Winchester Model 1873 Musket .44-40 WCF 30” Lever Action Rifle 1891 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1,926

WOA#: WY240126MC010

Make: Winchester

Model: 1873 Musket

Serial Number: 368848B

Year of Manufacture: 1891

Caliber: 44-40 Winchester (44 Winchester Center Fire)

Action Type: Lever Action with 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.” and at the receiver with “44 W.C.F.”. The lower tang is marked “368848B”. The upper tang is marked “MODEL 1873”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “44 CAL.”.

Barrel Length: 30” Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a tapered blade integral to a rectangular base fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-type with a “V” notch when folded down and a “V”-notched slider on a ladder marked from “2” to “8” when folded up. There is a small “V” notch in the top of the ladder. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none included).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a two-piece walnut set with nosecap, two barrel bands, straight grip, straight comb, carbine-style steel buttplate with sliding door, a sling swivel in the belly and another mounted to the forward barrel band. The sling has wear through the finish with a couple small tears along the edges. The stock has a storage compartment behind the sliding door in the buttplate.  The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a light-moderate patina with scattered wear and surface erosion. There is a minor crack in the right side of the buttstock at the buttplate.  Overall, the stocks rate in Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is well defined. There is some minor erosion on the muzzle end. In this writer’s opinion the bore rates in 9.5/10 for antique.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about none of its metal finish. Most of the finish is in the lever and in some other protected areas. Other surfaces have gone to a mottled light patina or gone to white. There are scattered nicks, scuffs, scratches and some surface erosion and pitting throughout. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads are mostly sharp with a few showing tool marks with strong slots. The markings are faded yet legible. Overall, this rifle is in Good condition as Antique given its Excellent bore.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. However, the bolt does not fully cock the hammer when the action is opened and must be manually cocked. The hammer has a half-cock safety position, lever safety, lever lock on the lower tang, and a dust cover on the receiver that slides on an integral rail typical of the Third Model. 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 .44-40 Win. cartridge, also known as the .44 WCF, was introduced by Winchester in 1873 as Winchester’s first metallic centerfire cartridge. Colt produced a single action revolver chambered for this cartridge in 1877. Through law enforcement use and hunting, and made popular through its dual use in rifle and pistol, the .44-40 soon became the most popular cartridge in the United States. It led to the M1873 Winchester being called “The Gun That Won The West”, and has the reputation of killing more deer in the United States than any other save the .30-30 Winchester. This Model 1873 Musket was made in 1891, has a 30” round barrel chambered for 44-40 and a carbine-style buttplate with sliding-door compartment. The rifle is in Good overall condition as Antique with some of its original finish remaining, a surprisingly clean bore, and strong mechanics. This rifle is over 130 years old, but is still in good shape. The 1873 muskets are not particularly common, consisting of about 5% of total 1873 production, and one in this condition will take a prized spot in a collection of lever action rifles next to its 1866, 1876, 1892 and 1894 cousins. Please see our photos and good luck! – L.S.

Winchester Model 1873 Musket .44-40 WCF 30” Lever Action Rifle 1891 Antique
Winchester Model 1873 Musket .44-40 WCF 30” Lever Action Rifle 1891 Antique