Winchester Model 1873 Rifle, 44 CAL
Guns International #: 100887309 Seller's Inventory #:
Category: Winchester Rifles - Antique Lever - Winchester Rifles - Model 1873
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Seller: Brent Wilburn
Company: Antique Arms, Inc.
Member Since: 11/19/15
First Name: Brent
Last Name: Wilburn
Country: United States
Phone: (770) 466-1662
Number of Active Listings: 19
Seller: Private Seller
Return Policy: 3 day inspection and return policy on used guns.
Payment Types Accepted: Money Order, Certified Check
Winchester 1873 in very high condition with a few cosmetic blemishes. It's a Standard production rifle in 44-40 with a 24" Octagon Barrel, Full Magazine, and Crescent Buttstock. Antique Pre-1898 Serial Number is in the 473,000 range and was made in 1894. I walked a large show for 3 days...from set up to pack up...and this was my best find! In terms of Condition, it has most of its original blue and case colors on the hammer and lever which are still bright! Loading port is still bright fire blue. The action is perfect and shows very little use with much of the original blue still on the bolt and firing pin...high wear areas that are the first places to wear off. The bore is bright and shiny with very strong lands and grooves...almost MINT! The walnut stocks still have most of the original varnish on them. That is the good news. Now for the bad news. The top of the barrel, dust cover and a couple of places on the bottom of the magazine tube had some rust spots that affected the original blue. We carefully removed the rust so as not to harm the original finish but there are some light pits in some of these areas. Fortunately, these areas are fairly isolated and not visible on the left and right profiles of the rifle. There are also some significant dings on the right side of the forearm just ahead of the receiver and a few more elsewhere. Wood is solid with no chips, cracks, or repairs. If not for the neglect and abuse, this would probably easily be an $8-10K 1873 Winchester but it is so far above the one in my collection (which is a solid NRA Antique Fine) in terms of blue and case colors, that I'm tempted to keep it. It's 100% original down to the smallest screw.
I don't have the specific history on this rifle but given its serial range, high condition, and the neglect areas, it is almost identical to one we had a few years ago who told us their father had purchased it with several muskets in high condition back in the 1950's. As the story goes, which is well known by older Winchester collectors, in the 1950's a large group of 1873 Muskets was discovered South of the Border in some sort of Gov't arsenal. They brought back and sold by a dealer in New York in a mail order brochure. As muskets comprised only 5% of 1873 production and most shipped overseas, this must have been an exciting find as they were quite rare in the United States back then. They were sold in 4 grades of condition and price. Grades I and II ranged from Fine to nearly Mint Condition as many were still in the original crates. In the brochure the dealer mentions that in addition to the Muskets, he has 68 Rifles, all in 44-40 with Octagon Barrels with original blue finish. Obviously, these rifles came in with the same group of muskets but once sold, quickly blended into the market and the story lost to time. I'm not saying this is one but it sure fits the look, configuration, and general serial range of the one we had several years ago that came from a family that shared this info. Since then, we located one of the original brochures and it mentions these rifles. I will be happy to furnigh a copy of it with the rifle. This rifle has the same type of storage neglect...small areas of pitting from sitting in a crate for many years as many of the muskets. The dings in the stock are similar as well. How did this occur? Who in their right mind would bang up a nearly Mint 1873 so carelessly? In order to save money on shipping 65 years ago, it is said the shipper pulled them from their original crates and shipped back in bundles...with little to no packing...hence the scratches and dings on the wood.
At any rate, the 44's with octagon barrels is the configuration that everyone wants. No compromising for a round barrel, a smaller caliber, or a non-antique serial number. If there is a collector out there who wants an 1873 in high condition to fuel their original blue and case colors addiction, but can't afford a Minty New England Closet Gun, this Rifle is for you!
Caliber: 44 WCF
Barrel Type: Octagon
Manufacture Date: 1894