This is a nice 1873 rifle with some original blue remaining. It's a fairly early production 2nd Model (approx. 30,000 - 87,000) in the 48,000 serial range that was made around March or April in 1880. There was still a lot going on in the American West at the time of this rifle's manufacture...Jesse James was still on the loose along with Billy the Kid, Geronimo, and Wyatt Earp & company hadn't had their famous confrontation with the Clantons at the Tombstone OK Corral. Famous owners of 2nd Models include outlaw Ned Christie (see photos), sheriff turned outlaw Henry Brown, and a member of Billy the Kid's gang named Billy Wilson who owned #47,629...just a few hundred numbers away from this 1873. Wilson's Colt SAA and Winchester 1873 were captured by Sheriff Pat Garrett who later used Wilson's SAA to kill Billy the Kid. There were also a number of 2nd Models shipped to the Texas Rangers.
This is a standard rifle configuration with 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. Caliber is 44-40. Everything on this rifle is original including matching assembly numbers (see photos). Being 1880 production, it has a lot of desirable early features which Winchester found hard to manufacture and discarded in the year 1882 (near SN# 87,000) in favor of a simpler design collectors call the 3rd Model. Here are a few things found on this rifle you won't find on most later production Model 73's:
Screw-on Dust Cover rail -- found only on 2nd Models
Magazine tube with screw-in cap -- 1st Models and early 2nd Models up to approx SN# 50-56,000
Early style tang screws and exposed hammer screw --1st and 2nd models
Exposed trigger pin -- Only found on late 1st and early 2nd models
Early breech bolt with bushing around the firing pin -- found on 1st and 2nd models
Short rear sight w/ checkered sides -- found on 1st, 2nd, and early 3rd models
Assembly numbers on lower tang, stock, and buttplate -- 1st, 2nd, and a few early 3rd models
Bore has rifling with thick grooves and deep lands -- generally seen on 1st and 2nd models
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Fine. The receiver has 40% original blue that's strongest towards the back of the frame, lower tang, around the hammer, and dust cover rail. The balance of the frame has turned to a smooth light brown patina. Loading port shows 50% fire blue that's beginning to fade. Hammer still has some mottled case colors visible that have faded. If you pull the hammer back and look down inside, you can see vivid colors. Lever has turned mostly brown but does have a bit of case color showing near around the fulcrum and an additional 25% colors that have faded out to silver. The same goes for the buttplate which has 15-20% silvered out case remaining with the balance turned to patina. The barrel and magazine tube have turned to a smooth brown patina. The wood is in fine condition...nice lighter brown walnut showing lots of grain. The forearm shows carry wear but the stock still has a fair bit of its original oil finish remaining. Wood is quite smooth with wear in the form of light handling marks. The front of the fore-end has a bit of darkening closest to the fore-end cap. No chips, cracks, or repairs. Mechanically speaking, the action is in fine working shape. The lever stays up and firing pin indexes properly. The gun doesn't show much wear internally as most parts have retained most of their original blue finish. The toggle links are still bright and firing pin shows most of its original blue. The bore is in Excellent condition with those really thick lands with deep grooves you find on early 1873 1st and 2nd models. These early rifles were made to spin some lead. This one appears to have seen relatively little use.