SOLD FOR: $1480
Model: 1873 Rifle
Serial Number: 447148B
Year of Manufacture: 1893
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, CONN. U.S.A. / -KING’S 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 “447148B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “38 CAL.”.
Barrel Length: 28″ nominal, 27 7/8″ Measured, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The top of the blade has broken off. The rear sight is a folding “U”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled and tapped with a folding tang sight installed, adjustable for windage and elevation.
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 scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is some dark discoloration at the edges along the metal. The wood is generally shy to the metal. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has some light nicks, scratches and surface oxidation with more notable oxidation at the heel. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling, generally sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is scattered light-moderate erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 93% of its current metal finish. There are some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are tool marks at the front sight. There is infrequent minor surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, some have soft edges but are legible. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The lever safety is missing. Otherwise, the action functions correctly and quite smoothly, likely having been slicked up by a gunsmith. 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 1893 and has a special-order 28” octagonal barrel chambered for 38-40. It has been restored at some point and looks like it served someone well as a shooter with its new sights. The front sight will need to be replaced, but it looks like it still has a lot of life left in it. With its uncommon barrel length, it could also make a nice addition to a Winchester collection. Please see our photos and good luck!