Winchester Model 1873 showing its age
Although I’d like to know the value of this rifle as judged by the forum, this write-up is really along the lines of an appreciation. I have a small collection of eight Winchester lever-actions, and this Model 1873 carbine is the oldest, rattiest, most beat-up, nastiest of the bunch. And it’s also undoubtedly my favorite. I’m sure all of you have a similar favorite firearm, maybe for reasons somebody else might not understand.
It’s often said of an antique firearm, “if this gun could talk…” If this Model 1873 could talk, it would speak Spanish. As far as I can determine, it spent the first century of its life in Mexico. That was a particularly tumultuous time in Mexican history, and I can well imagine the carbine being kept handy to put food on the table, hold off banditos, and take part in the Mexican Revolution (but on which side?).
Note: serious collectors may wish to skip this paragraph. Somewhere over time an owner with the initials DM decided to stipple his initials into both sides of the receiver, maybe out of pride or perhaps to distinguish his weapon from others. I’ve had this carbine for nearly 30 years, and in taking photos today I noticed for the first time that the initials differ on one side from the other, with a fancy “M” standing out from the block style of the other letters. A shame the initials aren’t “PV.”
As I value my eyesight I’ve never fired the 1873, but it handles beautifully. It feels comfortable in the hands and comes to the shoulder quickly, settling into firing position with no fuss. Probably my favorite thing about the Winchester is working the action. My other Winchesters, models 1892, 1894 and 53, cycle with a strong “click-click” sound and a solid modern action. The 1873 emits instead a low metallic “clunk-clunk,” and in cycling the action you can just feel the toggle link and the various gizmos inside working away. 1873 state of the art. Sweet.
As for the specifics, I believe it to be a third model .44-40, serial number 976XX, manufactured 1882. It’s missing its dust cover, but otherwise is intact.
Value: I expect some to proclaim it only a parts gun. Not to me. It’s worth its weight in character, functionality, engineering and history.
Your thoughts welcome. Thanks in advance.
And what's your favorite firearm in your collection?
Last edited by Downriver; 07-07-2011 at 06:32 PM..
Reason: Add PS