I purchased a new Winchester 1873 in 45 colt. I haven’t shot this rifle yet and since ammo is hard to find for it, I decided to reload my own. I made up 5 dummy rounds (no powder, no primer (4 rounds, 1 round has fired primer) lead cast 255 gr rnfp, powder coated and sized to .452, C.O.L 1.6 (3 rounds) and 1.575(2 rounds) ), and am having trouble cycling the rounds into the carrier.
It appears when I push the lever the down and round is placed into the carrier, it is at an angle. When I try to raise the lever it jams. If I straighten the round using a small wooden dowel, it will then cycle appropriately for that round, but I still have the same issue for the other rounds. The rounds chamber fine and eject fine.
If I cycle the lever with good authority, all rounds cycle fine, but it seems a little excessive on the authority, but then again, this is my first lever action rifle. It just seems that I would expect to be able to cycle the rounds more easily without having to feel like I am slamming the lever down.
I at first prepped these dummy rounds without primers and thought perhaps without a primer that it was hanging up on that. So I used some fired large primers and tried again. That made no difference.
I have tried different COL’s between 1.575 and 1.6 and the issue still persists.
If I place a single round into the tube and cycle, it does fine, but if more than one, I have to cycle with good authority.
In looking at how the round is being lifted, it looks crooked but it seems the hold up is that the rim of the case is hitting the lower Bolt tab before the carrier has pushed it back for it to clear. When I push the lever down slowly, I can push the bolt face back just a little ways and the round cycles fine. I just can’t cycle the lever down all the way for it to properly elevate the round.
I have made up several dummy rounds in differing lengths to try the cycling. I have made 4 dummy rounds in 1.54, 1.55, 1.56 all the way to 1.60 (total of 28 rounds) and the same problem persists.
It is definitely the rim of the case hitting the lower tab of the bolt, like the bolt isn’t moved back far enough by the time the elevator is raising the cartridge.
I did call the shop I purchased this from and since its late and the person wasn’t in that I needed to speak with, they asked me to call and speak to him tomorrow and said he would get me fixed up. I’m not sure if that means a replacement, ship in for repair, or instructions on how to make an adjustment, but I’ll certainly post back on the outcome and next steps.
May 23, 2009
I always thought it was a dumb idea for any of the repop lever actions to be offered in .45 L. C. Didn’t perform well in the originals, so why would it in the repros.
How many original 73s were chambered in .45 Long Colt? One or Two experimental guns I would assume, if that. Winchester wouldn’t offer the cartridge because it was proprietary. Why promote someone else’s cartridge?
Overall dimensions aren’t that different between the two cartridges, so I don’t see how the performance would be that much different. Other than less velocity out of the 45 colt.
I’ve got a repop Rossi 92 in 45 Colt that is a nail driver and they never chambered 92s in 45 Colt either.
Just my humble opinion. But the problem is likely the loaded cartridges or the craftsmanship of the reproduction. The overall design of the cartridge and rifle are not the issue. The reproductions while good, will often have problems. Plenty of Cowboy guys I know have to have custom work done to make their repos function properly. Had a friend once buy a Repop 76 NWMP Carbine. Out of the box went to fire it and the magazine / forearm cap came flying off the end. The quality is just not the same as the originals.
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I unfortunately don’t have any factory ammo to try and cycle through the rifle. I have however, checked and rechecked all dimensions and everything is in spec. I am using new starline brass, checked the rim size (spec is .512 and the new brass is .508 on 28 pieces. and rim thickness is .060 spec and the brass is .056 up to .059 on the same 28 pieces.) Case length is 1.285 with a Case Trim Length of 1.275 and the length on the 28 pieces is 1.279 to 1.281
I’m also using 255gr. RNFP .452 diameter cast projectiles from a Lee Mold #90349 using a Lyman #2 mix. I did powder coat the projectiles but then resized them after powder coating back to .452
When I am trying to cycle the round, I can see the rim physically hit the bottom tab of the bolt, it really looks like the bolt isn’t back far enough yet as the round is being elevated. When the round won’t elevate any higher and I push on the face of the bolt, the round elevates just fine. I can also elevate the round if I aggressively force the lever down but I am concerned that it’ll break the lower tab off.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at and am really wanting to get this figured out.
Appreciate all the replies and suggestions/help.
May 2, 2009
Pat sent me a video of his gun while trying to cycle a round into it and that where I saw the problem with carrier coming up before the bolt was out of the way. A real 73’s carrier does not come up until the bolt is backed away far enough. So he has a action issue not a shell issue. The only question is if its a got too much slop in the parts or a defective part.
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I called the place I purchased from and they encouraged me to contact Winchester as they do not have a gunsmith on staff, however, they said if I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome after speaking to Winchester, they’d ship me a new one in exchange.
I called Winchester support and they told me that is exactly how its supposed to be and that you have to use a fair amount of authority. He said not to worry with shearing off the lower tab that its actually retracted far enough and to just not be afraid to cycle it in that manner.
I sent him the video that I had sent to Bob showing the case rim hitting the lower tab and he still said it was fine to just cycle it with authority. When I do that, it does cycle the rounds and does so flawlessly.
I guess perhaps its just my paranoia with it, but I still wanted to make sure. Once thing he stated is that the original 1873’s didn’t have the lower tab on the bolt but was corrected in the late 1870’s almost 1880 and added that tab he said.
Anyway, I’m going to head to the range and put a few downrange. Will let you all know how it goes.
Went to the range and put 100 rounds through the rifle and it went flawlessly! I guess I was too paranoid of being too rough with cycling the rounds, but the rifle performed wonderfully. Accuracy was good too and this is so much fun! Its too bad we are in an ammo crunch at the moment, otherwise, I could shoot this all day it seems!
Many thanks to Bob and those of you who responded. I really appreciate the help and suggestions, it was a wonderful experience!