This is a nice 1873 that's been well taken care of over the years and still shows much of its original blued and case colored finishes. Configuration is a standard sporting rifle configuration in caliber 38 WCF with 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate w/ trapdoor. Serial number is in the 298,000 range. Made in 1889 which was Winchester's 2nd highest production year for the Model 1873. Nice sharp markings throughout which include the 2-line barrel address with Henry's 1860 and King's 1866 Improvement patents. Barrel breech is marked "38 W.C.F." along with "38 CAL" across the width of the bronze loading block. Upper tang shows the standard Winchester marking "MODEL 1873" bracketed by two fleurs-de-lis. Hammer shows the proper checkered pattern with plain rectangular border.
Rear sight is the semi-buckhorn which came as standard equipment on almost all Winchester rifles of this period. Front sight is not the original Winchester blade type but an upgrade to a fancier Lyman sporting flip-up combination sight consisting of a globe that can be switched over to a standard blade accented by an ivory bead. With the aid of a magnifying glass and some patience, you can read the tiny patent dates across the top of the globe. This one appears to have an 1885 and possibly an 1891 patent date...wich would make this a period upgrade to this rifle. In terms of finish and wear, it looks to have been on this rifle since day one or very early in this gun's life. According to the Madis book, these Lyman combination sights were offered by Winchester catalogs as an upgrade. However, so few turn up in factory research letters as being special ordered on Winchester rifles that it seems probable that most were sold separately or installed by Winchester dealers when new. This version with the ivory bead he denotes as the "5-I"...in contrast to the "5-G" which had a gold bead.
Overall condition grade to NRA Antique Excellent with the frame showing 80-85% original blue with very little loss from actual wear but rather more due to age in the form of specks of light brown patina that are mixed in the blue. The result is a pleasing appearance with the blue still showing a nice lustre. Only notable flaw is a minor scrape/scuff on the left side plate. (See photos). Loading port has 75-80% original fire blue present. Hammer and lever are exceptionally nice with light but still very discernable case colors...about 50% overall with the balance faded to a pleasing nickel-silver appearance. Barrel and magazine tube are also around 80-85% blue with some thinning along the edges and some patina mixing through. Fore-end cap has 90% bright blue intact. Fine screws throughout with several still showing all or portions of their original blue. The original walnut wood is in Fine+ condition with attractive reddish brown hues with 80% original varnish intact on the stock and 50% on the fore-end. The wear areas to the varnish are confined to where the original owner's hands would have handled the gun...the wrist area and rear of the forearm. Overall, shows only minor handling marks but just a bit more than where I can grade the wood as excellent. Wood-to-metal fit is perfect with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Very good action that shows 30% original blue on the bolt and firing pin. Very Good bore with good lands and grooves with with a few pits. Still fairly bright. No rings or bulges. All in all, a very solid Model 1873 rifle with lots of original finish that has a great look.