Winchester 3rd Model 1873 ’73 .32-20 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1887 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1259

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873 Rifle

Serial Number: 229513B

Year of Manufacture: 1887

Caliber: .32-20 Winchester (32 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 “32 W.C.F.” at the rear. The lower tang is marked “229513B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “32 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 front sight appears to be installed backward. 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, straight comb and steel crescent-style buttplate. The stocks have scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches with a few more notable dings. There is a gouge at the rear of the forend on the bottom-left. The stocks appear as though they may have seen some light sanding, but are still well fit to the metal, generally proud with a small gap between the forend and its cap. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 12 5/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has has gone to a moderate-dark patina with some scattered spots of solid erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Good-Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: No original finish remains, we believe that the loading gate has been refinished due to the disparity between the strength of its finish and the other surfaces.

Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray. The rifling is fairly strong, sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: The only remaining finish is in the loading gate. Other surfaces have gone to a fairly uniform light-moderate patina, the sideplates show some wear giving them a lighter color. There are scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are patches of more notable nicks on the rear of the right sideplate and the right of the frame. There are tool marks at some of the screw heads. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The bottom tang mounting screw on the right of the frame is a replacement, its head is smaller than its socket. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle is in about Good-Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is a lever lock on the lower tang, and a dust cover on a rail on the receiver, typical of the Third Models. 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 .32-20 Win. cartridge was a very popular cartridge in its day which would put food on the table, protect livestock and defend hearth and home. It was once a favorite with farmers, ranchers, pot hunters and trappers. This Model 1873 rifle shows its age, but despite being nearly 140 years old, the rifle retains strong mechanics. This would make a nice 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 3rd Model 1873 '73 .32-20 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1887 Antique
Winchester 3rd Model 1873 ’73 .32-20 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1887 Antique