Winchester Model 1873 Cowboy Rifle – New Gun Review

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The long awaited Winchester Model 73, made by Miroku in Japan (as are all other Winchester and Browning firearms). She’s not much of a looker, but if you have been hankering for a “real” ’73, she’s about as close as you are going to get, and she actually says Winchester on the side.

If you click to make this picture larger, you can see the Winchester logo and Model 1873 markings. This is the first time in almost 100 years that a ’73 has said Winchester. This first model is in .357 Magnum/.38 Special only, with a 20 inch barrel, made that length so that the tubular magazine can hold 10 rounds, the most common amount in a SASS stage.

The carrier on the ’73 has always been brass, like the Model 1866 Yellowboy before it. This carrier is a very light brass alloy, unlike the carriers on the Uberti ’73s which are more of a heavy “ashtray from India” style brass.

The ’73 loads from the side, again, just like the ’66, and the load gate is very smooth and easy, unlike an out of the box Uberti ’73 that you feel you have to wrestle to get the shells in.

The Winchester ’73, bottom, is almost identical to the Uberti ’73 above it, except that for now the production Winchesters only come in a standard black bluing. This is a very durable finish but it is not as pretty as case coloring. Here is an example though, that if you get a whole bunch of fingerprints on it just the right way, you can pretend it is case colored in the sunlight.

And though the fit of the wood on the Winchester Miroku ’73 is nearly perfect, the finish of the wood itself leaves a lot to be desired mext to my old Uberti ’73. Our test rifle even had this light patch in the stock, kind of fugly.

Overall the gun worked flawlessly with .357 Magnum reloads. Every single round fed perfectly and ejected cleanly. Miroku guns are known to be 100% reliable and flawless.

The guts of the new ’73 are almost identical to the guts of the Uberti guns.

Like most lever guns, you have to make sure the lever is held close to fire. It is a rudimentary safety.

The only real functional difference is this button on the end of the firing pin extension bar. It is an extra safety in case you leave the hammer down on a loaded round and drop the rifle. The hammer will rebound without firing the cartridge. Most SASS gunsmiths will remove this for purely competition guns because they are always pointed downrange. PHOTOS CONTINUE BELOW


Winchester Repeating Arms
http://www.winchesterguns.com/73

Very few guns in history stick out and say “hey, I did something significant.” The Winchester Model 1873 is one of those guns. What made the ’73 so unique wasn’t so much that it worked different than its predecessors. The action isn’t unlike the Winchester 1866 Yellowboy, which isn’t that unlike the Henry Rifle before it. Commercial success was what made the ’73 stand out more than anything else, with over 720,000 rifles in the original production. First chambered in 44-40 Winchester Center Fire (WCF), the Winchester ’73 encouraged Colt to make its famed ’73 Peacemaker single action also in that caliber. This allowed the pioneers to travel out west with a pistol and rifle both chambered in the same caliber, and it is also what led to the most common nickname for the Winchester ’73, “The Gun that Won the West.” Of all the guns in the history of the late 1800s exploration of the American frontier, and the ensuing Indian Wars, the ’73 is probably the 2nd most prolific, next to the Colt SAA, otherwise known as the Peacemaker. But the ’73 was never used by the military. It was a civilian firearm, and probably the most romantic one of all time.

Until now, the only ’73 you could buy that weren’t antique and collectible were made by Uberti in Italy, and though the guns look, feel and work like an original Winchester ’73, they do not say Winchester on the gun. This year at SHOT Show, the modern Winchester Repeating Arms company announced a new Model ’73, and it is the first time in almost 100 years that a brand new Model ’73 will actually say Winchester on it. Like all new Winchester (and Browning) firearms, this new ’73 is made by Miroku in Japan. For now it is available only in a 20″ “Short Rifle,” chambered in .38/.357, with an MSRP of $1,299. The tubular magazine holds 10 rounds of .357 Magnum. Our test gun isn’t perfect, but then again, no frontier era firearm ever is out of the box. For a first production, Winchester did a great job on these guns and they are at dealers right now, in low serial numbers. If you are a fan of the ’73, or an aspiring cowboy shooting looking for a reliable rifle, grab one while you can.

The primary market for the this gun will be in competitive cowboy shooting. If you are not familiar with this sport, the major rules body is called the Single Action Shooting Society, or SASS. At a SASS match you are required to dress up as either a period correct mid to late 1800s pioneer, or in the guise of a character in your favorite western. You also choose an alias name by which you will almost universally be called. It is a fun game, with close steel targets to clang and a gang of outlaws and lawmen that generally lead to lifetime friendships. Most clubs will let you try a match or few with rudimentary western style guns and clothes, and it is up to you if you wish you take on the expenses of becoming a bonafide cowboy or not. SASS membership is only $55, and you get a printed newspaper every month on the events and activities of the organization, as well as a list of local, regional, and national shoots.

This new Winchester Model 1873 should be huge news for SASS enthusiasts. Uberti Model 1873 rifles are really nice, but they have been in short supply for many years. Also, the Euro made Italian firearms much more expensive, and the Uberti ’73s specifically went from being an $800 gun to well over $1,000, when you can find one. The overall value proposition on the Uberti guns has dwindled as the street prices approach $1,500, and this probably why Winchester decided to make their own replica in Japan. The Miroku gun is essentially the same ’73, but the action is a little more tuned of the out of the box than the Italian guns, and a recoiling hammer button has been added to the firing pin block. On first impression, the gun runs smoother than you would find out of the box with an Uberti , which is so rough it will hurt you hand to lever it. That is why most serious SASS shooters eventually send their Italian rifles out for an action job, and even some replacement parts, but this gun most likely won’t need that for all but the most competitive shooters. Unless you plan to compete for the buckle (a belt buckle is the grand prize in SASS, which makes most of us just shake our heads about why people take it so seriously), the Winchester Miroku ’73 is good to go right out of the box.

