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Rounding the Barrel on a Uberti 1866 with a 24 in Barrel

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I doubt it would take away value since there were model 1866s originally made with round 24 in barrels, and my gun is already not very accurate to originals since its in a 38 caliber

Cap'n Redneck:
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.

Reverend P. Babcock Chase:
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

It might be easier to simply order a new barrel to your desires.

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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