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My Winchester 1873


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Well, since we can't act like children anymore I figured I might as well delve into something that I have been wanting to do for a while. 

My dad was given this rifle in the mid 80's by his great uncle.  I don't really know where he got it, but would like to think it has been in the family a long time.  It has been sitting in a safe since then and I decided it was time to get it out and shoot it.    I ordered brass, bullets, and dies and am ready to load up some rounds (32 wcf).  I figured it would be prudent to probably give it a good work through before starting so I decided tonight was the night to start disassembly.  From the looks of it, this thing potentially hasn't been apart for probably 100 years.  The amount of dirt and grime in it is just amazing.  Makes one wonder where it has been and what it has seen.  It was clearly used and used a lot which I kind of like.  That's what guns are for.  

I am not really into old guns, but it does make a difference when you know it has been in the family.  Got a lot of it apart, but I can't get the forearm off.  Debating how to do it.  It wont move forward far enough to clear the receiver so it will drop down.  It's hitting the dovetailed piece where the metal forecap screws in.  It's amazing how tight of tolerance these things had.  I suspect it was tight to start and may have swelled a bit over time.  Anyway, wasn't in the mood to start getting too aggressive with it just yet.    Will probably have to remove a bit of wood from the inside of the forearm to clear the forecap connector.

I won't be doing any major restoration and ruin what value it does have, but man does it need a cleaning.  Hopefully next time I post it looks like a complete rifle again.

Thought some of you may enjoy one of the truly classic old guns.

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Edited by Hozzie
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Sweet Very Sweet, looking forward to see the finished rifle! You are correct, the mag tube has to be removed, go to 5 min in the video.

 

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There’s one that has been on my wish list for a long time. Congratulations and thanks for sharing. Maybe we can get a range report before too long.

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6 hours ago, RED333 said:

Sweet Very Sweet, looking forward to see the finished rifle! You are correct, the mag tube has to be removed, go to 5 min in the video.

 

Thanks Red.  That one was better than the other I had looked.  I basically have done all of that, but the tube is basically stuck.  I will work out a way to loosen it.  Just haven't figure it out yet.  It hasn't been apart in so long that things are pretty gummed up and hard to separate.

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Maybe some liquid wrench penatrating solvent or kroil would help loosen up some of the grime and crud.  GL with the project.

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Yeah, plenty of kroil being used.  I think the feed tube is probably rusted to the receiver and/or the front dovetailed support.  I heated them a bit and added more kroil and will let it sit for a few hours.  It may take days to get it apart.  No good way I can see to grasp the feed tube without destroying it.

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 To do that, you need a mag tube slug. Thats a steel pin that is the ID of the tube. tap it into the end, put some leather around the tube and over where the pin is inside, then vise grips over the leather and turn the tube slightly in both directions a few times and that should loosen it up enough to pull out.  And remember, oil & 0000 steel wool is your best friend on cleaning off the bubbled up rust surface but go lightly to preserve the brown patina. Good luck

 Oh, and you can use mag tube slugs to tap dents out. Same thing as Shotgun bore slugs. I got a box full of em...

Edited by xtriggerman
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2 hours ago, xtriggerman said:

 To do that, you need a mag tube slug. Thats a steel pin that is the ID of the tube. tap it into the end, put some leather around the tube and over where the pin is inside, then vise grips over the leather and turn the tube slightly in both directions a few times and that should loosen it up enough to pull out.  And remember, oil & 0000 steel wool is your best friend on cleaning off the bubbled up rust surface but go lightly to preserve the brown patina. Good luck

 Oh, and you can use mag tube slugs to tap dents out. Same thing as Shotgun bore slugs. I got a box full of em...

I got it out using something similar, but I will probably make a slug on the lathe to fix some dents as you mention.  I decided not to take the barrel off as I think it is probably rusted on and not worth the risk of breaking something.  The bore seem to be pretty rough, but it will be fine to shoot what I want to.  

I'll update as I go along.  I go through motivational spells so it could be done this week or 6 months from now 🙂

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So you got the hand guard off, what shape was the metal finish under the hand guard?

1 hour ago, Hozzie said:

I got it out using something similar, but I will probably make a slug on the lathe to fix some dents as you mention.

 

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It was rusted some towards the receiver but got better as it went out farther.    So far things are cleaning up decent.  It is a bit of a change of expectations as I am pretty picky with my guns.  This thing has led a well used life and it shows. It isn't going to be perfect and I have to get it in my mind that is ok.

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Just for your information, The barrel thread shank is identical to the Winchester 1892 being 20 TPI x about .808 . The only thing you would have to do aside from head space is cut a second extractor like notch at 6:00 for the bolt face extension. Also, I would put about a 75-80 percent chance that the barrel will clock to the correct depth and head space to be good right off the git go. Winchesters held really close spec on the 73 & 92. To me, if you have a sewer pipe bore, that pretty much kills any REAL excitement for the gun other than a historical artifact. If you barrel it with a good 92 barrel and turn it into a shooter, making it a mongrel that can put down a varmint or flip a can reliably, its well worth the different print model on the barrel. Ebay usualy has numerous original barrels in various shape and prices. 32-20 is very common to see swap out barrels on Ebay. Heres my 1892 with a Jap Winchester 357 chambered  73 barrel screwed on. Originally a rotted out 25-20 octagon.

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Edited by xtriggerman
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, it's back together with no left over parts.  I guess that is a good start 🙂  Just waiting on the sight elevator that was missing to show up.    Now to load up some ammo and give it a test.  

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Edited by Hozzie
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You may find it shoots to point of aim without the elevator. I have a Winchester 22 I got without one. It shoots where you aim.

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 Just one more tip on keeping the barrel. Badly Pitted bores need a level of extra aggression when the pitting has bubbled up and into bore diameter in addition to creating course lipped pockets threw out the bore. Those raise hell with lead bullets as you might imagine. A method I have used quit alot to squeeze what ever can be had as far as group-abilities is this. Take a bristled bore brush and wind a strip of 00 steel wool tightly into the brush untill it fits as tight as you can get it in the chamber end yet still thin enough to force it threw the bore. Do it dry. You dont want anything to lube its path. Rack it straight threw and in the really bad patches go past that area and pull back and forth several times in the rough spots. The idea is to cut the rust completely free of whats left of the bore steel and it will do just that. In a good barrel, you could very well damage portions of rifling with that method but this is for the basket cases that are other wise not shootable. The most important part of the barrel is the last couple of inches. If you have fairly good rifling with little pitting at the end, you may have a bore that will still spin a bullet without key hole-ing.  I'v taken sewer pipe bores that at first looked un shootable but the method described did one hell of a job in making them look not bad as to you wont feel like shooting it is a waste of good components. Hopefully, the ol girl can still poke some kissin cousin circles in the card board! Good Luck.

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