If I could own only one Winchester, it would have to be the 1873 carbine...there is something about that mixture of that look these have and their unbreakable tie to the American West that really makes the 73 carbine a special gun. Only 36% of 73 productions were carbines and unlike their sporting rifle counterparts, these were designed as a utility gun to be primarily carried on horseback. During the 1870's and 1880's, this was probably one of the most handy and had more firepower of any gun in the world. With its .44 caliber reloadable cartridge, it was designed for use on the Frontier. Its little wonder this gun ended up in the hands of so many legendary figures throughout the West such as the Texas Rangers, Billy the Kid, Jesse James , the Indian Police who tried to arrest Sitting Bull, and even Geronimo's band of Apaches. See photo of Detective William Pinkerton posing with an 1873 saddle ring carbine. 73 carbines were used all over the World as well....from South America to the King's Army in Siam...they guarded prisoners at the Pentridge Prison in Melbourne, Australia, were given as gifts to Indian Rajah's by the Prince of Wales in 1875, and carried by the Australian Ambulance Corps in the Sudan War in 1885. Still many more went to Canada or ended up South of the Border in Mexico. This gun won a lot more than just the West.
Back to this gun. This is a standard 3rd Model 1873 carbine in Caliber 44-40 with 20" round barrel, full magazine, carbine style buttplate w/trapdoor, saddle ring, and standard carbine sights. Serial number is in the 428,000 range which dates its manufacture to the year 1892. This gun still has its original dust cover and saddle ring. Its all original with the exception of one part. The rear sight is technically not the original one that was on this gun back in 1892. Its probably been on there for 80 or 90 years. Nonetheless, this is still a correct Winchester ladder sight...but just has post-1900 "0 to 20" graduations instead of the correct "2-900" yards that was probably replaced during its period of usage as these were fragile and prone to breakage. I'm getting really picky here because most people out there would never even realize this little detail. In terms of style, its correct...it just has post 1900 markings. In fact, late 1873 src's built from around 1910-1920 had this exact style sight as well as 92's and 94's into the late 1920's.
Overall, this little carbine is in NRA Antique Good condition...a very solid example that looks to have been cleaned about 40 or 50 years ago. The metal is mostly silvery grey with decent edges and very good markings throughout with a nice "44 CAL" marking on the brass loading block. Nice Winchester address and caliber markings on the barrel. Hammer has the Victorian era decorative hammer checkering with the fancy widow's peak border....this is correct for all 73's made in the year 1892. The wood is in good condition with good wood to metal fit that isn't undersized. Wood is better than average for a carbine....for starters, its original......given their hard use on horseback, many 73 carbines no longer have their original wood intact...especially the buttstocks which were prone to breakage. This gun is still wearing its original stock and forend and despite a long-ago cleaning, its well above average for a 73 src. It has only one minor flaw I can spot...its hard to see but it looks like it had a small sling swivel hole towards the rear of the stock that's been plugged. Wood has no cracks and has never had initials carved into the stock...a common fad among Cowboys whose worldly possessions were kept unsecured on their horses for much of the time. The buttplate has its original sliding brass trapdoor for the cleaning rods...now long gone. Bore is in good condition with decent rifling and a few light scattered pits with NO rings or bulges. Nice mechanics. Overall, just a very decent and solid 73 src in good condition with some character wear with a really neat 1892-era carbine.