This is an early 3rd Model 1873 Sporting rifle in 44 Caliber Winchester Centerfire. Standard original 24" round barrel with full magazine and crescent rifle buttplate with sliding brass trapdoor. Serial number is in the 168,000 range which dates this rifle to year 1884 production. Overall, NRA Antique Very Good condition. This rifle has that Western look to it with a pleasing combination of very light brown patina and light untouched wood. The frame still has 15% light faded blue residing mostly to the rear of the frame, around the sideplates, and tucked up next to the flares at the front. There are even hints of original vivid electric fire blue in the corners of the loading port. Hammer, lever, and buttplate have mostly hazed over to a light brown patina with remnants of silvered out case colors. Very Good screws overall.
Nice early style markings includes a 2 line Winchester Barrel address with King's 1866 and Henry's 1860 Patent dates. The rear of the barrel is marked "44 CAL" in script which for 1884 production is right when Winchester began to mark their 1873's chambered in 44-40 with caliber markings. Prior to this, since the 44-40 was the only and the original caliber for many years, Winchester never felt it necessary to mark these guns and only marked their 38-40's (1879) and 32-20's (1882). However, by 1884 Winchester had introduced yet another Caliber, the 22 Rimfire and it was getting confusing for the public not to have a Caliber marking on the barrels of their 44-40's. At least that's our theory. The brass loading block also has a nice "44 CAL" in script with a nice marbled patina. Upper tang is marked "Model 1873" bordered by two Fleur De-Lis. Hammer has the correct coarser style checkering which is correct for a mid-1880's vintage Model 73.
Very Good+ untouched original wood with great wood to metal fit. Its a light reddish brown hue like several 73's we've seen that have come from Out West! If you look closely, you can still see a fair bit of original varnish on the wood. This gun was well looked after as there are only a few scratches and light handling marks. No chips, cracks or repairs. Good mechanics and a Very Good+ bore that is bright with strong lands and grooves with a few light pits which is typical of almost any early black powder cartridge gun. For an 1880's vintage 73, this one is much nicer than we typically encounter and all in all, a very solid example of an untouched Model 1873 rifle.