Now we’ve covered the authenticity part so we’ll hit the easy-shooting part of the equation: factory ammo for the ’73 centerfires is common and so are bullet molds, reloading dies and commercially cast bullets. Careful handloaders can use original Winchester ’73’s after having them checked for safety while replica 1873’s have been coming over from Italy for nearly as long as the originals were made. Browning is now importing them from Japan and — having legal rights to do so — can stamp them Winchester again. Between the Italians and Japanese we have had ’73’s made for .22 LR, .38 Special/.357 Magnum, .38-40, .44 Special, .44-40 and .45 Colt, although not all those calibers are still available.

Talk about easy shooting! I’ve experienced them all except for the .22 LR and have been using a Cimarron/Uberti ’73 in Sporting Rifle configuration with checkering and pistol grip stock for over 23 years. Two of the newer Japanese ’73’s are here with me right now. Both have 20" barrels: one is a Short Rifle, the other a Saddle Ring Carbine. The SR is .44-40, but finally willing to give a modern caliber a chance, I ordered the SRC in .38/.357. I have been impressed with the new Japanese made ’73’s. They come out of the box with actions as smooth as if a gifted gunsmith had worked on them.