Author Topic: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel  (Read 361 times)

Offline SPJ

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Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« on: May 28, 2022, 04:06:10 PM »
Hello all,

Last year I bought a 2nd hand Uberti 1866 in .38 special with a 24 in barrel. I always wanted an 1866, and preferred to get a carbine, but I decided on this one since it was relatively cheap and already had a short stroke kit installed. Since it has a 24 in octagonal barrel it is relatively heavy.

I found a Maker Space near me that has a machine shop, so I have been thinking about using their lathe to turn down the barrel to make it round. I was wondering if anyone here could give advice on how to go about doing this, and answer some questions like what outer diameter is best for a 38 special rifle, how much weight should I expect to take off, and what value I may be adding to or taking away from the gun if I were to sell it again.

I doubt it would take away value since there were model 1866s originally made with round 24 in barrels, and my gun is already not very accurate to originals since its in a 38 caliber

Offline Cap'n Redneck

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2022, 05:54:31 PM »
Have You considered chopping off 4" at the muzzle end?
Effectively turning it into a 20" octagonal short-rifle?
I'm thinking that would be a simpler process than turning the whole barrel down.
You would only need to cut new dove-tail slots for the front-sight and the mag-tube attachment.

Someone with a better grasp of math than me would be able to calculate the weight of a 4" piece of octagonal .38 barrel, as opposed to the weight of 24" worth of steel shavings from turning the octagon down to round.
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Offline Reverend P. Babcock Chase

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2022, 06:47:59 PM »
Howdy SPJ,

A couple of thoughts:

Turning the whole barrel to round might create some problems with the fit of the barrel to the forend and especially the nose cap or barrel band.

I'd suggest you consider both shortening the barrel and turning it round down to the end of the forend (or nose cap.)

Those are opinions worth every penny you paid for them.

Rev. Chase

Offline DeaconKC

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2022, 08:20:49 PM »
It might be easier to simply order a new barrel to your desires.
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Offline Pettifogger

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2022, 11:01:58 AM »
A few things to think about.  Simply turning the barrel round would result in an odd looking barrel.  To look right it would have to be turned on a taper.  To be turned will require removing the barrel from the receiver.  After turning the front sight dovetail and fore-end cap attaching hardware dovetails would have to be recut.  These are easy as they are simply 3/8" dovetails.  The fore-end cap fit would no longer be correct and there will be a gap between the barrel and forearm wood.  The magazine hanger is not straight cut.  It has rounded ends as it is removed and installed by twisting it.  This takes a little knowledge in order to be able to recut the recess for the hanger.  Also, the forearm on a 24" rifle is longer than that on a 20" rifle or carbine.  So when the barrel is cut the forearm will look out of proportion, not a big deal.  Cutting four inches off of the octagon barrel will make quite a difference in feel and balance.  I have cut several back to 20".

This is not a great photo but it shows the curved ends of the hanger.  It is not a straight dovetail.

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #5 on: Today at 09:11:15 PM »

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2022, 08:42:20 AM »

 :) SPJ  ;)

Fully agree with Pettifogger, only more strongly.  Should you pursue this endeavor, absolutely NOTHING will fit.

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Offline Long Johns Wolf

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2022, 09:04:17 AM »
Had this partial rounding job of the barrel done to my old ASP 73 rifle.
The ASP started life with a 24"octagon barrel.
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Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2022, 04:07:11 PM »
Does that lathe have a taper attachment? Barrels are not the same from end to end. Also the forearm cap wont fit a round barrel right and to my knowledge Uberti doesn't make one for a round rifle barrel so you'll have to make one or deal with the fit on that and the forearm wood itself. Several other little details too, it could be made to work and yet still look a bit cobbled and that's if you are an accomplished machinist.

better off to sell it and buy a short rifle or carbine. Just changing the barrel to short rifle won't work either because the forearms are different length.
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Offline KWK

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Re: Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2022, 10:26:59 PM »
Madis' book shows the longer fore stock was sometimes fitted to a '73 rifle with a short barrel. I don't know about a real '66, but an Uberti isn't a real '66, so chop it if you feel like doing so. The lightest configuration is a half round barrel and a half magazine. The '66 half mags were different than on the '73 (from what I've seen), but again, an Uberti isn't a real '66. If you go half round, Winchester would cut the round portion deeper than on the 44s, so be creative.
Karl

 

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