This is a pretty good example of a 2nd Model 1873 Saddle Ring Carbine in Caliber .44 WCF. Its been quite some time since we've found a decent 2nd Model carbine. On the few occasions we have found them, they often show many years of hard use. This one actually compares somewhat better than many good 1873 3rd Model SRC's we've seen on the market in recent years as it has a great look to it with a nice ring shadow. The serial number is in the 51,000 range and was manufactured in 1880. Standard 20" round barrel, full magazine, with semi-crescent carbine style buttplate, saddle ring and early short style leaf rear sight. Original dust cover with correct 2nd Model style rail which is screwed into the frame...3rd Models had the rail integrated into the frame. Aside from the rail, the easiest way to determine a 2nd Model is the addition of the trigger pin placed below the lower tang and hammer screws on the frame. There are a few late 1st Models with this feature as well but unlike the 2nd Models, these will still have the 1st Model mortised dust cover. As you see from the photos, the 2nd Model retains a number of external features and internal ones carried over from the 1st Model 73 while embracing the improved dust cover that would eventually define the 3rd model upon its introduction in the 86,000 range.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Good+ to VG with the metal aged to a smooth pleasing brown patina with no signs of serious pitting or corrosion. There is even small amounts or specks of original blue in protected areas with strong traces around the saddle ring. Excellent markings include a sharp and completely legible Winchester barrel address with Henry's 1860 and King's 1866 Patent dates. Upper tang is marked "MODEL 1873". Short style rear sight is marked with 3 and 5 hundred yard graduations. Like all 2nd Model in 44-40, there are no caliber markings on the barrel or brass loading block which is correct. Winchester didn't start marking their 44's until by the time they had 3 other calibers out there on the market which was around 4 years later in 1884. Very good screws overall. Very good wood that has never been redone or sanded. The wood is remarkably solid for a gun that was built for use on horseback and especially for an early 2nd model. There are no cracks or damage, but it does have a few scratches. The only noteworthy blemish I can find is a small 1/8" wooden plug that was used to probably fill a swivel hole....very well done with matching grain pattern so its barely noticeable. Buttplate has the sliding brass trapdoor for storing cleaning rods (not present) or extra ammunition in the stock. Very good action and an incredible bore for an 1880 vintage 73 with early thick style lands that are still bright and shiny with just a few pits down in the grooves. If you've been looking for a decent 2nd Model carbine to add to your Winchester collection, this one has a lot to offer with a nice combination of condition while retaining just enough of that carbine "character wear" that collectors love.