Author Topic: First Time 73 Owner  (Read 234 times)

Offline BrickwallJackson

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First Time 73 Owner
« on: January 23, 2023, 06:07:56 PM »
Hey Y'all,

I've been lurking for quite awhile but I finally have something to post about. About two years ago or more, I ended up with an original 3rd Model 73 frame, and I decided to build a full rifle off of it. You know. . ."for fun". LOL

Anyway, I managed to acquire all the parts I needed as original items, the only new parts being the barrel, the toggles and the wood. Other than that, she's 100% real.

Since this is my first 73, I thought I would ask the experts a couple of basic questions:

  • Is there a way to adjust the stiffness of the finger lever on these guns?
  • What are the lubrication points (and what would you recommend as a good lubricant)?
  • Are there any other maintenance tasks you can recommend?

I'm an avid shooter, but my experience is more with military bolt action rifles and of course, the dreaded black guns. I shot a friend's Model 94 one time and I was hooked.

So here are a few pictures. I have ordered a Smokey Mountain front sight, and I need to get a rear sight for it but she's almost ready to go:


Offline Abilene

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2023, 07:05:11 PM »
What a great project, and awesome wood!  The original '73's operating instructions say “There are three springs that may lose their tension by long use, viz., the “main spring,” the spring that holds up the finger-lever, called the “finger-lever spring,” and the spring that holds up the carrier-lever, called the “carrier-lever spring.”  Each of these has a set-screw, the heads of which are outside on the underside of the frame.  By turning these up the tension can be increased to the necessary strength or stiffness.” This indicates that, unlike modern reproductions which are over-sprung, the spring screws were not tightened all the way on originals.  If they are tight, then backing them out some will make a big difference.  If you go too far on the screws on the bottom, the carrier will start hanging up and the lever will start flopping.  Tighten them back up until it functions properly.  Make sure the main spring strain screw is backed out.  And you can shim the main spring with a washer between the spring and the lower tang to lighten that one.

Offline BrickwallJackson

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2023, 08:10:54 PM »
Hey thanks for the info! Cool, I'll check it out. Kinda feels a little like the elevator is "hanging" a little bit. The lever is kinda hard to work but then. . .my tender hands are not used to lever guns!  ;D  Bolt guns are way easier on the hands. . .except for the punishing recoil (8mm Mauser will rattle your teeth loose)

I'll play with the two screws on the bottom of the frame in front of the lever first. The mainspring feels pretty good. . .I don't like to dry fire my guns if I can help it but it seems okay.

Offline Buckaroo Lou

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2023, 01:48:58 PM »
Man, thus far you have done a fantastic job.

I use a bit of Lubriplate grease where the springs ride against what ever it is they are providing tension for. I use a light gun oil on the pivot joints of the toggles. I also use a bit of Lubriplate in the toggle link troughs where the lever pin rides.
A man's true measure is found not in what he says but in what he does.

Offline BrickwallJackson

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2023, 05:34:12 PM »
Man, thus far you have done a fantastic job.

I use a bit of Lubriplate grease where the springs ride against what ever it is they are providing tension for. I use a light gun oil on the pivot joints of the toggles. I also use a bit of Lubriplate in the toggle link troughs where the lever pin rides.

Hey thanks for the info and the compliment, man! Appreciate it. I have attached pictures of the lubricant that I'm using, as well as what I THINK is a missing screw.

Also. . .I have noticed that the screw which keeps the finger lever in place backs out occasionally. I'm guessing I can just put a little blue locktite on the threads at the end to keep it in place?

Again, thanks for the info! This forum is very cool.

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #5 on: Today at 04:18:38 PM »

Offline Abilene

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2023, 07:02:58 PM »
The missing screw on the bottom tang is the main spring strain screw.  You don't need it unless you have light strikes and need to increase the hammer spring tension.

Offline BrickwallJackson

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 04:52:49 PM »
Thanks for all the info, y'all. Just an update, I took her to my gunsmith today and did a successful test fire. She times up just right and goes bang.

I fitted a front sight so now I just need to install a proper rear sight and replace the missing screws.

Offline Baltimore Ed

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 09:53:10 PM »
A beautiful build, very impressive. My real ‘73 is a musket from 1891.  A leather lever wrap will make the lever easier to cycle by making the lever bigger [wider] and giving you more leverage. Makes it gentler on the knuckles too.
"Give'em hell, Pike"
 There is no horse so dead that you cannot continue to beat it.

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: First Time 73 Owner
« Reply #8 on: Today at 09:09:59 AM »

 :)  Brickwall  ;)

Nice Job rebuilding our rifle.  80% of the resistance felt in the Finger Lever is from the Main Spring that powers the hammer.  20% is from the two springs that retain the lever in the closed position and hold the carrier block up.

If you wish to reduce the effort on the finger lever, first source another Main Spring and than reduce one of the main springs.  Reduce it very CAREFULLY. Reduce it too much and you get light primer strikes.  I suggest leaving the side springs alone.  Since you're not a CAS player, extensive spring grinding is not necessary nor recommended.


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