Original U.S. Winchester Model 1873 .44-40 caliber Rifle - Marked Calcutta

Item Description

Original Item: Discovered within the inventory of 55,000 antique guns from the Kingdom of Nepal is this American made Gun that won the West. This example was stored for over 100 years in less than ideal conditions, but we were able to restore it using all original parts, the best part is that as a firearm it saw very little use as is made evident by the 24 round barrel having a nearly perfect bore!

The serial number found on the side of the lower tang under the butt stock is 2281, which according to factory records indicates that this rifle was made in 1874. The left side of the receiver plate is faintly marked Calcutta. Meaning this rifle was built by Winchester and then shipped to Manton & Co. based in Calcutta, India.

Obviously the fact that there is a milled rail for the dust cover indicates this is a 3rd model but that does contradict the early serial number and manufacture date making this gun a bit of an anomaly (or it could indicate that the lower tang is a replacement part from an earlier gun).

One of the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous Winchester rifles was the Winchester Model 1873, 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 its users to conveniently carry one type of ammunition for both their rifles and pistols. Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions of the rifle are chambered for the round. The popularity of the Winchester in .44-40 led Colt to manufacture a version of the Single Action Army revolver chambered for the same round, called the "Frontier Model"; Winchester produced three variations of the Model 1873: the rifle, carbine, and musket (although the musket variation accounted for less than 5–10 percent of those produced). The rifle variation used a 24" barrel, while the carbine used a 20" barrel. The carbine was the most popular due to its portability.

Winchester established a One of One Thousand grade in 1875. All barrels were test-fired for accuracy during the manufacturing process. Barrels producing unusually small groups were fitted to rifles with set triggers and special finish and marked One of One Thousand to be sold at a price of $100. A second grade of barrels producing above average accuracy were fitted to rifles marked One of One Hundred and sold for a price $20 higher than list. Approximately 136 One of One Thousand Model 1873 rifles were sold with only eight Model 1873s of the One of One Hundred grade.

Winchester rifles were readily available on the frontier and became hugely popular, with over 720,000 produced. This popularity has led the Model 1873 to be credited as "The Gun that Won the West", and inspired the 1950 Western film Winchester '73 starring James Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann. Production of the latter movie included a search for One of One Thousand and One of One Hundred rifles by Universal Studios with advertisements in sporting magazines and posters in sporting goods stores.

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