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Suggestions for replacing or restoring a worn-out 1873 carbine barrel
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June 11, 2020 - 12:13 am
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Looking for suggestions of where I can get a replacement for my worn-out Winchester 1873 carbine barrel (DoM 1883).  Please feel free to send me contact info and/or experiences you’ve had.

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June 14, 2020 - 3:15 pm
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If the worn barrel is original to the gun, you might consider having it relined.

I very recently got mine back from Redman’s Rifling and he did a fantastic job!

http://redmansrifling.com/

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June 14, 2020 - 8:41 pm
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MarkInTexas said
If the worn barrel is original to the gun, you might consider having it relined.

I very recently got mine back from Redman’s Rifling and he did a fantastic job!

http://redmansrifling.com/  

Wish I could, but Redman’s won’t do a carbine.  From their website:

Reline & chamber to 38-40 or 44-40 in Win. 1873 starting at $425.00
38-40 1-25″T(.400″ groove), 44-40 1-25″T(.428″ groove). No carbines or bbls. less than .800″ O.D. at muzzle.
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June 15, 2020 - 6:05 pm
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Sparky said
Looking for suggestions of where I can get a replacement for my worn-out Winchester 1873 carbine barrel (DoM 1883).  Please feel free to send me contact info and/or experiences you’ve had.  

Keep an eye on the two auction sites most likely to have one. (Gunbroker & Ebay) New listings are added daily. Perseverance will pay off but be prepared to lay down some coin for an original barrel in good condition…..It’s a high demand item with very limited availability.

 

Erin

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June 15, 2020 - 8:09 pm
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 Sparky, Have you considered an up grade? If your old gun is original just sell it to someone that’s not going to care, wall hanger, and buy a shoot-able one. An old 73 carbine has more value with a poor bore than a new barrel. A original shoot-able barrel is not going to be easy to find or easy to match condition, much less cheap. When you play with guns it’s easy to get in to deep. T/R

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June 16, 2020 - 12:10 am
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TR said
 Sparky, Have you considered an up grade? If your old gun is original just sell it to someone that’s not going to care, wall hanger, and buy a shoot-able one. An old 73 carbine has more value with a poor bore than a new barrel. A original shoot-able barrel is not going to be easy to find or easy to match condition, much less cheap. When you play with guns it’s easy to get in to deep. T/R  

Yes, I’m seriously considering that.  I’m amazed how much people will pay for these rifles online when they have no clue what the barrel looks like. It’s not a bad looking rifle and the action cycles smoothly.  It actually shoots great, just not straight.

win1873srcDoM1883-1.jpgImage Enlarger

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June 16, 2020 - 4:22 am
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I don’t know if the 73 guts will cycle different cartridges but if so, and if it’s smaller than .44 you could have it bored out to .44, keeping the barrel and remarking it.  I did that with an 86 (from 40-65 to 45-70) and it works fine.  I didn’t mind doing it because the barrel was not original anyway.  The rifle left the factory as a 38-56.

That said, I agree with TR.

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August 8, 2020 - 10:32 pm
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I’ve relined many barrels.  It’s a days job but the results work well.  Any competent gunsmith with a lathe and the proper drills can reline.  Liners a are available in that cal. from Redman or Brownells.  I think Track of the Wolf carries them as well.

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April 28, 2023 - 5:22 pm
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Sparky said
Looking for suggestions of where I can get a replacement for my worn-out Winchester 1873 carbine barrel (DoM 1883).  Please feel free to send me contact info and/or experiences you’ve had.

  

I also am looking for a replacement for my worn-out 1873 carbine barrel (dom 1880)

I know I can get a new barrel but I want to save this fairly good carbine and still have it look right.  Is it possible to have it re-bored ( it’s a 44-40) to remove the black powder problems and the have the rifling re-rifled?

Not a big gun guy, just trying to save this thing. No luck in my searched so far.

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April 30, 2023 - 2:32 am
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Bob Tatgenhorst said

Sparky said

Looking for suggestions of where I can get a replacement for my worn-out Winchester 1873 carbine barrel (DoM 1883).  Please feel free to send me contact info and/or experiences you’ve had.

  

I also am looking for a replacement for my worn-out 1873 carbine barrel (dom 1880)

I know I can get a new barrel but I want to save this fairly good carbine and still have it look right.  Is it possible to have it re-bored ( it’s a 44-40) to remove the black powder problems and the have the rifling re-rifled?

Not a big gun guy, just trying to save this thing. No luck in my searched so far.

  

I eventually got a liner installed by this guy: https://gun-smith.business.site/  He did a decent job.

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April 30, 2023 - 12:45 pm
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 Sparky,

  If Redman’s won’t reline a carbine because of overall barrel diameter doesn’t that make you nervous shooting your gun? T/R

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April 30, 2023 - 2:21 pm
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Sparky said

TR said

 Sparky, Have you considered an up grade? If your old gun is original just sell it to someone that’s not going to care, wall hanger, and buy a shoot-able one. An old 73 carbine has more value with a poor bore than a new barrel. A original shoot-able barrel is not going to be easy to find or easy to match condition, much less cheap. When you play with guns it’s easy to get in to deep. T/R  

Yes, I’m seriously considering that.  I’m amazed how much people will pay for these rifles online when they have no clue what the barrel looks like. It’s not a bad looking rifle and the action cycles smoothly.  It actually shoots great, just not straight.

win1873srcDoM1883-1.jpgImage Enlarger

  

This makes me think of all the auction houses that rarely mention bore condition in their description.  Many Winchesters out there, such as ’73 carbines, are not being purchased by buyers who will shoot them.  I have some old lever guns with questionable bores.  I don’t shoot them, but I don’t consider them wall hangers.  It’s not the bores that prevent me from shooting them.  I don’t have to shoot every gun I own.  I think that’s true of many collectors.  There’s an adage, “beware the man with one gun – he probably knows how to use it.”  That doesn’t describe collectors.  