We contacted SASS gunsmith Cody Conagher (his alias) this week to discuss the gun, and he had nothing but good to say about it. Two guns have already come into the shop for his proprietary “short stroke” job, and overall they appear to be head and shoulders above the Ubertis in the quality of the parts and attention to detail. To Cody, the Winchester Miroku ’73s are a welcome addition to the market, though he does remove the “extra safeties” for competition. A “short stroke” job on a lever gun is a special linkage arm that makes the cocking lever stroke shorter and harder, for quick shooting. The extra safeties that Cody removes on the guns are for the most part that extra button in the firing pin block. This prevents the gun from firing if it is dropped, but since all SASS shooting is done at a safe firing line with guns always pointed downrange, removing the extra parts is not an unsafe practice. Most SASS gunsmiths do the same for Ruger Vaquero revolvers and other guns that have old looks and new features to bring them up to 21st Century safety standards. Extra safeties are simply not needed when your gun is also pointed downrange whenever it is loaded.

The overall fit and finish of the Miroku ’73 is like all of their guns, mostly flawless. But don’t expect to get excited about the way the guns look, especially if you already have an Uberti ’73. This first model has a round barrel, which is not even close to as cool as an octagon, and the bluing is eh. Black bluing, like you would see on a modern Winchester Model 70, is durable and somewhat attractive, but it is nothing close to the older styles of bluing when it comes to beauty. More notably, the receivers on these new ’73s are, for now, only available in the same black bluing. Winchester did release a case colored receiver version special for SHOT Show, but we haven’t seen one yet for sale. The wood on our test gun is nothing special either, and ours actually has a blemish in the wood, so make sure you get good pictures if you buy one online. Overall, if you are a utility cowboy shooter the gun is pretty enough, but it might be worth waiting until the case colored versions are more available if you are looking for more of a showpiece you can shoot. If you are concerned that these Winchesters might dry up, never to be seen again, the best advice is to buy one now and hope get your hands on a case colored version later. The only thing better than a Winchester ’73 for a cowboy shooter is two Winchester ’73s.

Performance on a cowboy gun is generally measured in smoothness of the action and reliability, not accuracy, but this new Winchester proved to be a pretty good performer downrange. Most SASS shooters reload their own ammunition so we brought along some reloads that match what the average shooter would load. SASS rules require lead bullets, as opposed to jacketed bullets, and most shooters download their rounds to an acceptable minimum. Winchester brought the first gun out in .38/.357 because that is the most popular caliber in SASS competition, so we tried both .38 Special and .357 Magnum handloads in the gun. For bullets, If you remember back to our 2nd article on bullet casting, we used the .358 124 grain bullets from the Lee 6 hole mold, lubricated with Lee Liquid Alox, and we also used the Hornady 140 grain “Cowboy” bullet. Both of these are made from a somewhat hard lead alloy. The only thing that didn’t shoot easy, reliable and accurate in the gun were .38 Special loads. If you are loading for SASS, stick to .357 Magnum brass, which can be downloaded to the same performance of .38 Special.

Our test loads were made with both a smokeless powder from Hodgdon called Titegroup, and Hodgdon Triple Se7en, which is a black powder substitute. For competition you generally tend to load pretty light to reduce follow up shot time from recoil. So, according to the Hornady reloading manual, the minimum load for Titegroup using their 140 gr. cowboy bullet is 3.1 grains. Our scale measured throws from the measure at 3.1-3.2, and this resulted in an average velocity from the 20″ barrel of the ’73 of 885 feet per second, over 100 fps what it says in the manual for a pistol length barrel. The same load with our 124 grain cast bullets resulted in an average of 984 feet per second. Both loads used standard Federal small pistol primers. For the Triple Se7en, first we eyeballed a load that filled up the case, but which would not compress under the bullet, as Hodgdon says you shouldn’t compress Triple Se7en the way you would real black powder. This weighed out to about 10 grains on the scale, though with black powder and substitutes grains are generally a volumetric, and not a weighed measurement. Please do not take this reloading data and use it yourself. Use the Hodgdon website and reloading books, though I have not been able to find cartridge loads for Triple Se7en. These examples are meant to give you a general idea of what to expect, and since trying Triple Se7en instead of real black powder and Pyrodex, I personally will never go back. The Triple Se7en loads here are much hotter than you would load for competitive cowboy shooting, clocking over 1000 feet per second with the 140 grain bullet.

Of all the loads, the Miroku ’73 liked the 3.2 grains of Titegroup with the Hornady 140 grain bullet the best. It shot to point of aim right out of the box, and grouped into about an inch and a half at 30 yards. We chose that distance because 100 feet is the longest target you will encounter in most cowboy matches, though some clubs occasionally put a long one out to mix things up. Shooting a match “clean,” with no misses is a big thing to a lot of shooters, so long targets are generally frowned upon in SASS. The second best group of the bunch, at 30 yards, was the Triple Se7en and the 124 grain bullet. It averaged only slightly larger, at about 2 inches. These groups were repeated several times, until accuracy started to fall off from the fouling from the Triple Se7en. We were unsure if the fall off was from shooting .38 Specials in the gun, or if it just would need to be periodically wiped using Triple Se7en anyway. The brass of a .38 Special is the same as a .357 Magnum, but it is slightly shorter. That means that when you fire a .38 from a .357 chamber, a lot of the burn happens in the front of the chamber, before the rifling begins. This could have been a significant factor in the drop off in accuracy. I personally carry a cleaning rod in my gun cart and wipe my barrels every couple of stages when using black powder or a substitute.

