Wheelgun Wednesday: Manurhin MR73 Review

    Manurhin MR73 – Hand Fit Finery in a MIM Era

    The Manurhin MR73 is an expensive, albeit very finely made revolver that still exists and is produced in an era where such things are few and far between.  The frame and barrel of the MR73 are made of very high-grade ordnance steel used in artillery.  This steel enables the MR73 to withstand a steady and unvaried diet of full-power .357 Magnum without the problems seen in revolvers made of lesser materials.  Extensively hand fit and hand-polished during manufacture, the result shows the moment one handles one of these beauties.  All these man-hours and high-grade materials come at a cost, however.  The price for entry on a new MR73 is $3,200.  Only those previously imported by Century are relatively inexpensive, though their condition is usually rather poor.

    MR73 Fitted with Trausch Grip

    There have been rumblings of easier importation of Manurhin products into the US market by a large firearms manufacturer, but so far, results have failed to materialize.  For now, a few dedicated FFLs have been able to keep these exceptional revolvers in stock.  Should you want one and have the funds, they are relatively easy to obtain.

    MR73 INitial IMpressions

    I obtained a 6″ Manurhin MR73 “Sport” model with both Trausch and full-size wooden grips.  The revolver ships in a very nice combination locking pistol box from Manurhin.  Inside was a cleaning kit, the spare grips, and the object of much saving on my part:  The MR73 itself.  There are few firearms whose fit and finish are immediately impressive right out of the box.  The MR73 is one of them.  Tolerances are extremely tight, to the point that the cylinder must be seated into the frame with authority.  The single action trigger is without hyperbole the best that I have encountered on a revolver.

    Manhurin MR73

    Hammer travel in SA

    Though it weighs in at a relatively hefty 37.7oz, the MR73 sits nicely in the hand with either grips installed.  The single action trigger breaks at a crisp and extremely consistent 3 lbs 4 oz.  The double action trigger comes in at a smooth, non-stacking 9lbs.  The rebound bar travels on two rollers, making for a DA trigger that is smooth, consistent, and predictable to aid in exceptional accuracy.  A word about accuracy is warranted here: MR73 cold hammer forged barrels are able to group 20mm (.79″) or better at 25 meters.

    Manhurin MR73

    Hammer travel in DA

    The finish of the MR73 is a thing of beauty, a deep blue polished to a near mirror finish.  The trigger and hammer are a nice, even straw finish, and four frame pins have a nice plum color.  The Trausch target grips are not the most attractive (but extremely functional, as I will cover later).  The supplied walnut full-size grips have finger grooves that are perfect for my ham hands, and partially encompass the rear of the trigger guard.  However, I would advise a smaller-handed individual to look into smaller custom grips if one was interested in this revolver.  A nice side note – the MR73 fit a few of my S&W 6″ N-Frame holsters.

    Making Adjustments

    Manhurin MR73

    The rear sight is adjustable

    There are two major areas one can adjust on the MR73:  the trigger and the sights.  The MR73 trigger is adjustable for double action weight, single action weight, overtravel and primer percussion force.  However I really enjoy the factory feel of the trigger, so I have not made many adjustments yet.

    Manhurin MR73

    Manurhin MR73

    Manhurin MR73

    Front sight

    The sights are not fancy at all but provide for a crisp, easy to focus on sight picture on man-sized silhouettes at ranges out to 100y.  The rear sights’ adjustment clicks are very precise and tactile.  The front sight is double pinned in place, and the barrel is tapped for a scope mount.

    Manhurin MR73

    Rear Sight

    Hitting the range and the mark with the MR73

    Equipped with a large and varied selection of .38 and .357, I headed to the range with the MR73.  Starting off at the 25y mark, I found that 158gr SP Fiocchi and S&B loads hit exactly where the adjustable sights were pointed.  The double action trigger has two distinct clicks that one can hear when in operation, making the staging of the trigger for accurate firing a very predictable affair.  The hammer also does not travel all the way back during DA operation, making the DA trigger pull not as long as one might expect.  I did not experience one instance of short stroking the trigger.  It doesn’t seem to allow for such a malfunction even if one is trying to induce it.

    With offhand groups at 25y coming in at 1.5″ for my first few cylinders, I knew I was in for a treat.  The MR73 then turned in consistently excellent 1″ groups with Fiocchi 158gr fired single action supported off some bags.  Black Hills .38 Special wadcutters yielded one ragged hole as well.  The MR73 does not struggle in the accuracy department at all.

    Manhurin MR73

    Manurhin MR73

    After firing through 100 or so rounds from Fiocchi, Hornady, S&B, Black Hills and Federal, I was convinced that the Trausch grips, though a bit strange looking, greatly add in both accuracy and comfort when using a steady diet of .357.  Fully encompassing the grip and strap, the recoil step on the back makes the revolver stay on target really well during recoil.  Furthermore, the Trausch grips allow for a higher grip and faster follow up shots than when using the wood grips (at least for me).

    Manurhin MR73

    The cylinder sits so close to the frame when open that certain speed loaders may not work.

    One minor “minus” that occurred to me while handling the MR73 was that the cylinder sits so close to the frame when open that the use of speed loaders to reload would be a bit difficult.

    Going long

    Accuracy with the MR73 was so good that I started to push the envelope as far as my ability to make long-distance shots with a revolver.  Moving back to 50y yielded me all 6 hits on the 5″ diameter head of a steel hostage target, both in DA and SA.  75 and 100y yielded all the same results.  I then decided to try and figure out the hold on the 300y plate on the rifle range.  Braced off a bag, I could actually achieve hits with this revolver!  It doesn’t come close to Jerry’s Miculek’s distance record, but it’s as good as I’ve ever personally achieved with a revolver.

    Manhurin MR73

    Manurhin MR73

    The reliability of the MR73 so far has been excellent.  As of the writing of this article, I have not had a single failure to fire in over 600 rounds.

    Overall Impressions:

    The Manurhin MR73 is wholly deserving of its reputation as a finely crafted firearm.  It’s excellent fit and finish, accuracy and reliability are all demonstrative of that fact.  While extremely expensive, one gets what one pays for.  Objectively, the MR73 is about as accurate and reliable as revolvers get.  Objectively, the MR73 is probably the best .357 Magnum revolver currently made in my opinion (and yes, I’ve fired plenty of Korths).  While it costs as much as two “new Pythons”, it is much better made, without any of the issues noted in Colt’s newest offering.

    Manhurin MR73

    Manurhin MR73

    Honestly, I would have to recommend if one has over $3K to spend on a wheelgun, don’t spend it on a classic Python, spend it on the MR73 instead.  The MR73 is currently my favorite wheelmen to take to the range.  Given its accuracy, I may use it for short range medium game hunting as well.  If one is in the market for an excellent .357 revolver, give the Manurhin revolver a look.  This is one French Firearm that won’t be dropped any time soon.

    Pros:

    • Excellent fit and finish
    • Excellent Accuracy
    • Excellent reliability
    • Trausch Grips

    Cons:

    • Price
    • Difficult to use w speedloaders.

    Thanks to HSS Idaho for logistical support and range time

    Rusty S.

    Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


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