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Big Iron Ranger

'66 or '73 ? And why?

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Ok here's the story, my main match guns are .38's as well as my backups.  For Christmas my wife "surprised" me with a new set of SASS Vaquero's in .45 so naturally I've been looking for a rifle to go with them.  I have located both, 1866 and 1873.  I need to choose one or the other.  Both are stock Taylor Uberti's and condition and operation appear to be the same.   Pricing also is virtually the same, so no difference I can determine.  And before everyone suggests it.....I only WISH I could just go ahead and get both, not an option at this time.  Any help in deciding will be appreciated.

 

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yes

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BIR, I have both and shoot both. Handle both and pick the one that feels best. 

 

Gringo

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Start with the 73 because it’s marginally easier to tear down and clean and then get the 66 later because you know you want them both.

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I have both and shoot both in .45 Colt. After 10 years the 66 had a broken bolt lug and bent lever. Repaired by a local smith. Back in business again. Both work well for me.

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Also have both.  Depends on what I feel like shooting.   The 66 does get a really nice patina after shooting black powder with it.

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I have one of each, a Navy Arms 66 and a Winchester 73.   The only real mechanical difference is the dust cover on the 73.   Other than that, I can see or experience no appreciable difference.  If cost is the same then it comes down to this;

 

Which one do YOU think LOOKS cooler.   That's the one to get.

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39 minutes ago, Imis Twohofon,SASS # 46646 said:

Style points count

 

 

Therefore the 66 wins.

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I also have both, a 66 in carbine and 73 rifle. Both are great, but for me the case coloring wins me over so my bid goes to the 73. But either way you can not go wrong 

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The '66.  I've been shooting Brass rifles for 25 years.  Brass rifles are way cool.  Brass rifles have lots more style than a '73.  Girls like bright shiny objects.

 

Short Answer:  BECAUSE

 

Oh, almost forgot.  Lots less Blow-By with a .38

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I have a '73 20" short rifle and 24" 1866, both Taylors. The '73 will chamber .357 rounds as well while the '66 will only handle .38s (not counting the .44/.45 versions here). My .357 '73 is not a smooth feeder with .38s and I even had a nasty jam once where the mouth of the case got torn during chambering, requiring full disassembly to remove it. It runs slick as snot with the longer .357 rounds, however. The 1873 is also a little easier to take apart for cleaning thanks to the side plates. Other than that they're functionally identical.

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i too have both , all of mine are 45 colt - i like having only one cartridge to load , i have no issues with either , somedays i like the patina of the brass and other days i like the color case look , both of mine have worked equally well , i too would recommend both eventually - but i get it you cant swing both at once - i didnt either , i will say this --

 

because i started with a Rossi 92 that worked great and served well , still have her and use her sometimes when the mood hits , then went to a henry 60 , that works fine but i was distracted by the mag follower , both the 66 & 73 have the style points without the distraction , just sayin , 

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I have both and shoot both, if jihad to choose 1 it would be the 73. Easier take down a little lighter, not so you could tell. But I  like both

Rafe 

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I have a Henry 1860 

A Uberti 1866 

A Uberti 1873 

And a Rossi 92 .

The 92 is the lightest .

The 66 is the Koolest .

The Henry is the Prettiest. 

The 73 is why Not .

 

If I had to pick between the

66 and the 73 ?

I would take the 66 myself. 

Brett Black

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One thing not mentioned yet is the '73 has the trigger interlock safety that the '66 does not.  Keeps the trigger from being able to be pulled until the lever is all the way closed, and can prevent out of battery discharges.  Many folks have run '66's for many years without a problem, but as guns get tricked out and speeds get faster and faster it is more of a possibility (also depends on how coordinated the shooter is).

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2 minutes ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

One thing not mentioned yet is the '73 has the trigger interlock safety that the '66 does not.  Keeps the trigger from being able to be pulled until the lever is all the way closed, and can prevent out of battery discharges.  Many folks have run '66's for many years without a problem, but as guns get tricked out and speeds get faster and faster it is more of a possibility (also depends on how coordinated the shooter is).

 

Unless of course you have a very early Navy Arms like mine.   It has the interlock

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  I have 3 73's, 2 38/357's and the 3rd is a 44-40. I had a 66 44-40 several years back. Also had 2 OMV's in 44-40. I wasn't reloading then and when the case lot price for factory 44-40 got to $34 a box I decided it was time to go to 38's. I sold the OMV's and the 66 but kept the 73. The guy I sold them to liked the 66 so that went down the road. Now that I've been reloading for several years I shoot both calibers. The 66 I sold was butter smooth from the get go. The 73's are now after Longhunter did his magic on them.

  Both/either are fun to shoot. but there must be a reason why the 73 is the more popular. I also messed up and sold a 38 only 66 when I wanted to buy another pair of pistols. That was very smooth too.

 

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‘73 for two reasons. 

1) they are faster. 

2) .45 is a dirty round and a ‘66 is more difficult to tear down and clean. 

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12 minutes ago, Smokestack said:

‘73 for two reasons. 

1) they are faster. 

2) .45 is a dirty round and a ‘66 is more difficult to tear down and clean. 

+1 but also the 73 feels better balanced to me. The 66 feels heavier to me also even though the specs say they weigh the same.  

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I have both.  I prefer the 66 because mine doesn't have that grip safety.  I find myself ejecting unfired rounds with the 73, but not with the 66.

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1 hour ago, Charlie Whiskers said:

 Both/either are fun to shoot. but there must be a reason why the 73 is the more popular.

 

The 1873 has the familiarity and reputation of being "the gun that won the West", plus while the 1866's brass frame is pretty it isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea.

