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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My friend won this at an auction during a Friends of NRA dinner for $3100. He offered to sell it to me for the same price, still in the box, as he knew how much I wanted one. and would make a part of my family heirloom to give to my kids. Of course I would take it to the range a number of times. Unfortunately I still cannot afford it at that cost but he said he will keep it, in the box, until I’m ready with the money. According to the NRA rep at the dinner, there are only 1000 of these NRA special edition Winchester 1873 (357/38S caliber) made. Would you buy this if it was offered to you at $3100? Regular price without the engraving and special Gold inlays (if you can get one) is at $1500 I think.




 

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While it's nice as an unfired, in the box, with tags on, commemorative piece, the minute it's handled, tags removed, or heaven forbid it's shot, the value will plummet. For that much money, I'd not touch it once I got it, keep all the tags on it, wrap up the box to protect it too, store it in a climate controlled place to avoid any rust, etc., and hope that 50 years from now someone wants a pristine, NIB, untouched piece.
 

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Its beautiful!

I'm the type that would use it. so the value takes a hit, I don't think it takes as much of a hit as some believe, especially on a truly unique piece of high quality.

If you can afford it without hardship and it appeals to you, I'd say get it and enjoy it. If you would only take it to the range in a case, and shoot it now and then, it should survive nicely, and as a family piece, the paper value isn't as important as the sentimental value. It's truly a high quality and unique gun. The wood is very good also. If I were passing a gun down as a family heirloom, why not have a gun that stands above the common ones?

I take this one out and shoot it and enjoy it. I believe it was one of 1000 made in high grade. It was used when I got it, but still looked like new.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Steve and Malamute for your comments. If I do buy this one, it will not be a safe-queen that’s for sure. I even told my shooting buddies that they can also shoot it when I get it. Im also certain that one of my kids that would get it when I pass away will never sell it at any price either, even if it quadruples in value. Normally I think I would have paid him the $3100 in a heart beat but the timing is not good with a huge hospital bill that I need to wrestle with first. BTW, Malamute, that is also one beautiful rifle!
 

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Some guys buy guns to add to a collection or as investment pieces. I buy guns to shoot and hunt with.

If you buy this gun for $3,100, and proceeded to shoot it, it would be like burning 10 $100 bills, just for fun. It's your money, and I'm not one to buy something pretty just so I can stare at it, but I certainly wouldn't pay that kind of money just to ruin its value by shooting it.

Some guns are meant to be shot and some are meant to be gazed upon...don't get confused as to which is which. #twocents
 
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Personally, I think the .357 Mag in any 1873 action is a really bad idea over the long term.

The 1873 uses a toggle link design that is very slick cycling but it's not very strong. In practice, modern reproductions of the 1873 hold up well in .45 Colt provided they stay at or below the SAAMI limit of 14,000 psi. If they are run with cartridges over that pressure by any degree they start to loosen up pretty quickly. That gives us a pretty good idea of the bolt thrust they can tolerate.

The .45 Colt cartridge at the base has an area of .180 sq inches, and the maximum SAAMI pressure is 14,000 psi, generating a bolt thrust of 2,520 pounds (minus the load absorbed by the brass adhering to the chamber wall and pressure used to stretch the case below the point it's adhered).

In comparison, the .357 Mag has a base area of .113 sq inches, but a SAAMI pressure of 35,000 psi, generating a bolt thrust of 3,955 pounds (again minus any force absorbed stretching the case).

The case adhesion and stitch factors are probably about equal - the .45 Colt has a greater area being stretched due to the larger circumference of the case, but the .357 case is thicker, nd both are straight wall, untapped cases, so it's probably a wash.

But regardless of the actual numbers once that effect is accounted for, the .357 mag still has a bolt thrust that is about 157% of the .45 Colt's bolt thrust and the .45 Colt is already all the .1873 can withstand without loosening up and developing excessive headspace.

