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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Afghanistan bound USMC son and I want to get for our collections (more than for hunting) "old west" representative lever action rifles ... possibly with same period single action western pistols (we might try cowboy action shooting).

The investigation we have done so far is coming up with Uberti (or Cimirron) "Winchester" 1873s (18-20 barrels) & 1873 "Colts" (5 1/2 or 7 1/2 barrels) by the same makers ... chambered in 357 (for cost and convenience as we have other 357s).

What is your opinion / recommendations? THANK YOU!
 

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Check out Ruger Vaqueros, a little on the spendy side but very nice.
 

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Go with the rugers. Much better gun.
 

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What are you after?

If you want powerful, easy to reload and readily available, then yeah, go with that 357.

If you want something closer to "real", then you want the 32, 38 or 44 Winchester. The ammo is harder to find, and it is much more expensive, but they are much more fun.

The 73 is a fine gun - don't get me wrong. I have one. The 92 is a better gun and a lighter gun, which is why I have eight. B. Tyler Henry was a good gun designer. John Moses Browning was a better one.

Barrel length is completely "feel". I've got one single action with a 3 1/2 inch barrel. It feels good, but I think it is more the grip than the barrel, on that one.


The top one. Only Cimarron has that. Everyone else sells that bottom one, with the plain birds-head, but Cimarron is the only one with the hump. That just feels good, to me.

I've got three 7 1/2" and three 6 1/2", but all the others are 5 1/2". That length just feels good in my hand. The 4 3/4" balances wrong, for me.

You might want to handle some Bisleys before you commit. They feel totally and completely different than a regular single action. You have both the Colt Bisley (which is what Uberti copies) and the Ruger Bisley. They have the same name, but don't feel anything at all alike. The Colt Bisley feels terrible, to me. The Ruger Bisley feels like it was custom made for my hand.

Do you want to be able to easily get your gun to shoot YOUR load? You need adjustable sights. That's either a Ruger Blackhawk or a Colt New Frontier. If you are after more the look of the old west, then fixed sights is the way to go, and that is the Uberti "Colts", or a Ruger Vaquero.
 

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If you're looking for a true period combination, it doesn't get much more authentic than .45 LC.
 

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That won't be "period". There were no 45 Colt rifles back then. They came out in the 1980s, maybe.
 

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That won't be "period". There were no 45 Colt rifles back then. They came out in the 1980s, maybe.
Doohh! I confused it with the 45-70. My bad. :eek:
 

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Alpo is correct there were no 45 LC rifles in the 1870's. How ever if you want ease of carry and only one ammo instead of several then you really can't go wrong with buying .45 colts and a matching rifle to shoot. What i did was buy a .454 casuall so i could hunt with a very strong load for short range and also shoot45 LC rounds out of it. And if your a hand loader i can tell you where to buy 250 grain round nose standard lead so you wont have to melt lead and make your own. As for the make and modle of the short guns i have ubertie's but i chose cost of very good quality. The uberties are good guns but the rugers are stronger. And lets face it not even S&W makes better steel for there hand guns than does ruger. But dont forget your pump or lever shotgun. remember it does take 4 guns to shoot cowboy action style. Check out the Rossi Rifles i dont think you will be disapointed. Good shooting.

PS: i just bought another 1000 rounds of .44 and .358 ( 500 ) each. total cost for the 1000 rounds includeing shipping 112 dollars .

bigdad5
 

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Crap i forgot to give you the name of the bullet company they are called Oragon Trail. They have a great interactive web home page that you can order off from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was blow away when I learned the cost / scarcity of ammo yesterday (I haven't been shooting much in the past few years). Thanks to you guys, I am going to: a) try on a lot more guns before I buy, and b) get back into hand loading (I did a bit years ago).

So "standardizing" on some few calibers makes sense to me. I believe I will sell my 22LRs (2 Ruger Mk I pistols) and 22WMR (Magnum Research custom Ruger 10/22WMR) and focus on 9mm (my autos) and 38/357 (my pistol and future lever action / single action guns).

What do you think?
 

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There wasn't .357MAG in the old west either. But I 2nd the check out Rossi suggestion. The Rossi M-92 is a great gun. Usually can use a little smoothing out when new. But very popular on the Cowboy action shooting circuit.
 

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The Marlin 1894 lever action comes in .44 or in .38/.357. It's a popular gallery rifle over here; can be accurate; seems to be reliable. Some of the members of our gun club have put many thousands of rounds through them without any problems.
 

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If you want a better "feel" for the old west go with the Uberti 73 Winchester and Uberti revolvers. The Rossi 92 is a good gun and is easier handling IMHO but the Winchester 92 came on the scene rather late to be truly considered old west. The Uberti SA's are as close to an original Colt as you will find at a reasonable price. The Ruger new vaq kinda looks like one til you get close but it operates nothing like a Colt and feels like any other Ruger SA. The Uberti has the half cock loading, four hammer clicks and a hammer mounted firing pin like the originals. The 357's will also shoot .38 specials which are the old .38 Long Colt in a 1/16" longer case. The LC came out in 1875 for the Colt SAA but the Winchester 73 was never chambered for it.
 

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Bigdad5 - those Oregon Trail lead bullets are great! I used to buy those for my .45 Colt 'Cowboy" loads (250 grain) and they are the very best lead bullets I've ever used. It's been a while, but I seem to recall that they used a small bit of silver (?) in them. I now just shoot my own cast Lyman 255 grain SWC bullets, but those Oregon Trail bullets won't disappoint anyone who uses them. A tad pricey, but well worth the cost.

I noticed that .44 Magnum wasn't an option in anyone's picks, and Pilot is after something in .38/.357, but I've got a combination of a .44 Magnum SAA type (JP Saur&Sohn "Western Marshal" with a 5 1/2" barrel and a 94 Winchester carbine as a companion to it. My wife loves both of those with .44 Special loads with Lyman 245 grain cast SWC. My .45 Colt is a Uberti Cavalry Model, and that one is my favorite single action.

My prayers for a safe and speedy return of your son from his tour in Afghanistan - Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
You guys are just great in these discussions. While I am leaning toward the 357/38 (because I have one and because the 38 is something like older gun loads) and toward Uberti "Colts" (including surprisingly to to me, the Bird's head grip!?!), I also see all the trade-offs you are discussing (is this why you guys own so many guns? :).

So I can see as my son advises ... try a few somehow to see what personally fits you. I think I'm meeting a few folks here in Prescott in Action Shooting clubs where I can do that.

Thanks for the good words for my son, Jim ... he's quite a Marine Aviator (F-18) doing a ground FAC tour this time..
 

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jim brady yes Oragon Trail bullets do have some silver in them at least that is what they tell us. Pilot1173 best wishes to your son from an old former ground pounding medic. 7Th inf. div. 3/32 inf. bn. USA.

bigdad5
 

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You mean "the 1860 Henry Rifle", currently being reproduced by Uberti, or "the Henry Rifle Company" of New York (who make some godawful ugly rifles)?
 
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