This is an exceptionally nice example of the Model 1873 Winchester sporting rifle stamped "BUREAU COUNTY" on top of the barrel. 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent buttplate complete w/original cleaning rods. Caliber is 38-40. Antique serial number in the 477,000 range. Mfd in 1893. Bureau County is located in Northern Illinois. There must have gone either to a prison or the Sheriff's Dept. We've also seen a few Marlin Model 1894 Muskets in 38-40 with similar markings (See Flayderman's Guide to Antique Guns--Marlin Model 1894 for more info). This one hasn't seen much use.
Overall condition grades well into NRA Antique Excellent and 100% original. Most of the screws have never been turned since this rifle left the Winchester factory back in 1893. The frame has 97-98% bright original blue and shows only the slightest wear at the edges and corners. Barrel and magazine tube have 95% original blue with only slight wear behind the rear sight from being carried. Loading port shows 70% fire blue. Hammer and Lever have 65% good discernable case colors remaining, 30% faded to silver, and approx. 5% patina. Even the buttplate still has about 50% original case colors which is hard to find on most Winchesters. Even many of the nicest examples rarely show good colors on their buttplates. High wear areas where metal rubs across metal, such as the dust cover rail, breech block, and firing pin (which cocks the hammer), still retain the majority of their fragile blued finish. Original sights include the semi-buckhorn rear w/original sliding elevator intact. Front sight is also original and standard w/German silver blade. Hammer has the Victorian era knurling w/decorative dipped border. Screws are excellent overall. Wood is excellent with perfect wood to metal fit with 95% original varnish intact. Forend shows some light nicks and dings from rack wear....otherwise, wood is nearly flawless. No chips, cracks, or repairs. Original 4 piece cleaning rod is intact inside the buttstock. Action works just like new! Very tight and the lever snaps shut! Bore is Excellent plus...bright and shiny with very strong rifling. No pits or corrosion. The muzzle shows nearly all of its original bright polish....almost unheard of for a Model 73 rifle. A nice rifle that looks like it spent most of its life in a rack inside the Bureau County jail or Sheriff's dept. This is a lot of gun for the money and would make a great investment!