Rare Documented Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifle with Factory Letter

Currency:USD Category:Firearms & Military / Long Guns - Rifles Start Price:6,500.00 USD Estimated At:13,000.00 - 17,000.00 USD
Rare Documented Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifle with Factory Letter
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Rare Documented Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifle with Factory Letter

This is a rare example of a Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifle with special order 20-inch barrel. The rifle is accompanied by a letter from the Cody Firearms Museum that describes the features as "Rifle, 44 caliber, Barrel Length: 20 inches, Barrel Shape: Round Sights: New 22A Sight". The letter further states that this rifle was shipped from the Winchester warehouse on March 28, 1918. The rifle has a full blue finish with straight grain, varnished American walnut stock and forearm. The stock has a crescent steel buttplate with sliding brass trap. The butttrap contains a three-piece jointed steel cleaning rod. The special order front sight has a screw-adjustable base with blued steel blade and replacement silver bead. The rear sight is a standard sporting style sight with flat top. The upper tang is factory drilled and tapped for a rear sight. The left side of the barrel is roll-stamped "WINCHESTER'S REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S IMPROVEMENT PATENTED MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860." in two lines ahead of the rear sight. "44 W.C.F." is roll-stamped on the left side of the barrel between the rear sight and the receiver. Winchester oval "W/P" proof marks are stamped on the top of the barrel and receiver. "44 CAL" is stamped in script letters on the bottom of the cartridge elevator. The upper receiver tang is roll-stamped "MODEl 1873/-WINCHESTER-/TRADE MARK REG. IN U.S. PAT.OFF." in three lines. The serial number "716449 B" in stamped in block numerals on the lower tang between the lever latch and the tang screw. Winchester Model 1873 Short Rifles are extremely scarce. The survey of surviving Model 1873 rifles in WINCHESTER'S NEW MODEL RIFLE OF 1873, A TRIBUTE by James B. Gordon, lists only 79 rifles with 20-inch barrel in the 3,847 guns surveyed.

Manufucture: Winchester
Model: 1873
BBL: 20 inch round
Stock: walnut
Guage: 44-40 WCF
Finish: blue
Serial Number: 716449B

Extremely fine. The rifle is all original and retains 80% of the blue finish. Nearly all of the blue finish is present on the barrel and magazine. The rifle shows very little handling wear; the finish loss on the forearm cap and receiver is from flaking and may be attributable to poor surface preparation during wartime production rather than actual use. The exposed metal on the forearm cap, dust cover, receiver and buttplate has a smooth brown patina that is difficult to distinguish from the blue finish at first glance. The barrel markings are crisp. The stock and forearm are excellent and retain nearly all of the original varnish; wear is limited to a few minor handling marks. The rifle is in excellent mechanical condition. This is a good looking example of a scarce Winchester Third Model 1873 Short Rifle that would be a key addition to any advanced collection of Winchester lever action rifles.