Thursday, January 15, 2015

132 Year-old Model 1873 found against a tree at Great Basin National Park.

Via Harry


Who hasn't dreamed about finding an old, classic rifle leaning against a tree. Perhaps with a note attached to it telling the story. Well . . .


You have to wonder about the story behind the Model 1873 recently found leaning against a tree in Great Basin National Park. The Model 1873 is the iconic rifle in the great American westward expansion, and is referred to as "The Gun That Won the West."  So many people are trying to find the back story of this rifle. Was it just forgotten? Did something happen to it's owner. Did a hunter leave it intending to come back and find it, but never could.

Winchester staff writer, Scott Engen, gathered a few details provided by Nichole Andler, Chief of Interpretation at Great Basin National Park.

National Park Service finds an original Winchester Model 1873 in the wilds of Great Basin National Park.
Many of us harbor pipe dreams of running across an original Winchester Model 1873 rifle in the rafters of a dusty attic or tucked in the dark corner of old barn.

Recently employees of the National Park Service found an original Winchester Model 1873 rifle leaning against a gnarled juniper tree in a remote part of the sprawling Great Basin National Park in Nevada.

More with pictures and video @ Winchester


  1. Did an absent minded person set it down a hundred years ago only to never find it again. Or was it more dire. Lost in a blizzard, leaned the rifle against a tree and wandered off to die. Maybe an Injun attack oh the story this rifle could tell if only it could talk.

  2. Clean it up and see if it will shoot

    1. :) I bet it would bring a pretty penny at auction considering its provenance.

  3. Fantastic Story!! Like everyone else, I'll love to hear the back story on this!

  4. Having occasionaly assisted a gunsmith who specializes in hand making parts and restoring old winchester and marlin lever actions from the late 1800s and 1900s, the pictures of this 1873s condition leave little doubt that it would never be fired again. The corrosion has weakened the frame. The dust cover lever hamer and all other moving parts are undoubtedly frozen together and the barrel is probly rustier than a mid 70s Wisconsin pickup truck. I think a display of the rifle, as it was found. Up against the tree it has befriended for over a century through heat and dust, rain and snow, squirrels,coyotes,deer and mice. When you think that it just stood there for a few world wars and a few trips to the moon I think its in dang good shape. (Bet it may even have a round in the chamber yet).

    1. rustier than a mid 70s Wisconsin pickup truck.



      I think a display of the rifle, as it was found

      I believe that is their intention once it is preserved from further deterioration.


      Bet it may even have a round in the chamber yet

      Hadn't thought of that and you are probably 100% correct! :)