If you are a cowboy shooter and already chomping at the bit to get one of these guns, I did some homework for you in advance. As above, I spoke to Cody Conagher about the gun and he had nothing but positive to say. He also said that he has seen a fall off in quality control at Uberti, and that these guns are head and shoulders a better investment for SASS shooting. I also had a long back and forth with Joe Alves from Pioneer Gun Works. He makes a number of replacement parts for the ’73, including what is probably the most common “short stroke kit.” Unless you are a hardcore competitor at SASS, you probably would think this is silly, but you would be amazed at the thousands of people who install these kits so they can run their rifles just that much faster. Joe explained that they have already developed a prototype kit for the Winchester Miroku ’73 and that a production kit should be available sometime in June. They will also be offering an aluminum replacement carrier and a firing pin extension that gets rid of the rebounding safety button, as explained above. The replacement carrier makes the stroke a little shorter, and saves the wear and tear of the extra torque of the short stroke on your carrier. None of the Pioneer parts are very expensive, and they will make your gun run faster and more reliably than the original Winchester design.

At SHOT Show this year any certified gun nut would have called this new Winchester ’73 the biggest story of the show. Other Winchesters have sold more guns, notably the Model 70 and 94, which is also a lever gun, but there is no gun in American history except perhaps the Colt Peacemaker with as much romance. There is even a Jimmy Stewart western called… Winchester ’73. The Indians used the ’73 to slaughter Custer’s men at Little Big Horn in 1876, while the former were armed with only single shot Trapdoor Springfields. You could argue that there is no more classic purely civilian firearm than the Winchester ’73. It would be great if WInchester followed this gun with more period correct .45LC and .44-40WCF models (though the ’73 didn’t come in .45LC originally), and a lot of people would like to see a rifle version, with a case colored receiver. You just never know what is going to catch on in the gun world, but if it has a long term future, the Miroku ’73 from Winchester has all the right things going for it. Unfortunately we haven’t had a really good western in the movies since 310 to Yuma, but there are bound to be some ’73s in The Lone Ranger due out this summer. America will most likely never outgrow its romance with the Wild West, and at the heart of that romance is the Winchester Model 1873.

We fired our ’73 with several hundred rounds of reloads made with these Hornady 140 grain lead bullets, as well as a 125 grain bullet we made from backstop fodder in a previous article using a 6 cavity Lee gang mold.
There are several powders in the Hornady reloading manual suggested for this bullet. We wanted to load as light as possible, because that is generally how competitors load their rounds for cowboy matches. They have to be hot enough to splatter on steel, but they don’t have to rock your world.

3.2 grains of Hodgdon Titegroup looked like a fairly light load, in the manual at around 750 fps.
We also wanted to make a “black powder” load, using Hodgdon’s black powder substitute called Triple Se7en. It doesn’t stink like BP and Pyrodex, and you don’t have to clean your guns the same day without fear of corrosion. It is GREAT stuff. You aren’t supposed to compress Triple Se7en, so we settled on an eyeballed 3/4 case, which weighed about 10 grains on the scale. BP and substitutes are generally measured for grains, not weighed, and please don’t take this as reloading advice. Contact Hodgdon for the correct load.

Triple Se7en gives you a whole bunch of nice white smoke, without threatening to damage your gun.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are new to shooting lever guns, you can’t use a round nosed bullet in them. They have to be flat like this, one of our Lee cast bullets lubed with Lee Liquid Alox. I have an Uberti Henry Rifle with a bent magazine tube from when I made the mistake of ignoring this rule and had a round blow out the side of the gun from an accidental primer punch caused by the bullet behind it.
Our best groups were with the 140 grain Hornady bullet and 3.2 grains of Titegroup in the .357 Magnum shells. They averaged about an inch and a half at 30 yards.
The velocity was significantly higher than the reloading manual because the manual assumed a short handgun barrel. With a 20″ barrel all of the powder burns and the bullet has more time to accelerate under pressure, so it goes much faster.
The second best performance was from the 125 grain cast bullets with 10 (weighed) grains of Triple Se7en. The groups were generally in the 2 to 2 1/2 inch range. This is also with .357 brass. Don’t use this for reloading advice call Hodgdon.
These rounds clocked over 1000 fps. with your friendly neighborhood black powder substitute.
.38 Specials didn’t do so well in this gun at all. This jam happened on nearly every full magazine of .38s, but NEVER happened with .357s. According to SASS gunsmith Cody Conagher, he can make the gun work great with .38s, but there is no advantage really.
None of the .38 Special groups shot to point of aim and the dispersion was double that of the .357. It also seemed to collect more residue from the Triple Se7en when we shot .38 Special with the gun. If you are handloading, there is no real point in making .38s. You only get one more shell in the mag and they just don’t shoot as well.
The ’73 is an easy gun to shoot with almost no recoil and a trigger that is crisp and just under 6 lbs.
The gun is fairly easy to take apart to clean, but make sure you take pictures before you take the parts off so you know how they go back, and you might want to get some lithium grease. When you take it apart you will see that this is what Miroku is using to lubricate.
After over 300 rounds the gun wasn’t that dirty, and it cleaned easy with soapy water. You use soapy water to clean up black powder and substitutes.
Pioneer Gunworks will be releasing a short stroke kit and aluminum carrier, as well as a firing pin block without that button sometime in June. Click the image to contact them.
{ 92 comments }

{ 92 comments… add one }

  • Garry Laxton June 3, 2013, 7:49 am

    I handled the rifle at the NRA Convention in Houston. It is indeed a well built and slick little rifle. I asked the Winchester representative about availability in 44-40, and he said they would be out in that caliber this October. If so, I will own one. He also said they will likely make a small run of them with fancy wood and case hardening.

  • jess June 3, 2013, 8:00 am

    What does the white writing on the left side of the magazine tube say, please? Is it permanent or just a sticker?

    • Administrator June 3, 2013, 8:07 am

      it is just a sticker that has since been removed.

