some modern made or current production “Winchester” Model 1892 rifles and carbines but they have a tang safety built in. Not very period correct.
You can find older Rossi's without the tang safety. If you want period correct the .45 Colt in a rifle is not. Nobody chambered a rifle in .45 Colt until 1984.
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Old September 10, 2019, 12:07 AM   #16
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Can we please not say 'period correct'?

It sounds so much like politically correct that it makes me cringe.

How about Historically Accurate?

Anyway the 1892 rifles marketed by Winchester and manufactured in Japan do have an inauthentic tang safety.

The ones marketed by Taylors and EMF do not.

And you can buy one in the inauthentic caliber of 45 Colt from EMF.

https://www.emf-company.com/store/pc...ifles-c123.htm

Anyway, I have harangued long enough about the virtues of the 1892 model over the 1873 model. All the modern replicas are made of modern steel and are proofed for modern SAAMI spec ammunition.

If you don't mind carrying a rifle that weighs a pound more in a similar configuration, by all means buy the 1873 Model.




38-40 Model 1873 rifle made in 1887.






Franken-1873 with carbine barrel configuration and rifle butttstock. 38-40, made in 1882.






Uberti replica 1873, 44-40 caliber.






A pair of 1892s, rifle at top from 1897, saddle ring carbine at the bottom from 1918. Both are chambered for 44-40. The rifle at the top was my CAS main match rifle for a few years until I got into Black Powder.






32-20 1892 with octagon barrel from 1911. This one is a real sweetheart to shoot.


Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; September 10, 2019 at 12:26 AM.
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Old September 10, 2019, 12:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Can we please not say 'period correct'?

It sounds so much like politically correct that it makes me cringe.

How about Historically Accurate?
If I can remember to.
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Old September 10, 2019, 05:53 AM   #18
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Wow!, Driftwood really has posted very good, 100% spot on. The OP is really lucky to ask here.

The 1892 in 44mag will recoil maybe along the lines of the 30/30. But; you dont really want a powder puff rifle for hunting and you can fire a variety of 44 special for shooting sport at the club or in the field. Or get a 44/40, but the 44mag will drop the deer faster. The measure of kill power is not pass threw, it is shock and tissue damage AND breaking bone.

There are two ways to look at the current Winchester 92. One way, it is no longer a replica gun. It a living, working rifle, that will evolve and improvement (or change). This actually pleases me. I dont need a safety, but; there it is. Or the other way, it is not like the old model and will not take a tang site. If you want smooth, the 92 will put a smile on your face. It just feels so nice. You got to try it.

My favorite shooting 44 is the Marlin. The Marlin is a very pleasant shooter. It is not a replica, has been in production all along and evolved a bit. Like the current 92, a real living gun. The gun has a comfy flat rubber( in good taste) butt pad. It is also a pound more weight. I dont specifically want the added weight. But anyone who does not like the recoil of a 30/30 will love shooting the Marlin. And marlin has almost as much history as Winchester. Hollywood never got the memo. The pre-remington used Marlins are the best way to go.

Over the future years, you may want to own several models. That is really the only way to appreciate all the differences. As I sit here, I am recalling a lot of years. ... I have owned, hunted and eventually sold a lot of bolt and semi rifles. I never sold a lever rifle. Not sure what that says.

Last edited by fourbore; September 10, 2019 at 07:05 AM.
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Old September 10, 2019, 08:39 AM   #19
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Good thread. It really makes me appreciate the inventive genius of JMB.
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Old September 10, 2019, 12:08 PM   #20
Driftwood Johnson
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1,353 and 1,776 pixels is TOO BIG!
You are the first person who has ever criticized my photos as being too big.

Would you prefer tiny photos that don't show any detail?

Get yourself a larger monitor.
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Old September 11, 2019, 02:09 PM   #21
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2 weeks ago I took out a friend to get an antelope on some farm ground owned by another man I know. He has a few fields he wanted to thin the antelope off of.

Anyway my friend has a Reproduction of the Winchester M73 rifle with the long 30" barrel. He loaded some 260 grain flat nose bullets on 8.5 gr. of Unique. Did just fine.

I have seen quite a few head of game killed with 45s They kill about like a well placed broad head from a good hunting arrow, or maybe a bit better. This pronghorn was about like most of the other kills I have seen from 45 Colts. As a rule the big slow bullets do not drop deer or antelope as fast as (for a comparison,) 25-06 will, but it's still good enough to put the horns on the wall and the meat in the freezer.

