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1866 vs 1873 lever action, and what caliber, for plinking + home defence?

2985 Views 60 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  veeman
Hello everyone,

I'm new here. A curious amateur, with questions. I would be grateful for some help.

I am interested in purchasing either an 1866 or 1873 lever action rifle, by Uberti or Winchester. I like that they are copies of two historical rifles, hence also the interest.

I do not intend to hunt with it, but the purpose is primarily shooting for fun, plinking with the family and secondarily as a home defense gun.

I would like to ask you, for your opinions and help, to choose which rifle and in which caliber.

There are pros and cons I guess.

First the rifle I am most keen on is without a doubt the 1866 Yellowboy, because it is probably the most beautiful rifle I have ever seen! So plus for the beautiful looks over the 1873, which is also a a beautiful rifle, but nowhere near as beautiful as the 1866 is, in my opinion.

Plus with the 1873, it can shoot both 357 magnum and 38 special, the 1866 can't. And when it comes to choosing which caliber and ammo, when I'm looking at what's cheapest, but also what's effective for home defense.

38 special is cheapest, 357 also quite cheap. 38 special may not be the best option for defense, but the cheapest. The advantage of the 1873, is that I can shoot cheap with 38 special, and use 357 magnum in case of of home defense. On the other hand, surely the risk of over-penetration is high with 1873? So 357 magnum might not be optimal after all? Is maybe 45 Colt or 40-40 better?

If I buy 1866 in 38 special, then it is not possible to shoot 357 magnum.

There are also colt 45 and 40-40 etc, but they are unfortunately so very expensive, even though they might be best for home defense? But if I shoot 38 special, then I can afford more shooting with the family, but then maybe the 1873 is the best compromise?

But then I don't get the most beautiful rifle!

Another thought, what do you think of the 38 special when it comes to shooting from 1866 or 1873, purely for fun? Is it a nice feeling? Is the low recoil an advantage? Or does the low recoil, contribute to it feeling like a ”wimpy”caliber, i.e. does it feel better with a little more physical contact and a little more recoil? I guess this is subjective, but I'm interested in your opinions.

Also, it seems like a lot of fun to shoot black powder as well, but I guess it's more expensive, more risky, more work with reloading etc, but when I chase your footage on youtube,
I love the sound of black powder, it sounds nicer and looks more fun to shoot a regular shot.

What would you advise me to do? How would you go about it?

Grateful for advice and tips.

Thank you.
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First, the 1866 is much more beautiful, which I agree with, and it can be aesthetically significant, contributing to heightened shooting experiences.

What do you think of these arguments? The only thing I can confirm myself is the aesthetic argument.
Aesthetics isn't an argument, it's a personal opinion. In context, aesthetics refers to the perceived beauty or finish of the wood; perhaps the metal coloration, stock drop, etc.
Whether or not a rifle and shooter are capable of a given level of accuracy, is independent of the finish. 😉🙂

The OP lives in Europe ( Norway )
The OP's flag is not Norway....
Perhaps looking at #41 rather than #1?
#41 isn't the OP, and he isn't from Norway either.
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