In the case of your piece, it’s a nice looking carbine with the exception of the brilliant blue magazine tube.  As is often suggested here, Ebay can be your friend and were it me, I’d keep my eyes open for an original magazine tube of similar finish.  Most offered for sale will likely have finish similar to your carbine.

When you say it shoots great but not straight – do you mean it won’t group well or shoots far off from the sight plane?  Are you a handloader?  I’m just wondering what variety of bullets you have tried – including jacketed.  If the carbine did shoot well, how often would you shoot it?

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April 30, 2023 - 4:42 pm
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The machinist who relined a rifle for me awhile back was John Taylor of John Taylor Machine in Lewiston, ID. I was trying to find his name for someone else on this forum. 

 

Mike

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April 30, 2023 - 5:30 pm
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  I have shot every 73 I ever owned, some good bores, some stove pipes. That’s not my point, when you line it you drill out metal and sometimes the drill wonders.  The larger the outside diameter the more room for error. The larger the liner is the thicker it is and with modern steel adds strength to the barrel. The carbine barrel is not very large when compared to a octagon rifle. Some smiths are using very thin liners, but you still are removing metal and adding a very thin sometimes glued in lining material.

 If Redman won’t do it then they must have a reason. T/R

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April 30, 2023 - 10:27 pm
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TR said
 Sparky,

  If Redman’s won’t reline a carbine because of overall barrel diameter doesn’t that make you nervous shooting your gun? T/R

  

First, I’m amazed at the response to my 3 year old thread, but I never did follow-up what the result was.  

No, it is actually a lot safer to shoot now because the liner is made of a much stronger metal alloy than the original barrel.  I can shoot smokeless powder rounds through it now.

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April 30, 2023 - 10:48 pm
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This makes me think of all the auction houses that rarely mention bore condition in their description.  Many Winchesters out there, such as ’73 carbines, are not being purchased by buyers who will shoot them.  I have some old lever guns with questionable bores.  I don’t shoot them, but I don’t consider them wall hangers.  It’s not the bores that prevent me from shooting them.  I don’t have to shoot every gun I own.  I think that’s true of many collectors.  There’s an adage, “beware the man with one gun – he probably knows how to use it.”  That doesn’t describe collectors.  

I got this rifle at a small auction is rural PA, so not a lot of description, but I did get a chance to look it over well.  I was impressed by the decent condition of the wood and metal finish.  The bore was worn, but I could still see rifling.  The action was a wreck, so it was a project for me to get it back into working order.

In the case of your piece, it’s a nice looking carbine with the exception of the brilliant blue magazine tube.  As is often suggested here, Ebay can be your friend and were it me, I’d keep my eyes open for an original magazine tube of similar finish.  Most offered for sale will likely have finish similar to your carbine.

I removed the original magazine tube because it was badly dented.  I could not even load a round into it.  So, I bought that new tube just to get it to the point where is would operate correctly.  In the meantime, I was able to successfully hammer out the dented original magazine tube.  I did not re-install it yet though lest I put another dent in it.  There are several “new” parts in the rifle that I am gradually replacing with original parts as I get them.

When you say it shoots great but not straight – do you mean it won’t group well or shoots far off from the sight plane?  Are you a handloader?  I’m just wondering what variety of bullets you have tried – including jacketed.  If the carbine did shoot well, how often would you shoot it?

I’m saying the action works well now that I’ve replaced excessively worn parts and cleaned up the fouling, but the bullets tumbled in flight.  Since getting the liner, I’ve only put about 50 rounds through it.  Just enough to verify the bullets don’t tumble.

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April 30, 2023 - 11:24 pm
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Sparky said
 

No, it is actually a lot safer to shoot now because the liner is made of a much stronger metal alloy than the original barrel.  I can shoot smokeless powder rounds through it now.

  

I shoot smokeless loads in my original 73’s all the time.

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April 30, 2023 - 11:43 pm
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TR said
  I have shot every 73 I ever owned, some good bores, some stove pipes. That’s not my point, when you line it you drill out metal and sometimes the drill wonders.  The larger the outside diameter the more room for error. The larger the liner is the thicker it is and with modern steel adds strength to the barrel. The carbine barrel is not very large when compared to a octagon rifle. Some smiths are using very thin liners, but you still are removing metal and adding a very thin sometimes glued in lining material.

 If Redman won’t do it then they must have a reason. T/R

  

I felt the same way about it, but to me a rifle is not a rifle if it doesn’t shoot spinning bullets.  I don’t have room for safe queens.

A member here recommended the gunsmith who did the work.  It is not your traditional liner, or liner replacement process like what Redman’s does.  He has a decent reputation and I expected he would not do the work if he thought there was risk to it.    I like how it turned out.

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April 30, 2023 - 11:51 pm
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I forgot to mention I now have modern steel toggles as well.  I wouldn’t take the risk of shooting smokeless with 130+ year old toggles.

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May 1, 2023 - 12:13 am
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The toggles broke from trying to extract a stuck shell. When the lever is closed the toggles links act like a solid bar and can withstand a lot of force. Also there is not much force from the shell if the chamber is dry. Years ago I read a article were someone took a 92 and kept increasing the head space. The shell would not move back when fired, just the primer would start bulging out. They eventually fired it without the 2 locking bar. The only time the shell would back out is when they left the chamber oiled.

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