  • Pee Wee June 3, 2013, 9:10 am

    I just wish that the person that wrote this review would have done a little more research on their history facts than putting out the movie version of history. I liked the review on the rifle, it’s great that Winchester’s name is on a 73 again but don’t add on what was not on a true 73 from the 1880′s. I’ll stay with the Uberti. Also SASS isn’t the only group in the playing cowboy group. NCOWs is out there also. SASS is a for profit group owned by a few guys. NCOWs is a not for profit group. Neither one should have been in the review. I don’t see how production of the rifle will make it when selling to only the cowboy group. There can’t be over 40,000 or so of the cowboy playing group with most already owning the Uberti rifle. Just wish the Winchester Model 1873 Cowboy Rifle made by Miroku in Japan loads of great sells, and brings forth more than the .38/.357.

    • John Fussell June 3, 2013, 9:38 am

      Pee Wee,
      Being “for profit” are not dirty words as your words seem to imply. And those “few guys” by and large spawned an industry of small businessmen and renewal of gun companies producing their legendary rifles/pistols not to mention interest in the old west. NCOWS is a great group as well and I’m beholden to them all.

      • Kid Concho June 3, 2013, 6:46 pm

        Diamond Jack, is that you!?

    • Seawolf June 3, 2013, 12:14 pm

      Between SASS, NCOWS and W3G there are ell over 300,000 ACTIVE members worldwide with another 200,000 that are non member match shooters(former members displaced by the economy, those with other interests: family, boating etc….who only desire to shoot once month or less and so on). Not only have these groups singlehandedly given new life to period correct firearm industry, but to the vintage clothing industry as well.
      One browse through the back of the Cowboy Chronicle will show hundreds of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers etc all geared to these groups.

    • KMacK June 3, 2013, 1:33 pm

      While I’m glad that Winchester is marketing the Winchester 1873 again (as a short rifle rather than the original length), I do have a bit of an issue with the actual manufacturers, namely Miroku in Japan. Japan has some of the most Draconian gun laws on the planet, and somehow having a rifle made in a country that not only forbids gun ownership but allows a prosecutor to ignore a “not guilty” verdict and re-try someone for the crime they have been cleared of… somehow it just doesn’t seem right to have them make firearms their people are not allowed to possess for any reason.
      Yeah, its their country, their rules; I totally agree on that. I just don’t really feel right about supporting their economy by buying their firearms. Cars, electronics, optics…heck yes! The Japanese can buy them too. I just don’t feel right about the firearms angle, that’s all.
      I do plan on buying a ’73 in 44-40…but not from Winchester, unless its an original. Uberti works fine for me.

      • Jim Sorrentino June 3, 2013, 5:08 pm

        KMack: Not 100% sure they are identical, but I seem to recall Italy’s court system can do the same thing. Also, they have some restrictive gun ownership laws as well. Major American gun manufacturers are located in MA. Talk about restrictive gun laws! What are you gonna do?….

        • Sal June 5, 2013, 7:34 pm

          Very true.

      • Johhny Smithers September 7, 2013, 2:28 pm

        Talk about “draconian” gun laws ,what about ALL the antigun , garbage that has been passed here under the guise of “Law” disgraceful, and it isn’t getting better, look at NY, that latest turd quomo foisted off onto the public, didn’t even go thru the CONSTITUTIONALLY REQUIRED THREE DAY DEBATE period,
        BUT NY ASKED for just what it’s getting shoved down it’s throat now…..
        how/
        By not uniting under the need to keep that wanna be dictator out of thier business,
        Are you actually going to say that NYC outnumbers upstate residents? BS ,laziness,pure and simple , voter laziness

      • Abilene September 16, 2013, 8:43 am

        Have you looked at the gun laws in Connecticut lately? Winchester is a business, not out to right the wrongs of the world, feed the hungry or work on world peace. Just saying…I don’t buy their cars either, not that I wouldn’t, I just like big iron.

      • Harold September 17, 2013, 6:53 pm

        I empathize with your thoughts on the a country making a product that their own citizens cannot own, which is why I was somewhat taken aback when I was told the receiver for the Springfield Armory M1A was made in Australia, go figure, and If I’m wrong someone let me know.

        • Leroy Naknao April 30, 2014, 1:59 am

          Actually, you can own these in Japan. You just need the proper permit.

          Japan actually is trying to get more people to apply and get safety certified as we have a shrinking population of hunters to keep “pest wildlife” in check. Dear in some areas are destroying a lot of crops due to their over population. In fact young women are one of the largest growing demographics in gun ownership here.

          And, you can thank Gen. MacArthur for our gun laws. The Diet has made a few revisions lately that make it easier to get hunting permits and such. But, for the most part our gun laws are still the same as you Americans gave us after WW2. Thanks Yankee

    • Jorge September 16, 2013, 9:17 am

      Pee Wee…..well spoken

    • joan lawson December 23, 2013, 7:04 pm

      You are showing your ignorance.
      Between NCOWS and SASS as another here pointed out there are well over 300,000 shooters…who incidentally singlehandedly were responsible for the surge in popularity of the Ubi’s and Norinco ’97′s, ’87′s….rebirth in long range competitions with Sharps, highwalls, trapdoors etc…
      Indeed, more of these will be scooped up by SASS and NCOWS than anyone else.
      Most serious SASS and NCOWS shooters own several rifles and sets of pistols, shotguns etc: to shoot in different classes/categories and for side events.
      Because of SASS everyone now enjoys a much wider selection of repros. Your observation was 180 degrees off.
      If NOT for cowboy action shooting, a lot of these would never have been anymore than wishful thoughts in shooters minds.

      • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 3:43 am

        Took the words right outta my mouth! I love anything that promotes gun sports! Even if we have to buy foreign made! If US makers had more reasonable costs, maybe they’d make them here!

  • JHR June 3, 2013, 9:14 am

    Just out of curiosity, why is it that that lever action rifles are not more accurate? I’ve considered adding one to my collection for years but have been disappointed by accuracy results and it is pretty much all the same regardless of weather it’s a Rossi, Henry, Uberti, or Marlin, but accuracy doesn’t seem to be an issue with bolt action rifles chambered in pistol rounds, just asking; thanks.

