SOLD FOR: $4,650
Model: 1873 Rifle
Serial Number: 206189B
Year of Manufacture: 1886
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester (.44 Winchester Center Fire)
Action Type: Lever Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WINCHESTER’S- REPEATING ARMS NEW HAVEN, CT. / KING’S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.” in front of the rear sight and “44 CAL” behind. The lower tang is marked “206189B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “44 CAL”. The left of the stock at the heel has been hand-carved “A.R.M.”.
Barrel Length: 24″ nominal, 24 1/4″ Measured, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade with a bronze top dovetailed and screw-set to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn leaf and elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a peep sight (none included).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip and crescent buttplate with a sliding door in front of a storage compartment in the butt. The stocks have light-moderate nicks, dings, bruises, scuffs and scratches scattered throughout, more in the buttstock than the forend. The buttstock has a spot of more notable marring on the left behind the bottom tang and some light green residue in and beneath the carving at the heel. The forend has a crack at the right-front edge. The wood is generally proud to the metal. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mottled patina with light wear and scattered solid erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Good-plus condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with well defined rifling, mostly sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is light erosion and some minor pitting scattered in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 50% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. Strongest finish is found in the barrel and magazine tube, though there is some scattered remaining finish on the receiver and sideplates. There are several scattered light nicks, scratches and scrapes, some areas of wear, heaviest in the receiver, and the worn/scratched areas show discoloration from oxidation. There are infrequent spots of minor surface erosion. The lifter shows a mustard patina with the crystalline appearance of old brass. The action shows light-moderate operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots, there are light tool marks around most screw heads. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. There is a lever lock on the lower tang, and a dust cover on the receiver that slides on an integral rail typical of the Third Models. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: One of the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous Winchester rifles was the Winchester Model 1873, known as “The Gun that Won the West” for its predominant role in the hands of Western settlers. The Model 1873 had a steel frame that was much stronger than the brass framed Model 1866, allowing Winchester to develop a family of powerful new cartridges, with Colt usually producing Single Action Army revolvers in the same calibers shortly after they were developed. The .44-40 Win. cartridge, also known as the .44 WCF, was introduced by Winchester in 1873 as Winchester’s first metallic centerfire cartridge with a number of WCF cartridges to follow. Colt produced single action revolvers chambered for the Winchester cartridges as well, allowing users to have a rifle and handgun which shared the same ammunition. The rifle is in about Very Good overall condition, appearing to have had a very useful life. The bore is still fairly nice, though it shows the expected erosion of use with black powder over the last century, there is still some fairly strong blue finish remaining and the rifle is in quite good mechanical condition. It deserves a spot in a collection of lever action rifles next to its 1866, 1876, 1886, 1892 and 1894 cousins. Please see our photos and good luck!