This is a very rare example of the Model 1873 Sporting Rifle with a Special order 32" octagon barrel and single set trigger. Caliber is 32 WCF (aka 32-20). Antique Serial number is in the 265,000 range and was made in 1888. It comes with a Factory Letter from the Cody Museum veriftying that the rifle was ordered with a 32" barrel and set trigger. It was received in the warehouse on May, 29 1888 and shipped the same day. In addition to that, this rifle has been equipped with some very valuable sights which include an original long-range vernier tang sight and combination globe front sight.
The Model 1873 could be special ordered with barrel lengths up to 36" in increments of 2". Typically, or a least from my personal experience, when encountering extra length barrel, one usually finds 26", 28", and 30"....but very rarely do we find 32", 34", and 36" lengths. They just didn't make many of them and they rarely come up for sale any more. This latter 3 lengths have another interesting feature that collectors love...instead of a single, they have two magazine tube retaining bands. Those double hangers sort of grab you when you look at one of these guns with such a long barrel. This is only the 3rd 32" barrel 1873 we've handled in 20 years. Over the years, we've found every rifle barrel length from 20" all the way to the ultra rare 34". The only one we haven't had is a 36" but with price tags over $20,000 for one, I doubt we will for quite a while. The 34" we had a few years ago was later sold by another dealer for $17,000. Needless to say, for a 32", this is quite affordable compared to others not to mention that it has some very valuable sights. We just saw a long range vernier tang sight identical to the one on this rifle sell for over $1000.00 on ebay this past week.
The rifle is in NRA Antique VG+ condition with a light smooth brown patina overall with a fair bit of original blue remaining left. The frame still shows 20% light speckled original blue across the sides and is particularly strong around the edges of the sideplates and back of the frame. Loading port shows just hints of original fire blue while the set trigger still shows most of its blue. The hammer and lever show some slight faded out molted case colors remaining with the balance mostly turned to a smooth brown patina. Barrel and magazine tube show just traces of original blue...but brown patina overall. The very top flat of the octagon barrel has a strong barrel address and caliber marking but appear to have been lightly cleaned in years past. Original semi-buckhorn rear sight. Wood is solid with no chips, cracks. It appears has been lightly cleaned at some point in the past. Wood to metal fit is generally good...and mostly even to the metal but a hair undersized in places. Both the action and set trigger still function well. The bore what I'd call respectable. It isn't great but its not too bad either...especially for a 32-20 made in the late 19th century designed for black powder. It has some light roughness here and there in the form of scattered pitting but its Good overall shape with good strong rifling. There are no rings or bulges either. A very rare gun with some great sights!