Winchester 3rd Model 1873 ’73 .44-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1888 Antique

SOLD FOR: $2126

LSB#: 210721TS30

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873 Rifle

Serial Number: 271304B

Year of Manufacture: 1888

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 W.C.F.” behind. The lower tang is marked “271304B”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “44 CAL”.

Barrel Length: 24?, 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 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 scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. Some have damaged portions of the surface wood. 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 mottled patina with light wear. There are some stubborn marker stains on the buttplate. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with worn, but visible rifling. There is light-moderate erosion scattered in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish. Finish remains in protected areas such as the bottom of the barrel, top of the magazine tube and around the sideplates. Other surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are notable tool marks around the lever screw and the top tang screw with lighter tool marks around most other screw heads. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with serviceable slots. 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 fair, though it shows the expected erosion of use with black powder over the last century, and there is still some original blue finish remaining. 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!

Winchester 3rd Model 1873 '73 .44-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1888 Antique
Winchester 3rd Model 1873 ’73 .44-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1888 Antique