Winchester Model 1873

Winchester 1873

Approximately 750,000 Winchester Model 1873 guns were manufactured, starting in 1873. They were introduced alongside Winchester’s new .44-40 caliber ammunition. This new centerfire round was more powerful than Winchester’s earlier .44 rimfire round. As a result, the brass frame of the Model 1866 was upgraded to a stronger steel frame. The ’73 was available in a rifle, carbine or musket configuration. Dozens of variations were available, which makes the Winchester ’73 a fun gun to collect. The production is broken into three main categories: first, second and third model. Of the three models, production of the Third Model greatly outnumbers First and Second Models. One thing that makes collecting Winchester guns interesting is that variations tend to be introduced over a transitional period, rather than at a specific start and stop date. The way to identify the various models relates to how the dustcover is attached, and the arrangement of screws behind the trigger. The earliest Winchester ’73’s had no caliber marking, because initially they all used .44-40 ammo, also known as .44 WCF. As other calibers were introduced later, it became necessary to mark the caliber on all guns. The 73 rifle was eventually available in .44, .38 and .32 calibers. A few were also made in .22 caliber, however, the mechanism of the Model 1890 Winchester proved to be more reliable for handling the small .22 caliber rounds.

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