Original U.S. Winchester Model 1873 .44-40 Rifle with Octagonal Barrel - Manufactured in 1890
Original Item: The Gun that Won the West! This fine rifle is in .44-40 caliber (.44 WCF) with a 24 octagonal barrel and full-length magazine tube. Features the classic front sight and buckhorn rear sight. The serial number is 400086 denoting the year of manufacture as 1890.
Stock is in very good condition with no dings, cracks, or chips and the original finish intact. Barrel and action retain about some original case hardening and matured beautifully. Features a crescent butt, and case colored lever.
The woodwork is very nice with only minor markings and dings plus a small very old repaired split in the fore end on the right hand side. The rifle still retains a high percentage of original blue color but is generally turning to brown.
Very crisp tight action in fully functional condition with the original dust cover. Good bore and a nice solid iconic gun.
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 510 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.
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