Winchester 1873 3rd Model 24″ Round .38-40 WCF Lever Rifle, 1895 Antique

SOLD FOR: $955

WOA#: WY240326CM013

Make: Winchester

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873 Rifle

Serial Number: 487212B

Year of Manufacture: 1895

Caliber: .38-40 Winchester (38 Winchester Center Fire)

Action Type: Lever Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WINCHESTER’S REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN, CT. / KING’S IMPROVEMENT PATENTED MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.” in front of the rear sight and “38 W.C.F.” at the rear. The lower tang is marked “487212B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “38 CAL.”. The left of the barrel is marked “550” in front of the forend cap.

Barrel Length: 24″ nominal, 24 1/4″ Measured, Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Lyman blade dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The blade is notched for a bead which is missing. The rear sight is a “V”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The rear sight has been modified, it was likely originally a semi-buckhorn with an adjustable notch. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a peep sight (none included).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is a long repaired crack behind the top tang, extending back below the comb on the right. There is a shorter crack behind the bottom tang and a thin crack in the right-front of the wrist. There are cracks at the toe on each side. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly worn to white with scattered discoloration from oxidation. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as repaired Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is dark. The rifling is worn, but visible. There is scattered light-moderate erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 4 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 3% of its metal finish. Finish remains only in well protected areas and around raised features. Most surfaces have gone to a light patina. There are scattered nicks, scrapes and scratches. The magazine bracket shows signs of repair or modification. The left lever-spring screw is missing, this may be what is causing the action to bind. We were not able to remove the sideplate screw to inspect the interior of the action. There is some minor surface erosion. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with questionably usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in Fair-Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: Possibly due to the missing lever spring screw, the action binds before the hammer gets to the half-cock position. The hammer, trigger and trigger safety function properly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: One of the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous Winchester rifles was the Winchester Model 1873, known as “The Gun that Won the West” for its predominant role in the hands of Western settlers. The Model 1873 had a steel frame that was much stronger than the brass framed Model 1866, allowing Winchester to develop a family of powerful new cartridges, with Colt usually producing Single Action Army revolvers in the same calibers shortly after they were developed. The .38-40 Win. cartridge, also known as the .38 WCF, was introduced by Winchester in 1879. It is essentially a slightly necked-down .44-40 with a slightly smaller bullet typically achieving slightly higher velocity. This Model 1873 Carbine was made in 1895 and has a 24” round barrel chambered for 38-40. It has clearly had a long and useful life with honest wear for a 130 year old gun and a missing lever spring screw. This may be what is causing the issue with the action, but we were not able to remove the sideplate screw to inspect the interior of the action. This would make a neat addition to a Winchester or early cartridge rifle collection, and will display well with its “been there, done that” appearance. It would also be a good candidate for restoration. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Winchester 1873 3rd Model 24" Round .38-40 WCF Lever Rifle, 1895 Antique
Winchester 1873 3rd Model 24″ Round .38-40 WCF Lever Rifle, 1895 Antique