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Now the saving grace here for all those 1873s in .357 Mag is that the end users for 1873s have tended to be CASS shooters. Ina CASS shooting a .357 "Cowboy" load ends up being something like a 158 gr bullet at 800 fps (in a pistol), which is about 400-500 fps under the normal velocity for the .357 magnum loaded to the 35,000 psi maximum pressure. So they are in effect running them at substantially lower pressures that are producing bolt thrusts in the same range as a SAAMI spec .45 Colt.

However, the problem I see down the road will be a growing number of shooters who buy these rifles in .357 with an intent either use them as generally range toys, or plan to hunt with them in states that were traditionally shotgun only but that now allow straight wall pistol cartridges, and mistakenly think they can shoot a steady diet of full power .357 Mag ammo in them without beating the rifle to death.

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If you want a lever gun in .357 mag AND actually want full .357 mag performance, then what you really want is a Model 92 as it's an exceptionally strong action that is very well suited to high pressure loads in .357 (As well as 32,000 psi Tier 3 .45 Colt loads, and 65,000 psi .454 Casull loads).
 

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I would respectfully suggest that some are confusing price with value.

If I could afford a factory engraved Colt SAA or New Frontier, I'd do so in a heartbeat. The presumed loss of paper price represented by using it, and I use things fairly seriously, would mean absolutely nothing compared to the true joy of having something the is a work of art, and being able to appreciate and use it. The true value is in owning and enjoying it, which in my case does NOT mean letting it be safe queen. If I don't plan on selling it, all I can do is decide if I feel the asking price is reasonable for the value I'd feel it represented in my enjoyment. Do you compare the price of a vacation simply based on the price, and what the value you take away from it? I don't/ I think of how much I'll enjoy it, and if I can afford to do what I really want.

I truly feel sorry for those that can't see beyond the supposed monetary price of a thing, and not factor in the real value of the joy of owning it. Over time I've come to truly love higher grade guns. I don't have many, but the several lower grade guns they represent in their purchase mean nothing to the enjoyment I get from having and using them. In the BBHC museum, I can appreciate the high grade guns that look like they've been hunted with and used far more than the showcase new examples.

As for wearing it out, I'd use it as much as I liked, and cross that bridge when I come to it as to repairing it.
 

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I suppose that there are some people who will purchase guns solely as investments, in which case, firing them would be contrary to the purpose of buying them. Nothing wrong with that.

My investments are in more conventional commodities, however. Generally speaking, I won't buy a gun I cannot shoot. But, again, I am not stupid. If something comes along that is simply too good to pass up I may certainly make an exception.
 

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This is a Miroku 1873 which are made of all steel and wood. Modern steel I might add too.
We aren't talking about low grade steel without any chromium and other steel strengtheners.
I can't see Miroku building a 1873 lever that had to shoot weakened .357 loads.
Or 44Mag loads either. You can get the 1873 in 44m too. If Miroku is selling
1873s that cant tolerate modern .357 ammo then every single one
they sell will be coming back for warranty work. I doubt Miroku is that stupid.
 

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Time will tell.

The toggle link action will need to be perfectly fitted to avoid any excessive hammering of the system when fired.

Practically speaking, rounds that are fired in modern steel 1873s that produce more than about 2600 pounds of bolt thrust tend to shoot themselves loose over time.

If Miroku produces one that does not follow this trend, then my hats off to them. But if they do, we're all going to have to give MIroku their due for producing quality firearms and stop calling them "japchesters" as they will clearly be of better quality than anything winchester has made since WWII.
 

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This is a Miroku 1873 which are made of all steel and wood. Modern steel I might add too.
We aren't talking about low grade steel without any chromium and other steel strengtheners.
I can't see Miroku building a 1873 lever that had to shoot weakened .357 loads.
Or 44Mag loads either. You can get the 1873 in 44m too. If Miroku is selling
1873s that cant tolerate modern .357 ammo then every single one
they sell will be coming back for warranty work. I doubt Miroku is that stupid.
Very doubtful. Very, very few shooters will ever shoot the gun enough to cause the problem. If it takes a couple of thousand rounds, or even a thousand rounds, to make the gun fail, very few will ever fail. Most gun owners just don't shoot enough to ever make this happen. From an engineering stand point, it's a weak design.
 

