8/23/2021

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Model 1873

Courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields, San Francisco, California
This Winchester rifle was one of the most popular lever-actions the company ever produced. This is the 'gun that won the West' and with good reason. Chambered for the more powerful centerfire cartridge, .44-40. Compared to .44 Henry, this cartridge was twice as good. With the introduction of single-action Colt pistol in 1878, chambered for the same cartridge, the individual had the convenience of a pistol for protection and accuracy of the Winchester for food and protection. The .44-40 was the standard cartridge for Model 1873. Three additional cartridges were offered, but were not as popular as .44-40. The .38-40 first offered in 1879 and .32-20 introduced in 1882. In 1884, offered in .22-caliber rimfire, with a few special order guns built in .22 Extra Long rimfire. Approximately 19,552 .22-caliber Model 1873s were produced. Early model 1873s were fitted with an iron receiver until 1884, when a steel receiver was introduced.
Model 1873 was offered in three styles:
1. Sporting Rifle: 24' round, octagon or half-octagon barrel. Equipped standard with a crescent iron buttplate, straight-grip stock and capped forearm.
2. Carbine: 20' round barrel. Furnished standard with a rounded iron buttplate, straight-grip stock and carbine style fore-end fastened to barrel with a single barrel band.
3. Musket: 30' round barrel. Standard musket furnished with a nearly full-length forearm fastened to barrel with three barrel bands. Buttstock has a rounded buttplate.
Upper tang was marked with model designation and serial number was stamped on lower tang. Caliber stampings on Model 1873 are found on the bottom of the frame and on breech end of barrel. Winchester discontinued Model 1873 in 1919, after producing about 720,000 guns. Winchester Model 1873 was offered with a large number of extra-cost options that greatly affects the value of this gun. For example, Winchester built two sets of special Model 1873s: 1-of-100 and 1-of-1000. Winchester sold only eight 1-of-100 Model 1873s; and 136 of 1-of-1000 guns that were built. In recent years, some of these special guns were sold at auction and brought prices well in excess of $100,000. Prices listed here are for standard guns only. For Model 1873 with special features, it is best to secure an expert appraisal. Model 1873s with case colored receivers will bring a premium.
First Model Rifle

Our database contains values of serial numbers through 5103248 which ended the year 1982. Our sources disagree a bit, but this seems to be the best set of data. Enter the serial number of your Winchester Model 1894/94 in the box below. Enter your Winchester SXP serial number and click 'Search' to see if it is included in the recall, and to view its current status.


Primary difference between the various styles of Model 1873, is found in appearance and construction of the dust cover. First Model has a dust cover held in place with grooved guides on either side. A checkered oval finger grip is found on top of the dust cover. Latch that holds lever firmly in place is anchored into the lower tang with visible threads. On later First Models, these threads are not visible. First Models appear from serial number 1 to about 31000.

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First Model CarbineWinchester Serial Number Search Engineheremup
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First Model Musket
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Second Model Rifle

Dust cover on Second Model operates on one central guide secured to receiver with two screws. Rant from janie and janis. Checkered oval finger grip is still used, but on later Second Models this is changed to a serrated finger grip on rear of the dust cover. Second Models are found in 31000 to 90000 serial number range.

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Second Model Carbine

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Second Model Musket
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Third Model Rifle
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Central guide rail is still present on Third Model, but is now integrally machined as part of the receiver. Serrated rear edges of dust cover are still present on Third Model.

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Third Model Carbine
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Third Model MusketLookupEngineheremup

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