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Special Interests - Groups & Societies => The Winchester Model 1873 => Topic started by: Cannonman1 on September 26, 2020, 02:43:45 AM

Title: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on September 26, 2020, 02:43:45 AM
First timer and Newbie here on this forum.. Glad to have found you all and hope to be a frequent visitor.
I just picked up my first "73" .. Its a sporting rifle made in 1888 chambered for 38-40. This rifle has seen some serious use but it still has a shootable bore and a nice unmessed with patina and solid wood. The action functions without issues but here is what I have found...
-- There is no firing pin tip visible at the face of the bolt. I assume I need to replace the firing pin. Is this one or two pieces?? I assume one can go in through the side plates, remove the toggles and extract it out the back.. Correct?
Any recommendations on a source for a firing pin and spring.. I see a few listed but assume they are not all of the same quality.

Gun came from the Outlaw Trail area of Texas and I wish it could talk. I am going to keep all the scratches and dings in place .. They are all well earned I am sure.
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: DeaconKC on September 26, 2020, 09:03:40 AM
Welcome to the place! Keep the original finish, it has earned it's battle scars. And we gotta have pics!
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: King Medallion on September 26, 2020, 09:11:05 AM
I would say before you start replacing parts, have a qualified gunsmith check it over, then fire it, see how things go.
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on September 26, 2020, 10:06:39 AM
Always a good idea..
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Niederlander on September 26, 2020, 11:22:41 AM
When I got my original, the tip of the firing pin had been filed off, presumably to be sure it couldn't be fired as a display piece.  I'd be curious is yours received the same treatment.  Enjoy bringing the old girl back to life!
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Major 2 on September 26, 2020, 11:38:21 AM
Mine had been in the same collection from the 1940's  it's a 32/20 circa 1891.
It had come to that collection from the original purchaser's estate at that time for pricy cost of $5.00 to save it from the iron scrap drive. That would have been a CRIME all it needed was a magazine spring and a Dust cover flat spring.

Enjoy your experience bringing it back  :)

* WINCHESTER MODEL 1873- SERIAL NUMBER 389XXX
Serial number applied on June 10, 1891
Type: Rifle                                                                                                                                   
 Caliber: 32                                                                                                                                 
   Barrel Type: Octagon                                                                                                               
Trigger: Plain                                                                                                                         
Received in warehouse  on June 22, 1891                                                                         
 Shipped from warehouse  on August 20, 1891,  Order number 9607   

* Letter from the Cody Arms Museum
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on September 26, 2020, 01:19:55 PM
Firing pin might be filed off ..I have to pull the firing pin to find out. I will post some pics. 

Post Script.. I pulled the side plates and toggles and the shim that fits the slot in the firing pin. The body of the firing pin would not come out all the way out of the bolt. It seems loose enough but won't come all the way out.  What are my options ??
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Trailrider on September 26, 2020, 06:45:04 PM
Have you tried chambering a cartridge case WITH NO BULLET OR PRIMER, BUT PRIMED to see if it will fire?  The originals have a mechanical firing pin retractor, which may be why you can't see the pin protruding from the bolt face at certain degrees of the action being open? The fact that the firing pin is loose may mean it is not frozen, but may being held in by the retractor. The modern replicas don't have this design, relying on retraction springs. That's fine...as long as the firing pin doesn't get frozen in the bolt causing an out-of-battery slamfire!

If there is a no-fire, then you probably will have to replace the firing pin. There should be some sources for parts out there. I am NOT sure, but it is possible that a Uberti part may fit the original. You should have a gunsmith who is familiar with original '73's tale a look at it.  Best of luck!
Stay well and safe!
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: greyhawk on September 27, 2020, 01:41:18 AM
Have you tried chambering a cartridge case WITH NO BULLET OR PRIMER, BUT PRIMED to see if it will fire?  The originals have a mechanical firing pin retractor, which may be why you can't see the pin protruding from the bolt face at certain degrees of the action being open? The fact that the firing pin is loose may mean it is not frozen, but may being held in by the retractor. The modern replicas don't have this design, relying on retraction springs. That's fine...as long as the firing pin doesn't get frozen in the bolt causing an out-of-battery slamfire!

If there is a no-fire, then you probably will have to replace the firing pin. There should be some sources for parts out there. I am NOT sure, but it is possible that a Uberti part may fit the original. You should have a gunsmith who is familiar with original '73's tale a look at it.  Best of luck!
Stay well and safe!

