This is a nice example of an antique gun that has become an iconic symbol of the American West. The Model 1873 Winchester was built for the Westward expansion in that it was the first repeating rifle to use central priming which made the ammunition reloadable with the aid of simple hand tools. This overcame a major limitation in the .44 fixed rimfire ammunition used in the Henry rifle and Model 1866 which was useless once fired. Since the nearest town or hardware store which sold ammunition was often hundreds of miles away, the 44-40 aka 44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire) cartridge made the 1873 repeating rifle a much more practical weapon on the frontier.
This particular rifle is a standard rifle in .44 WCF with 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. This one is completely untouched and all original. Serial number is in the 377,000 range and made in the year 1891. Overall, its in NRA Antique VG+ condition with mostly a nice aged light brown patina with traces of original blue in the protected areas. All markings and knurlings are sharp and excellent with nice edges and profiles to all the metal. The soft bronze loading block still has a sharp "44 CAL" in script with an nice marbled patina also known as crystal lattice. The screws are hard to beat...excellent overall...there isn't a bad screw anywhere on this rifle which is remarkable for a gun that saw use. Original sights include the standard Winchester semi-buckhorn rear sight and front with standard German silver blade. The wood is in fine condition overall with a nice dark patina...one small triangular chip at the top edge of the forend behind the forend cap...there are no cracks. Action is in good condition with no lever droop and the firing pin still indexes properly when the action is cycled. Good+ bore with strong rifling, no rings or bulges, with some of the usual scattered pits to be expected from a gun that used black powder cartridges and mercuric priming during the 19th century. Just a nice example of a 19th Century Winchester 1873 known today as, "The Gun that Won the West!"