Reinforcing the Uberti Winchester 1866 loading gate

If you have a Uberti 1966 yellow boy there is a good chance that sooner or later you will break off the tab on the OEM loading gate.  In anticipation of that happening to me I ordered a replacement gate from Track of the Wolf and reinforced it with JB Weld.

Here are the parts I used:

Uberti  loading gate

J-B Weld 8276 KWIK

I chose to order the gate from TOTW because I wanted the deeper and closer to original shape ladle which greatly eases loading the rifle.

Since I’m writing this after the fact I don’t have pictures of each operation but I do have some of the finished product.

First, remove the side plate.  You can loosen the two side plate screws (#101 and #123) but not remove them, then the lever will stay in place and you won’t have to mess with the springs.  Just loosen the two screws until you can remove the side plate (#73) with the gate (#127).

VTI gunparts

Next, remove the gate from the side plate by removing one screw which secures it (#126).  This can be a bit tight so make sure you use the correct screwdriver size.

What we’re going to do is create a fillet of JB Weld behind the tab so once the gate is removed, degrease it, and use some sandpaper to rough up the back side of the tab as well as the base where you will be applying the epoxy.

Then just apply the JB Weld to create the reinforcing fillet like below.

1866 loading gate

After it sets but before it fully cures you’re going to need to take a knife or file and trim the material where it meets the tab so that the tab will fit in the notch of the receiver.

1866 loading gate

This is where it must fit.  The tab doesn’t actually get pushed all the way into the notch when loading a round and as a matter of fact my tab reinforcement didn’t actually interfere with the notch but I trimmed it a bit anyway.

1886 loading gate

So that’s all there is to it, probably a 20 minute job and this gate should last forever.

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4 Responses to Reinforcing the Uberti Winchester 1866 loading gate

  1. Mine failed around 300 rounds, but it did not break off. I put JB Weld on it and gave it about 18 hours to cure (we were shooting a match). No problems.

    If you look at loading gates from older 66’s there is a square plated silver soldered perpendicular to the tab and the tabs looks a little thicker too. One pard had JB Welded one like mine and had 10s of thousands of rounds on his and it still looks OK.

    I would advise people who get these Ubertis to take off the side plate and see if the mod has been made to their loading gate. If not, the 20 minutes it takes to do the whole repair is well worth the time.

    Considering how simple the reapir is you have to wonder why Uberti does not just do it themselves.

  2. Mine broke after only 150 rounds. Brand new rifle. New one fitted but how long will it last? I am worried. The screws have been mangled by the gunsmith in the process and as I am in uk, I cannot get new ones easily.

    • Willy says:

      Whoa, that’s too bad. If the gunsmith mangled the screws one would think that it would be his responsibility to make it right.

      If possible I would remove the gate and reenforce it by following my post. Failure at 150 seems like a fluke to me as I know of plenty of cowboys whow have thousands of rounds through their rifles with unaltered gates.

      • Ken Dyck says:

        I had one fail after only 30 rounds. Fail and break mean two different things. If the tab breaks off, that’s a break. If it bends to the point where shells won’t feed, that’s a fail. Depending on the cartridge and the length (OAL) of your ammunition the tab can be adjusted a bit closer to the block. After adjusting mine, I did the JB trick as described. Even with the JB reinforcement, breakage is possible, My stock ladle was reinforced with JB, and it broke after app 700 rounds. Cowboy shooting taxes even the best of guns and equipment. After you fire a round and when the lever in a new round, the magazine tube spring shoves the new round into the ladle tab. The spring accelerates the cartridge towards the tab, as fast as it can, and the only thing stopping it is the tab. Each one of my rounds weight app 220 grains, and I assume it reaches a couple of feet per second before it hits the tab. IMO the ladle does not make a good stop, a design weakness we have to live with. The ’73 has a somewhat improved ladle design, a bigger tab, but it is still a cartridge stop. If it were not for the inherent slick operation, I wouldn’t be using a ’66. When they are working right, I be grinning.

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