Winchester Model 1873 showing its age

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Downriver, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Downriver

    Downriver New Member

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    Location:
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    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?

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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  2. oneshot onekill

    oneshot onekill New Member

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    I've seen worse... If the bore's good, I'd shoot that Bad-Boy! I have no idea of the value but I like it!
  3. NZEF1945

    NZEF1945 New Member

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    Location:
    Otago, New Zealand
    I have had one worse than this one - I would shoot it using black powder of course - but I might also add at this point that I am known to be quite mad - when my friends all use modern high powered hunting rifles I use ones like Whitney Kennedy and my New Model 1863 Sharps for pigs and a Martini Henry carbine now and again - still using 1899 - 1901 foil Ammunition for the latter!!!

    I like your rifle - I would be happy to have it because it has history.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  4. permafrost

    permafrost Active Member

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    I couln't stand it, myself .It would keep whispering to me "shoot me, shoot me"! I'd give in sooner or later.
  5. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    I'd have already shot it.
  6. Downriver

    Downriver New Member

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    Well, maybe you ol' boys are convincing me to give the carbine a try - after a gunsmith checks it out, as it's even older than I am. Two questions: what type of off-the-shelf ammo should I use? (I'm not a reloader.) And should I go to the expense of replacing the dustcover before shooting? It doesn't bother me that it's missing.
  7. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Nice old piece with lots of character. "Cowboy Action - SASS" sanctioned loads are way down-loaded for their type of low power competition.
  8. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Don't worry about the dust cover and use cowboy loads.
  9. Downriver

    Downriver New Member

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    Glad to see there are some fellow "character" buffs out there.

    Anybody available to give a value? Bert H? Jim K? jjmitchell60? Pls weigh in.
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