Here is one you won't find very often! This is a Spanish Military full-stocked 1873 lever action carbine in 44-40. Its basically what a Colt collector would call a "brevette" or an almost exact copy of a 2nd Model 1873 carbine made in Europe. This one seemed to have been destined for some type of military purpose as the upper tang is marked "ARTILLERIA OVieDO 1892". This was produced by the Spanish Government Arsenal at Oviedo...the same arsenal which manufactured the Model 1893 Mauser a few years later. It has a 20" round barrel with a block style military ladder sight that looks like a smaller version of the 1873 Winchester musket rear sight. If you'd like to know more about these guns, you'll find a few pages about the original Spanish contract Winchesters in the 1873 chapter of the Winchester Book by George Madis.
Most of us collectors here in the USA sometimes forget that Winchester's primary business focus was world domination of the repeating rifle market...not just sales here in America. Basically, it appears that during the 1870's Winchester tried their best to interest the Spanish Gov't in a military contract for the Model 1873 built to their specs. Instead, the Spanish Gov't settled on producing their own copy of the Model 1873. Later, the Spanish built unauthorized copies of the Model 1892 Winchester which are known as the "El Tigre" and far more plentiful and better known than the copies of the 1873. This was not an easy gun to make and I suspect they were built in fairly small quantities mostly by hand. Including this one, I've personally only seen 3 or 4 examples over the past 20 years.
This gun is essentially equivalent in design to a 2nd Model 1873 Winchester. It has the lever safety catch and the dust cover mounted on a central rail that's screwed in to the top of the frame. The only deviation I can find is the absence of the external trigger pin...so in that respect its more like a 1st Model.
In fact, many of the improvements that Winchester made to the original Spanish trial guns appear to have possibly formed some of the basis for the improved 2nd Model which was introduced around 1879. For example, the new style dust cover first that replaced the mortised style covers of the 1st Model actually appeared on some 1873 muskets that went to Spain as low as the 23,000 serial range. If you put 2 and 2 together, one could theorize that many of the original Winchester 73's shipped to Spain probably ended up being used as "gauge guns" for the manufacture of these copies.
Overall, this gun is in NRA Antique Very Good to Fine condition. It still appears to have 75-80% arsenal matted blue. The sideplates have worn to a brown patina. Nice edges and very good markings. The brass loading block has turned to a nice caramel-colored patina. Nice works action and an excellent bright shiny bore with thick lands and grooves. Very good wood overall with nice wood to metal fit that is solid with no cracks. There is one thin sliver of wood missing at the end of the right side of the forearm...otherwise, its nearly flawless. Right side of the stock has a military rack number "237". A nice example of a rare Spanish 1873 that would make a great addition to any Winchester or military collection.