SOLD FOR: $3025
Model: 1873 Saddle-Ring Carbine
Serial Number: 245971B
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.” at the rear. The lower tang is marked “245971B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “44 CAL.”.
Barrel Length: 20?, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade integral to a base fixed to the front of the barrel behind the front band. The top of the blade is broken off. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight, presenting a “V”-notch when folded down. When folded up, the ladder has a “V”-notched slider. The ladder is marked from “0” to “9” and is marked “1873” at the top.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with banded forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel carbine-style buttplate with sliding-door storage compartment (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is some evidence of sanding below the comb on the right. There are no chips or cracks, but there is some sort of fill behind the tangs in the wrist. The LOP measures 12 7/8? from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a fairly even moderate patina with wear at the heel and toe as well as some scattered minor surface erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-Fine condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Some remaining finish may be original, the surfaces show treatment with cold-blue in the distant past.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray with well defined rifling. There is light-moderate erosion and pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 3 or 4 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 5% of its metal finish. There is some blue remaining around the edges of the sideplates and on the left of the receiver around the saddle ring. Other surfaces have mostly worn to white or show a light gray color consistent with old, worn cold-blue. There are scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches as well as some spots of light surface erosion which are mostly scrubbed out. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to slightly disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The hammer can be dropped from the half-cock position by pulling the trigger. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. There is a dust cover on a rail on the receiver, typical of the Third Models. The lever-safety functions properly. 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 .44-40 Win. cartridge was one of the most popular cartridges of the era, able to take game as large as deer.
This example is a saddle ring carbine and looks like it has had a long and useful life. Made in 1888, the rifle still has fairly strong mechanics, though the hammer can be dropped from the half-cock position by pulling the trigger. This would make a great 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!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud