Uberti 1887 Scout
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- Last updated: 09/07/2023
For well over half a century, Uberti has built its reputation on producing accurate reproductions of many of the iconic firearms produced in America during the middle and latter parts of the 19th century. Both percussion and breech loading revolvers from Colt and Remington have been given the treatment, which not only makes them look like the originals but with today’s materials, makes them much stronger.
Lever-action rifles are a style peculiar to the American continent, and Uberti has covered many examples produced by Winchester, including the unusual Henry, and the “Gun that Won the West” (supposedly), the Model 1873. Uberti products have found favour with shooters, re-enactors, and movie studios over the years, not only because of their authenticity, but because of their quality.
With the Scout rifle (initially known as the Silverboy but changed due to an American home-grown product with the same name), they broke the mould and introduced a gun that, although it has Western leanings, is aimed more at the casual shooter who is not so steeped in history as some. It also comes in at a considerably lower price than the more historically correct models in the range.
The Scout rifle has a unique mechanism that Uberti describes as “allowing controlled round feed so the gun can be fired reliably while held at any angle” (even upside down). Not only does the Scout rifle have a different operating system from anything Uberti has produced in the past, but it also looks quite different. Yes, it is a lever-action gun with a tube magazine below the barrel, but gone are the authentic brass or case-coloured steel receivers, which have been replaced by a hard chromed alloy. The lever/trigger guard and front barrel band share the same material and finish.
The high gloss, red/brown varnish that often covers a nicely figured piece of walnut, has gone. In its place, is a silk finish on the straight stock and forend, the wood in this case being beech with a dark stain. Also, those lovely metal butt plates, particularly the deeply curved crescent-shaped examples, have been changed to a hard plastic version with a grooved centre section.
At first glance, I can see some shooters asking: Is it a toy? Certainly, the chrome finish would look more at home on a BB gun or cap-firing replica. Whilst there have been many stainless, and chrome-finished handguns on the market, it is relatively rare to see a piece of ‘silver’ metal at the heart of a long gun.
Uberti has taken to covering the sides of the receiver on this model, and their brass-framed rifles, with a clear protective film, which I left in place in case it would not go back on easily. The plain, almost plastic-looking woodwork adds to the impression that this rifle might be regarded as being less serious than something that can launch a projectile over long distances with some degree of accuracy. Pick it up and the weight also adds to this image. At a shade over 5.5lbs, it is the second lightest long gun in the Uberti range, beaten only by the .357 Baby Rolling Block carbine. The weight saving here is due to the use of alloy for the receiver, but make no mistake, this is a bona fide firearm that’s well put together and finished to a nice standard.
One of the first things I noticed was the loading cut-out in the magazine tube. It is a little longer than others I have seen that shoot the .22LR cartridge and, sure enough, a check on the Uberti website shows that this rifle is also made in .22WMR, although the Henry Krank site only lists the shorter rimfire version we have here. The inner tube, with its spring-loaded plunger, is held in place by the common pin and slot arrangement, whereby a pin on the tube locates into an L-shaped slot in the outer tube. This example showed a very good fit in this area and the tube was held tightly in place.
To load the gun, turn the knurled end of the inner tube anti-clockwise, pulling it out far enough so that the end passes the cut-out. Then, drop in the cartridges and push the tube back in before turning it clockwise to close. The magazine has a capacity of 14 rounds, which is quite respectable for a rifle with a relatively short barrel. Add one in the chamber and you can have 15 shots at your disposal in one loading. Unlike some lever-action rifles, it is not possible to load single cartridges via the ejection port.
The chrome finish on the metal parts is high quality, with no sign of any polishing marks below the surface, as is the black on the barrel and magazine tube, while the hammer has a case-coloured finish. The very plain woodwork butts up to the metal parts very well, but stands proud at all of the junctions. The stock is held in place by a long bolt in the style of the Lee Enfield military rifles, and the forend shows a single barrel band with a screw.
The sights are about as basic as you can get, although the top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for the addition of a scope base, should you wish to go down that route. The rear sight is a flat blade that’s dovetailed into the barrel. A little bit of windage adjustment can be enabled by loosening a small screw and tapping the sight one way or the other. The sight has a square notch cut-out and there is no provision for elevation adjustment.
The front sight is a plain blade, also dovetailed in place, with the same method of adjusting it left or right. The setup is adequate for a bit of 25 yard plinking, but you may wish to add that glass for longer distances.
The solid top and sides to the receiver mean that should you wish to work on the innards of this rifle, all of the mechanism exits via the bottom of the frame. The schematics seem to indicate a fairly complex layout, but they are probably not as bad as they look.
The Uberti Scout is probably one of the best guns to introduce youngsters or ladies to the joys of shooting a repeating rifle. The lever-action mechanism is, in my opinion, slightly easier to use than a bolt action. Plus, the comparatively short length, and the low weight, make it easy to handle. Conversely, all but the largest of men will have no trouble shooting this gun. However, the forend may feel a bit small for those with large hands. The length of pull measures 14”, which seems to be about average for many of the rifles I try out these days.
Operation of the lever is smooth and positive, and the feed system of this rifle means that you can rattle off the shots as fast as you can operate the lever, without any jams or misfires. I was surprised to see a fairly substantial bolt compared to the larger centrefire models in the 1866 and 1873 range. The barrel has 6-groove rifling with a 1:16 right-hand twist.
The case-coloured hammer is fairly tall and has a serrated tip. Pulling it back about a 1/4” engages a safety notch, which locks the trigger. There is also an internal safety which is operated by lowering the lever by around 1/2”, in which position the trigger is also locked, but this only works if the hammer is at rest.
Henry Krank supplied some Blazer ammunition for use with the rifle. Offhand, at 25 yards, it was printing 5-shot groups, slightly below the point of aim, of a little under 2.5”. So, nothing spectacular, but this should pick up with better ammunition, and shooting from a bench or with the addition of a scope would also improve performance.
Would I buy this rifle? Well, on looks alone, probably not, as I’m a big fan of Uberti’s more authentic offerings. However, for someone who likes lever guns and is not so steeped in the lore of the West, this is a really fun gun to shoot and a great introduction to the sport.