Old Winchester 1873 Accuracy Problems
Hi Guys. A while back I purchased a Winchester 1873 in 44-40 that was manufactured in 1884. The gun had been "improved" a few times over the years but overall it's pretty much original. 24 inch round barrel with what I would consider a good bore considering that only black powder load were available for the first several years of it's life. The bore still shows some shine with good consistent rifling the length of the bore. I knew the gun wasn't going to impress any hardcore collectors. I like shooting the old lever guns and have visions of poking a hole in a couple of the local whitetails some day with the old girl. After shooting the gun for the first time I'm starting to think that the original owner may have been killed by an Indian with a big rock. Got some 200g RNFP black powder loads from Buffalo Arms Co and laid the gun out on the sandbags. At 25 yards I shot about a 15 inch 5-shot group. Things did not improve from there. Now I'm trying to figure out if it's worth my time to buy dies and try to load up something that'll shoot better. I slugged the barrel and came up with a .4315 bore diameter. Near as I can tell the bullets in the Buffalo arms cartridges were about .4285" Is there any hope for this classic old gun or is she destined to live out the rest of her life in the comfort of the gun rack.