Sold For: $1,665.00
Model: 1873 Rifle
Serial Number: 362708 (The “B” suffix found on the lower tang is technically not part of the serial number but Winchester’s method of tracking the specific mechanical configuration of the receiver group.)
Year of Manufacture: 1890
Caliber: .32-20 Winchester (.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, CT. / KING’S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.” and “32 W.C.F.”. The lower tang is marked “362708” and “B”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL 1873”. The bottom of the brass carrier is marked “32 CAL.”.
Barrel Length: The round barrel is 24 ¼” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a steel bead dovetailed into the barrel. The rear sight is a “U” notched semi-buckhorn elevator sight that is dovetailed into the barrel. There is a Lyman No. 1 Combination Tang Sight mounted on the upper tang. The stem of the sight is marked “PAT. JAN. 29./79.”, which would indicate the sight is a first variation since it does not have the May ’84 patent date. However, the sight does have a spring loaded stem that allows it to lock in the upright position, characteristic of the 2nd Variation. The aperture is large, with a tiny flip-down aperture in its center that can be used for target shooting.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece lacquered walnut that are dark with oil staining around the metal parts and in the wrist. The buttstock has a straight grip and a crescent shaped steel buttplate, and the forend has a steel nosecap. There is a deep bruise on the left side of the wrist, a bruise and several tiny dings in the belly, and a few small dings and several drag lines in the right side of the buttstock. The forend shows several small dings and drag lines, with a small surface chip in the center of its underside. 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 erosion scattered over its surface. The buttplate is in about Very Good condition. The stocks rate in about Very Good to Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The rifle is blued.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright, turning to gray at the muzzle. The rifling shows moderate wear. There are spots of light erosion near the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 40% of its metal finish. There is surface loss on the front edges of the barrel and magazine tube, on the edges of the magazine tube hanger, receiver and the receiver’s sideplates, and on the nosecap. The barrel and magazine tube show thinning with pinprick surface erosion scattered over their surfaces, and both the barrel and the forend’s nosecap have a mottled plum colored patina developing. There are multiple tiny marks scattered along the right side of the magazine tube, with several small scratches in the top and right side of the barrel and a long scratch in the left side of the barrel just above the magazine tube. The receiver and its sideplates show thinning, multiple light scratches and scattered light surface frosting. The carrier has developed a mustard colored patina. The lever shows a few small dings and the lower tang has a mark through the finish from rubbing on the lever. The hammer knurling shows light wear. The screw heads are sharp except for the left sideplate screw, which is disfigured. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about 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 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: The Lyman No. 1 Combination Tang Sight is included.
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. Per Wikipedia: “The .32-20 Winchester, also known as the .32 WCF, was the first small-game lever-action cartridge that Winchester produced. It was initially introduced as a black-powder cartridge in 1882 for small game, varmint hunting, and deer. Colt produced a single-action revolver chambered for this cartridge a few years later. It has a good reputation for accuracy in rifles as well as the few handguns that have been chambered for it. Because of its low power, it destroys very little meat, making it a good hunting round for appropriately sized game.”. Some years back, Paco Kelly wrote an outstanding article for reloading the .32-20 for everything from varmints up to deer, so please see: http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/3220wcf.htm. This rifle was made in 1890 and has a 24 1/4” round barrel and a crescent shaped buttplate. The rifle is in about Fine condition with about 40% of its original finish remaining. The bore is mostly bright, turning gray at the muzzle, with moderate wear in the rifling and a few spots of light erosion near the muzzle. 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.