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Winchester Model 1866 Centerfire Breech Bolt & Firing Pin (Photos & Measurements)
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June 23, 2023 - 9:53 pm
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Sharing some Breech Bolt and Firing Pin photos with measurements (Dimensions in MM) in case it helps anyone else interested in converting their Rimfire (RF) Model 1866 into a Centerfire (CF).  In the photos are an Original RF Bolt and Firing Pin (dark set), side by side with Centerfire Bolt & Firing pin (bright set).  The Centerfire bolt in these photos uses a Firing Pin Retractor that is held in place by the forward Toggle Link Pin. 

Doing so, you can more readily have fun plinking if you are so inclined.  I enjoy shooting and reloading using 44 S&W SPL Cases trimmed to 23MM, with Federal No. 150 Large Pistol Primers, roughly 22grs BP/Blackhorn209 and 200gr cast “boolits” that are pan lubed using beeswax & olive oil.

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Frank Nienaber
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June 25, 2023 - 4:32 am
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I am working on the same project. Did you use a 73 centerfire bolt?

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June 25, 2023 - 12:14 pm
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I hate to see or even hear of this being done to vintage historical collectables when several aftermarket

replicas are available. IMO!

Antonio

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June 25, 2023 - 4:15 pm
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I’ve been thinking of building a center fire set up that I can swap in and out of a 66.  No modifications required to the original pieces.

I know the Henry firing pin is not the same length as the 66 but I assumed the 66 to be the same as a 73?   If so, all you need is the firing pin and bushing.

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Wisconsin
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June 25, 2023 - 7:15 pm
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Chuck,

The 73 bolt is slightly larger in diameter by about .01″ and the part that stops the bolt from going forward by hitting the frame is thicker and would need to be taken down or you would have a headspace issue and the lever my not close all the way. That is all I found with a quick once over.

Bob

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Researching the Winchester 1873's

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June 25, 2023 - 7:51 pm
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Antonio said
I hate to see or even hear of this being done to vintage historical collectables when several aftermarket

replicas are available. IMO!

Antonio

  

 If you are careful and capable when taking the gun apart, save all the original parts, and assemble with other modified parts, you can switch it back to what it was anytime. Assuming you do not mar or modify the receiver, barrel, or any original part no damage done. The key is careful and capable. Could be fun. T/R

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June 26, 2023 - 12:15 am
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After hearing what you guy’s are saying I am changing my tune.

If a guy wanted to shoot one and was careful like TR said and the other positive comments as well

I could see it as long as It could be changed back! Smile

Antonio

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June 26, 2023 - 1:45 am
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1873man said
Chuck,

The 73 bolt is slightly larger in diameter by about .01″ and the part that stops the bolt from going forward by hitting the frame is thicker and would need to be taken down or you would have a headspace issue and the lever my not close all the way. That is all I found with a quick once over.

Bob

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Thanks Bob.  I really don’t need any more projects right now so I’ll stick with using the modified cases.

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June 29, 2023 - 6:42 pm
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Frank Nienaber said
I am working on the same project. Did you use a 73 centerfire bolt?

  

Hi Frank, I believe the CF Bolt that I have, was an original Winchester Factory Conversion from RF to CF.  It matches one in the Madis Book.  From my cursory view, they milled the face of the Bolt about 1-2mm down, then threaded the interior rim of the face and screwed into that, a round disc with a small centerfire hole in the center.  

The Firing Pin is what really interested me in this case, it too may have been made by Winchester factory but I’m not so sure as I am with the bolt.  For what it’s worth I compared it to an 1873 44 Cal CF Firing Pins and they do NOT match in diameter and a few other measurements are not the same either. 

What is also interesting, the 1866 CF Bolt in this example, was milled at the rear with a slot for a firing pin retractor, see 2nd to last photo of this pin in my hand.  I think this became necessary b/c the Firing Pin doesn’t have the curved divet that the extractor seats into and locks in place as is the case with the original 1866 Rimfire Bolt and Firing Pin arrangement.

Long story short it is a unique setup.  I find it very easy to dis-assemble for cleaning.  I also don’t mind 1 bit shooting these antiques a couple times a year.  As long as you clean them properly things will be fine.  Most of my shooting 1866s have been in Very Good to Fair condition anyway, so doesn’t hurt them at all. 

Lastly, I think 1x a year or two with Linseed Oil on the stock, and Mineral Oil on the metal surfaces – keep it in tip top shape.  

Cool

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