Original U.S. Winchester Deluxe Model 1873 .38-40 Rifle with Octagonal Barrel made in 1890 - Serial 385017B

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. "The Gun that Won the West!" Well this just came to us from a long time collector, who made sure that all of his items were in CHOICE condition. This example is definitely magnificent, and is equipped with some very rare and highly desirable factory special order features: a half length magazine, and deluxe figured walnut stocks.

The rifle came to us with a Cody Firearms Museum "Serial Number Search Request", dated 1/11/99, which gives some details from the original Winchester Factory Records, which reside at the museum. It notes that the magazine is "1/2", the barrel is "Octagon", and that it was shipped July 31, 91. Unfortunately the search request is on carbon contact paper, and it looks to have had some type of solvent spilled on it in the past, which has made some of the information completely unreadable. However, close examination of the gun and stocks makes us fairly certain that they are original, with a lovely lightly worn look.

This fantastic looking rifle is in .38-40 caliber, correctly marked with .38 W.C.F. on the chamber and 38 CAL on the feed block, with a 24" octagonal barrel and special order half-length magazine tube. Features an aftermarket front sight and an iconic "buckhorn" rear adjustable sight. The serial number is 385017B denoting the year of manufacture as 1890. The engraving on the top of the barrel is fully present and crisp:


Condition of the rifle is excellent, with just a bit of age and light wear in places. The wood sticks are highly figured walnut, almost burl level, with a great "3D" quality to them in the light. There are some small dents and dings, but no cracks or major structural damage. They have a lovely oil finish, most likely from years of careful cleaning and waxing. The metalwork is simply beautiful, with strong bluing on the barrel, and beautiful case hardening still present on the action and fittings. The crescent butt plate has a working storage compartment, which is currently empty.

Very crisp tight action in fully functional condition with the original dust cover, though it does have some finish wear. The rifle cycles well and dry fires, with no sticking we can fee. The bore on this rifle is in excellent condition, and is without a doubt one of the best bores on a Winchester factory barrel that we have ever seen. This is a gun that was well cared for, loved even.

A truly lovely weapon showing minimal use and a pride to own. Ready to cherish and display!

History of the Winchester Model 1873

The Model 1873 was one of the most successful Winchester rifles of its day, gaining the reputation as "The Gun that Won the West". Still an icon almost a century and a half later, it was manufactured between 1873 and 1919. Originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, it was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20, all of which were also popular handgun cartridges of the day, allowing users to conveniently carry just one type of ammunition. The Model 1873 was produced in three variations: a 24" barrel rifle, 20" barrel carbine, and a musket. The easy to transport and handle carbine was the most popular, while the musket accounted for less than 5-10 percent of total production.

Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions are chambered for the round. The popularity of the original Model 1873 led Colt to manufacture .44-40 a version of the Single Action Army revolver called the "Frontier Model".

To both celebrate and enhance the Model 1873's prestige, Winchester established a coveted One of One Thousand grade in 1875. Barrels producing unusually small groupings during test-firing were fitted to rifles with set triggers and a special finish. Marked One of One Thousand, they sold for a then princely $100. A popular 1950 Western starring Jimmy Stewart, Winchester '73, was based on the coveted gun. Promotions included a search for One of One Thousand rifles by Universal Studios, with advertisements in sporting magazines and posters in sporting goods stores.

A second grade of Model 1873 barrels producing above average accuracy were fitted to rifles marked One of One Hundred, and sold for $20 over list. Approximately 136 One of One Thousand Model 1873s were sold, and only eight One of One Hundreds. In all, over 720,000 Model 1873s were produced.

The .38-40 Winchester round is actually a .40 caliber cartridge shooting .401 caliber bullets. The cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1874 and is derived from their .44-40 Winchester. This cartridge was introduced for rifles, but in its reintroduction for Cowboy Action Shooting it has seen some popularity as a pistol cartridge. It is not particularly well suited to hunting larger game, but it was popular when it was introduced, along with the previous .44-40 Winchester, for deer hunting. It can be used successfully on smaller game animals, and for self-defense.


Year of Manufacture: 1890
Caliber: .38-40 Winchester
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 24 Inches
Overall Length: 43 Inches

Action type: Lever Action Repeater
Feed System: 15-round tube magazine

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s)
    New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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