Lot 72

Superb High Condition Winchester 1873 38-40 Rifle

Estimate: $7,500 - $8,500

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000
Superb condition Winchester 1873 full octagon sporting rifle in the large and desirable caliber of .38 WCF (also known as .38-40). This outstanding rifle with serial number 366889 comes with an original Winchester factory letter issued by the historical department of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody Firearms Museum in Wyoming. This serial number was researched by the museum staff and located in the original Winchester records. It listed this arm as being a rifle, .38 caliber, octagon barrel and plain trigger that was received in the Winchester warehouse on February 25, 1891 and shipped from the warehouse on August 3, 1891 to order number 7855. This rifle, with standard and unaltered 24” octagon barrel, is in exceptionally excellent condition. The Winchester Model 1873 was a mainstay of the company with over 700,000 produced from 1873 throughout the early 1920s. Those now considered “antique” or pre-1899 are most in demand. Because they were made during the highly corrosive black powder loaded ammunition days, high condition examples are extremely scarce. Additionally, early rifles like this often saw hard frontier usage, which would now be very apparent both externally and internally, making this superior condition example that much more rare and desirable. This 130 year old Winchester retains most of the factory original bright, high polish receiver blue. Further, the dust cover on the receiver is not only intact, but similarly retains excellent blue (dust covers are frequently missing from this model). The hammer retains vivid case color and there is some light case color remaining mainly on the left side of the lever-- any case color is rarely found remaining on early Model 1873s as even exposure to bright sunlight will fade the attractive colors associated with this case hardening process. The barrel retains excellent Winchester address and patent markings and also displays fine deep factory original blue. The barrel is fitted with original Winchester buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and factory Winchester standard nickel silver blade front sight. The tang behind the receiver is also fitted with the optional and desirable Lyman tang sight that is adjustable for elevation. This Lyman sight also retains excellent blue finish. The receiver screws are generally excellent and the uncleaned, mellow brass lifter on the bottom of the receiver is correctly and clearly factory stamped “38 CAL.” The butt stock and forearm on this rifle have the attractive and desirable classic reddish- brown stock finish, which was a trademark of early Winchester walnut stock sets. Both stock and forearm are in excellent condition, showing almost no evidence of handling marks. Wood to metal fit is also very tight, indicating that the wood has not been removed from the rifle for sanding or refinishing. Mechanically, this 1873 is tight and fully functioning. The bore condition is very fine and fairly bright with sharp rifling throughout. The Model 1873 was known as “The Gun that Won the West” and most encountered today show hard use by the hunters, homesteaders, ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws whose lives depended on them. This example, shipped by Winchester in 1891, is in truly outstanding, museum quality condition that is seldom offered on the collector market today. A rare chance to purchase an antique, black powder Model 1873 worthy of the most advanced Winchester collection or museum.
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