Winchester 3rd Model 1873 ’73 .44-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1886 Antique

SOLD FOR: $2014

LSB#: 211027DC06

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873

Serial Number: 203560B

Year of Manufacture: 1886

Caliber: .44-40 WCF

Action Type: Lever Action Rifle 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” at the rear. The lower tang is marked “203560B”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “44 CAL.”.

Barrel Length: 24 ¼”, Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a 21-Series blade dovetailed and screw-set to the front of the barrel. The front sight is marked “PAT. / NOV. 4. 1902” and is not original to the rifle. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb, 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. The forend has a very small loss on the top-left edge at the front. There are no cracks. The LOP measures 12 3/4? from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has significant erosion in the face with scattered light surface oxidation and wear. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is worn, but visible. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 25% of its metal finish. Finish remains mostly in protected areas such as the bottom of the barrel, top of the magazine tube, on the bottom tang above the lever, around the hammer and around the edges of the sideplates. Most other surfaces have gone to a light patina or worn to white with scattered light surface erosion. There are several scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. There are tool marks around most screw heads. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle rates in Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: The barrel is only finger-tight to the receiver, and can be turned a little by hand, limited by the magazine bracket. Otherwise, the action functions properly. The lever has moderate play and does not lock up tightly. The lever safety is present as is the lever-lock. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

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 including the .38-40. 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 1873 has a mythic status among both firearms enthusiasts and fans of the Old West in general, even inspiring the 1950 movie “Winchester ’73” starring Jimmy Stewart.

The .44-40 Win. cartridge, also known as the .44 WCF, was introduced by Winchester in 1873 as the original chambering for this model. It was very popular in its day and still has a devoted following today among fans of the American West as well as Cowboy Action Shooting competitors.

This Model 1873 Rifle was made in 1886 and looks like it served generations well and has honest wear consistent with more than a century of use. The barrel is only finger-tight to the receiver and the lever has moderate play, but otherwise the rifle still retains good mechanics. This would be a nice rifle to add to a Winchester collection missing the classic Model 1873. It would also be an excellent candidate for restoration.

Please see our photos and good luck!

Winchester 3rd Model 1873 '73 .44-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1886 Antique
Winchester 3rd Model 1873 ’73 .44-40 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1886 Antique