Winchester 1873 2nd Model 30″ Set-Trigger .44-40 Lever Rifle, 1879 Antique

SOLD FOR: $3245

LSB#: 230914LM179

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873 Rifle Second Model

Serial Number: 36893

Year of Manufacture: 1879

Caliber: .44-40 Winchester (.44 Winchester Center Fire)

Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine and Single Set-Trigger (we could not get the trigger to set)

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 “U”-notch 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 walnut with capped forend, straight wrist, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is some weathering in the buttstock behind the wrist. The forend has a crack at the right-front. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a light patina with scattered wear and minor surface erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 5 or 6 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. Finish remains only in well protected areas such as portions of the bottom tang covered by the lever and on the bottom of the barrel where protected by the magazine tube. Most other surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina. Some areas show aggressive cleaning. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches with a dent on the top-right of the magazine tube about 5″ behind the magazine bracket. There are some scattered spots of solid erosion. There are tool marks at most screw heads as well as at the hammer-slot on the receiver. The action shows operational wear. The head of the set-trigger adjustment screw is damaged. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with questionably usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle is in Good-plus condition as Antique (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: The set-trigger does not set properly, but does function properly when not set. The hammer is not reliably pushed all the way into full-cock by the bolt when the action is operated, frequently following the bolt to the safety notch when the action is closed. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position. The dust cover slides on a rail which is screwed to the receiver. 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 Records Office records search. The search indicates that this rifle was ordered with a 30″ octagonal barrel and set-trigger on order 18059, shipped November 11, 1879.

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 an iron and later 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.

This example looks like it has had a long and useful life. The rifle shows wear consistent with its age, having a decent bore and needing a little work on its mechanics. The gun was special-ordered with a 30″ barrel and set-trigger, though the set-trigger mechanism will need a little work. The rifle comes with a Cody Firearms Records Office search to confirm its special features and is a nice example of the Winchester 1873. It deserves a spot in a collection of lever action rifles and frontier Americana. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud

Winchester 1873 2nd Model 30" Set-Trigger .44-40 Lever Rifle, 1879 Antique
Winchester 1873 2nd Model 30″ Set-Trigger .44-40 Lever Rifle, 1879 Antique