Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1015: Winchester Deluxe Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

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

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $35,000 - $65,000

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

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 38 WCF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: highly figured checkered
Item Views: 652
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 21
Class: Antique

Known simply as “The Gun that Won the West,” the Winchester Model 1873 Rifle stands as an icon of American firepower on the open frontier that still resonates with modern collectors. High condition examples are always in demand, especially those with special order features such as this example. On this rifle there are several highly sought after special order features. The included factory letter lists this deluxe Model 1873 with an octagon barrel, plain trigger, checkered pistol grip stock, a "new Lyman" sight, shotgun butt (currently a Swiss buttplate), and casehardened receiver. The letter also states the rifle was received in the warehouse on April 7, 1885 and shipped the same day. As listed in the Winchester 1875 catalog, the optional finish for a "fancy walnut stock" cost at least $5.00 extra. Special features such as deluxe wood were generally considered too costly and unnecessary for the average customer looking for a reliable "working man's gun." Finding a deluxe Model 1873 in any condition is becoming increasingly difficult. The casehardened third model receiver features an integral dust cover rail and dust cover with serrations at the rear. The rifle is fitted with a combination Beach front sight, and elevation adjustable rear sight and a folding tang peep sight. The upper barrel flat is stamped with the two-line Winchester New Haven address and King's improvement patent dates ahead of the rear sight and "38 CAL" at the breech. The cartridge elevator is marked "38 CAL." The buttstock is fitted with a silver plated brass Swiss style buttplate (not listed in factory letter). The back of the unique, possibly one-of-a-kind special buttplate lacks an assembly number. Mounted on a highly figured "H" pattern checkered forearm and pistol grip stock with an ebony insert in the pistol grip. The barrel, magazine, and dust cover are blued, the loading gate is nitre blue, the buttplate is silver plated, and the remaining surfaces are casehardened.

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine. The barrel and magazine retain 85% plus original blue finish with thinning to brown on the balance. 90% original blue remains on the dust cover. 60% original nitre blue remains on the loading gate. 98% age darkened original silver plating remains on the buttplate. The receiver retains 60% plus original case colors. The lever, hammer and forend cap retain 70% plus original case colors. The wood is very fine with a few dings, a number of scratches and overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. A high condition deluxe Model 1873 Rifle that will be a welcomed addition to any Winchester collection.

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