This little carbine was made in 1891, SN# is in the 380,000 range. Standard configuration with saddle ring, 20" round barrel, full magazine, and semi-crescent buttplate with trapdoor for cleaning rods (long gone...but we do have a set in inventory as of this writing). Original sights include the standard carbine post front and rear sight marked "1873" with 200-900 yard graduations. Overall, this little carbine is in NRA Antique Very Good condition with the metal mostly turned to a smooth brown patina with a patch of original blue around the saddle ring along with traces of blue around both side plates. The original saddle ring is still intact with a nice worn in ring shadow on the side of the frame giving it that carbine look. Barrel has a nice clear 2 line address with 1860 and 1866 patent dates. Upper tang is marked "Model 1873" bracketed by two "fleur de lis". Being 1891 production, the hammer has the decorative Victorian era dipped border. Very Good screws throughout. The wood is in NRA Antique VG+ condition with good overall wood to metal fit showing mostly just light handling wear. If you look closely in the photos, you can see some light tiger stripes in the walnut running vertically through the grain of the stock. Good mechanics and a Very Good Bore with strong rifling...no rings or bulges. This is a nice little gun and well above average for a 73 carbine.
If I could own only one Winchester, it would be the 1873 carbine...there is something about that mixture of the look these have and their unbreakable tie to the American West that really makes the 73 carbine such an interesting gun. Only 36% of 73 productions were carbines and unlike their sporting rifle counterparts, these were designed as a utility gun to be primarily carried on horseback. During the 1870's and 1880's, this was probably one of the most handy and had more firepower of any gun in the world. It's little wonder this gun ended up in the hands of so many legendary figures throughout the West such as the Texas Rangers, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, the Indian Police who tried to arrest Sitting Bull, US Army Cavalry officers, and even Geronimo's band of Apaches. However, don't write these off as being purely something from the American West. Winchester was one of the first American companies that became a true International company. In its day, it was a sort of 19th century Microsoft with exports of repeating rifles shipped to every corner of the World. For that matter, 1873 carbines and other models are still to this day being found all across the world. Again, carbines were used as tools and you'd be amazed at where some of these have turned up. Soldiers have brought them back from as far as Afghanistan, people have emailed us from South America all the way to Northwest Canada wanting information about their 1873 carbines. Winchester had International salesmen like T.E. Addis who went just about everywhere. As a result of his travels, 1873 carbines are known to have seen use with the King of Siam, the Pentridge Prison in Melbourne, Australia, given as gifts to Indian Rajah's by the Prince of Wales in 1875, and carried by the Australian Ambulance Corps in the Sudan War in 1885. Still many more went to Canada or ended up South of the Border in Mexico. This gun won a lot more than just the West. Today, good examples like this one are getting very hard to find!