    • Administrator June 3, 2013, 9:23 am

      The barrel bands and stock contact.

    • Seawolf June 3, 2013, 12:28 pm

      Your comment is interesting if not bemusing. In the cowboy action sports we frequently shoot “side matches” after the main match. The lever guns we shoot must be from a different planet than the ones you speak of.
      My ’73′s and 66′s from Uberti are all capable of off hand accuracy more than good enough to ALWAYS nail that vanilla wafer at 50 yds and when bench rested easily shooting 5 shot groups far better that the one pictured or at least bullseyening at 100.
      Contact a local SASS club and ask when they’re having a long range match. Go watch. Become educated rather than opinionated. It would be great if they were shooting bot the pistol caliber and rifle caliber that day….you’ll come away impressed.
      My ’95 cowboy Marlin .45-70 will hold it’s own against any Sharps, Creedmore, trapdoor etc…..
      Too bad we can’t include photos!

      • JHR June 3, 2013, 8:06 pm

        Seawolf: We are talking about two different things, your definition of accuracy and mine differ greatly. I am not opinionated concerning lever action rifles, I simply didn’t know why a bolt action rifle chambered in a pistol round was potentially more accurate than a lever action rifle. It was a simple question which the Administrator seems to have answered. The barrel bands will disturb the harmonic balance of the barrel, throwing accuracy off, end of story. I’m not a Cowboy Action shooter I am a bench rest paper puncher at ranges of 100 meters+ and my targets are dimes, not cookies. It is a solitary sport but at least I’m in good company.

        • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 3:46 am

          All I know is I started out hunting prairie dogs with a .22 Marlin lever action and a scope; it was the most accurate 22 I ever had. I used to regularly dispatch pests at 300 yards, and a lot of Kentucky windage! :)

  • Administrator June 3, 2013, 9:22 am

    Right now close to MSRP.

  • Two Ponies June 3, 2013, 11:55 am

    It’s hard for me to understand why they would release a new gun to the public that will not properly handle .38 Special shells. I Believe the market for this gun will be mostly Cowboys and plinkers that still like the romance of the Winchester ’73. .357 shell are extremely expensive to buy and even to make at home with the longer cases and higher loads.
    The gun will appeal to a group that wants a gun that will work well and NOT BE A PROBLEM in the field, this does not sound like one of those for sure. I’m stick with my Uberti short-stroked .38 for now. Winchester on the side is not all that important to me.

  • Len June 3, 2013, 12:45 pm

    I have a real model “73″ made in America that could’nt be bought. It was my grandfathers and soon it will be my sons. Winchester is a sell out!! They have the jap’s build a peice of america. I know its not them alone, but to give the country’s that trying to ruin or take contol of our great country is so said. Bring our jobs back home. Make made in america a proud statement again. Wild west guns in alaska is building a 50 cal. “73″ made here.Its not a winchester but again I dont think Winchester should change there name. Buy made in AMERICA. Put an AMERICAN to work keep our pride here its not for sale

    • dale June 3, 2013, 2:16 pm

      While I agree with the whole “made in Japan” thing and would rather see Winchester made in the U.S.A., I have been to the Wild West Guns web site and I believe you are mistaken. Yes, they are building .45-70, .475WW mag., and .50 Alaskan chambered lever actions, but none of them are based on a winchester ’73 action. All of thier lever actions are based of the Marlin lever action.

      • Michael Guzzetti July 14, 2013, 8:31 pm

        I beg to differ,thw guns i alaska are baced on a winchester mod 71 frame.

    • Dale June 3, 2013, 2:28 pm

      While I agree with you about the whole “made in Japan” thing and would rather see Winchester made in the U.S.A., I have been to the “Wild West Guns” web site and I believe you are mistaken. They are indeed building some large cal. leveractions – .45-70, 457WW mag., and .50 Alaskan, ALL based on the Marlin leveraction. None of them are based on the Winchester 1873, as that action could not handle cartridges of that size.

      • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 3:56 am

        Well I had a Winchester 94 made in 1973, and it was a peace of garbage. I found out the receiver was made of pot metal when the bluing started peeling off’; and that ended my love affair with US manufacturers! To make matters worse this was a special commemorative rifle to boot! If the foreign makers can do better, I’m ALL for that!

  • Chuck June 3, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I hope the chamber the new 1873 in 45 Long Colt. That would be cool.

  • RAC55 June 3, 2013, 2:18 pm

    I would love to see these guns made here in the U.S. also…as long as it’s NOT in New Haven Ct. That would be equal to them coming out of Japan. I’ll have to admit though, I had a .44 mag, B-92 Browning copy of the 1892 Winchester a few years back that was also made in Japan…It was one of the smoothest lever guns I’ve ever used.

    • Sal June 5, 2013, 7:45 pm

      Yes, the Japanese make good guns and good cars. Someone mentioned here they are trying to take us over….pure nonsense, they have enough problems with their economy since they seem to be in love with Keynes. I drive a mazda because many American bondholders were screwed by Obama and the auto workers union here 3 years ago when their bonds were rendered worthless and the workers were given stock ownership in GM. If the gun is better, I’ll buy it from Japan which has more freedoms than Mass, NY or Conn. and much much much nicer people than the northeast.

      • Charles Russell July 8, 2013, 3:56 pm

        Sal why don’t you put your Jap gun in your Jap car and move to Japan.

        • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 4:00 am

          Hey! If the American worker would make better they’d be here! We chased the manufacturers off. We got nobody but our own greedy selves to blame! I’ve owned guns from the market history, when they went down. and they were a piece of junk! I won’t miss them at all! >:(

  • woodsman June 3, 2013, 2:36 pm

    If Winchester is looking for Americans to really get behind them, then Winchester needs to realize that there is more to it then a huge profit margin. Make Winchesters in America and you will see the response to be greatly in your favor.

