Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 29: Winchester 1873 Pistol 44 WCF

Auction Date: September 9, 2016

Outstanding Early Production Winchester First Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Desirable Raised Thumbprint Dust Cover and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $25,000

Outstanding Early Production Winchester First Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Desirable Raised Thumbprint Dust Cover and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 44 WCF
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1238
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 24
Class: Antique

This rifle is accompanied by a letter from the Cody Firearms Museum that describes it as: "Type: Rifle, Barrel Type: Round", and "Barrel Length: 24 inches". The letter states that this rifle was shipped from Winchester on July 3, 1874. This rifle has the distinctive First Model features which include: (1) receiver with grooved dust cover guides, (2) early style dust cover with 1/2 inch, fine checkered, raised, oval finger grip, (3) trigger with no block and (4) threaded magazine cap. The round barrel has a sporting style front sight with nickel-silver blade and short, early sporting style, buckhorn rear sight with angular edges. The barrel has a milled flat behind the rear sight elevator. A folding peep sight is mounted on the receiver tang. The crescent buttplate has a sliding brass trapdoor. The barrel, full length magazine, forearm cap, receiver and dust cover are blued. The loading gate has a fire blue finish. The hammer, trigger and buttplate are color casehardened. The stock and forearm are straight grain American walnut. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING-ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1865. OCTOBER 16. 1860." ahead of the rear sight. There are, correctly, no caliber markings on the barrel or cartridge elevator. The serial number "1349" is stamped with the early style small script numerals between the lever latch and the rear tang screw.

Rating Definition:

Very fine. This early rifle is all original and retains at least 75% plus of the original blue and casehardened finish. The blue finish on the barrel and magazine is thinning on contact points and there are traces of light pitting on both sides of the muzzle below the front sight. The Winchester legend is crisp. The forearm cap, receiver, side plates and dust cover have more than 80% of the blue finish; wear is limited to some finish loss on contact points and some minor scratches. The loading gate retains about 75% of the fire blue finish. The hammer and trigger retain most of the muted case colors with some fading. The case colors on the right side and bottom of the lever have faded to a mottled silver gray. Most of the case colors on the left side of the lever remains. The case colors on the buttplate have faded to a pleasing silver-gray patina. The stock and forearm remain in very good overall condition with only a few very minor handling marks. This is an outstanding example of a rare, early production, Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with the very desirable First Model receiver and raised thumbprint dust cover.

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