I could use some help identifying a 1873 Winchester.

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by clgustaveson, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    Hello, this is my first post here so bare with me.

    I have acquired an 1873 Winchester, to my best ability I have been able to narrow it down to one that was manufactured in 1879 and it is almost undoubtedly a sporting model.

    The serial number is 28386.

    I do not know which model it is, as far as I can read there are three makes. I cant imagine mine being made in 1879 would be anything other than a first model but I have no clue.

    The rifle has a slide mechanism in the butt that holds extra rounds, it has the Winchester patent information on the barrel. The barrel is octagonal (or at least half).

    From my own estimation (and I am far far from an expert) the gun is 40% - 50% and has a slight defect in with the hammer which will be fixed after this weekend with no replacement parts.

    First, can somebody help me determine the round this gun takes? I seem to find a ton of different information.

    Secondly, I don't plan to sell this gun but can somebody give me a conservative value for an operational model 1873 40% - 50% sporting model.

    As far as I can tell there is nothing special about the model I have as far as factory "add ons" except for the compartment in the butt (which may be a stock component for all I know).

    I have an incomplete but very nice Winchester collection and I want to know all I can about them. Is there a way to get my 1873 certified or get a certificate of some sort?

    Thanks in advance for all of the responses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2010
  2. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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    OK--here's just a little info. I am by NO MEANS any kind of a Mdl 73
    authority, but I have owned a few of them.

    Yes, yours is a first model 1873. They went to the second model
    somewhere between 30,000 and 31,000.

    Caliber. 44 wcf, aka 44-40. If it were anything else it would be marked on the barrel and the brass shell lifter.

    If it's a rifle the forearm will have a metal cap. Carbine will have a band
    around the forearm and barrel.

    You say "sporting model"? Why? Rifle, carbine and musket are the standard
    models. Some call rifles with options--shotgun buttplate, pistol grip, checkering, upgrade sights, (you could get about anything) "Sporting models"

    "The barrel is octagonal (or at least half)." WHOA THERE!!! It's a half round
    half octagon? That ain't standard. You might have a factory special order
    option--and the value just moved over a decimal place.

    The buttstock compartment is standard. All of mine have had it.
     

  3. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    Well, I wasn't sure if it was half or not until I opened it back up.

    I just got back home from California.

    It is full octagonal, and is probably even less than 40%.

    The text on the gun is very hard to read, it needs cleaned, not by me but by someone that knows what they are doing with such old guns. The slide mechanism was bent and I was able to fix that utilizing the original peices.

    I still have not fired it yet but I plan on doing so this evening.

    Once the gun is a bit more cleaned up I will post some pictures.

    The main thing I think that makes this gun valuable to me is that there is almost no wear on the blueing of the steel. there are a few worn places but for the most part for being 130 years old the metal is in excellent condition.

    The stock is where I think the most damage has occured, it is reletively worn and dinged up. I would say a conservative 40% wood. There is also some damage to the shield cover peice on the bottom of the trigger grouping.

    The buttplate is also extremely dinged up.
     
  4. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    [​IMG]

    So, how much of a mistake would it be to just restore the gun? Leaving the original parts of course but reblueing where necessary and other minimally invasive restoration.

    I mean, I don't plan on selling this gun, its in decently poor (haha) to very poor condition.
     
  5. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    More pics, please!

    And my suggestion is to NOT restore it. They are not making any more first model 1873's. Value will decline unless someone like Turnbull does the renovation.

    I'd clean it up and buy a Uberti to go along with it (for shooting).
     
  6. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from this picture there is crack in the stock and a black spot on close to the buttplate, I am not sure what the black spot is but I am sure it isn't supposed to be there. I don't think those two items harm the overall gun because for the most part they are not all that noticeable and the crack is not too terribly deep.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    How can I get in contact with this Turnbull?
     
  8. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    I wish I had that kind of money, his work looks amazing.
     
  9. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    It is amazing. I've seen pics of the "before" and "after" and the dif is jaw dropping. They come out looking as close to new as you could get.

    Spendy, though.
     
  10. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    True, can you loan me $3800? Just kidding... But I will see what I can do to clean it up.

    I am VERY VERY VERY NEW!!!! Can someone just give me a step by step to clean this gun up safely as best I can?
     
