This past year I really got involved in Cowboy Action Shooting and this lead me to any type of rifle or pistol from the period 1850 to 1897. Mostly Black Powder firearms.
Everything I’ve acquired thus far have been reproductions as the “real thing” was too expensive or un-shootable.
This changed yesterday……On the Kittery Trading Post (Maine) used gun list I saw an 1873 Winchester and the pictures showed it to be in excellent condition. The price was extremely reasonable ($795). These rifles in any condition usually command $2000+ . There is a frame and barrel with no internal parts or wood on Gun Broker for $350!
Kittery did say the barrel’s bore was toast. But I figured this could be resolved with a rebore or a reline.
So I drove the 2 hours and 15 minutes to check it out.
Fifteen minutes later I was the new owner of a 128 year old Winchester 1873 lever action rifle!
Caliber is 38-40 and I’m going to reline the barrel with a Redman liner in the same caliber.
I ordered dies, bullet mold, cases and wads yesterday.
I took the whole rifle apart and cleaned over 100 years of lint, dead bugs and other unidentifiable material from the works. There is zero wear inside. In fact, it looks near new! It appears someone shot this rifle very little and put it away without cleaning the bore and ruined it. Which actually preserved the entire rifle in near pristine condition.
I’ll leave the wonderful aged patina as it is. Looks great! I’ve sent a request and my $70 to the Cody Museum in Wyoming (The Keeper of all the Winchester records) for a letter detailing when, where and how it was sold. I do know from the serial number that it was made in 1884.
More @ RVB Precision