This is a very nice example of a 1st Model 1873 Saddle Ring Carbine in 44-40 caliber. It has all the early 1st model features including swept back lever, screw-in lever latch, mortised checkered thumbprint dustcover, early sights, screw-in magazine tube cap, etc. Its a standard carbine 20" round barrel, full magazine, saddle ring, and early thick carbine style buttplate with sliding trapdoor. Serial number is in the 14,000 range and letters with the Cody Museum as being received in the factory warehouse on January 10, 1877 and shipping on July 28, 1877. The 1873 saddle ring carbine was a very popular gun amongst cowboys, Native Americans, lawmen, and outlaws throughout the American West. In one of the only known photographs of William Bonney aka "Billy the Kid", he's seen posing with a first model carbine which is reputed to be Serial number #20181.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Fine+ Condition with lots of original blue remaining....quite remarkable for a 128 year old Winchester carbine. The frame has 50% original blue. The hammer still shows faded case colors and traces of color at the top of the lever. The dust cover still retains traces of original blue in protected areas along the frame mortises. Its in fine condition and completely original to this gun with the long oval checkered thumbprint.The loading port has 40% bright original fire blue. The barrel has traces of original blue while the magazine tube has about 35% thinning blue. Front and rear barrel bands even still show small amounts of original blue. The wood is in great condition for a carbine with light orangish-red walnut. Wood has never been cleaned or refinished with perfect wood to metal fit with the wood slightly swelling over the metal just like it did when it left the factory in 1877. Nice grain showing with mostly light handling marks and a couple of bruises. There appears to be a triangle-shaped chip at the face of the forend that has been perfectly mended. Wood is Fine overall. Nice markings and knurlings. The screws are the early style with narrow slots.... in near perfect shape overall. Original sights include the early style folding leaf sight and early style pinched front band sight. Excellent bore and nice mechanics.