This extremely scarce Model 1873 musket was assembled on 19 April 1879 as a prototype for a possible military arm for the Spanish government. In regards to this potential contract, it is said, that no custom demanded and received more special treatment for such little return in sales and business. The receiver is the Second Model pattern with dust cover rail retained by two screws and dust cover with a thumb print grip. Unlike the 1873 muskets that entered full production, with their three barrel bands and jointed cleaning rods, this example only has one barrel band and a forend cap with a special ring on the left to retain the solid cleaning rod. The barrel is marked with the standard two-line address/King's patent marking, Winchester factory oval proofs on the barrel and receiver at the breech (added in 1943), and the model designation on the upper tang. The barrel is fitted with a blade front sight that doubles as a bayonet lug and a military pattern folding ladder rear sight. The loading port on the right side of the receiver was machined slightly longer than standard by the factory, but it was fitted with a standard sized loading gate, as requested by the Spanish government. Mounted with a smooth full-length forearm and straight grip stock with sling swivels and a carbine style buttplate. Includes a socket bayonet. The included Buffalo Bill Historical Center letter that prior to being transferred to them, this rifle was part of the Pugsley Collection which was owned by Olin Corporation's Winchester Gun Museum. Edwin Pugsley was a longtime superintendent at Winchester Repeating Arms Company, as well as an accomplished arms collector. A copy of Pugsley's original collection catalogue card is also included that confirms the configuration of the musket as well as stating that it was refinished by Winchester Repeating Arms Co. in 1943 and presented to him by T.G. Bennett on 2 February 1943. This musket is pictured on p. 202 of "The Winchester Book" by Madis along with the carbine consecutively serialized after it, 33904. Both of these guns are also pictured on p. 509 of "Winchester's Model of 1873 A Tribute: Vol. II" by James Gordon. Gordon states that only 84 of these "Spanish Model" muskets were ever manufactured. Gordon goes on to state that, of those 84, only five are known to have survived, with most being retained in museums, making this an incredibly rare opportunity to add a truly scarce and desirable Winchester variation to your collection!
Very fine, retaining 98% of the factory refinished blue with a few scattered light handling marks and some light edge/muzzle wear. The factory refinished wood is also very fine with some scattered light dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. An incredibly rare and desirable variation of the Winchester Model 1873 Musket that would be a welcome addition to any Winchester lever action collection!
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