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  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Oklahoma
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    Default Winchester 1873 .22 short - needs parts & work

    I recently dusted off my great-great grandfather's Winchester 1873 (.22 short, 24" full octagon barrel, full mag). Serial# 560xxx; Winchester's historian told me it was built in 1902.

    I've been doing some research and have a better idea than when I started, but I'd like to get some more input and tips.

    I would like to get it cleaned up and even repaired so I can shoot it (something it hasn't done in at least 60 years), but I need some parts (carrier block spring clip, extractor and pin, and mag tube cap, to start).

    There is a fair amount of what I can best describe as "crud" on the metal (dirt-covered rust? It wasn't stored very well). The stock has a decently large chip missing by the hammer and upper tang. Other than that, the wood is in good shape, but a bit dark around the thinner part (between the tangs by the chip), I assume from hand oil.

    I'm willing to spend some money on this project, but I'm not a collector or even a shooting hobbyist. I'd just like to do something with this piece of family history and it would be nice if it could function.

    There's a gunsmith not too far away who is listed on Winchester's site, so I assume he's good. Anything in particular I need to ask him about?

    I'm right in that it's worth it to get it in shooting order instead of just getting it cleaned up, right? And I'm talking about cleaning, not completely refinishing it.

    Am I wrong in wanting to get it to shoot? I'm concerned that there may not be much rifling at the muzzle. Someone suggested actually taking it to shoot and then decide if I wanted to get an extractor, etc., based on the accuracy. Is that crazy? Safe?

    Someone else told me he didn't think that was a good idea to shoot it, but it's calling to me too much to just clean and hang on the wall. I know there are issues with these rifles (weak bolts) shooting newer loads, but I shouldn't have a problem with .22 short. ...right?

    A lot of questions; I know. Thanks in advance for any advice/tips.

    Third model with grooved dust cover. Lyman(?) tang sight might be original.


    Damage to stock & cover screw head isn't in good shape.


    Missing the tube cap (which is different on the .22 than other calibers).


    Missing extractor (dust cover stop is removed in this shot); also, a good look at the color and gunk on it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    997

    Default

    Try Buckingham"s antique Winchester,501 Eaton-Brazil rd, Trenton,Ten 38382 .731-559-4169, [email protected] . Hes a old school guy,and Ive heard he can be hard to get hold of,but worth a call.As for shooting it as long as the actions tight it should be fine.Use a cleaning rod to knock out the spent brass.Some of these old rifles get barrel leading so bad that it looks like theres no rifling,but a good cleaning will clean them up.If it does turn out to have a bad bore have Redmans relining put a liner in it.He does nice work.If you get it all sorted out get back to us on the broken wood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,129

    Default

    Due to the age and the metals used back then, I'd limit the ammo to Standard Velocity types, no High Velocity.
    If the rifle is chambered for .22LR I wouldn't shoot Shorts. That can erode the chamber and prevent extraction of LR cases.

    As above, if the barrel is corroded out, I'd have it relined by Redman. This will keep the external markings and original barrel.

    For a good Winchester gunsmith I'd sign up on one of the Cowboy shooting sites and ask for recommendations.
    The Cowboy shooters have developed enough of a customer base with old guns that some top gunsmiths have begun to specialize.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Oklahoma
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    I'd rather talk to the smith face-to-face and I would rather not have to mail it off, but I also want it done right, so this may end up being my best option.

    As for shooting it as long as the actions tight it should be fine.
    Meaning the linkages aren't loose and the bolt is snug against the cartridge, right?

    Some of these old rifles get barrel leading so bad that it looks like theres no rifling,but a good cleaning will clean them up.If it does turn out to have a bad bore have Redmans relining put a liner in it.He does nice work.
    Hopefully buildup is the case. Would getting it relined negatively impact the value? (Granted, I won't be selling it.)

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Oklahoma
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
    Due to the age and the metals used back then, I'd limit the ammo to Standard Velocity types, no High Velocity.
    If the rifle is chambered for .22LR I wouldn't shoot Shorts. That can erode the chamber and prevent extraction of LR cases.

    As above, if the barrel is corroded out, I'd have it relined by Redman. This will keep the external markings and original barrel.

    For a good Winchester gunsmith I'd sign up on one of the Cowboy shooting sites and ask for recommendations.
    The Cowboy shooters have developed enough of a customer base with old guns that some top gunsmiths have begun to specialize.
    Okay; thanks for the tips!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    997

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    Buckinghams is a parts supplier so you will need a smith if you dont do your work.As for value after relining I dont think it will hurt since your rifle is in shooter condition as is.Minty rifles sould be left alone,but rifles showing wear,and lack of original finish might as well be useful.

  7. #7
    Clyde's Avatar
    Clyde is online now Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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    East Texas
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    Well worth having it cleaned (NOT aggressively cleaned - NO WIRE BRUSHES, eh) and repaired. On a gun the condition shown, I don't think a quality re-line will hurt it, and Redman's does quality work.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

  8. #8
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    Oklahoma
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishsteve View Post
    Buckinghams is a parts supplier so you will need a smith if you dont do your work.
    Ohhh...

    Quote Originally Posted by irishsteve View Post
    As for value after relining I dont think it will hurt since your rifle is in shooter condition as is.Minty rifles sould be left alone,but rifles showing wear,and lack of original finish might as well be useful.
    Okay, good; thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    Well worth having it cleaned (NOT aggressively cleaned - NO WIRE BRUSHES, eh) and repaired.
    Right; that would be terrible!

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