Before I write this description, let me start by saying that if you are even only somewhat impressed with the pictures of this 1873, then you will be doubly pleased with the rifle in person. The photos simply don't do this rifle justice as the blue is much more vivid and brighter, the wood tones are richer with the original Winchester orangish red hues, and the overall appearance is sharper.
This is a very nice example of the 1873 Winchester rifle in caliber 38-40. Serial number is in the 335,000 range. Built in 1890. Standard Sporting rifle configuration with 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. Overall, its in NRA Antique Excellent Condition showing very little usage. For starters, there is easily 90% bright original blue remaining on the receiver with nearly full coverage even in the most vulnerable areas where blue is prone to wear...high wear areas such as the top tang, lower receiver, and dust cover retain nearly all of their original blue. The blue is exceptionally bright with some speckles of brown patina beginning to appear. The only negative thing I can say is the finish has been touched up around the edges of the sideplates where someone tried to clean up some closet rust...quite well done and doesn't distract from the incredible appearance of this rifle. The loading port still retains much of its original fire blue. There is so little use of this rifle that the bolt and firing pin retain nearly all their original blue. The extractor still has most of its fire blue and the face of the bolt even has most of its original blue...yes, that's right...when's the last time you saw a bolt that had blue on its face...I doubt this rifle was fired more than a handful of times in the past 115 years. Nice case colors remain on the hammer while the lever and buttplate colors have mostly faded out to a silvery grey mottled appearance.
The barrel and tube retain 85-90% original blue with the balance beginning to turn to mix with patina. Fantastic markings include the barrel address with Henry's 1860 patent date and King's improvement patent date of 1866. Forend cap and mag tube retaining band still retain 85% of their bright original blue. Original sights include the standard rear semi-buckhorn rear with standard front sight with German silver blade.
The wood is Excellent overall, still that great reddish orange Winchester color that hasn't turned dark from age, dirt, and oil. Aside from some light handling marks and a slight bruise on the forewood, the wood is nearly flawless. The stock still has 95% original varnish remaining and 80% original varnish on the forewood with the only losses mainly on the bottom from being carried. Winchester varnish was quite fragile so its hard to find a rifle with this much original finish....fortunately, the original owner knew how to carefully handle this rifle by the wood instead of the metal. The wood to metal fit is perfect....still having that tight original factory fit with the wood still swelling slightly proud of the metal.
Mechanics are perfect, just like new where the action snaps shut with the firing pin still indexing properly. The bore is nearly perfect, bright and shiny with sharp rifling right up to the edge of the muzzle with no pitting. This is about as good as they get internally. Nonetheless, due to liabilities, this is still in no way, shape, or form an endorsement that this rifle is safe to fire. It is being sold only as an antique collectible but they don't get any nicer.
For the past few months, we have gotten a lot of emails asking us for nice Winchesters. We travel all over the US and out West, you won't find one as nice as this for less than 6K or 7K. We rarely find ones this nice that can be sold for a reasonable price. If you've been looking for a nice Winchester 1873, here is your chance to get a great rifle for an affordable price that will make a great investment.