North American Auction Company
Live Auction

Legends of the West: Western & Native American Sale

Sat, Sep 23, 2023 11:00AM EDT
Lot 163

RARE Winchester 1873 .38-40 Lever Action Rifle

Estimate: $5,200 - $6,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Winchester 1873 EXTREMELY RARE SPECIAL ORDER EXTRA LONG 30 INCH octagon barrel rifle in desirable, large caliber .38-40 with non-standard special shotgun butt stock, serial number 106625 made during the Indian Wars/Frontier Period of 1882. Winchester made over 720,000 Model 1873 rifles and carbines. According to the standard reference: The Winchester Handbook, by George Madis, of this huge number of 1873s only 1201 rifles had barrels longer than the standard length of 24”. Madis further indicates only 1286 Model 1873s had special butt plates from the standard crescent butt plates on rifles and carbine butt plates on saddle ring carbines. Considering that Winchester offered extra long lengths all the way to 36” in round barrels, octagon barrels and half-octagon barrels, there could only be a handful of 30” length octagon barrel rifles manufactured...and of these the survival rate would have to be even smaller. Add to this the shotgun butt, this makes this rifle one of a very few in existence today. Interestingly, it seems most special order long barrel rifles were in the smaller caliber .32-20, again, making this example even more rare in the large .38-40 chambering. This is the classic “Gun That Won the West!” An early and fine condition example, this 141 year old Winchester still retains fine deep aged blue patina on the barrel and magazine. The special order long 30” octagon barrel also retains excellent and clear Winchester markings. Walnut butt stock is in very fine condition with only normal surface handling marks and shows very desirable tight wood to metal fit, indicating that this rifle’s wood has never been sanded. Like the barrel, the receiver is an uncleaned natural aged blue/plum patina. This fine 1873 rifle also retains a very tight action and strong springs. The sliding dust cover on the receiver top is intact (these are usually missing) and the loading gate retains good deep original blue. The un-polished brass lifter on the receiver bottom is correctly engraved with “38 CAL” and shows an attractive mellow patina. The lever catch is also intact. Additionally, it is fitted with a desirable Lyman tang sight, original buckhorn rear barrel sight with elevator bar intact and a small Rocky Mountain blade front sight. This superior, large caliber Model 1873 is in better condition than normally encountered on the collector market today. Even the bore is in good condition and shows strong rifling. A fine example of a rifle produced in a factory before the use of electricity that is as good and solid today as it was on the day it was made. The Model 1873 was the standard for lever actions throughout the Frontier Period in the West which, in some areas, lasted well into the twentieth century. Most surviving specimens show heavy use and often abuse with broken or missing parts making this example far better than normally encountered. This rifle, in the very rare and desirable extra long barrel length of 30 inches in the large caliber .38-40 plus special shotgun butt would be a prize for any Winchester or Old West collection. A rare opportunity to acquire a nearly unique Model 1873 special order rifle. Serial Number: 106625. This firearm qualifies as an Antique, and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.

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