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Slicking up an Uberti 1873 Cattleman and fitting new cylinder

This is a discussion on Slicking up an Uberti 1873 Cattleman and fitting new cylinder within the Projects forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Disclaimer: Modifying your pistol without proper knowledge and precautions can result in fatal injuries! Got all my parts and started slicking it up last weekend ...


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Old January 23rd, 2016, 02:30 PM   #1
 
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Slicking up an Uberti 1873 Cattleman and fitting new cylinder

Disclaimer: Modifying your pistol without proper knowledge and precautions can result in fatal injuries!

Got all my parts and started slicking it up last weekend but only getting around to posting it now.

Full disassembly was pretty straightforward. Most of the screws had already worked themselves loose over the week I've been dry-firing it.
One thing to be aware of is the hand/pawl detent. When you remove your grips and backstrap, check to see if there is a tiny screw above the left backstrap screw. If you do, you have the new frame and the handspring without the attached leaf spring. Carefully remove the screw to remove the hand/pawl detent. Be careful as this tiny little spring as is under tension and can go flying across your bench.




Removed the screw holding the flat trigger spring and the screws retaining the hammer, cylinder lock and trigger group. Note the rough edges on the inside frame.


Using a 600grit diamond file, I knocked down the sharp edges on the inside of the frame. I used a Q-tip and traced the inside of the frame along the cutouts for the pawl etc. Anywhere the cotton fibers stuck to, I deburred it. I filed down a few ugly burrs on the edge of the sear areas on the hammer that would rub on the inside frame.


All the contact areas on the frame screws were polished using a felt wheel and some Fitz Polish. The sear areas on the hammer/trigger were carefully polished/stoned to remove burrs.


Using a small strip of 600grit emery wet/dry sandpaper and a small diameter dowel, I removed most of the high rough machining chatter from the ejector tube.
Sorry, no pic, hands were too greased up and dirty to handle the phone/camera.

Reassembled the gun using the Wolff Reduced Power Uberti Cattleman SAA spring kit.
- Replaced the ejector rod spring with the smaller diameter one from the kit. This removed all the minor hangups the original factory spring imparted.
- Replaced the factory base pin locking spring with the heavier one from the kit. This will prevent the base pin from working itself loose from heavy loads.
- Replaced the factory mainspring with the reduced power one from the kit. This reduced the effort required the pull back the hammer.
- Replaced the factory flat trigger/cylinder lock spring with the rounded one from the kit. This reduces the chances of the spring breaking that is prone with the factory one.

I made sure to degrease the threads on the screws and apply blue Loctite.

I'm not a HUGE fan of the skinny, rounded trigger that came with my gun. Unfortunately, I could not use the new wider Target trigger I bought as it will not fit with through the standard triggerguard. I've checked with Taylor's & Co to see if I can order a target triggerguard. Worst case, I will buy another trigger and flatten the surface so it is not as rounded OR remove most of the material on the Target trigger and widen the trigger slot on the current trigger guard to match. The Target trigger is a bit wider than I'd like so the second option is sounding more appealing if I get the cojones to take that on.

All parts lightly lubed and reassembled with the new Wolff springs, my Uberti 1873 Cattleman is pretty slick now. It went from a 3.5lb gritty factory trigger to 3lbs after a week of watching TV and dry firing it to a very crisp 2lbs after slicking up with the new springs. The hammer cocks back with less effort than the factory setup and much smoother now as all the burrs and high areas were knocked down.

My 22LR kit now fits and works!



Now for fitting the new 45ACP cylinder.

Got all my measurements for the current 45Colt and the unfitted 45ACP cylinder and bushing. I started off using a file to remove the bulk of the material which isn't much. Next I move on to removing minute amounts using 600grit wet/dry emery sandpaper on a sheet of glass for a flat surface.


Fitting the cylinder bushing for proper cylinder to barrel gap spacing.


Fitting the cylinder and getting the proper end space. A Sharpie gives me an indication of the high spots that needs some tweeking.


