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Old January 15, 2017, 10:19 PM   #1
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Winchester Model 1873 Different Stock?

I am helping my mother-in-law sell a gun collection left behind by my late father-in-law, and am new to gun selling. I intend to help her sell the guns, but I want to make sure she doesn't get ripped off. I have identified one of the guns in the collection as a Winchester Model 1873 .38 cal from the markings. On the barrel, it says "Winchester's-Repeating Arms. New Haven CT. King's-Improvement-Patented-March 29. 1866. October 16. 1860." It is a lever-action with an octagonal barrel (sports version?). The serial number behind the finger lever says "148050A." I have done a lot of research on this gun, and feel like some of the specifics don't match the basic style of the gun I've seen online, so I'm wondering if I have incorrectly identified it. I have attached a picture for reference. The main things of note:

1) I was looking at Winchester rifle dating charts, and it does not mention the letter A. From what I saw, it looked like it was manufactured in 1882?

2) There seems to be additional sight parts (which can be seen behind the hammer covering the model name, and made determining the model name VERY difficult for me! haha). I can send more pics if necessary. There is also an additional sight at the end of the barrel.

3) The stock looks nothing like typical stock styles I see in all the pictures online, so I'm wondering if there is something odd about this. It does include the compartment with a sliding door on the back, that contains cleaning tools.

4) I've seen everywhere that the typical barrel length for this gun is 24 inches, but (and I may just be measuring it completely wrong) the barrel seems to be closer to 26 inches.

Have I incorrectly identified this gun? Do I have reason to believe there is something fishy about the parts? How would you recommend selling this gun? Does anyone have an estimation on the value of this gun?

I really appreciate any information and advice you can give me! Thank you!
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Old January 15, 2017, 11:41 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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That is a "sporting tang sight" perhaps made by Lyman or Marbles. Maybe ordered on the rifle or added aftermarket.

The checkered pistol grip stock of figured walnut is a "special finish" option, very desirable, as is a nonstandard barrel length. Still has the cleaning rod in the butt, great.

I would bring it to the attention of Bert H. On the forum. He is on staff at the Winchester museum at Cody.
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Old January 16, 2017, 01:39 AM   #3
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You have a deluxe sporting rifle with a special length barrel. That makes it a special order gun. It could be quite valuable.

I recommend a letter from the Cody Firearms Museum, who hold the production records from Winchester. They can tell you when it was made, who ordered it, and what configuration it was in when it left the factory the last time.

You might also contact Leroy Merz, who runs a firearms business specializing in old firearms.
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Old January 16, 2017, 02:06 PM   #4
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You can also find Bert at TFF Just post it under the what's it worth header.
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Old January 16, 2017, 04:07 PM   #5
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Fantastic! Thank you all so much! Apparently this gun has been passed down in my wife's family for a long time, so we're beginning to lean toward keeping it... I really appreciate all the information. I'm amazed that I've gotten to hold a gun that's over 100 years old!
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Old January 16, 2017, 07:43 PM   #6
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That is a special order delux 1873 with many desireable features, manufactured in 1884. The "A" is not actually part of the serial number. Take several detailed pics in better light. Skip The other sites and go straight to the Winchester Arms Collector Association forum. Bert and twobit are there most every day.

As Scorch said, definitely start the ball rolling on the Cody letter. It will tell you the exact configuration of the rifle as it left the factory. $70 cost, but WELL worth it on a rifle like that.
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Last edited by 1BadF350; January 16, 2017 at 08:02 PM.
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Old January 17, 2017, 07:20 AM   #7
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Good morning,

As the others have already said, it is a desirable Model 1873 rifle. The bluing finish is on the poor side but because of the configuration it would still have a fair amount of collector interest and thus be valuable. I would not necessarily contact Leroy Merz in an effort to sell it be cause he will offer you about 60% of what the rifle is worth. He is in the business of selling to collectors so he must therefore pay less than what a collector is willing to in order to make his profit. Leroy is a good guy that is just how he makes a living.

This will help with further picture taking.

I will be happy to help you out.
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