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Very doubtful. Very, very few shooters will ever shoot the gun enough to cause the problem.
If it takes a couple of thousand rounds, or even a thousand rounds, to make the gun fail, very few will ever fail.
Most gun owners just don't shoot enough to ever make this happen. From an engineering stand point, it's a weak design.

I wanted to correct my earlier post. The new 1873 comes in a 44WCF version. Not a 44mag version.

Ok back to the new 1873 Miroku. They have been making this for several years without issue
before now in the M73 model which is a very pricey case hardened colored version steel which
is popular among cowboy class shooters who can put quite a few rounds through them.
The newer model 1873 in a regular blued version is the current release version that can
be had for $1299 msrp. The M73 which had been out a while sells for $1700 msrp. Miroku
doesn't sell lever guns that will fall apart after a thousand rounds.
 

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I have no issues with Miroku. I currently own three Miroku rifles.....a High Wall, a Low Wall, and an 1886 lever gun. Miroku doesn't design and build guns on their own, they make guns for Browning/Winchester to their specs. Toggle linkage is not a strong design. Miroku builds what they are told to build. The design was weak well over a hundred years ago and that hasn't changed. They are copying a weak design.
 

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I wanted to correct my earlier post. The new 1873 comes in a 44WCF version. Not a 44mag version.

Ok back to the new 1873 Miroku. They have been making this for several years without issue
before now in the M73 model which is a very pricey case hardened colored version steel which
is popular among cowboy class shooters who can put quite a few rounds through them.
The newer model 1873 in a regular blued version is the current release version that can
be had for $1299 msrp. The M73 which had been out a while sells for $1700 msrp. Miroku
doesn't sell lever guns that will fall apart after a thousand rounds.
The vast majority of guns made in 357 Magnum are also made in 44 Magnum, but Miroku is sticking to the 44/40 (44WCF). What does that tell you?

Well, it tells you what all the guys have been trying to tell you, and what Winchester has told us for years: The toggle-link '73 action is just not strong enough to tolerate the kind of back thrust created by rounds like the 44 Magnum.

The guys spending that kind of money for a new "old" lever-action aren't going to beat it up with thousands of rounds. If they shoot it a lot, they may be inclined to roll their own ammo and ensure it is of a low enough pressure to not present a problem.

I wouldn't be surprised if modern day CNC machining has resulted in a Model '73 that is tighter and a little stronger than the old ones, but it's always going to be relatively weak, due to its design. If I had one, I'd load full-length 357 Magnum cases with a 38 Special load recipe, so I never had to worry about it wearing anything out.

Then again, I've got 4 kids to put through college, so there are no crazy expensive lever-action plinking guns in my future. :)
 
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Good, it appears the message is starting to get through,

Cowboy action shooters do in fact shoot various old, new and copies of the 1873 a lot - but the key point to consider here is that CASS shooters generally use .357 cowboy loads loaded way down to about 800 fps - not full power ,357 loads.

If you're really curious what happens when they shoot many full power .357 loads in an 1873, talk to Steve at Stevesgunz.com.

----

As for the .44-40 in the 1873, in 1903 Winchester started selling a .44-40 High Velocity round designed for the much stronger 1892 action, using a 200 grain bullet at about 1500 fps in a 24" rifle barrel, which was increased to 1570 fps in 1910.

The boxes were marked for use in the 1892 only, prohibiting use in the 1860, 1866, 1873 and Colt SAA. The problem, pistol safety issues aside, was that it was way too hard on the 1873 rifle where it was occasionally used by owners who failed to understand the significant difference in strength between the 1873 and 1892 in later years, so it was discontinued in 1960. My understanding is that this older ammo over a modern chronograph will produce about 1800 fps in a 24" barrel.