    • A Critic June 13, 2013, 3:00 am

      The problem isn’t that Japanese people are making our guns…it’s that they can’t own, carry, and use them just as freely as we can.

    • Charles Russell July 8, 2013, 3:54 pm

      Maybe some of these so called shooters should lose their jobs to Jap and Chinese workers.

      • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 4:05 am

        We already did – I bought guns in the ’70s when the American quality went out the window – we don’t know how to handle a job – we got greedy and stupid! We got nobody to blame but our selves! Besides, now that metal 3D printers are out and proven; we will see a big game changer! Personal manufacturing! The foreigners would probably beware, but they are probably making the printers too!

  • Rick June 3, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Any chance there will be a 44 mag in the 1873?

    • Administrator June 3, 2013, 2:52 pm

      I have not heard of any current plans for any other rifles. Probably they are waiting to see the commercial success of this one, which was why we wanted to do the review, in hopes that the demand will be very high and we’ll see a .45LC and .44mag.

      • BGaham June 3, 2013, 3:32 pm

        .45LC or .44mag. I’ll buy one to hunt with as I’m not into competing but am into deer hunting…

      • Steve June 26, 2013, 12:21 pm

        I might consider buying one in .44 magnum as it would make it a fine short range deer rifle. I can not see much advantage in chambering it in .357 magnum.

        • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 4:08 am

          Me too, it would have to be a 44-40 at minimum, but 44 mag better! I just can’t cotton to pipsqueak ammo, unless it is original blackpowder design, then I might digress.

  • Tim June 3, 2013, 3:35 pm

    When will they come out with one chambered in .45 long Colt?

  • Dave June 3, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Has anyone looked at the “Henry” for made in the “USA” product? Henry states that it is made in the USA if not it’s not made.

    • Administrator June 4, 2013, 8:40 am

      They are great guns in general, but the aesthetics are not as clean and they don’t feel like high quality guns, even though they work.

  • JCitizen June 4, 2013, 12:16 am

    I love these guns – but every time I start to buy one that isn’t a modern cartridge, I wince and end the purchase process. I have a 44 mag made by Rossie and LOVE it. But I just can’t go for old cartridge science. I feel bad about that, but can’t psychologically surmount it – can anyone tell me if anybody makes a lever gun in .45 WCF, and how did that round figure in the history of the US and is it any more powerful than most legacy ammunition? I know some of you will throw dirt clods at me – and I don’t blame you – maybe I’ll have to be happy with a .45-70!!!

    • Tortoise September 18, 2013, 9:49 pm

      I have the Marlin Cowboy version in 45/70… love it. I also have two Taylor/Ubertys in 38 and 45 LC that I ordered and had customized by Longhunter in Texas…. they shoot like machine guns. As fast as I can operate the levers! A couple of newer as well as older Winchesters too…… god I like guns (:

      • JCitizen December 29, 2013, 4:10 am

        COOL! Thanks for responding!

  • Ronnie Pigg June 4, 2013, 1:05 am

    The price of ammo will decide what calibrator will be the most popular to manufacter. Don’t forget the 357sig and how well the ballistic we’re, yet price of ammo killed the sale of almost any gun manufactured in that calibrator.

    Ronnie

  • Jason June 4, 2013, 8:15 am

    You do all realize that “Winchester” is a foreign company (Herstal) despite the provenance of the name, and has been for almost 25 years, don’t you? I wish it were an American company too, making American guns in America. But it is a bit ironic to hear all the lamenting of Japanese production of an “American” rifle by a Belgian company. And nothing against FN Herstal, as not only do they make great products, they supply our military and have shown their willingness to invest in the US.

    • Safa June 23, 2013, 4:20 pm

      You are mistaken Winchester for Browning!

      • Mark N. June 28, 2013, 2:23 am

        Winchester, Browning, FNHerstal and Miroku are all under the same group ownership

  • Robert Mallow June 4, 2013, 9:58 am

    I love the old lever guns but I would not walk across the street to purchase one in .38/357. When they start getting serious about real calibers like the .45 Colt, .44-40, 38-55 then it might get my attention but a .38/357 not interested. I hunt with a lever gun now in .30-30 but would love to have a 73 in .38-55 or .45 Colt.

    • Mark N. June 28, 2013, 2:33 am

      Winchester made a ’94 for Cabela’s in 38-55 for Cabela’s 50th anniversary. They might still be around. Original msrp was $1332. The ’73 won’t handle a round that powerful. And Uberti makes a ’76 Centennial rifle in 45/60, 45/75 and 50/95. Kind of surprised that Uberti doesn’t build a ’94.

  • PFG June 4, 2013, 5:02 pm

    You can get a heck of a lot more gun for $1,299 & American made too. Like any one of the Remington 700′s or Savages chambered in rifle calibers not pistol carbines. If your lucky you might even find an M1 for that much. $1300 Jap levers? more junk.

  • AK June 4, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Problem with some of these calibers you are wanting is, in modern factory loads, they might be a bit much for the old toggle-link. I wonder if even a hot .357 wouldn’t be pushing it, much less a .45 Colt or .44 Magnum.

  • Hamiltondah June 10, 2013, 4:21 pm

    I would really like to purchase a 73 with oct. 24″ barrel but can’t find them anywhere. What’s up?

    • Michael Guzzetti July 14, 2013, 9:02 pm

      Try going to gun shows, you will find them there but i warn you they are pricey.

  • John Schorman June 16, 2013, 3:52 pm

    This is a great idea no matter where it is made, besides Miroku has an excellent reputation. The .38.357 caliber is a smart decision since about 2/3 of the SASS shooters shoot .38s. Lots of upside to this endeavor.