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Oh what a dilemma my friend! I have a real smooth 73 custom length short rifle with all the go fast goodies as well as a old well worn 66 SRC with similar make up in 45 Colt. I have to go with the worn, beat up, loose, patina covered 66 SRC , because it FEELS right, nothing more than that! Yea 45 Colt does have more blow by, but its not been an issue that overrides the rifles performance IMO. Carbine butt stock on 66 is more comfortable as well. Tearing down a 66 is not difficult in the great scheme of life! Like it already been mentioned, its what feels good to you! ;)

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I read the OP too fast and totally missed that he wants a .45 version. My '66 is a .45, and I can't get over how fast the lifter gets black from the blowby. It's not a huge deal for me because my '66 is more of a showpiece than a range gun, but if I were to do a lot of shooting I'd definitely get the '73 since it's a little easier to take apart and clean.

 

My next rifle will likely be a 24" '73 in the original .44-40 caliber, just because. :wub:

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.45 Colt is a lousy rifle cartridge IMHO. The lighter the load, the more blow-by and crud you get. If you want a bigger bore, consider a .44-40. Otherwise, stick with your .38.

 

I have a '73 in .38 and an 1860 Henry in .44-40. The Henry action is exactly the same as the '66, so I feel I can comment. Love 'em both. My slicked up Henry is as as smooth as my slicked up '73, so I don't think you'll feel any difference. There's no blow by with my .44-40. Like Coffinmaker, I like the looks of brass. Whenever someone sees the Henry, they go,  "Oooo, pretty..."


The '73 has a dust cover that opens when opening the lever. I took mine off so I don't lose as much brass forward of the firing line anymore. The '73 also has a lever safety that prevents firing before the bolt is fully closed (out of battery discharge). The '66 lacks this feature making OOB discharges somewhat more likely than a '73. They can happen with a '73, so take that with a grain of salt. I've never seen an OOB discharge but have heard and read about them from time to time on the Wire.

 

As mentioned, the side plates come off a '73 more easily than a '66. The weak link in a '66 is the loading gate tab as those tend to break. You'll have to address that sooner or later. My Henry doesn't have a loading gate and the '73 design is much improved over the '66.

 

My 2 cents. Have fun!

 

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29 minutes ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

 

The 1873 has the familiarity and reputation of being "the gun that won the West", plus while the 1866's brass frame is pretty it isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea.

 

  To be blunt, the gun that won the west....according to the history channel, was the Shotgun. More shotguns went west with the settlers during the expansion era than any other firearm. I can't say for sure, but I think it was probably Hollyweird  that decided it was going to be the 73.

  Like Slim said, the 73 is a bit stronger and that's 'maybe' a reason more of us use the 73. The 66 with a 44-40 round is a lot cleaner than 45LC or 38's. My 44-40 66 when I had it seldom needed an internal cleaning. My 73's using 38's need a little bit more internal cleaning than my 44-40 73. They're both good. It's more a matter of you like the looks of the 66 better.

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8 hours ago, Smokestack said:

‘73 for two reasons. 

1) they are faster. 

2) .45 is a dirty round and a ‘66 is more difficult to tear down and clean. 

How is the 73 faster ? 

With the internal parts linkage and everything are the same ?

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The ‘73 appears to be the choice of most of the top competitors (by my observation).  The primary reason is probably the lever safety and ease of disassembly.

 

The lever safety reduces the likelihood of an out-of-battery accidental discharge caused by pulling the trigger with the action not fully locked.  This can be either an early (before lever is fully closed) or late (as the lever begins to open) trigger pull.

 

Early trigger pulls usually don’t result in an AD because the bolt face is not against the base of the cartridge yet.  They do result in the hammer following the bolt down though, followed by ejecting a live round.  ‘73’s can have the hammer follow also, but it’s for a different reason.

 

With a late trigger pull, the round has already been chambered and is held against the bolt face by the extractor.  With a light hammer spring (slow lock time) and the action already beginning to unlock, the firing pin can reach the primer causing an out-of-battery AD.  This type of AD is dangerous and can cause injury and gun damage.  

 

So, because of the lever safety, my choice would be the ‘73.  ‘66’s are prettier though!

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What Sam said. I have shot both and the main difference was the trigger.........it's totally different. Not only does it not have a lever safety but the trigger return spring is different as well. IMHO it's easier to get a good trigger with a 66 than it is with a 73 because the return spring is exposed and easier to adjust.

 

The downside is (like everyone has said) disassembly and no lever safety. That said many folks run 73 with one piece trigger and no lever safeties too. 

 

Last is the weight a 66 carbine weighs as much as a 73 rifle due to the brass. 

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If your goal is speed go with the 73' and a trigger safety. I've got a 60', 66' and 73' all in 44-40 none are difficult to take apart. For me the 73' is the fastest, but it feels pretty cool shooting the Henry or 66'! Shooting BP the brass does start to get a nice patina on it!

 

With a 45 you'll be taking it apart more often, something to keep in mind.

 

Tully

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It was mentioned but, as I got faster with my 66 and short stroked it I had 2 out of battery discharges. Filled my pants and bent the lever both times making the gun un-useable until I could get the lever bent back. Not good at a match if you don't have a back up.

Went to a 73. My 66 in 44-40 is now my long range rifle and bangs and clangs out to 300 yards.

Ike

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'73 due to the:

lighter weight

trigger safety

stronger loading gate

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Well ...... OK.  In "out of the box" form, the 45 Colt is a nuisance.  Blow-by is a Royal PITA.  However:  A - Anneal your 45 cases and Blow-By goes away.  Runs as clean as a 44-40.  B - Fire Form 44-40 cases to 45 Colt.  Super simple to do.  Blow-By goes away.  Runs as clean as a 44-40.  

 

If your heart's desire is a fun rifle in 45 Colt, don't be shy.  Little bit of extra attention/work and the 45 Colt is not hard to live with.

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