Lot's of fitting, tweaking, fitting, tweaking, fitting... you get the idea.


Cleaned up the parts and applied some cold bluing.


Tested and checked timing and cylinder alignment and all seem to pass with flying colours.

All done. Now I have a 3-caliber 1873 Cattleman.




Last edited by Trinimon; January 23rd, 2016 at 02:37 PM.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 11:51 AM   #2
 
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Man, you really went into detail here...nice work!
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Old January 24th, 2016, 12:13 PM   #3
 
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Good job and nice detailed account.
The only single action I've felt the need to do a lot of work on was a third generation Colt .44/40. It was pretty rough.
Most all of the Uberti's I've owned needed the sights regulated, a couple needed the forcing cone extended/tapered, but all that I can remember had a decent hammer and trigger pull, so I didn't mess with the innards.
The one I have now is a new Cimarron Frontier by Pietta, and it is super smooth and light pull. I would not want it any lighter. It probably has burrs inside, one of these days I'll work on that.
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Old May 10th, 2016, 12:18 PM   #4
 
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Finally got around to hitting the range yesterday to put some lead down range and christen this puppy.

Well, she ate everything in 45LC with pretty good results. Haven't narrowed down a particular load as yet as I was mostly plinking/testing out the gun.

After around 15rnds, I noticed that the cylinder was not advancing and the pawl was having a hard time engaging the cylinder. I noticed the cylinder pin had come loose which was odd seeing that I'd used a heavier spring on the catch.

Continued shooting and around 7rnds later, same issue. I thought I had a dud but noticed the cylinder pin catch was no longer on the frame. Damn thing had unscrewed itself and I was crawling around my station looking for the missing parts. It's a miracle I managed to find them too!



Replaced the parts as best as I could and swapped out to the 45ACP cylinder. Click. Click. Click. And my heart sank. I thought I'd fracked up somewhere which is odd because I test fired some primers in empty cases after I did the fitting and all worked 100%. Then I realized I'd inserted the cylinder pin to the safety lock position which prevents the hammer from falling fully. DUH!

Needless to say, the 45ACP ran like a champ. Hits were just off to the left but elevation was on the mark at 12yrds. Might have to tinker with some loads and bullet weight combos.

I'm not a fan of the stock trigger. The rounded profile and polished finish make it a bit slippy. I've ordered a new one that I'll modify with a flat face to see how that works out. I have a match trigger replacement that's similar to the Ruger Vaquero but unfortunately I'd have to either modify my current lower frame or get a new one with the wider trigger slot.

Last edited by Trinimon; May 10th, 2016 at 12:25 PM.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 06:14 AM   #5
 
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Nice! Been looking for a good tutorial to slick up my Uberti Cattleman 12-shot 22lr, and this is great!
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Old May 14th, 2016, 03:00 PM   #6
 
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Real nice job
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Old May 14th, 2016, 04:04 PM   #7
 
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Maybe the next job should be installing an adjustable rear sight.......................just sayin!
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Old May 16th, 2016, 07:01 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithnframe View Post
Maybe the next job should be installing an adjustable rear sight.......................just sayin!
lol, blasphemy for an 1873! That's like putting glass on an 1894 lever action. hehe.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 07:09 PM   #9
 
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Figured I should add this bit as well:

A little while after slicking up my SAA, I felt that the fit was a bit sloppy in some parts.

Added a 0.1mm 6mm shim to both sides of the hammer. This helped reduce side play and making contact at the top of the channel. I would have liked a 6mmx11mm shim but the only ones I had were 0.2mm which was too thick.


On the trigger, I noticed there were some light rub marks on the outside edge so I added a 0.1mm 5mm shim. There wasn't any point in adding one to the inside edge.


There's still a very tiny amount of wiggle in the trigger and enough on the trigger that I don't see it having a problem with galling but I'll keep an eye out for it if does occur.
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Old February 13th, 2017, 08:18 PM   #10
 
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Simply beautiful. Great job
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Old February 14th, 2017, 03:13 AM   #11
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Great information and posting. Thank You
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