  11. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Best thing for you to do is nothing. Cleaning may destroy it's value, restoration is what is needed...professional restoration. If you cannot afford that get some advice on how to stabilize the gun and protect it from any additional deterioration until you can get it properly cared for.

    P.S. Don't fire it until a gunsmith can look it over...small almost invisible stress fractures in the chamber or stock may lead to a very dangerous situation, it is 130+ years old after all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  12. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    "Cleaning it up" can mean a lot of things. Be very careful. It is easy to turn a "beat up old valuable rifle" into a "beat up old shiny rifle that has been Bubba'ed into a fraction of it's previous value" quickly.

    I'd start by stopping whatever kind of rot is going on. A light gun oil on a rag and work slowly on the metal. Avoid penetrating oils (on the outside) until you know what you've got. No abrasives, no wire brushes or wheels. Elbow grease and oil. I use Mobil One synthetic oil on my guns, unless they need grease.

    Use some good penetrating oil (Kroil) on the inside of the barrel. Odds are good that it will show a lot of wear/rust. That '73 had many years of corrosive ammo run through it.

    Go slow, and see what a basic oily rag can do.
     
  13. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Your MODEL 1873 was produced in early 1879.

    [​IMG]

    Model 1873 First Model Rifle
    - serial numbers approx. 1-30,000, sliding thumbprint dust cover on 2 guides which are an integral part of upper frame, absence of any cal. marking.
    $2,500 - $4,950 (Above Ave.) $1,650 - $2,500 (Average) $900 - $1,650 (Below Ave.)

    Since early Model 1873s were only made in .44 cal., no caliber markings are present. With the introduction of additional calibers, barrels (just in front of the receiver) and the brass elevator were stamped with the caliber.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  14. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    If only it looked as good as the one in this picture does.

    Luckily I do have some Mobile One 0W 30 Synthetic...

    At what point does an abrasive become an option? I can't tell what kind of blueing is going on, I can see some "red" metal in some parts but I am really concerned as to what kind of metal this gun is made of.

    So, thus far my impression of where I should go from here is to use a non-penetrating oil on the outside and some elbow grease to try and reveal the overall condition of what is beneath.

    On the inside a bore oil is fine? (you stated non-penetrating on the outside so I am assuming the inside is fine).

    Now, as I stated before one of the tracks on the inside is either broken or bent, the hammer will not lock or slam so from the limited knowledge I do have of this gun I know this is a common problem. Would it be a terrible mistake to have a replica machined or should I find one of the Winchester part hoarders that I can get a Winchester made part from?

    And what can be done to safely lighten up the stock and wood components? Again, I want to try and preserve the value if I can but more importantly I don't want to ruin the wood.
     
  15. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    Yes, it should be OK to clean the bore with penetrating oil, like Kroil. Put the oil on with a cotton patch and let it soak over night. Re-apply with another patch. Use a bore brush with Kroil to loosen up whatever gunk may be in the barrel, and keep using patches. Might take a few days.

    Leave the wood alone. The dark spot is a character mark. It was earned honestly. Most likely caused by oil wicking into the wood from the end of the stock, under the buttplate.

    If you are dead set on doing the action repairs yourself, get some good books on the '73. They will explain the full takedown in detail. Then get some GOOD screwdrivers designed for guns. Brownells sells a great set. You will need Kroil to soak into any screw threads that you need to loosen. Kroil and soak over night.

    If you use regular screwdrivers, you will bugger the screws. If that happens, don't come crying to us; we warned you. :D

    And once again, I urge you to not try to "clean up" the rifle. Get the action working and hang it up. Buy yourself a Uberti replica '73 to shoot.
     
  16. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Rock is right, the gun has served it's duty and now is a tired warrior.

    Treat it with the due respect it deserves.

    Preserve the value by stopping any rust or wood rot but please don't go and hi-gloss the furniture.

    As I see it you have two options and only two. (You asked)
    1. Save/salvage the firearm as is, with clean-up.
    2. Get on the phone with Doug Turnbull (585)657-6338 and begin the restoration project. Starting at $3,800.00.
     
  17. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    Well, I will give him a call and see what can be done but $3800 seems steep but well worth it.

    I don't plan on putting any type of coating on anything. I just want it cleaned up.
     
  18. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    But remember, if you send it to Turnbull do not ever lose the paperwork that comes back with it.
     
  19. clgustaveson

    clgustaveson New Member

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    I wouldn't but I don't really plan on selling the gun, I just got it.