This is a strong example of a Winchester Model 1873 SRC that has developed a nice patina with a fair bit of original blue still in the protected areas with an especially good patch of original blue around the saddle ring which has developed a nice "wear shadow". As most of these carbines were used as tools spending their working lives outdoors and/or on horseback, it is seldom we find one with such nice wood or any original finish remaining.
Standard 3rd Model carbine configuration with 20" round barrel, full magazine, saddle ring, semi-crescent buttplate with sliding trapdoor for storage compartment. Original sights include ladder rear sight graduated from 200 to 900 yards without the "1873" marking at the top. This is correct for Winchester carbines starting around the year 1893 as the Models 1892 and 1894 were sharing the same rear sights. The barrel has the original two-line address with October 16, 1860 and March 29, 1866 King's Improvement patent dates. Top tang has the "MODEL 1873" designation bracketed by a pair of fleurs-de-lis.
Pre-1898 antique serial number (under approx. SN# 525,900) is in the 510,000 range which dates its production to 1897. By 1897, the Winchester Model 1892 (which was intended to be the 1873's replacement) was really starting to take hold in the marketplace resulting in the lowest production year for the 1873 in 20+ years with just under 6,000 units manufactured for that year. Caliber is a bit interesting too. It's a 38-40 also known as 38 WCF. The 38-40 came onto the market in 1881 and was essentially a necked down brother to the original .44 WCF (.427") that actually measures to .40 caliber. Perhaps it should've been called the "40-40". The 38-40 was more accurate while it packed nearly the same punch as the 44-40.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Very Good with original blue in protected areas...specifically around the sideplates, on the lower tang around the trigger and lever, between the barrel/mag tube, around the bands, rear sight, and around the saddle ring staple where there is quite a bit remaining. The balance of the metal has turned to a brown patina. There is a hint of original fire blue on the loading port and bright vivid case colors remaining in the hidden spots that become visible upon racking the lever (see photo) or cocking the hammer. Very good markings throughout including the "38 CAL" in script on the brass loading block. Nice barrel and tang markings. Very Good screws. Nice mechanics. Firing pin indexes, lever stays up. Bore is in Fine Condition with strong lands and grooves that is still semi-bright with no rings or bulges. Original stocks are in Very Good Plus Condition with a few dings and scratches but still exhibits strong profiles and edges showing very little scabbard wear. Nice wood to metal fit. Nice example of an original Winchester Saddle Gun that shows light use and displays well.