----

The moral here is pretty simple - the 1873 is not well suited to the 1873 and a steady diet of full power .357 ammo will quickly loosen the rivets and the head space on an 1873.

My guess is also, that the Winchester is betting that the 1873, a fairly expensive rifle, will be purchased either by CASS shooters who will use reduced loads, or by people who won't shoot it enough to develop problems if they use a box or two of full power .357 ammo.

---

None of this should be taken as a slight against Miroku. I have a couple of their Model 52 Sporters and they are arguably the best production .22 sporter ever made. It's also clear that the Miroku made lever guns are better made than what was coming out of US Winchester/USRAC/Browning plants in their final years of lever gun production.
 

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[QUOTEThe vast majority of guns made in 357 Magnum are also made in 44 Magnum, but Miroku is sticking to the 44/40 (44WCF).
What does that tell you?][/QUOTE

It tells me the gun was methodically designed to handle that caliber. Even the original 1873 was continuously manufactured for 50 years.
Not bad for a rifle that supposedly fell apart before you get out the gun store after purchasing it. Not bad for the gun that won the West.
Cowboy shooters have already been shooting the Miroku M73 for years. The new Miroku 1873 is the same successful design as the M73
only without the gorgeous and expensive case hardened finish.
 

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The older Miroku M73 ($1739) is still being made along side the new release 1873 ($1299).
The fact that Miroku added an additional 1873 model tells me the M73 is a proven durable design.
 

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The older Miroku M73 ($1739) is still being made along side the new release 1873 ($1299).
The fact that Miroku added an additional 1873 model tells me the M73 is a proven durable design.

That it is...provided you shoot cartridges designed for its limitations. :)
 
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malamute said:
I would respectfully suggest that some are confusing price with value.

If I could afford a factory engraved Colt SAA or New Frontier, I'd do so in a heartbeat. The presumed loss of paper price represented by using it, and I use things fairly seriously, would mean absolutely nothing compared to the true joy of having something the is a work of art, and being able to appreciate and use it. The true value is in owning and enjoying it, which in my case does NOT mean letting it be safe queen. If I don't plan on selling it, all I can do is decide if I feel the asking price is reasonable for the value I'd feel it represented in my enjoyment. Do you compare the price of a vacation simply based on the price, and what the value you take away from it? I don't/ I think of how much I'll enjoy it, and if I can afford to do what I really want.

I truly feel sorry for those that can't see beyond the supposed monetary price of a thing, and not factor in the real value of the joy of owning it. Over time I've come to truly love higher grade guns. I don't have many, but the several lower grade guns they represent in their purchase mean nothing to the enjoyment I get from having and using them. In the BBHC museum, I can appreciate the high grade guns that look like they've been hunted with and used far more than the showcase new examples.

+1 - I'd buy it.

Will your friend allow you a layaway plan ?


.
 
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Kinda an aside, but I want to comment on "modern metallurgy"
It is true that modern steel choices & heat treatments are far superior to those of the 19th century.
More accurately, the choice made CAN be superior
In my admittedly limited experience with Italian percussion revolvers they just don't seem to care about hardening some parts, even to 1860's standards.
My Dad was in the Navy in WWII, and I grew up with some rather strong feelings about Japan. I have also worked with Japanese men and been impressed by their intelligence and dedication to perfection. While my old feelings leave me overwhelmingly in favor of American cars over Japanese, were my choice between Japan and Italy - well, I like a durable car that works. No Italian car for me, never.
Uberti makes some pretty 1873's.

When I buy a new '73 it will be Japanese, unless Henry comes out with one.

I believe WWII has been over about three score years now. Our deadly enemies have become our allies, & perhaps vice versa. And didn't any of you guys ever hear of Mussolini?
 
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