This is one of the nicest Antique Pre-1898 Model 1873 Muskets we've seen in twenty years. You will see Modern post 1898 73 muskets that were never issued in the 569-571,000 from around 1903 that were discovered unused during the 1950's in Nicaraugua. However, what you rarely find are nice 73 muskets in antique serial ranges. This one is almost as nice as what you'll find in the 1903 range only it was manufacatured 1895 in another group of muskets that fall into the 481,000 range. Interestingly enough, I purchased my first 1873 musket in 1986 that was also in this same serial range but nowhere close to the condition of this one. Most of the pre-1898's got used pretty hard in far-off lands which is why its so difficult to find nice antique ones. This one is a standard musket configuration in 44 WCF with 30" round barrel, sling swivels, military sights, and semi-crescent buttplate.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Excellent and appears to be still be unfired. The bore is mint and the bolt (including the face) still retains nearly all of its original blue. The action and mechanics are just like new. The frame has 95% bright shiny blue with some brown freckling from poor storage and a few scratches...typical of military handling. Loading port still shows 98% bright vivid fire blue. The hammer still shows 95% bright vivid case colors while the lever has about 50% thinning colors. Incredibly, the buttplate even has 35% vivid original case colors remaining. Barrel has 90-95% bright original blue with some freckles from storage. Bands have most of their original blue intact with some light pitting on the outer edges of the rear band. Excellent screws overall...many look like they've never seen a screwdriver. The wood is in VG+ condition overall...completely untouched with no chips, cracks, or repairs and perfect wood to metal fit. Like most military weapons, it has lots of little nicks and bruises from being stacked in a pile. Very crisp sharp edges and contours on the wood showing almost no handling wear...just neglect.
You'll have a very hard time finding a better one than this in an antique serial range.