Winchester 1873 3rd Model .32-20 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1889 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1,080

WOA#: WY240326CM004

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873

Serial Number: 318529

Year of Manufacture: 1889

Caliber: .32-20 Winchester (44 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, CONN. U.S.A. / -KING’S-IMPROVEMENT PATENTED MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.-” in front of the rear sight and “32 W.C.F.” at the rear. The lower tang is marked “318529B”. The upper tang is marked “Model. 1873”.

Barrel Length: The octagonal barrel has been cut to approximately 18 7/8″.

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed and screw-set to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel; the notch is fine-adjustable for elevation. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. The left of the buttstock is hand-carved with “F Smith”, the left of the forend with “NH”. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are losses along the top edges of the forend. There are thin cracks at the rear of the tangs and more notable 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 gone to a moderate patina with scattered wear. Overall, the stocks are in Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

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

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 0% of its metal finish. The metal surfaces have gone to a fairly uniform light patina with edges worn to white. There are scattered nicks, scrapes and scratches. There are tool marks at the magazine bracket, front sight dovetail, and the dust cover rail. The dust cover is missing. There are tool marks at some screw heads. There is some minor surface erosion. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle is in Good condition as modified Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is a dust rail integral to the receiver, typical of the Third Models, but the dust cover is missing. 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 gun needs no introduction and chances are you’ve seen one. More than 720,00 were produced from 1873 through 1923 and the gun is produced and used to this day. 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. These included the .32-20, .38-40 and .44-40 cartridges.

This Model 1873 Rifle was made in 1891 and has an octagonal barrel chambered for 32-20. It appears to have had a fairly useful life, at some point having its barrel shortened just under 19″. This rifle will display well as-is with its “been there, done that” appearance, but would also be a likely candidate for restoration. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Winchester 1873 3rd Model .32-20 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1889 Antique
Winchester 1873 3rd Model .32-20 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1889 Antique