Winchester 1873 ’73 3rd Model 38-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle MFD 1888 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1776

LSB#: 210416DC15

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873 Rifle

Serial Number: 259265B

Year of Manufacture: 1888

Caliber: .38-40 Winchester (38 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. / ??IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.” in front of the rear sight and “38 W.C.F.” at the rear. The lower tang is marked “259265B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “38 CAL.”.

Barrel Length: 24″ nominal, 24 1/4″ Measured, Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed 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 steel crescent buttplate with a sliding brass door covering a storage compartment in the butt (there is nothing in the storage compartment). The stocks have some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is some dark discoloration at the edges along the metal. There is a long crack in the left-rear of the forend and a shorter crack in the left-front of the wrist. The wood is generally shy to the metal. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly worn to white with some scattered discoloration from oxidation and minor surface erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Good-Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Some remaining finish is Original, most worn surfaces show treatment with cold blue.

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is light erosion and pitting scattered throughout the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish. Strongest remaining finish is in the bottom of the barrel and top of the magazine tube with some other scattered spots of blue remaining. Most surfaces are worn to white with the milky-gray hue of old, worn cold blue. There is light surface erosion and discoloration from oxidation scattered throughout. There are some nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The dust cover is slightly loose on its rail. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in about Good-Very Good condition as partially refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The lever safety appears to be in the bottom tang, but does not protrude and is not currently functioning properly. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. There is a lever lock on the lower tang, and a dust cover rail on the receiver, typical of the Third Models. The dust cover has some play to the rail, but is properly retracted by the bolt when the action is operated. We have not fired this rifle. 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 .38-40 Win. cartridge, also known as the .38 WCF, was introduced by Winchester in 1879. It is essentially a slightly necked-down .44-40 with a slightly smaller bullet typically achieving slightly higher velocity. This Model 1873 Rifle was made in 1888 and has a 24” round barrel chambered for 38-40. It appears to have had a long and useful life with honest wear. This would make a great addition to a Winchester or early cartridge rifle collection, and will display well with its “been there, done that” appearance. Please see our photos and good luck!

Winchester 1873 '73 3rd Model 38-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle MFD 1888 Antique
Winchester 1873 ’73 3rd Model 38-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle MFD 1888 Antique