1880 made 1873 Winchester 44WCF

Discussion in 'Curio & Relic Discussion' started by 4fingermick, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. 4fingermick

    4fingermick New Member

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    I have one of these which belonged to a local farming family until recently. They bought it new and used it continually until some years back when the last old guy that reloaded the ammo for it died.

    It is in very good shape and cycles as well and as cleanly as my Uberti clones. The bore is not perfect, but is pretty good. It has obviously been looked after.

    My friend who is a gunsmith owes me a few favours and offered to restore it, rust blue the metal and re-co the stock.

    I think this would negatively effect the re-sale value.

    What is one of these in good condition worth in the states?

    The reciever has been painted in a silver paint many years ago to protect it and it has done a good job. It is probably Silvafrost, which was very popular for protecting metal when I was a lad some 45+years ago.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  2. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

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    Photos! We need photos!

    Congratulations on your acquisition. I'd be hesitant to have the rifle restored unless you just want it for a personal shooter. Restoration MAY lower the collector's value of the rifle. Don't know about the silver coating though.

    Post some photos, and you will get some good opinions here.
     

  3. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

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    1880??
    It would be odd that the rifle is older than its' year of introduction.
    I would not touch the rifle except to make sure it is in working order.
    .44WCF is .44-40. It was popular here in the U.S. until the 1940's, and into the 1970's down under. I have a repro 1892(1873) w/ a 24" octagonal barrel that is a sweet shooter and has the recoil of a .223. It is a great 100..150yards cartridge.
    I just realized that the finish was changed. I would take the wood off and give it some BLO (boiled linseed oil) and have your friend re-blue the gun. These were not Rust blued originally, but I bet it would look nice. We do need picks.

    If you reload I would pick up some dies, brass, and cast lead .427 bullets. I load from 160...215gr cast lead to 205JSP hunting bullets. "Hot" loads w/ a 24" barrel are 1200fps.
     
  4. 4fingermick

    4fingermick New Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean here. From memory the 1873 was actually introduced in 1873, in 44WCF and was called the 44/40 a few years later by rival manafactures. The 1880 date is what came up from two sites that I use to identify old Winchesters.

    I currently reload and shoot 3 x 44/40 Colt clones and 4 x Rifles (one 1910 made 1892, one early 1866 Uberti and two recent 1873 Ubertis.

    The 1892 and the 1866 clone have 427 bores and the other stuff is recent and go 429.

    I'm not real interested in shooting hot loads through the 44/40s I use the 44Mags, 30/30s and 444 for that. As soon as I use up my huge stock of commercially cast bullets (which were a gift recently) I will swing across to BP exclusively.

    I was going to examine this one with the jeweller's eyepiece and if it didn't have any cracks or stretching in the toggles, etc I was going to try a Big Lube Mav Dutchman boolit and Black Powder and use it for a hunt. I didn't envisage firing more than a handful or so rounds through it. I probably should donate this to a local museum, but they would de-activate it.

    I don't know that I really need to shoot this at all. Just curious as to value, etc.

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    MOre pics at:
    http://s89.photobucket.com/albums/k...r Saddle Ring Carbine/?action=postuploadshare
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  5. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

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    Personally, I would not have it restored. Hang onto it as is, as it is worth more unrestored. Looks like you have a nice find.

    Jim.........
     
  6. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Mick- as I am sure you know, the value of ANY firearm is based on condition and originality. I am not a Winchester expert by any stretch of the imagination, but do know that these have a strong collector following. Unsure of the paint overlay, and its effect on value, but typically an original 1973 Winny will go for $1500-$3000 USD. If you should ever be fortunate enuff to find one marked "1 of 1000", you just won the lottery. There were less than 200 of those made- value is about equal to a 2 bedroom home.

    I did a search of a couple of the internet auction sites- here is one in .32 WCF that sold not too long ago-http://v2.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=160376311
     
  7. 4fingermick

    4fingermick New Member

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    Nope, unfortunaely it isn't a one of 1000 or one of the rare nickle ones (I thought the silver coating was well worn nickle plate initially, which got my pulse racing, there were less than 200 of these made apparently). Just a plain ol' farm gun, been carried in the scabbard a lot. It is in amazing condition considering it's age and use. Probably always been used, cleaned and stored correctly.

    If it was a 1 of 1000, it would have gone straight to a premier dealer and i would have been looking at a trip to the states, a new motorcycle and a few new shooting toys :D (oh! I forgot a bunch of flowers for the wife! :D )

    By the way, I was a Deputy Governor (Deputy Warden / Manager of Security) in the prison service here and I quoted Strother Martin many times. The inmates missed the point mostly, but the staff had trouble keeping a straight face.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  8. 30-30remchester

    30-30remchester New Member

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    I have a working knowledge of antique guns so can speak with some confidence. That is one beautiful Winchester just the way it is. ANY modification would severely reduce its value. Beside ruining it value by refinishing it you will also be forever removing its history. Every dent and ding has a story. The paint can easily be removed chemically without removing the blueing. Any good paint stripper will work but be very careful not to get any on the stock as it still has original finish remaining, something not often found on a gun this old. I would STRONGLY advise against removing the wood as it is brittle and unrepairable damage could be done. Write down as much history as you can find on this rifle so it can be passed on to the next owner. WOW if this gun could talk.
     
  9. 4fingermick

    4fingermick New Member

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    It is an amazing piece and the people who owned it were amongst the first settlers here. As I mentioned earlier the street I live on (one of the biggest streets in town) is named after them. I might try a bit of paint stripper under the hammer where it won't show.
     
  10. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    This is the exact look of my gun, however my serial number is lower and mine was manufactured in 1879
     
  11. 4fingermick

    4fingermick New Member

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    Whoops!

    It appears that it was made in 1881.

    The paint would be 'Silvafrost' which was a paint my grandfather applied to metal to stop rust in the late 50s, early 60s which was the time I used to tag along 'helping' him.

    I have since met a guy who competes in SASS matches with a similarly aged one which was re-lined and blued by a SPO (stupid previous owner). The blue came out like a modern black military finish and looks terrible. After botching the job, the guy I was talking to, found it on a gunshops shelf quiet cheap when he was shopping for a Marlin 357. He bought it, got some cases and dies and Trail Boss and started loading and using it. A couple of years later someone pointed out that it was reallyyyyyyyyyyyy old and he either should not be using it or at least should be using Black Powder. It really is an ugly old gun with the finish so he decided what the heck and two years later is still using Trail Boss and polymer coated commercial cast bullets.

    I will be having a real good look at mine and maybeeeeeeeee using well lubed soft lead boolits and black powder.