This is an early First Model 1873 rifle in above average condition. Only about 30,000 1st Models were built with the majority seeing hard use. As one of the world's first commercially successful repeating rifles designed for reloadable central fire ammunition, the Model 1873 was especially popular on the American Frontier. During the mid-1870's, the 1873 was arguably the best repeating rifle in the world. The serial numberon this rifle is in the 2800 range. Manufactured in early 1875 and just 5 numbers away from another known 1873 used by Lieutenant William Wetmore of the US Sixth Cavalry, P. 78 "Firearms of the American West". Some other interesting but meaningless trivia is that its also within a few hundred digits of the first One of One Thousand Rifles. This is a Standard rifle configuration in 44-40 with 24" round barrel, full magazine, crescent buttplate w/trapdoor, and mortised dust cover. This rifle has survived 130+ years with all its 1st Model features. Original sights are the early short semi-buckhorn rear sight w/checkered sides, and front sight w/German silver blade. Has the early type sleeved bolt, screw-in magazine tube cap and lever latch, swept back lever, small side plate screw, exposed loading port and hammer screws. Note the thinner width of the screw slots which are early features. Another interesting feature is the bottom of the frame (just in front of the bronze loading block) is more rounded in contour. We've only found this little frame contour on the very earliest 1873's. Nice 2 line barrel address with Henry's 1860 and King's 1866 Improvement patent dates. Upper tang marked "MODEL 1873".
Overall condition is NRA Antique Very Good. Metal is mostly a silvery-grey with strong traces of original blue finish around the rear frame screws. The pictures don't really do this rifle justice. In some of the photos, the metal appears to have some rougher textures...however, in person, the metal is actually quite smooth. Markings are fine throughout. Left side of frame has two sets of scroll font letters "E N" stamped neatly on the upper corner of the left receiver panel. Nice screws throughout. Wood is overall very good with aA few minor nicks, dings, and bruises. Nice wood to metal fit..never been sanded and very solid. Very good mechanics. Lever stays up with no sag...hammer works properly on full and half cocks. Mortised thumb print dust cover is fairly tight and doesn't flop around or slide back and forth. The bore is the best part of this rifle. Its almost perfect. "Wow" is more like it! Bright and shiny with strong lands and grooves. Just a very solid example of an early production Model 1873 with a low 4 digit serial number.