Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3010: Winchester Model 1873 .22 Rimfire Takedown Rifle

Auction Date: August 28, 2022

Scarce Winchester Model 1873 .22 Rimfire Takedown Rifle with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $22,500

Scarce Winchester Model 1873 .22 Rimfire Takedown Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 22 RF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 863
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 9
Class: Antique

Offered here is a highly sought after Winchester Model 1873 .22 Rimfire rifle in scarce takedown configuration and excellent condition. Per Winchester expert and author, George Madis, "[T]he model '73 chambered for .22 rimfire cartridge was first offered in 1884. After serial number 145,000 model 1873 rifles in caliber 22 appear" (see G. Madis' "The Winchester Book," page 199). The Winchester Model 1873 .22 Rimfire rifle was the first .22 caliber repeating rifle made in the United States. Winchester only manufactured approximately 19,552 Model 1873s in .22 short or .22 long between 1884 and 1904. The third model receiver on this example has an integral dust cover rail, a dust cover with serrations at the rear, and tapered takedown pin. The .22 caliber Model 1873 with the takedown feature is certainly scarce. The takedown pin holds the barrel and magazine to the receiver, but the strength was not satisfactory. Of the few made, most had the pin installed permanently by the factory and not delivered as functional takedown models. That is not the case with this example. The takedown pin on this rifle remains functional. The takedown feature is found in the serial number range 150000-175000 (see J. Gordon's "Winchester's New Model of 1873, Vol. II," page 518), making this rifle among the earliest examples. The rifle is fitted with a dovetail blade front sight and an elevation adjustable buckhorn rear sight. The top barrel flat is stamped with the two-line address/patent dates legend ahead of the rear sight and "22 CAL" at the breech. The cartridge elevator is marked "22 CAL." The upper tang is marked "MODEL 1873", and the lower tang has the serial number. The straight grip stock is fitted with a correct solid crescent buttplate. The accompanying factory letter references this Model 1873 rifle as a carbine (factory recording error as this Model 1873 is certainly a .22 Rimfire rifle) received in the warehouse on April 6, 1887 and shipped on April 21 of the same year.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The barrel, magazine tube and forend cap retain 85% plus original blue finish and 95% original blue finish remains on the receiver with thinning to brown on the balance. Strong traces of original case colors remain on the buttplate. 95% original case colors remain on the hammer and lever. The buttstock is excellent and forearm is very fine with some minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. A highly attractive, highly sought after Winchester Model 1873 .22 Rimfire Rifle in scarce takedown configuration.

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