This is an a fairly decent old frontier-used Model 1873 Winchester rifle as it came from a town near the end of the Oregon trail. Its a 2nd Model in the 69,000 range with a special order 30" octagon barrel and set trigger. Later, Winchester offered a 32, 34, and 36 inch option but every one I've ever seen has been on a 3rd Model but I believe that 30" was the longest barrel length on a Model 1873 that you could order back in 1881. As you can see, the bottom of the forend shows quite a bit of wear from being carried across the pommel of a saddle. Standard early type short rear sight with checkered sides. The front sight was replaced during its period of use a great Frontier-made Mountain man type sight with an iron base and bone blade which sits forward. We called the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody Wyoming and it letters just like it is...here is what they emailed:
On your model 1873, serial number 69752:
Date In: 5-21-1881
Barrel: 30 octagon
Date Shipped: 5-31-1881
Order Number: 25661
Overall condition is NRA Antique Good with the metal turned mostly to a smooth patina with traces of original blue in protected areas along the forend, recesses of the barrel and magazine tube, around the side plates...and some good traces of thinned out blue on the left side plate. The markings are all there and good. Since its in 44-40 and built in 1881, it has no caliber designation on either the barrel or brass loading block which is correct...Winchester didn't start marking their 44 caliber 73's until about 1884. The wood has lots of frontier-type wear with nicks and dings. The stock is pretty good while the forend is fundamentally solid but shows a good bit more scabbard and pommel wear. There are a few minor chips and a couple of small cracks up at the top where the wood is thin....that have been mended. We checked the assembly numbers on the stock, tang, and buttplate, and found all three are matching. The action is in good order with the early type sleeved bolt. Single set trigger still works fine. The bore has the early type wide rifling with 5 lands and grooves. Good overall with good rifling with some scattered pits. This is not a cream-puff as its seen plenty of use...but a good honest example of a frontier used Early Model 1873 with some hard to find features. We would like to see it go to someone who shows an appreciation for History and the American West.