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1873 firing pin not pushing the hammer back far enough to cock
April 8, 2021
1:09 am
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1873, 3rd model, when working the lever the firing pin is not pushing the hammer back far enough for the sear to cock the hammer, as you close the lever the hammer will follow it back down.  If I press down on the firing pin when cocking the action the hammer will catch in the position to fire.  Not 100% sure what the problem is, the hole in the back of the action is sloppy?  Firing pin bent?   I looked inside and did not see anything obviously wrong or broken.  Suggestions?  TIA.

April 8, 2021
1:35 am
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Ken,

The slot in the hole on the back of the receiver may be the cause. How much play is in the firing pin when the lever is full forward by wiggling it up and down.  Post a picture from the side showing the hammer and firing pin when full open.

Bob

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April 8, 2021
3:45 pm
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The picture shows the lever fully open but the hammer is not cocked.  It is almost like the firing pin is a little short.  I do not feel a lot of flex but if I put downward pressure on the firing pin while opening the lever it will cock correctly.  With the hammer cocked and the lever opened I can see a little little light between the hammer & firing pin. 

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April 8, 2021
7:05 pm
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You need a new firing pin. Some bubba filed the bevel too far forward.

Bob

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April 8, 2021
8:30 pm
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The bevel should look more like this.

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April 8, 2021
8:33 pm
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April 8, 2021
9:24 pm
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Thanks.  Looks like the firing pin is out of stock but on the list when they return.  Since the original pin has already been bubba’ed I might try and drop a bit of weld on the pin and try and reshape or glue on a shim. 

April 8, 2021
9:39 pm
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Just go on ebay and look for one.

Bob

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April 9, 2021
5:05 pm
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April 9, 2021
11:42 pm
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Part ordered today from Winchester Bob, thanks for the help

June 15, 2021
4:31 pm
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KenB said
Part ordered today from Winchester Bob, thanks for the help  

KenB – Did the new firing pin fix the problem?  I have the identical problem that you had. Firing pin not pushing the hammer back far enough to cock.

My problem is with a 1900 32 cal. I have searched the internet for a firing pin for a 32 cal with no results. The pin bevel looks good with no modifications or damage, it looks identical to the one in my 44 cal which works fine.

I am interested if your problem was fixed by the new firing pin. I would appreciate a reply or any comments.

Thank You.  RR

June 15, 2021
5:07 pm
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I bought several parts from Winchester Bob for different guns.  I have fixed several but the model 73 is still waiting for me to finish it up.  The original firing pin I had in the gun had been significantly modified when compared side by side with the replacement.  I spoke to Bob before buying the pin & he suspected that it was either the hammer notch or the pin.  My hammer if you pull it back a fraction will properly lock in position so I am confident the pin is the issue for my gun.

June 15, 2021
7:18 pm
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KenB – Thank you for the quick reply. The pin on my 32 shows no indication of any modifications but it is very loose when pushed side to side and up and down. It may be that the hole in the receiver is enlarged. Like yours it takes very little movement to engage the hammer notch. I will keep looking for a new firing pin, a new one might be just enough to make it work. In the mean time I am going to put a couple of thousandth on the face of the firing pin with the tig welder. 

Thanks again for your quick response.  RR

June 15, 2021
8:54 pm
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Win61 said
KenB – Thank you for the quick reply. The pin on my 32 shows no indication of any modifications but it is very loose when pushed side to side and up and down. It may be that the hole in the receiver is enlarged. Like yours it takes very little movement to engage the hammer notch. I will keep looking for a new firing pin, a new one might be just enough to make it work. In the mean time I am going to put a couple of thousandth on the face of the firing pin with the tig welder. 

Thanks again for your quick response.  RR  

What is the diameter of the firing pin? If you have a micrometer or a dial calipers.

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June 16, 2021
12:21 am
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Bob;

The diameter of the firing pin is 0.339″. The length of the pin is 5.064″. Does this sound right for a 32 caliber firing pin?

RR

June 16, 2021
2:16 am
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The Winchester 1873 handbook shows .341″ but most of my guns are .345″. The length should be 5.032″

Bob

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June 16, 2021
3:51 am
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Bob;

Thank you for the comment and the information. It does not look like my firing pin is that far from normal. The diameter is close and the length if anything, it is somewhat longer. Now I am not sure that a new firing pin will fix my problem. I replaced the lever with one that was on a gun that worked. Same problem. The pin that is in it is very loose when it is backed off of the hammer. I tried to measure the diameter of the hole in the frame. Not much success. It does not look enlarged when looking with the naked eye. I am going to still look for a new firing pin and see what happens.

Thanks again.

RR

June 16, 2021
3:08 pm
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I just looked at my 73 and it looks like yours. I would look carefully at the trigger. Perhaps the sear end has been filed down too short or broken off. My firing pin is also sloppy but fires nicely. Don

June 16, 2021
7:32 pm
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Win61 said
Bob;

Thank you for the comment and the information. It does not look like my firing pin is that far from normal. The diameter is close and the length if anything, it is somewhat longer. Now I am not sure that a new firing pin will fix my problem. I replaced the lever with one that was on a gun that worked. Same problem. The pin that is in it is very loose when it is backed off of the hammer. I tried to measure the diameter of the hole in the frame. Not much success. It does not look enlarged when looking with the naked eye. I am going to still look for a new firing pin and see what happens.

Thanks again.

RR  

If you have a donor gun you might try  switching out the firing pin to see if it works, and if it doensnt, put the original firing pin back in and change the hammer with a donor gun to see if the hammer is the issue. 

I dont know much about 73’s but on 1892’s one of the most common mechanical problems is hammer wear, to the point when you work the action, the hammer doenst come back all the way to engage the hammer/trigger sear and collapses with the bolt when the bolt is closed.  With a worn hammer face the firing pin travels as normal but the firing pin will not bear against the worn hammer face forcing it far enough back to engage the trigger sear.   With this type of condition, a little pressure on the firing pin while working the lever will allow the hammer to travel far enough back to engage the sear as mentioned above in one of the posts.    And as others have mentioned, check your trigger and your hammer sear to see if they are worn. 

The inverse would be the scenario with KenB’s gun where someone modified the underside of the firing pin, keeping it from pushing the hammer far enough back to engage the sear as Bob pointed out.  

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June 18, 2021
5:16 am
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I thank all for your comments and suggestions. You have been very helpful in trying to correct the problem with this old horse. I have an old 44 caliber that I will remove the hammer after kroil does it’s job. Other projects are taking my time right now so may be a while. Will let you all know how things go.

Thanks again.

RR

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