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  1. #1
    Marksman cundiff5535's Avatar

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    Manurhin MR73 - The Best?

    Figured I would pop over here to talk shop about my newest score! After a lot of searching (for the right candidate), I finally got my Manurhin MR73.

    Its certainly gets my vote, for best in its class. In fact, its got my vote as the best wheel gun period. For those who are not familiar with these...

    The Manurhin MR 73 was developed in France in the early 1970‘s. It was introduced, not surprisingly, in 1973. The main reason for its introduction was to arm the French police with something much more substantial than the old and weak 32ACP pistols they had been using since being liberated from Nazi occupation. Manurhin also built the MR 73 to supply the elite French counter terrorist unit, GIGN with a top of the line weapon to replace their Smith 19s. A GIGN Trooper fired an average of 40,000 rounds per year and the S&W simply wasn’t up to the task. This revo was built largely by hand out of the finest materials. It was built to extremely high standards of quality and durability. While the MR is fairly small revolver (about the size of a S&W K frame), its strength is enormous. The barrel, cylinder, and frame are all forged from ordnance-certified tool steel.

    These were offered in many shapes and sizes. Barrel lengths varied from 2.5" all the way up to 10.75". The shorter barrel lengths were used primarily for police and defensive models with fixed sights, while Sport, Target, and Silhouette models with adjustable sights and larger grips were generally offered in barrel lengths of 5.25" and longer. The main caliber was 357 Magnum, but they were also offered in 38 Special, 32 S&W Long, 22LR, and a conversion cylinder for 9mm Luger was offered with the 357 Magnum models. The MR 73 served many purposes and filled many needs. There was a caliber suited for almost anything.

    The barrel is cold hammer forged and the rifling is formed in this process, not cut in an extra step. The inner surface of the barrel is, likewise, extremely hard and incredibly smooth. This makes the bore of the MR 73 all but indestructible. The Manurhin factory museum displays an example that has fired about 100,000 full power 357 Magnum rounds with no signs of slowing down. Another torture test had an MR 73 firing 170,000 rounds of Norma 158gr 357 Magnum without hurting the gun. Its been estimated that the bore could handle 300,000 rounds before beginning to show wear. I’m not sure whether or not I believe that last sentence, but if there’s any revolver with that kind of stamina, its this one. You sure wouldn’t see a Smith, Colt, or probably even a Ruger doing it.

    The MR 73‘s cylinder’s strength is just as impressive. Each revolver is factory tested with ammo loaded to well over the 357 Mag’s maximum pressure. In fact, the factory guarantees no cylinder deformation with pressures up to 90,000psi, which is remarkably impressive. The manufacturing of the cylinder involves it being machined out of the forged steel. The cylinder chambers are burnished after being drilled, resulting in them being glass smooth and incredibly rigid.

    Despite all these terrific superlatives of construction, the basic design of the Manurhin was based on the Smith & Wesson revolver. However, there were some key differences. The hammer on the MR only moves about 40 degrees from fully cocked to rest, whereas a typical S&W hammer moves about 15 degrees more. This makes the trigger pull quite short. To compensate for the heavier spring needed for the shorter travel, the MR73 employs several roller bearings in the action to smooth its function. Without getting into specifics, the unique mechanism also allows the trigger weight to be finely adjusted independently from the mainspring. This means the trigger pull can be lightened without fear of a weak hammer. This is accomplished through a special adjustment screw on the front of the grip strap. Other than this, the MR 73 internal parts are of much higher strength and quality than a S&W of the same period. As mentioned above, the Manurhin’s parts are all forged from the highest grade steel. S&W typically used a much softer and lesser grade of steel and then case hardened it. While this worked well for the most part and most applications, it paled in comparison to Manurhin’s far superior construction methods.

    The MR73 has a strikingly unique appearance, unlike any other revolver I can think of. Its got sort of a lurched forward aggressive stance to it, which I find cool. The mirror-like bluing is beautiful and deep as an ocean. The hammer and trigger were originally strawed to a handsome burnt bronze hue. There’s also four distinctive plum colored “dots” on the left side of the frame, which are the result of frame pins reacting differently to the blueing salts Its just a really beautiful revolver, in my opinion, and there’s no mistaking it for anything else.

    Performance was another priority for the Manurhin company and the MR73 was built for match grade accuracy and smooth function. A MR73 revolver didn’t leave the factory unless it produced a 5-shot group of under 20mm at 25 meters. That’s about 3/4 of an inch. Again, this is quite impressive and basically as good as it gets. This is all from a service based revolver, mind you. With its longer barreled and target sighted variants, it was a service revolver that also turned into some of the best sporting and target revos the world had ever seen. Does this story sound vaguely familiar?

    The MR73‘s story line is very similar to a legendary auto pistol from Switzerland. Both the MR 73 and Sig P210 were designed with service as the main purpose. Because their design was so outstanding and their construction so exemplary, these guns were capable of so much more. They both proved that over the years. For a service gun to be able to shoot with the best target guns in the world, really amazes me. The MR73 is the Sig P210 of revolvers in my opinion. They are two of the finest handguns ever built and they just happened to start life as service guns.

