Original U.S. Winchester Model 1873 .38-40 Rifle with Octagonal Barrel made in 1889 - Serial 289990B

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. "The Gun that Won the West!" This wonderful frontier worn rifle is in .38-40 caliber, correctly marked with .38 W.C.F. on the chamber and 38 CAL. on the brass carrier block. It features a desirable 24" octagonal barrel and full-length magazine tube. As with all examples, it is marked MODEL. 1873. on the upper receiver tang. Features the classic front sight and an iconic "buckhorn" rear adjustable sight. The serial number is 289990B denoting the year of manufacture as 1889. The engraving on the top of the barrel present but only partly legible due to wear:


Condition of the rifle is very good, with the wood stocks in great shape. They look to have been refinished at some point, and now have a lovely red-brown color, with some traces of past denting. The metalwork has a worn gray patina, with areas of light peppered oxidation in places. The barrel exterior definitely looks to have been cleaned often, which is what wore down the barrel address and patent markings. The crescent butt plate has a working storage compartment with a steel cover, which is currently empty.

Very crisp tight action in fully functional condition with the original dust cover, and an original set trigger, which is out of adjustment. The rifle cycles well and dry fires, with no sticking we can feel. The bolt extractor is missing the hook on the end, but they can be easily sourced on the market. The bore does still show rifling, but also a lot of oxidation and fouling, which has made the inside mostly dark. This rifle looks to have seen significant use, most likely on the frontier.

A very nice example of an iconic gun with a lovely patina, ready to display!

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: 1889
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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