  • Charles Russell July 8, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Note
    MADE IN jAPAN Winchester not made in America wouldn’t touch it.

  • Black Jack Charlie July 9, 2013, 1:15 pm

    I wonder if any of these people have ever owned a post-72 Browning? I only have a few gripes about this article. In Cowboy Action shooting, the 73 is probably the most common rifle, along with the Rossi M92. The Uberti version is what most people use in the 73. The shell carrier in these rifles is very caliber specific and that’s why there are problems with the .38 Special vs 357. The round merely lays in the carrier until the bolt pushes it into the chamber. The carrier is just too long and sloppy to handle the difference in round lengths.
    Some shooters use Titegroup but, at low volumes, it burns terribly dirty. Most of us use Trail Boss, which burns clean at any volume. The .38/357 is the most desirable chambering for the speedsters but the other 90% of shooters enjoy the nostalgia of the heavier 45 Colt. I see the word “run” is now used to describe what a gun does but I don’t have one gun that has a motor on it and my guns don’t run, they shoot when I make them shoot. That’s all the antis need is more false beliefs that a gun will run. In their minds it might ‘run’ away and start shooting innocent puppies and Panda Bears!
    If this rifle will hold up to the excessive abuse it will get in Cowboy Action shooting, I’m sure it will catch on, if Winchester can deliver more than a dozen of them a month! Check out a cowboy match on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean. We don’t baby our guns!

  • Rhodney Cantu September 16, 2013, 3:14 am

    I would like to purchase the new Winchester Miroku ’73, 44-40.
    Do I just go to the Winchester website?

  • Kevin G. September 16, 2013, 7:29 am

    please forgive me as i am not a true gun person knowing all that is going on in the industry but is Winchester no longer making guns? i dont think their is any business around that is more American than Winchester or at least that is what i used to think! why would anyone buy a gun from a great American company that has it manufactured in Japan??
    is it just this rifle or all Winchesters made in Japan?

    • Administrator September 16, 2013, 7:36 am

      They haven’t made any guns since 1964.

      • Danny September 16, 2013, 8:21 am

        Since 1964? Are you sure about that? I’ve got a 1970′s model 94 that says it was made in America.

        • Administrator September 16, 2013, 8:32 am

          Pre 1964 Winchesters are worth more money because they are made by the original company. There may have been a company in between winchester and Miroku.

  • Greg September 16, 2013, 7:59 am

    I won’t buy any Japanese built gun…ever! These people and their government are some of the top supporters and proponents of gun control at the UN and anywhere esle the topic is moving.

  • Robert Mc. Millan September 16, 2013, 9:33 am

    As I am now eighty,and no longer hunt,I have in my possession a Winchester 1892 in 38-40 caliber that I was given nearly sixty years ago.I have no use for it anymore and do not want it to get into the wrong hands,if any of you clubs are interested I will e mail you some photos,Also have shells and brasses,

    • DAVID September 17, 2013, 7:18 pm

      Robert:
      I might be interested for myself or perhaps, my Gun Club, The Hartford Gun Club, Oldest in the country. Established 1884.

      You can e-mail pictures to my gmail account.

      Thank-you!

      David

    • David January 29, 2014, 9:14 pm

      Robert:

      If you are still interested in selling the Winchester, we are still interested in at least seeing it.

      Thank-you!

      David

    • Jerry June 7, 2014, 1:21 pm

      I would be interested as a private owner and it would be passed down to either of my two sons who know and respect guns and their history.. thanks

  • Michael September 16, 2013, 10:00 am

    Aren’t the firearms made by Henry and Marlin made in the United States? I have a couple of lever action Henry rifles and their appearance, mechanical action, and accuracy are just outstanding. I presume one would stray from these fine American-made rifles only if one couldn’t find a specific caliber they wanted. I don’t currently have a Marlin, but the last one I owned was also a great rifle. Never had any problems with it and have never had any issues of any kind with my Henrys.

  • jessie james September 16, 2013, 10:59 am

    beings made in JAPAN,how long will it last.like all other items made over there ,one shot and gone,get another one

  • jessie james September 16, 2013, 11:02 am

    beings made in JAPAN,how long will it last.like all other items made over there ,one shot and gone,get another one .How can i say it any planer than that ,1st time is a no-no

  • BRIK September 16, 2013, 2:02 pm

    another JAP rifle????? NO THANK YOU !!!!!

  • John Boyd September 16, 2013, 5:43 pm

    We all are going to have to get used to the fact that America is no longer a “MANUFACTURING” Country! Hardly anything is made in “America” these days; Manufacturers have to compete, and it is cheaper to build anything on foreign soil than here in the USA.
    I do not see how that will ever change.
    Bottom Line?
    Get Used to It!!

  • Rick C. September 19, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Winchesters are American history and great rifles I own a few.
    I will not buy any firearm made in japan !!!

  • wolfert conover December 23, 2013, 12:44 pm

    I have a Win 73, original, in .32-20. I was afraid for many years to shoot it for fear of damage to me or the rifle until I found a low pressure load in the Lyman book using RX7 with .312 diameter cast bullet and found that the action handled this OK. It has a tang sight but no great accuracy.
    I wrote the Rifleman and asked if superior metallurgy rather than design of the linkage was the answer but my question was ignored except for a post card. Lyman also ignored me when I asked if it was a “typo”!
    What’s this “Website” thing? Wolf

  • Wallace December 24, 2013, 1:31 pm

    You boys who want american only guns need to try a Henry! They are making a new (old) in 44-40.