Was gonna say something similar ....the firing pin should be retracted off the primer as soon as the lever stroke commences - so yeah try it in the back yard with a primed case - maybe nothing wrong with it at all!!!
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on September 27, 2020, 06:43:16 AM
I have cases on order so can't make that test at the moment but I took a needle and probed into the firing pin hole at the face of the bolt and when retracted the needle penetrates to a depth of about 1/4 inch from the face of the bolt before it hits something .. Would it retract that far??
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Major 2 on September 27, 2020, 07:19:51 AM
I have cases on order so can't make that test at the moment but I took a needle and probed into the firing pin hole at the face of the bolt and when retracted the needle penetrates to a depth of about 1/4 inch from the face of the bolt before it hits something .. Would it retract that far??

do you have a primed 44 case  say 44/40  ?      44/40 is the parent case
for just the pop test that would work
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Niederlander on September 27, 2020, 07:48:40 AM
I have cases on order so can't make that test at the moment but I took a needle and probed into the firing pin hole at the face of the bolt and when retracted the needle penetrates to a depth of about 1/4 inch from the face of the bolt before it hits something .. Would it retract that far??
That seems awfully deep.  My guess would be the tip is gone, whether broken or filed off.  You'll know once you've pulled it out.  Of course, there's probably 120 years of petrified grease in the old girl, too..........
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on September 27, 2020, 07:54:30 AM
I have a primed 44-40 case but it will not even begin to chamber..  Barrel is clearly marked 38 WCF on top flat.
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Major 2 on September 27, 2020, 08:10:48 AM
I have a primed 44-40 case but it will not even begin to chamber..  Barrel is clearly marked 38 WCF on top flat.


38 40
Parent case   .44-40 Winchester               


Shoulder diameter   .4543 in (11.54 mm)
Base diameter   .465 in (11.8 mm)
Rim diameter   .520 in (13.2 mm)


44/40
Shoulder diameter   .458 in (11.6 mm)
Base diameter   .471 in (12.0 mm)
Rim diameter   .525 in (13.3 mm[/b])


Yep ...sorry    brain fart !   
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: greyhawk on September 27, 2020, 08:35:46 AM
I have a primed 44-40 case but it will not even begin to chamber..  Barrel is clearly marked 38 WCF on top flat.

hacksaw !!!cut it in half -- back end of 44/40 is same size as 38/40
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cliff Fendley on September 27, 2020, 08:58:57 AM
I have cases on order so can't make that test at the moment but I took a needle and probed into the firing pin hole at the face of the bolt and when retracted the needle penetrates to a depth of about 1/4 inch from the face of the bolt before it hits something .. Would it retract that far??

No I would say it's broken. Might be why it won't come out of the bolt.
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on September 27, 2020, 02:36:34 PM
I think the best course of action is to take this girl to a knowledgeable gunsmith that works with vintage weapons. I have someone in mind and will proceed in that direction.
Thanks to all of you who have given me feedback.. This has been invaluable and educational as well.. Hats off to ya !!

Bill
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Buckaroo Lou on September 27, 2020, 02:37:52 PM
sail32 provided much better sites for locating parts than I did.

Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Trailrider on September 27, 2020, 03:01:25 PM
The .38-40 or .38 WCF is simply a .44-40 necked down to .40 caliber (bullet diameter is .403").  Don't know why they called it a .38.
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: sail32 on September 27, 2020, 04:57:44 PM
Homestead gun parts has some original and new parts for the 1873 Winchester rifle.

http://homesteadparts.com/shop/winchester-1873-c-1_4.html

For 1873 Winchester firing pins scroll down.

I ordered a firing pi for my 1873 Winchester carbine by ASP, made in 1980 from them.

You will need to know if you have a 1st model or a 2nd or 3rd model. The 1st model firing pin is different from the firing pin for either the 2nd and 3rd model.

The cartridge makes a difference as well.

The first model has bushing screwed into the front of the breech bolt.

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1873-winchester-73-breechbolt-11783521
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cliff Fendley on October 11, 2020, 12:17:32 PM
The .38-40 or .38 WCF is simply a .44-40 necked down to .40 caliber (bullet diameter is .403").  Don't know why they called it a .38.

Kind of like why are 44s not called 43s or 42s since they were originally a .427 bullet. ???
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: greyhawk on October 12, 2020, 05:59:50 PM
Kind of like why are 44s not called 43s or 42s since they were originally a .427 bullet. ???

40-40 woulda been confusing and woulda had no cool factor

 I resized a couple cases to proper 38 calibre once - those things were UGLY !!!!
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: DeaconKC on October 12, 2020, 08:17:27 PM
40-40 woulda been confusing and woulda had no cool factor

 I resized a couple cases to proper 38 calibre once - those things were UGLY !!!!

I beg to disagree! .40-40 would have been a great designation!
Title: Re: My first Original 73.. Needs some work
Post by: Cannonman1 on November 14, 2020, 09:57:05 AM
Completed all repairs (front sight, toggle links, firing pin).. and with some newly made 38/40 rounds, walked down to the range and got my 8 inch gong to ring consistently at 50 yards off hand.. Very Satisfying for a first run. I ran cartridges at 1.584 OAL and with 6 grains of Trail Boss it cycled smooth as butter. Fun to bring one back !!

Cannonman1