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View Full Version : Old Winchester 1873 - What Should I Do?


Wobble
February 1, 2010, 12:20 PM
I'm not a collector, although I could be, but I have a question about a Model 1873 Winchester rifle (mfgr date = 1910 according to serial #) that I spotted in a local gun store. It was chambered in 38 WCF and has a 24" barrel (sporting rifle).

It was in fair/poor condition, no color left on receiver, some pitting, missing dust cover and a side tang screw. The receiver was scratched with someone's initials in a couple of places. The stock and forearm were in good shape, not heavily dented or worn. It only half cocked when the lever was cycled, which seems to indicate maybe broken internal toggle links? Carrier block elevator worked. Barrel and mag had good color, but didn't get a chance to inspect bore.

I am considering my options, which I would appreciate any comments on.

1) Forget it -- not worth it?

2) Buy it and resell it as is -- value?

3) Buy it and fix it (replace missing/broken parts) -- sale value? Or hang it on my wall? Shoot it?

4) Buy it and part it out? I saw a guy on eBay last night who parted out an 1873 and got over $800 just for the seven or eight parts I was watching ($158 for the small ring that holds the magazine to the barrel and $136 for a set of toggle links, $58 for a very poor stock and butt plate)

James K
February 1, 2010, 01:37 PM
Is it worth what? You don't say how much the seller wants for it.

Jim

Hardcase
February 1, 2010, 05:29 PM
The purchase price will guide you to your answer (said in a very philosophical tone of voice.)

Wobble
February 1, 2010, 08:38 PM
Sorry, I thought I had stated the price. They were asking $675. I've never seen an 1873, in any condition, for less than about $1200.

Malamute
February 1, 2010, 09:01 PM
For that price you can afford to get it working properly, and enjoy shooting it. Sounds like the full cock notch in the hammer needs repair, they can be rebuilt. I know a couple guys that can do it, and do it well.

It doesnt sound like it's in too bad of shape, all in all.

I'm amazed that anyone could get that much for a magazine ring. I've bought them at the Antique Winchester collectors shows for $10-$15.

Wobble
February 1, 2010, 10:35 PM
I'm amazed that anyone could get that much for a magazine ring. I've bought them at the Antique Winchester collectors shows for $10-$15.

That's the wonder of eBay -- people getting excited and paying too much for stuff they can get elsewhere for much less.

Since I'm not (yet) a collector, my question is, why are people buying these original parts? Are they repairing original guns? I wouldn't think a magazine ring is one of the parts that would often need replacing. Are they building old guns from parts?

Malamute
February 2, 2010, 10:23 AM
I would guess rebuilding or repairing old guns, but they musy not look around much for parts. I have probably 5 magazine rings in my parts box, for projects I've anticipated doing. I probably bought a couple of them thinking I wanted one and didnt recall I had one (or 3) in the spare parts box. Some I bought because they were better than one I knew I had, and was cheap. $5 is probably the least I've paid for one $10 or $15 the most. I just like having basic spares available for my guns, but havent tried to corner the market.

Some people may be building guns from parts, but at those prices, it would be cheaper to buy a complete gun. I built a 1921 carbine from parts. I had maybe $250 in it. The guy I got the major parts (barrel/action) from had stripped it for parts to restore an 1892 carbine, which was worth more to him.

Winchester_73
February 2, 2010, 02:35 PM
Sorry, I thought I had stated the price. They were asking $675. I've never seen an 1873, in any condition, for less than about $1200.

I'd offer them $500 ish and tell them since its broken and very old, it will be difficult to repair. Most pawnshops are idiots when it comes to guns. I think if you get it for less than $600 or even $700, someone will always want it because its in the top 10 most influential/innovative/popular designs of all time of any gun whatsoever. It carries such historical provenance that most people would probably pay more than that for one who wanted one in the first place. Could you make on it? Possibly. After you get it repaired (for a decent price) almost surely.