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Odd barrel length on 1873 32-20
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December 10, 2022 - 9:02 pm
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I bought an old 1873 and after finally getting some ammo for it, I discovered that the magazine tube is about 1/2 inch too short which creates a gap next to the receiver that prevents cartridges from being loaded properly.  So I bought another old tube at the factory length to go with the 24″ barrel.  When I tried to install it I discovered that this tube was too long for this barrel.  It turns out that the barrel is actually about 23 1/2 inches, not 24″.  So, my question is why would this occur?  Did somebody order the rifle with a barrel only 1/2 inch shorter?  Would somebody cut off the barrel?  Why?  I think my best option is to cut the second tube I bought down to fit the slightly shorter barrel.

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December 11, 2022 - 12:22 am
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Paul,

Take some photos of the barrel and either send to my email below or you have to post them to a third party host site and link to them here. What is the measurement from the end of the barrel to center of the front sight and to the center of the magazine retaining band? I assume you are including the threaded part of the barrel in your measurement.

Bob

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December 11, 2022 - 2:41 am
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At one time that was apparently an acceptable barrel fix. I have an 1892 in 32WCF that I had re-lined awhile back. The gunsmith called to tell me the barrel was 23” instead of 24”. I had no idea, even though it had spent time in a rack next to an unmolested 1892 in 38WCF. To answer your question sometimes the muzzle is damaged by cleaning rod erosion or maybe careless handling and a simple re-crowning won’t fix it. Sometimes the chamber or throat is eroded and the barrel is set back and the chamber re-cut. Pics at the top of the barrel at the receiver including the markings and rear sight may be helpful. Usually they only set it back a thread or two so that scenario won’t explain a half inch of missing barrel.

 

BTW since my 32WCF 1892 was a “shooter” I added a tang sight and a Lyman 17M front sight to make an 1892 “Target” rifle. It’s not original but it’s a lot of fun!

Mike

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December 12, 2022 - 7:36 pm
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I’ve posted a video on youtube that shows the barrel length.  I think this link should work:

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December 12, 2022 - 7:49 pm
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The distance from the center of the magazine retaining band where the pin hole is to the end of the barrel is about 3 1/4″ and as shown in the video, the center of the front sight is about 1/4″ from the end of the barrel.  My plan is to cut the longer magazine tube to the necessary length using a tubing cutter.  I’ll cut from the outer end so I don’t need to mess with the location of the pin hole at the retaining ring and the patina patterns will still match.

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December 12, 2022 - 7:50 pm
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Barrel has been bobbed. The front sight shouldn’t be that close to the end of the barrel.

Bob

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December 12, 2022 - 9:59 pm
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 When you say tubing cutter do you mean the type with a cutting wheel? If the magazine tube is original, it is a seamed tube that will split and cause the cut edge to roll inward. Not good. 

 I have used guns with two piece magazine tubes and they work. Just make them match under the wood, they can’t be seen. T/R

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December 12, 2022 - 10:15 pm
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Thanks for the tip TR, but I finished the operation already.  This is a seamed magazine tube but I did use my roller-type tube cutter with a rather gentle progression of pressure.  Went through it just fine.  I did have to clean up the inside edge a bit in order to fit the cap inside, but that was easy enough.  Its all put back together and working well.  

I guess I’ll never know why this barrel was bobbed but it sounds like it was not uncommon.  Must have been done quite a while back, the end of the barrel does not seem to have any less patina than the rest of the barrel.  Sadly, there are vice impressions in several places along the barrel Frown, but those indentations are not patina’ed like the rest of the barrel.  So, I assume those are more recent.  

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