Lot 13

Winchester Model 1873 .32-20 Lever Action Rifle

Estimate: $1,950 - $2,800

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
Featured in this lot is a very early Winchester Model 1873 rifle produced with desirable 24” octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent butt plate and chambered for the popular .32 Winchester Center Fire cartridge with leather saddle scabbard. It is serial number 315817, indicating a manufacture date of 1889. The .32 Winchester Center Fire cartridge (better known today as the .32-20) was first introduced in 1882. According to the standard reference work, “THE WINCHESTER HANDBOOK” by George Madis, along with the .38-40 introduced about this time, sales for rifles in these two chamberings were slow; early examples in these calibers were very scarce. The Model 1873 is the famed “Gun That Won the West,” and undoubtedly one of Winchester’s earliest and most popular repeating rifles. This fine example is typical of those found in every barn, saddle scabbard, and behind every ranch house kitchen door during the Frontier Years. Made uninterruptedly from 1873 through 1923, the 1873 is perhaps the most iconic of Winchester’s early products and found favor with hunters, trappers, ranchers, farmers, cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws. It was, and still is, known for having the smoothest action of any Winchester model. Its mechanism has few internal parts and, by removing the side plates, is extremely simple to clean and repair if needed. This was a huge selling point in sparsely populated areas where a gunsmith might be many days’ ride away. A frontiersman or hunter with a few spare parts and a screwdriver would never have to worry about his rifle going out of service. This rifle is a particularly attractive example with deep aged blue appearance on the barrel, magazine tube, and receiver. The loading gate retains very fine blue and the screw heads are also in generally fine condition. Further, it retains the original dust cover and the mellow brass lifter on the bottom of the receiver is correctly engraved “32 CAL” and has never been polished. Frequently dust covers are missing, but this rifle has managed to retain the original dust cover. The walnut butt stock and forearm also show no signs of being sanded or replaced. There is a very old and worn-in sliver on the left side of the fore-end, just ahead of the receiver, that blends in almost unnoticed and does not detract from the rifle’s frontier appearance. The wood to metal fit is tight and the steel butt plate has no provision for a trapdoor for cleaning rods, which is correct for the .32-20 chambered Model 1873—only the .38-40 and .44-40 caliber rifles had the sliding trap in the butt plate. The correct Winchester markings and patent dates on the barrel and upper tang are sharp and clear and the mechanism is fine. The bore is in surprisingly fine condition, with good rifling all the way through and little of the roughness that one would certainly expect of such an early black powder era Winchester. The barrel retains a buckhorn rear sight and the original standard Winchester blade front sight. The included Brauer Bros., St Louis marked leather saddle scabbard fits this rifle perfectly and is in fine condition overall, with all sewn seams intact and firm. This is a very handsome and original 132 year old Model 1873 rifle that only recently came out of Arizona. It would be difficult to find an earlier production Model 1873 in this scarce caliber. This firearm qualifies as an Antique and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.