Original U.S. Winchester Model 1873 .44-40 Rifle with Special Order 28" Octagonal Barrel made in 1891 - Serial 384940B

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. "The Gun that Won the West!" This very fine "frontier used" rifle is in .44-40 caliber with a desirable special order 28" octagonal barrel, about the third most popular length after 24" and 26". It is correctly marked with MODEL. 1873. on the receiver tang. The caliber markings have worn off, but we have confirmed with measurements that it is in .44-40 Winchester Center Fire. Features the classic blade front sight and modified "flat-top" rear adjustable sight, with a full length magazine tube. The serial number is 384940B denotes the year of manufacture as 1891. The engraving on top of the barrel is still mostly clear:


The stocks are in good condition, with a great color and patina, showing wear from use and later cleaning and refinishing. The fore stock is just grate, with no issues to speak of. The butt stock shows more wear, and the left side has had a large portion sanded down 1/4" or more. There are also repaired cracks running from the trigger guard and receiver tang, so this is definitely a butt stock that saw a lot of service. It meets well with the crescent butt plate, which is in good shape, and does not have a storage compartment. Due to wear the stock is now below the level of the butt plate.

This lever action repeater is offered with a crisp tight action in fully functional condition, with a working original dust cover. There is a bit of stiffness during cocking due to internal wear. Metal work is good, with the original blue faded to a worn plum patina. There are some areas of past pitting corrosion from exposure to the elements, now ground out. The bore, as with all the metalwork, does show some advanced corrosion. There are areas where the rifling is clear, but also those where corrosion and fouling have made the bore dark, particularly towards the muzzle. This definitely is a gun that saw long service on the frontier without proper cleaning.

A very nice "frontier worn" example of an iconic frontier repeating rifle. These are becoming increasingly hard to find on the market in nice condition. Fully cleaned and ready for display!


Year of Manufacture: 1891
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 28 Inches
Overall Length: 47 Inches
Action type: Lever Action Repeater
Feed System: 15-round tube magazine

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.

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are not able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services. International customers should always consult their country's antique gun laws prior to ordering.

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

    This product is available for international shipping.
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