SOLD FOR: $2700
Model: 1873 Rifle
Serial Number: 197347B
Year of Manufacture: 1886, Shipped 5/5/1886
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 “197347B”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “44 CAL”.
Barrel Length: 26? Standard Weight Barrel, .81” at the Muzzle
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade 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 factory 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 more finish than the forearm and the bruising has darkened the wood. The wood to metal fit is great and about 30% of the woods finish is retained. 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 Very Good 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 frame, though there is some scattered remaining finish on the receiver sideplates and tube. 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 age. There are infrequent spots of surface erosion. The lifter shows a mustard patina with the crystalline appearance of old brass. There is a scratch to the l;eft shoulder of the barrel about halfway between the forearm and the front sight. This scratch shows bright metal. The action shows light operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Fine condition as Antique and is far more attractive than most from this vintage.
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: A copy of the Cody search results is included.
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 to Fine overall condition, appearing to have had a very useful life with lots of care and love. This is exactly how colectors like to find them, attractive and unmoleted. Tthe 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!