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Old 12-28-2020, 08:41 AM   #1
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Levergun modifications & upgrades

I'll be getting an 1873 reproduction lever action in 45 Colt in the near future, and am curious what modifications, accessories, etc, people have had added to theirs. I have plenty of experience with leverguns, but all of mine are 1892-based with the exception of one 22LR that's a modern design.

The 1873 is hugely popular with CAS shooters and so has a ton of market play right now that the 1892 doesn't; things like action kits and a lot of other accessories as well. I'm thinking I'll likely eventually get a short-stroke kit on it, and possibly replace the brass elevator with an aluminum one. Also possibly the flip-up rear elevated sight, but not sure if those are even available at reasonable prices anymore. Not a tang sight since the gun is just a 45Colt, just a replacement rear sight that sits flat but can be rotated back to expose an adjustable elevator for longer ranges.



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Originally Posted by Garand View Post
I had a short stroke kit and a trigger job done on both my .45 LC Uberti M73 (the 19" round barreled carbine and the 20" Short Rifle) by one of the top Cowboy Gunsmiths in Canada. Well worth the money, as smooth as melted butter.
Garand - Are there any drawbacks that you're aware of to the ultra-short or super-short kits? I don't know if I'll ever get into CAS shooting, but figure if I'm going to modify it, I might as well go to the shortest throw available. Does this have any drawbacks as far as you know? I have to wonder if it increases stresses on pivot points due to changed/increased leverages somewhere along the line, and if it does, would it maybe make the action wear out faster or be more prone to problems...?

If I like the gun as much as I think I will, it may become my most-used centerfire lever action. The caliber is very versatile, and the barrel length is a handy in-between size of 18 inches. So it hopefully will get a lot of use; I just want to make the most of that use while not doing anything that weakens it or shortens it's usable life in the process.
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:42 AM   #2
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This has my curiosity piqued...
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:43 AM   #3
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Fwiw, this is the type of rear sight I'm debating. Not a critical thing as it won't be a super long range gun anyway, just curious about them.

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Old 12-28-2020, 04:59 PM   #4
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I bought my first Uberti M73 Short Rifle in .45 Colt in August of 2016 and it had already been upgraded with the short stroke kit, trigger job, new elevator. Prior to that I had used a Uberti M73 Short Rifle in .357 Mag that I bought in April 2012. I picked up my Uberti M73 Carbine in .45 Colt in August of 1917. My wife bought a Winchester (Miroku) M73 in .357 in August of 2018. In a normal match season both mine and my wife put at least a minimum of 2,000 to 2,500 rds through each of our rifles in matches and practice on bianchi plates. My load is 5.1 Grains of Red Dot pushing a 200 grain RNFP bullet. My wifes load is 4.0 grains of Unique pushing a 158 grain RNFP bullet. I'm very diligent regarding ammo production so I have had no feeding problems at all. Which I can not say for the rifles I used in Competition before. For me, all 4 of the M73's have run flawlessly, not much more to say.
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Old 12-29-2020, 06:43 AM   #5
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Thanks. Looking forward to this one a lot and don't want to dink it up or shorten its life. Good to know the short-stroke kits don't hurt longevity or create other issues.
 
Old 01-08-2021, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garand View Post
...My load is 5.1 Grains of Red Dot pushing a 200 grain RNFP bullet...
I didn't catch that at first. That's a heavier load than I'd have assumed people used for CAS shooting. Not that it's top-end or anything, but it's probably running about 800 fps from the revolver and 1000 fps or so from the rifle..?
 
Old 01-08-2021, 11:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in AR View Post

Garand - Are there any drawbacks that you're aware of to the ultra-short or super-short kits? I don't know if I'll ever get into CAS shooting, but figure if I'm going to modify it, I might as well go to the shortest throw available. Does this have any drawbacks as far as you know? I have to wonder if it increases stresses on pivot points due to changed/increased leverages somewhere along the line, and if it does, would it maybe make the action wear out faster or be more prone to problems...?
Actually I have found that after all the "slicking" up that we have done to our 4 M73's, that they function flawlessly. The only problem is operator error when I switch back to a M1892. I noticed this week when on the range, I have been using my Chiappa "Alaskan" takedown in .44 a lot, I have a tendency to "short stroke" the lever on the M1892 as I am so used to a "slicked" M73 action.
 
Old 01-08-2021, 11:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in AR View Post
I didn't catch that at first. That's a heavier load than I'd have assumed people used for CAS shooting. Not that it's top-end or anything, but it's probably running about 800 fps from the revolver and 1000 fps or so from the rifle..?
I also shoot the Cowboy Action side matches called Wild Bunch", which are done with a 1911, a .40+ caliber lever gun and a Winchester M97(or Win M12).

Power factor for Cowboy Action is 60, Power factor for Wild Bunch is 150. My .45LC load gives me a PF of 155 in my 19" Uberti, therefore I can legally use the same rifle & load in both disciplines. Also some of the matches I shot in the last couple of years have been "old school matches" which were popular before the PF came into being and involved reactive steel targets. A PF of 155 will take down steel. I chronoed this load in my .45 LC "original" Ruger Vaqueros and I get a PF of 139, which will also take down steel.

I was at a match about 3 years ago, at the safety meeting the Match Director notified everybody that this was an "old school" match.This was a big surprise to everyone! On the first stage I just watched the first 5 shooters with PF 60-70 loads shoot. Some needed to use multiple shots to take down the steel. I grabbed my .357 M73 and wandered back to the SUV and traded it and my .357 Vaqueros for Vaqueros and an M73 in .45LC.
 
Old 01-08-2021, 12:56 PM   #9
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I knew about the low 60 PF for cowboy shooting; I didn't realize Wild Bunch required more normal-powered ammo. Makes sense, since 1911's are so prevalent in that branch of it.

The 60 power factor at first seems crazy light, but is probably a good thing for drawing people into the game. Less recoil & blast probably makes for less intimidation for new shooters, female shooters, etc.

Seriously looking forward to the Uberti levergun that's on order. I've pretty much decided to sell my .454 levergun once the .45LC Uberti comes in; just waiting until the Uberti shows up and is actually in hand before I do get rid of it.
 
Old 01-08-2021, 05:59 PM   #10
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I spent about a month trying to get a PF below 80 in my wifes .38 Spl Ruger Vaquero. I narrowed it down to 2 loads one that gave me a PF of 83 and another that came out at 86. Told my wife to fire 50 rds of each and pick one, she couldn't tell the difference. I found that if I went below 80 PF, I lost accuracy and bullet stability.
 
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