This is an exceptional example of a special order Winchester deluxe Model 1873 lever action rifle manufactured in 1881. The factory letter confirms the half octagon barrel, plain trigger, checkered pistol grip stock with shotgun butt, 1/2 magazine, and casehardened finish. It was received in the warehouse on October 4, 1881, and shipped the next day in order 27418. This rifle has the Second Model receiver with screw fastened dust cover rail and late pattern dust cover with serrated finger grip. The barrel has an express style front sight with nickel silver blade and buckhorn sporting style rear sight with flat top and knurled edges. The upper receiver tang is factory drilled and tapped. The barrel has the Winchester commercial blue finish, and the dust cover, loading gate and buttplate have a bright blue finish. The receiver, forearm cap, hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured, piano-finished, fancy grade American walnut. The forearm and pistol grip have Winchester "Style H" checkering. The stock has a horn insert on the pistol grip and a shotgun style steel buttplate. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1856. OCTOBER 16. 1860." ahead of the rear sight. The barrel and cartridge elevator are correctly not stamped with a caliber designation. The upper tang is roll-stamped: "MODEL 1873" in fancy letters. The serial number "74291" is stamped in small script numerals between the lever latch and rear tang screw.
Exceptionally fine. The barrel has at least 90% of the original blue finish remaining. Wear is limited to several barely detectable spots of age discoloration at the muzzle and along the right side of the barrel. The top rear and front sight blade are a period modification using the original bases. The barrel markings are extremely sharp. The loading gate and dust cover retain more than 95% of the bright blue finish. The shotgun style buttplate has some edge wear and a few spots of age discoloration with about 70% of the blue finish remaining. The receiver, forearm cap, hammer, trigger and lever retain 75% plus of the original case colors. The case colors have faded slightly with age but show minimal handling wear. The highly figured walnut stock and forearm retain at least 90% of the piano finish. The checkering on the forearm and pistol grip is sharp. The horn pistol grip inlay has a hairline crack and has partially faded to a brown patina. The stock and forearm have a few scattered and very minor handling marks but remain in very fine to excellent condition. This is an excellent example of a scarce and very desirable special order Winchester Deluxe Model 1873 lever action rifle.
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