Monday, October 31, 2005

In the late 1850’s Benjamin Henry designed a lever action repeating rifle using .44 caliber brass cartridges. The rifle revolutionized military weapons and many soldiers during the Civil War saved and spent their own money to purchase a Henry Rifle. In 1866 the Winchester Company released their “improved” Henry Rifle which quickly became one of the guns that won the west.

The “improved” Henry became known as the Winchester Model 1866. It was brass framed as the Henry, but had a side loading plate which was a tremendous improvement over the tube loading Henry. It also incorporated a fore-end which made shooting the rifle comfortable. Due to its brass receiver it was nicknamed “Yellowboy” and even though it’s 2005 I just picked up my new (used) rifle this week.

Jose and I attended the Indiana State Shoot this year and even though I didn’t plan on winning, I still thought I could put in a good showing. Well my Rossi Puma 92 locked up on me and jammed with 9 rounds in the gun. That’s 45 seconds worth of penalties and I swore I would have a new gun by the first of the year. I’m not a great shooter, but the design of the Winchester Model 1892 copies have a “speed limit” the faster you go the greater chance the gun will malfunction. So I started looking at the alternatives.

First there were the Marlins. The Marlin 1894 is an excellent gun, and pretty reasonable even though the price keeps going up. Right now you can have a new one for about 550 to 600. You can short stroke the Marlin and make it a real slick shooter. The only real drawback it that it can not be used to compete in the Classic Cowboy category.

The next rifle was the Winchester Model 1873. This gun was perfect. It could be slicked up to shoot amazingly and it could be used in any category. The only problem was it ran at about 900 bucks. And, of course there was the 66 Yellowboy. The Yellowboy was the same as the 73, but with a brass receiver. It ran about 800 bucks and was probably going to be out of my price range, just like the 73. Both guns are made by Uberti and imported into the US by several different companies.

So I looked everywhere for guns and nobody had them in stock and everyone wanted crazy prices for the guns. Jose found one on Gunbroker so I gave the guy a call. He lived only 2 hours from my place and was selling a used Uberti Model 1866 Yellowboy Sporting Rifle with a 24” barrel in .45 colt. It was exactly what I was looking for and in a price I could afford. I drove up and picked it up from the guy and was even happier once I held it. The rifle looked brand new and couldn’t have had more then a couple of dozen rounds fired threw it. I haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet, but the action is smooth and it cycles cartridges just fine. I’ll report back after I’ve had a chance to shoot it. I will also put up a picture of the gun when I figure out how to add pictures to this thing.

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