    I just picked up this early production commercial Police/Defense model with a 4“ barrel... so I wanted to show it off here! The Police/Defense models were offered in barrel lengths of 2.5, 3, and 4“ in length. This example, although nice is not as pristine as many you will see. This was perfect for me as I recently sent off this MR73 to Dave over at Defensive Creations... I told Dave to take this one and transform her into the hottest combat revo ever seen.. He's going to go back through and rework/refinish/and retune this little 4" beauty. I really cant wait to see what he ultimately does with it, as it truly will be a one of a kind classic!

    By now, you can obviously tell, I’m a huge fan of this revolver. I love the performance, the ergonomics, the appearance, the history, and the amazing build quality. While I love vintage American revolvers as well, I’m fairly confident in saying that neither S&W or Colt ever produced a firearm approaching this combination of quality, refinement, performance, and brute strength and durability. In fact, I don’t think its even close when you factor everything in together.

    How does it measure up to the legendary Korth Combat, you may ask? The Korth Combat is, without a shadow of a doubt, the finest factory revolver money can buy. Its certainly more refined than the MR73 and arguably just as accurate, strong and durable. Having said that, I like the MR73 more. For me, it exudes a character and “soul” that the Korth lacks, to a degree that it transcends the German gun as a whole. The Korth is basically perfect in form and function. In fact, maybe its too perfect to the point that it lacks personality in my eyes. It may sound silly to some, but the MR73's pedigree coupled with everything else, puts it on top of the Korth in my book.

    Anyone else here own an MR 73? What are your thoughts and opinions of them?

    As always, please enjoy the pics and share your thoughts.


    <br><br><br><br>


    **Alot of this info came from bac**
    Last edited by cundiff5535; 3 Days Ago at 16:07.

  2. #2
    Grandmaster KJQ6945's Avatar

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    Congratulations on a fine revolver. That thing is Beauty and the Beast in one package. Very informative right up. It's always cool to learn about something new.

    I was aware of Manurhin, as I had a PPK/s, but never new of the revolvers.

  3. #3
    Master Beowulf's Avatar

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    Congrats. The MR73's are amazing guns. It's definitely on the list of guns I've wanted for my collection
    Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom.

  4. #4
    Expert

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    Some (Korth) might disagree to a statement sayin the MR73 be da best... perfection is sorta a personality of its very own.

    Not that I would know. All of the above appear to be equally capable of making me look great while I shoot 8" groups at 50 yards.
    Last edited by natdscott; 3 Days Ago at 18:20.
    President's Hundred
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  5. #5
    Master Tombs's Avatar

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    I'd take an MR73 over a korth any day.

    The MR73 has provenance, the strongest revolver ever built, and all of its usage for counter terrorism and SWAT type operations with french police.
    It's also a 100% hand fitted and built masterpiece. The French have made some of the finest and most historically significant small arms in history, and the MR73 is most certainly one of them.

    One is on my bucket list, preferably exactly as pictured.
    "Fiat justitia ruat caelum" - Trey Gowdy

  6. #6
    Grandmaster DoggyDaddy's Avatar

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    I have one (see my avatar) and love it. One thing to note though, you can definitely "over-lighten" the trigger to the point of light primer strikes. That's what I did with mine. Kept lightening it until I was getting light strikes, then tightened it up enough for reliable ignition every time. Finish on mine is a lot more worn than yours but it is still smooth as glass. For awhile there, the prices really jumped on them after I got mine, but I've seen Allan's Armory get them in more recently on occasion for not much more than I paid.

  7. #7
    Expert

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    Guys, I'm gonna have to step out of this thread, or you're gonna cost me a pile of money.
    President's Hundred
    A2 Service Rifle High Master XC
    Distinguished Rifleman
    1,000 yd A2 Service Rifle Expert
    Incessant Tinkerer

  8. #8
    Hop
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    Master Hop's Avatar

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    I've seen youtube videos about those. That would be a nice find & a great addition to my mil-surp collection. Yours looks like a beauty.

  9. #9
    Grandmaster DoggyDaddy's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hop View Post
    I've seen youtube videos about those. That would be a nice find & a great addition to my mil-surp collection. Yours looks like a beauty.
    Sylvain posted a bunch of pics of them being used by GIGN one time. I'd love to have one of the 8" barrel versions with a bipod. They actually use them like "urban sniper rifles".

  10. #10
    Grandmaster DoggyDaddy's Avatar

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    Looks like Allan's Armory only has the MR88's available through a third party now. They're stainless, and a step down from the MR73 though. $1600 for a new one. The MR73 is supposed to be good for 100,000 rounds of full house 357 before going out of spec, while the MR88 is good for 50,000. By contrast, S&W and Ruger are good for about 25,000 rounds.

    https://www.allans-armory.com/aaresult.php?PageId=58

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