June 2014

Cowboy Lever Action Follow-up

We add Winchester’s new Model 1873 to our roster of rifles tested in 357 Mag/38 Special. Outcome: Middle of the pack.

The Winchester Model 1873 is billed as the “gun that won the West,” and rightfully so — there are few rifles that have had such a dramatic impact on the history of the United States. In 2013, Winchester reintroduced the Model 1873 into production for the first time since 1919, offering it in 357/38 special and now also in 44-40 Win and 45 Colt. In the October 2012 issue, we tested a Henry, Cimarron, and Chiappa in 357/38 Special, with the Henry Big Boy rifle winning, closely followed by the Cimarron. So with Winchester’s re-entry available, we wanted to see if the new model 1873 would be the “gun that won the Test.”

To ensure a level playing field, we tested the Winchester with the same brands and lots of 38 Special and 357 Magnum ammunition we used for the other three rifles: a designated Cowboy Action load from Black Hills Ammunition, the 158-grain 38 Special CNL (Conical Nose Lead) DCB38N1; some bulk-priced ammunition from Brownells, Winchester USA’s 130-grain Q4171 Full Metal Jackets, and Winchester USA 110-grain WINQ4204 357 Magnum Jacketed Hollow Points. As in the earlier test, we shot accuracy from sandbags on a bench at 50 yards. Here’s how the gun performed:

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