This is a fine example of a special order Winchester Model 1873 rifle that was manufactured in 1890. It is quite unusual for a special order Winchester rifle to only have two special order features. Usually when someone took the time to place a special order rifle they loaded them up with all types of special features. This rifle is documented with a Winchester factory letter that lists the two special order features as a factory set trigger and a X stock, again this is unusual in that when someone ordered a special grade of walnut they usually choose a high grade of deluxe walnut. The factory letter also notes that this rifle has the very desirable/rare casehardened receiver, and that it was in .38 caliber with a 26 inch octagon barrel and was received in the warehouse on July 25, 1890, and shipped the same day in order 14857. The casehardened receiver was actually not considered a special order feature; however, it is rare to find these color casehardened receivers at all because it was much easier to just blue all the components. This Third Model rifle has an integral dust cover rail and dust cover with serrated edges. The barrel has the standard nickel/silver blade sporting front sight with an adjustable buckhorn rear sight and it is also fitted with an original and very rare Model "62-B" folding, tang mounted, target rear sight. Although this tang sight is not mentioned in the factory letter it has been on the rifle for the period of use, as it has the same exact wear pattern as the rear of the receiver and upper tang area. These sights were produced on a very limited basis and were used only on the Model 1873 rifles. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped in two lines ahead of the rear sight with "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING-ARMS. NEW HAVEN CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860", with the breech end of the barrel stamped with "38 W.C.F." just ahead of the receiver. The bottom of the brass cartridge elevator is stamped "38 CAL" in script. The serial number is stamped in script numerals on the lower tang between the lever latch and the tang screw. The crescent steel buttplate has a sliding brass trapdoor. The barrel, magazine, forearm cap and receiver are blue. The hammer, loading lever and buttplate have a color casehardened finish. The stock and forearm are varnished black walnut.
Fine with 40% of the original blue finish overall on the barrel and magazine tube with the color casehardened receiver mostly silvered out with strong pattern remaining. The attractive, highly figured very fine stock and forend both retain 90% of their original varnished finish overall with the stock showing even honest wear on the front edges behind the receiver with both showing hones, wear and chipping of the finish on the underside of the stock and forend. This is a fine and very scarce, documented special order, casehardened Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle.
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