Sold For: $2,855.00
Model: 1873 Rifle
Serial Number: 283720 (The “B” suffix found on the lower tang is technically not part of the serial number but Winchesters method of tracking the specific mechanical configuration of the receiver group.)
Year of Manufacture: November 1888
Caliber: .44-40 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.” and “44 W.C.F.”. The lower tang is marked “283720 B”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL 1873”. The bottom of the brass carrier is marked “44 CAL.”.
Barrel Length: The octagon barrel is 24 ¼” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a modern silver bead dovetailed into the barrel. The base of the sight is slightly narrower than the width of the dovetail. The rear sight is a “U” notched semi-buckhorn elevator sight that is dovetailed into the barrel. The upper tang is drilled, tapped and filled for an aperture sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece walnut that are dark with oil staining around the metal parts. There is an area on the left side of the buttstock that shows several small dings, and there are several more scattered over the rest of the buttstock and forend. The forend also has several deeper dings, a few of which are dark with oil staining. The wood to metal fit is excellent. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate has developed a mottled dark patina, with light to moderate wear at the heel and toe, and light pitting scattered over its surface. The buttplate is in about Good condition. The stocks rate in about Very Good to Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The rifle is blued with a case colored lever.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling shows moderate to heavy wear. There is light erosion throughout the bore with moderate erosion 3-6” from the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 60% of its metal finish. There is surface loss at the front of the barrel and magazine tube, the magazine tube’s hanger, the nosecap, and the edges of the barrel, receiver and the receiver’s sideplates, with thinning on the remainder of the surfaces. There are small spots of solid erosion scattered over the magazine tube, the front half of the barrel, the receiver and its sideplates, with larger scabs scattered over the lever. There are light handling marks scattered over the barrel and receiver with a few small dings in the barrel and scratches in the upper and lower tangs. The bottom of the carrier shows a few light marks and small dings. The thinned areas of the barrel, magazine tube and nosecap are developing a plum colored patina, while the carrier has developed a mustard colored patina. The hammer knurling shows light wear. Except for the fill screws in the upper tang and the dust cover screw, which are sharp, the screw heads all show marks of a screwdriver and the lever screw is badly disfigured. The markings are all clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good to Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. The hammer has a half-cock safety position, there is an operable lever safety, and there is a dust cover on the receiver that slides on an integral rail typical of the Third 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 letter from the Winchester Repeating Fire Arms Co. that states this rifle was made in November 1888, with an octagon barrel and plain trigger.
Our Assessment: Per Wikipedia: “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. was the first metallic centerfire cartridge manufactured by Winchester, and was promoted as the standard chambering for the new rifle in 1873. Settlers, lawmen and cowboys appreciated the convenience of being able to carry a single caliber of ammunition which they could fire in both pistol and rifle. The .44-40 was a very potent pistol cartridge for its time, and became very popular. It is second only to the .30-30 Win. for the number of deer it has killed.”. This 3rd Model 1873 Rifle was made in November of 1888, and comes with a letter from Winchester. The rifle is blued with a 24 ¼” octagon barrel and is chambered in .44-40 W.C.F. The rifle is in about Very Good to Fine condition with about 60% of its original metal finish remaining and a nice stock set to top it off. The wood to metal fit on this rifle is excellent. This is a very nice looking rifle and we don’t see many with an original finish and a nearly perfect wood to metal fit. This rifle is sure to end up in a Winchester collection next to its 1866, 1886, 1892 and 1894 cousins.