Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 10: Exceptional Documented Special Order, Winchester Model 1873

Auction Date: April 13, 2018

Exceptional Documented Special Order, Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Sporting Rifle with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $13,000 - $17,000

Exceptional Documented Special Order, Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Sporting Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 38 WCF
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1400
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 18
Class: Antique

Special order Winchester Third Model 1873 Sporting Rifle with Cody Firearm Museum letter and evaluation letter by George Madis. The Cody Museum letter describes this rifle as: "Rifle, 38 Caliber, Round barrel" and "Plain trigger" and states that it was shipped from Winchester on October 5, 1885. The rifle has the Third Model receiver with integral dust cover rail and dust cover with serrated rear edges. The 24-inch round barrel has a special order Beach folding combination front sight and standard sporting style buckhorn rear sight. A special order Winchester folding graduated peep sight with 50 minute leaf is mounted on the receiver tang. The receiver has the stepped top found on .38, .32 and .22 caliber rifles. The crescent buttplate has a sliding brass trap door and the butt trap contains a four-piece, jointed, steel cleaning rod with brass tip. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING-ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1865. OCTOBER 16. 1860." in two lines ahead of the rear sight. "38-CAL" is roll-stamped on the top of the barrel just ahead of the receiver. "38 CAL." is roll-stamped in script letters and numerals across the bottom of the brass cartridge elevator. The serial number is stamped in script numerals on the lower tang between the lever latch and the rear tang screw. The barrel, magazine, forearm cap, dust cover and receiver have a blue finish. The loading gate is a fiery niter blue. The hammer, trigger, lever and crescent buttplate have a subdued casehardened finish. The stock and forearm are nicely grained, "Extra Finish" walnut with a piano finish. The evaluation letter by author and Winchester expert George Madis states that he examined this rifle and found that the blue and casehardened finish were original and unaltered and that the stock and forearm retained "a high degree of original finish". The letter further states that both the Beach front sight and tang sight are original to the rifle and that the combination of round barrel with special order front and tang sights, blue receiver and extra finish stock and forearm are a "comparatively unusual combination". The Madis letter concludes that this rifle is in unusually fine condition".

Rating Definition:

Excellent. This rifle is all original with only very minimal storage and handling wear. The barrel and magazine have 95% of the blue finish and perfect markings. The Beach front sight retains nearly all of the gold-plated finish. The forearm cap and dust cover have 95% of the blue with traces of handling wear. There is some edge wear on the stepped forward edges of the receiver but the balance of the receiver has 98% of the original finish. The loading gate retains 98% of the fire blue finish. The hammer, trigger and lever have 98% of the original case colors. The case colors on the contact points on the buttplate have faded but the buttplate retains 90% of the casehardened finish. The extra finish stock and forearm are in excellent condition and retain 98% of the original piano finish with a few scattered and very insignificant handling marks. This is an excellent, fully documented example of a special order Winchester Model 1873 sporting rifle.

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