SOLD FOR: $1725
Model: 1873 Rifle
Serial Number: 354348B
Year of Manufacture: 1890
Caliber: .32-20 WCF (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, CONN. U.S.A. / -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 “354348B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “32 CAL.”.
Barrel Length: 30″, Octagonal
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 notch is fine-adjustable for elevation. 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 light nicks, scuffs and scratches scattered throughout. There is a little bit of more notable scraping on the left-front of the forend and a few scattered more notable dings and scratches. There are a few very minor losses around the edges of the wood and there is some discoloration where the wood meeets metal. There are no 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 light-moderate patina with scraping at the heel and some scattered solid erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Good-Very Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray. The rifling is worn, but visible. There is scattered light-moderate erosion and light pitting in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 8% of its metal finish. The strongest finish is on the bottom tang and bottom of the receiver around the trigger. There is some finish in other protected areas such as around the edges of the sideplates and the raidused edges at the front and rear of the receiver flats. Most other surfaces appear to have been scrubbed bright and now show sctatered discoloration from oxidation. There are several scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The front of the receiver on each side and the left-rear of the barrel show marks consistent with a vise. There is infrequent surface erosion. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle is in about Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The follower spring appears a little weak and the follower sticks, this may clear up with a patient cleaning. Otherwise, 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: This rifle comes with a Cody Firearms Museum letter confirming that this rifle was made as a 32 caliber, 30″ octagonal barrel with plain trigger, received in the warehouse October 3, 1890 and shipped January 25, 1892 on order number 18989.
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 looks better than any of us will at 132 years old! The included Cody Firearms Museum letter confirms that this rifle shipped in its current configuration with a longer 30″ barrel and chambered for .32-20. 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!