Original Indian Crow Tribe Winchester Model 1873 .32-20 Rifle with Octagonal Barrel
Original Item: This certainly is an eye catcher, an antique Winchester M-1873 full tube magazine Rifle with 24 octagonal barrel.
Thanks to some excellent historical sleuthing by one of our customers we can now confirm with 95% confidence that this rifle was owned by a member of the Crow Nation. When comparing it to a rifle owned by "White Man Runs Him", the scout for General George A. Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. His gun dominated the action at a 2009 Kaminski Auctions where it sold for $21,850. White Man Runs Him decorated the gun with Thunderbird symbols, and, according to notarized documents accompanying the lot, he saw it as sacred and used it for tribal ceremonies. White Man Runs Him, also known as "White Buffalo That Turns Around", kept accounts of the battle, and of Custer, which portrayed the general as less than heroic. White Man Runs Him's gun had remained in his Montana family until July 2004, when his granddaughter Winona Yellowtail sold it.
If you compare our gun to the one owned by "White Man Runs Him" you will see that the rawhide used and the manner in which it is wrapped in nearly identical, as is the gut stitching, the feathers, the brass tacks and some of the decorations. Compare the photos and decide for yourself!
This is a gun that was ridden hard and put away wet but despite that it has the most amazing eye appeal. The entire butt stock and the fore end from the action extending 15.5" up the octagonal barrel is covered in extremely tightly wrapped and gut stitched hide. Beautifully executed and fully hand sewn with gut this old hide covering almost looks like old parchment. The sewing is incredible, no doubt put on wet and allowed to dry to a tight shrink fit. The fact that gut was used and not thread indicates this was done before 1900 and not by a commercial outfit.
Both butt stock and fore end then decorated with brass headed tacks and designs including a bear. The rifle even has some dangling red hawk feathers that are well aged and look terrific.
The metalwork is very dark and there is plenty of evidence of pitting and wear, however, the overall presentation is just wonderful.
The rifle is an old antique, it is well used, as it should be, and the decoration is just wonderful. Ideal for "Over the Fireplace" to support your tales of your great grand pappy's time in the Indian Wars of the 1870-80s or at the Battle of Little Big Horn!
History of the Crow-
The Crow, called the Apsáalooke in their own Siouan language, or variants including Absaroka, are Native Americans, who in historical times lived in the Yellowstone River valley, which extends from present-day Wyoming, through Montana and into North Dakota, where it joins the Missouri River. Today, they are enrolled in the federally recognized Crow Tribe of Montana.
Pressured by the Ojibwe and Cree peoples (the Iron Confederacy), who had earlier and better access to guns through the fur trade, they had migrated there from the Ohio Eastern Woodland area to settle south of Lake Winnipeg, Canada. From there, they were pushed to the west by the Cheyennes. Both the Crow and the Cheyennes were then pushed farther west by the Lakota (Sioux), who took over the territory from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Big Horn Mountains of Montana; the Cheyennes finally became close allies of the Sioux, but the Crows remained bitter enemies of both Sioux and Cheyennes. The Crow were generally friendly with the whites and managed to retain a large reservation of over 9300 km2 despite territorial losses.
Since the 19th century, Crow people have been concentrated on their reservation established south of Billings, Montana. They also live in several major, mainly western, cities. Tribal headquarters are located at Crow Agency, Montana.
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- IMA considers all of our antique guns as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to posses, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1899 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to all US States and most nations around the world.
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