SOLD FOR: $2525
Model: 1873 Saddle Ring Carbine
Serial Number: 48121
Year of Manufacture: 1880
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester (44 Winchester Center Fire)
Action Type: Lever Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine
Barrel Length: 20″, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the barrel behind the front barrel band. The rear sight is a two-position folding which presents a “V”-notch on one leaf, the other has an aperture with a “V”-notch at the bottom marked 3 and a “V”-notch at the top marked 5. The top tang is NOT drilled or tapped for a tang sight.
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 (nothing in the compartment). The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are areas of discoloration. There are cracks in the buttstock by the bottom tang and at the buttplate’s tang in the comb. There is a crack in the bottom-front of the forend. There are a few small losses around the edges. The wood is generally shy to the metal. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a moderate-dark patina with scattered minor erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Good condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Most surfaces appear to have been intentionally polished bright, but there is no evidence of a new finish being applied.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is erosion and pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 4 or 5 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 7% of its metal finish. There is infrequent remaining finish with most surfaces appearing to have been intentionally polished bright. There is some scattered oxidation and erosion. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches, most notable at the barrel address. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from lightly tool marked to disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. There is a lever lock on the lower tang, a lever safety, and a dust cover on the receiver that slides on a screw set rail, typical of the Second Models. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with a Winchester Factory Records letter which indicates that it was originally produced as a carbine in 1880.
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 with 20″ barrel which looks like it has had a long and useful life. Despite its outward appearance, the mechanics are still strong and the bore is decent. 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. It may also be a good candidate for a restoration. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud