Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

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Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Sporty » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:32 am

Which is easier to clean and maintain, a Winchester 1873 or a Henry Big Boy. In .357 if it makes a difference?
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by cedestech » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:14 am

Never had a big boy apart but would imagine it's "easier" to disassemble and reassemble then a 73. 73 isn't "hard" just you need to have someone who is familiar with one show you first because there are a couple caveats that make it awkward if you don't know them....

If properly assembled and lubed, once you or someone got a good trigger pull there isn't a whole lot to do inside except maybe once a year or so depending on how much you shoot to pull down and lube.
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Sporty » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:12 am

I think Winchester recommends a new owner of a 73 should do a complete maintenance to remove the factory crud before firing. Is their manual straight forward?

mannyCA has a 2-part YouTube video on "Slicking up a 1873. That's more than what I would try. It probably covers the caveats mentioned.
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by cedestech » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:18 pm

Never seen the manual. But yes, a good U tube tutorial should work. They have some odd parts compared to a more contemporary design so some of the internals aren't as straight forward.

I would say if choosing between the two. The Henry action will be stronger. The 73 doesn't "lock" the bolt, the linkage cambers over to hold it shut so if you are wanting to feed it "really hot" loads then you may want to consider that.

On the other hand.... the 73 is much cooler and prettier.
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Sporty » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:48 pm

cedestech wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:18 pm
...The Henry action will be stronger. The 73 doesn't "lock" the bolt, the linkage cambers over to hold it shut so if you are wanting to feed it "really hot" loads then you may want to consider that.
They mention that in the video about bending the six pins with hot loads. Is 158 grain JSP 1471 fps too hot and okay for PC?
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Sporty » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:59 am

I suppose I should get a Henry Big Boy in .357 Mag/38 instead of a 1873. I'll have peace of mind with a stronger action as well as money saved with the rifle purchase and cheaper JSP factory loads than what I see available in subsonic LFN cowboy loads.
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by cedestech » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:20 am

"hot" is a relative term... What shoots best out of your rifle is what you should shoot. If that load shoots 2MOA then I'd say it's good to go. I shoot a powder puff load out of mine but that is also the most accurate and it has a funky twist rate (rossi).

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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Jason » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:58 pm

In a game where sight radius matters, the shorter 20" barrel on the Henry means that I'd choose the 1873 instead. I not only would I choose the 1873, I did. I am a big fan of Henry Rifles, but in this case the rifle just isn't the best choice for the competition. I also don't like having to load the rifle down on the magazine tube instead of up at the receiver.

Let's make sure you are correctly understanding "hot loads" in this context. A standard factory 357 Magnum load is nowhere near a "hot load" that has the chance of damaging or wearing out an 1873 while any of us are still alive. There are some hotter specialty loads out there that generate higher pressures. If you are using the rifle for pistol cartridge matches, you don't need hot loads and shouldn't use them as hot 357 Magnum loads will have a relatively high chance of damaging the targets. Even a standard full-power factory 357 magnum load is borderline for damaging pistol cartridge chickens, specifically in cracking/breaking the welds that attach the foot to the body. If you are using it for centerfire matches, you're going to be on the edge of being able to knock down rams and your best chance of doing it will be using handloads with Lil'Gun powder that doesn't generate as much pressure as other powders like H110/W296.

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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Sporty » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:02 pm

Do you think a .357 Mag 158 gr. Jacketed Soft Point at 1471 fps will damage a chicken?
How about a .357 158 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point at 1220 fps?
I see a .357 125 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point will go 1450. Is the lighter bullet easier on the chicken?
Is it okay if the chicken is AR500 steel and the other animals are T-1?

Sorry, I'm not willing to ring any more PC rams with a 24" bbl .22 Mag., I've never shot a .357 Mag. in PC and I don't reload.

Any help is appreciated.
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by tnchicknsnipr » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:36 pm

You are way to hot on your load. I have a Henry Big Boy Steel and use 125 berry with 5.0 titegroup for around 1150 fps. That load takes down all pc targets and chicken and pigs on cla. I use 158 berry with 6 grs titegroup for cpt on cla and 180 Serria jsp with 14 grs h110 for rams. Depending on your age and eye strength 20 vs 24 will not make a difference. Look at price between the two guns. You can buy a lot of bullets with the money saved by buying a henry.

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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Jason » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:43 am

Sporty wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:02 pm
Do you think a .357 Mag 158 gr. Jacketed Soft Point at 1471 fps will damage a chicken?
How about a .357 158 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point at 1220 fps?
I see a .357 125 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point will go 1450. Is the lighter bullet easier on the chicken?
Is it okay if the chicken is AR500 steel and the other animals are T-1?

Sorry, I'm not willing to ring any more PC rams with a 24" bbl .22 Mag., I've never shot a .357 Mag. in PC and I don't reload.

Any help is appreciated.
You have essentially zero chance of ringing a pistol cartridge ram with a 357 magnum unless you handload ridiculously weak rounds that will barely even make it to the rams or use the cowboy action shooting loads that are only going 800 feet per second and won't shoot well at distance anyway. You can use the cowboy loads with 158 grain bullets quoted as 1100+ feet per second. I believe most 357 magnum quoted velocities are from a pistol barrel, so you'll get a bit more velocity from your rifle barrel.

I use only my 1873 in 357 magnum for pistol cartridge matches. I do handload, and my load for all four animals is a 125-grain bullet going 1450fps from the barrel of my rifle. That's more than plenty to take down the pistol cartridge rams, including taking all 10 at my last match on my way to a 37/40 score. I shot that match with a 22 mag for years and won a lot of matches, but I just got tired of the constant risk of ringing the rams, especially if there was water/mud on the target stands due to rain. I still have that 22 mag as my backup gun, but it hasn't fired a single round for score since I got the 1873 in 357 magnum.

If you don't load your own and don't ever intend to in the future, here are a couple example loads that likely work fine for you. They are both also toward the bottom end of the price per round scale. You'll have to see what shoots well in your own rifle, as always. If I were you, I'd go with the Fiocchi before the Blazer aluminum as it's generally higher quality in my experience. It will also provide you with brass should you decide to reload later after you realize that you can reload those brass cases for less than half the cost of buying more factory ammo. 8)

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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Sporty » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:47 am

Thanks Jason. That helps a lot.

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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by cedestech » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:20 am

tnchicknsnipr wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:36 pm
You are way to hot on your load. I have a Henry Big Boy Steel and use 125 berry with 5.0 titegroup for around 1150 fps. That load takes down all pc targets and chicken and pigs on cla. I use 158 berry with 6 grs titegroup for cpt on cla and 180 Serria jsp with 14 grs h110 for rams. Depending on your age and eye strength 20 vs 24 will not make a difference. Look at price between the two guns. You can buy a lot of bullets with the money saved by buying a henry.
That is basicly exactly my PC load, 5gr 231 under 125gr Montana gold. Never chroni'ed but by the sight settings it's in the 11-1200 range...

Doesn't loose any PC animals and will take down CLA chickens.
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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Ken Green » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:20 pm

My .357 loads for the PC animals are a Hornady XTP 125 grain bullet with 5.5 grains of Power Pistol. This load takes down all of the PC animals without any problems. I did rang a big bore pig with a 125 grain lead bullet with 5.5 grains of Power Pistol. It was a solid center shoulder hit. I think that little squealer was thinking "is that all you got" :)) .

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Re: Winchester 73 vs Henry Big Boy maintenance

Post by Porpoise » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:53 pm

Sporty wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:48 pm
cedestech wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:18 pm
...The Henry action will be stronger. The 73 doesn't "lock" the bolt, the linkage cambers over to hold it shut so if you are wanting to feed it "really hot" loads then you may want to consider that.
They mention that in the video about bending the six pins with hot loads. Is 158 grain JSP 1471 fps too hot and okay for PC?
I can’t see how you would bend the pins without battering the steel on the outside perimeter of the links around the pins. And where they land on the receiver.I don’t think the design is to have thrust on the actual pins. My manual didn’t say to clean the action and it was clean and greased at all the necessary points. Swab out the new barrel and shoot away

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