Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 33: Special Order Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2020

Documented Special Order Extra Length Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Extremely Rare Factory Birds Eye Maple Stock and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $4,500 - $7,000

Documented Special Order Extra Length Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Extremely Rare Factory Birds Eye Maple Stock and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 WCF
Barrel: 28 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: birds maple
Item Views: 2370
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 27
Class: Antique
Description:

Manufactured in 1886 with several special order features. The accompanying factory letter lists this rifle with an extra length 28 inch octagon barrel, set trigger and bird's eye maple stock (all special order features) when received in the warehouse on July 3, 1886 and shipped the same day. The barrel is fitted with a dovetail sight base (blade absent) and an elevation adjustable rear sight and is marked with the two-line address/patent dates marking ahead of the rear sight and "44 CAL." The third model receiver has a dust cover with grip serrations at the rear. The model designation is stamped on the upper tang, and the caliber designation is stamped on the cartridge elevator. The buttstock is fitted with a trapdoor crescent buttplate (cleaning rod not included). The left side of the lower tang is marked "EM 1049 XX EM." The assembly number "1049" is repeated on the stock inlet and buttplate. The 28 inch barrel is a special order feature as the standard rifle length was 24 inches. "Comparatively few Winchesters were made with non-standard length barrels," noted Winchester author George Madis. Set triggers were available on the Model 1873 but only as a special order feature and are generally found on Model 1873 without other special features. As for the bird's eye maple stock, it is certainly a rarely encountered special order feature on any Winchester. This Model 1873 has an extremely scarce combination of special order features that this writer has never cataloged before.

Rating Definition:

Very good. One look at this rifle and you immediately know that this Model 1873 was special ordered to be used for what it was designed for. The Model 1873 didn't earn the title "the gun that won the West" for sitting in a cabinet! The rifle proudly displays its well-worn character as a badge of honor. Traces of original blue finish remain in the protected areas, otherwise the rifle has a mixed brown-gray patina. The refinished wood is also very good with a repaired chip on the forearm. The bird's eye grain remains distinct. Mechanically needs work as trigger does not set and hammer does not hold at the half cock position. A special order Model 1873 that is definitely missing from even the most advanced Winchester collections.



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