This deluxe, special order, Winchester Model 1873 Sporting Rifle was manufactured c. 1883. The rifle has a full octagon barrel with half-magazine. The barrel is silver plated. The magazine tip, forearm cap, dust cover, receiver and crescent buttplate are gold-plated. The hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The forearm and pistol grip stock are deluxe, fancy grade, "XXX", walnut with a semi-gloss varnish finish and Winchester "Style H" checkering. The pistol grip has an ebony inlay. The receiver, side plates, dust cover and buttplate heel are decorated with factory scroll engraving that was probably executed by Winchester's master engraver John Ulrich. The left side plate features a circular vignette with a running deer and the right side plate has an unrolled scroll. The engraving style and detail is very similar to the nickel-plated Winchester carbine, serial number 165324, illustrated on pages 440-441 of "THE WINCHESTER NEW MODEL OF 1873, Volume II" by James Gordon. The left side of the lower receiver tang is stamped with the assembly number "117" followed by the wood grade "XXX", the caliber "38" and "R" (rifle). "117" is also stamped in the upper tang inlet of the stock. 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. 1865. OCTOBER 16. 1860." ahead of the rear sight. "38 CAL." is engraved on the top barrel flat ahead of the receiver. "38 CAL" is engraved in script across the cartridge elevator. The upper receiver tang is roll-stamped: " MODEL 1873.-" with simple foliate devices at either end of the marking. The serial number is stamped across the bottom of the lower tang between the lever latch and lower tang screw. The barrel has a dove-tail mounted, sporting style rear sight with nickel-silver blade and sporting style buckhorn rear sight. The Third Model receiver has a integral dust cover rail and dust cover with serrated rear edges. The upper receiver tang is factory drilled and tapped. The crescent buttplate has a sliding trapdoor. Model 1873 rifles and carbines with combination gold and silver-plated finishes are very scarce.
Fine. The period replated silver-plating on the barrel shows scattered flaking and light handling marks. The Winchester legend and caliber markings are sharp. The forearm cap and magazine tip have 60% of the gold-plated finish with handling wear at the junction with the forearm. The delicate period replated gold-plated finish on the receiver and side plates has finish loss on contact points but remains 80% intact. Traces of gold plating are present on the dust cover and crescent buttplate. The flawlessly executed scrollwork engraving and detailed vignette on the receiver, side plates and other components are crisp. The hammer, lever and trigger retain traces of the muted case colors. The refinished deluxe, "XXX", stock and forearm are in very fine condition; 90% of the semi-gloss finish remains, the recut checkering is sharp and the stock and forearm show minimal handling wear. This is an attractive example of a deluxe, special order, factory engraved Winchester Model 1873 Sporting Rifle.
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