  • Harry December 28, 2013, 1:37 am

    I own several Winchesters including two Japanese 92s, one in .45 LC and the other in .44 RM. They are incredibly smooth guns and accurate (I lapped the barrel of the .45 and it will shoot 1 inch groups at 100 yards with a tang sight, on a good day when my old eyes are up to it). Having said that, my best Winchester by far is a 1951 model ’94 carbine in 30-30 that I bought for $300 at a second hand gun shop, it needed serious TLC but will do the same thing with original iron sights.
    For the record, Winchester did continue to produce American made lever guns after 1964 but the quality was poor after the bean counters took over (cheaper metal, inferior blueing and, god forbid, plastic butt plates) and tried to make the company ‘profitable’. To be fair to them, they had to make hard choices as everybody and his brother back then was keen to dump Grandpa’s old ’94 or Marlin and upgrade to those new fangled bolt action scope guns that were becoming more affordable.

  • Harry December 28, 2013, 1:50 am

    I also own a Henry in .45LC, great quality, easier maintenance by far then the winchesters, (a novice could take it apart, to clean it using only the owner’s manual), cheaper and great looking with that octagon barrel. However it is a heavy pig if you want to haul it for a full day of hunting, close to ten pounds loaded with sling.

  • TM February 3, 2014, 11:50 am

    I realize this is an old thread, but I think there’s a mistake in the article and would like someone to clear it up for me. I am somewhat new to lever guns, but I do own a Miroku manufactured Winchester 92 in .44 mag and it is a fantastic rifle as far as I’m concerned. Very accurate and reliable. My question is about the author’s statement that round-nosed bullets should not be used in a lever gun. I think this is false. Round-nosed bullets are fine to use in a tube magazine as far as I know, it is pointed bullets that cannot be used so as to avoid accidentally setting off a primer. Am I wrong here?

    • Dan February 13, 2014, 5:49 pm

      I’m new to this forum, but here’s my 2 cents worth: I’ve read of instances where RN bullets set another off in a tubular magazine (.357 M). They were probably hard cast. RN jacketed bullets are usually nearly pure lead and very soft and cause no problems. I’ve shot my RN cast bullets in tubular magazines and never noticed any indentations on primers, but I did do some experimenting. I primed a cartridge, put it in a vise and tried to set the primer off using one of my bullets as a punch. I succeded after the fourth bullet, but the nose of all were indented with the imprint of primer pocket and primer which seemed unlikely to happen in the actual use of the rifle. My bullets are of wheel weights and not as hard as most commercial vendors. That being said, it only takes one to ruin your day.

  • Dan February 13, 2014, 12:11 am

    I’ve had a Uberti ’73 for about 4 yrs now, and have probably shot 10k .38 Spl loads through it (3 gr Red Dot/158 gr cast @ 800 fps) with not a hitch that wasn’t my fault. There’s a 2″ gong off the back porch at a little over 80 yds and if I do my part it spins with nearly every shot. Shoots even better with .357 loads. With a max load of H-110 and a 158 gr XTP, the chrony says it goes over 1800 fps. Seems like I read somewhere that the original 30-30 load was a 160 gr at 1800-1900 fps and the elders thought that was plenty good enough for deer. Maybe someday I’ll get desperate enough for a deer to try it out on those that come up to feed with the chickens, but I doubt it. That gong doesn’t need cleaning, there’s no bag limit, and the rifle’s so quiet that neither the deer or chickens look up any more after the first shot so it would hardly be sport’n.

  • C.Folman February 27, 2014, 3:05 pm

    I dont own a replica ’73 – but I will soon – probably a Uberti. I dont get the “made in America” attitude. (Granted, I dont live in the US). First of all I dont understand why a quality Winchester replica cannot be made in the US. Japan is not a 3rd world country and the wages are higher than in the US on every level. Italy is not a European “Bangladesh”. They have wages and costs quite comparable to the the US. Perhaps even a little higher. I am not trying to bash you Americans – but its a proven fact that many of the reproductions that were made in the USA with the original brand of manufacture were (are) absolute rubbish. Colt had some BP 1860′s revolvers made years back – 3 times the price of the Uberti – but only half as good. But the “Colt” insignia was stamped into the barrel (which was probably made in Italy anyway). I think perhaps greed has somthing to do with it. “Lets make a cheap peace of shit – stamp a famous name on it and sell it at a high price…. more money for us”. Thats how the Chinese used to operate – but even they are beginning to wake up, because people want what they pay for nowadays. Before you come out blazing …. let me say, a lot of other quality stuff (including weapons) are coming out of the US – its just the repro firearms you cant seem to do right! ;-)

    • gregg June 30, 2014, 4:43 pm

      your correct and a smart man. I can add nothing to what you said..

  • de Brus April 2, 2014, 9:59 pm

    I don’t want jap Winchester.

  • Saratoga NY May 5, 2014, 1:44 pm

    I have the NRA addition model with Logo on it. Whats the MSRP on this ? Never shot in box

    • mountain loader September 23, 2014, 11:19 pm

      I also have one, which I just won. It has a NRA logo, NIB. What is it worth? Any collector interest or should I shoot it.

  • shil May 11, 2014, 11:18 pm

    Eh……….. only accurate rifles are interesting.

  • D. Hicks June 26, 2014, 10:22 am

    Winchester ?? There hasn’t been a real Winchester of any model since the 1930′s.They went out of business,then they were bought and sold ,bought and sold,so on .The so called pre 64′s were 2nd best.The post 64′s were mostly junk. F N owned the name,U S Repeating Arms.used the name.Made in Japan isn’t new.Winchester,. Browning,Smith and Wesson,others had shotgun and rifles made in Japan.The Japanese have high standards. If I couldn’t a buy US made firearm,I’d buy a Japanese made firearm before I bought a firearm made in China any day.That’s not a problem, there are US rifle makers.I bought my 1873 44-40 made in 1905 in 1970.Marlin always made a better rifle.If you want a made in the USA think Marlin or Henry Repeating Arms.I have both and I am very happy with them.Henry makes 44 mag 45 colt 357 mag 30-30 45-70 .22′s cowboy stye big loops,Marlin has some too.Lever actions are AMERICAN ! My choice is lever action!

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