His shot was broadside, hitting about 2" behind the upper leg bone and through both lungs. Exit and entrance were not much different. The antelope bolted and ran about 125 yards and the stumbled about 25 more, then fell. It was dead before we got to it. Shot was from about 80 yards from a prone position inside a ditch. So in the time it took us both to walk about 230-240 yards or so, the eyes were open and non-responsive.
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Old September 11, 2019, 07:21 PM   #22
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Is a 45-colt a deer/ feral pig cartridge?
Check the Deer Hunting Regulations for legal cartridge use. Some States are particular in cartridge use by its Hunters. Minnesota for many years was indeed such a State. (very particular.)
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Old September 11, 2019, 07:41 PM   #23
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Thanks for the pics and great info Driftwood. I really enjoyed those. I find myself in awe of 'historically accurate', or even better - authentic - lever guns. Love the looks and romance of these beautiful levers, but I'm still learning what I'm looking at.

Detailed write ups are much appreciated.
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Old September 11, 2019, 11:29 PM   #24
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Howdy Again

No matter whether you decide to buy the 1873 or 1892, give some thought to the configuration.

The Model 1892 at the top of this photo is of the rifle configuration. The one at the bottom is a saddle ring carbine. In the 19th Century, barrel length was not the defining feature that defined a carbine or a rifle. Winchester rifles had a fore end cap on the end of the fore end, and the magazine was hung under the barrel by a hanger dovetailed into the bottom of the barrel. But notice the shape of the buttstock. Rifles had a deeply curved crescent shaped buttplate. Twenty four inch barrels were standard, but special lengths could be ordered as short as twelve inches and as long as thirty inches. Carbine barrels were usually 20 inches long, but other lengths were available on special order. Carbines had barrel bands suspending the magazine below the barrel, and there was no metal at the end of the fore end. The butt plate of a carbine was piece of strap metal bent to shape, and the curvature of the butt was much less than that of a rifle.






Here is a close up of the rifle butt at top and the carbine butt at the bottom. The rifle butt plate was a casting, the carbine butt plate was a simple bent piece of metal.






My point is, if you don't know how to shoot a rifle with a crescent shaped butt plate, the points of the crescent can dig into the meaty part of your shoulder with recoil, and it can hurt. I learned a long time ago the proper way to shoot a rifle with a crescent shaped butt plate. The butt plate should be hiked farther out on the shoulder than most of us are used to. The points of the crescent should encircle the shoulder joint, one above and one below. That is the way these rifles were meant to be mounted. This way, the points keep the butt from sliding up or down, and the points will not dig into your shoulder. I don't own a rifle chambered for 45 Colt, all mine are either 44-40 or 38-40. These cartridges do not generate a lot of recoil, but if you place the points of the crescent on the meaty part of the shoulder, as most shooters are doing today, it can hurt, even with a mild recoiling cartridge like 45 Colt, 44-40, or 38-40. Not a week goes by that shooters on the SASS Wire don't ask where they can get a leather cover to go over the points of the butt plate because they do not understand how the rifle was originally meant to be shot.

Shooting a rifle with a crescent shaped butt plate may require a modification to your stance too. Generally, you will want to stand at about a 45 degree angle to the target, not straight on. The rifle will be slung more or less across your chest. And it is best to raise your elbow to bring the rifle up to your face, rather than hunching over to bring your face down to the rifle.

I can shoot my CAS rifles this way all day long and they never hurt from recoil. And I am shooting full house Black Powder loads, none of that 'cowboy ammo'.





Here is the model 1894 rifle and carbine I showed in a previous post. The 30-30 cartridge is not a powerhouse by modern standards, but it does recoil significantly more than a 44-40 or 38-40. But I had a great time at the range with that rifle the other day, placing the butt as I described. Although the rifle (and the carbine) gave me a pretty good wallop, neither hurt to shoot.

Many years ago I had a Model 1894 with a barrel cut down to 20 inches and the magazine cut to half length. It had the standard crescent shaped rifle butt. I did not know then how to shoot it, and every time I pulled the trigger it hurt like the dickens as the points dug into my shouldere. I seem to recall I could only fire three shots before I had to quit for the day, it hurt so much. That rifle was stolen many years ago, but I wish I still had it now, since I now know how it should have been fired.

Notice the completely flat butt stock on this carbine.






Just for fun, here is the 1894 rifle with my replica 1860 Henry, chambered for 44-40. I can shoot it all day long and it does not hurt because I know where to mount the stock.





Probably the most popular rifle in CAS today is a 1873 Short Rifle. The barrel is usually 20" long, sometimes it is an octagon barrel. There is often a pistol grip on the wrist, and they usually have a crescent shaped butt plate. Usually chambered for 357 Magnum, but most CAS shooters shoot light 38 Specials out of them so they hardly recoil at all.

My point is, don't be afraid to buy a rifle with a crescent shaped buttplate, but be sure you understand the proper way to mount it. Uberti also makes several 1873 models with flat butt plates, some even have a rubber butt plate.

Decide what style you would like to shoot most.
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Old September 12, 2019, 12:24 AM   #25
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Yes. But sight picture options are lacking compared to modern rifles. Weight is a factor too, especially if you go with a 24" barrel. Loaded, these rifles can weigh eight-plus pounds.
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