Original U.S. Winchester M1873 Special Order 28″ Round Barrel .38-40 Rifle made in 1884 with Research – Serial 147807A


Category: Product ID: 7795


Original U.S. Winchester M1873 Special Order 28″ Round Barrel .38-40 Rifle made in 1884 with Research – Serial 147807A

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. “The Gun that Won the West!” This wonderful special order rifle is in .38-40 caliber, correctly marked with .38 – CAL. over the chamber and 38 CAL on the brass carrier block. It features a special order 28″ long round barrel and full-length magazine tube. As with all examples, it is marked MODEL. 1873. on the upper receiver tang. Features the classic front sight and iconic “buckhorn” rear adjustable sight. The serial number is 147807A denoting the year of manufacture as 1884.

Together with this gun we received a carbon copy of a CODY FIREAMS MUSEUM Serial Number Research Request. The museum has in its collection all of the old Winchester records, so they were able to consult the original factory and warehouse logs regarding the rifle. It was received in warehouse 2 – 13 – 1884, and shipped out the following day, 2 – 14 – 1884Work Order 10643. It confirms that the .38cal 28″ barrel is direct from the factory, and not a later replacement.

The engraving on the top of the barrel present and fully legible:



of the rifle is very good, with the wood stocks in very good condition. They have a lovely dark red-brown color, and show the expected wear from frontier use. This includes dents and small gouges, but no major structural issues. The metalwork has a worn gray patina, but only small areas of rust, and presents beautifully. The crescent butt plate is equipped with a storage compartment, which is currently empty. 

Very crisp tight action in fully functional condition with the original dust cover. The rifle cycles well and dry fires, with smooth mechanical operation. The bore is in very good shape, and has a partly bright finish with clear lands and grooves. There is some overall speckled oxidation, but this is definitely a rifle that at least had the bore cared for during use, probably before it was put into storage.

A very nice example of an iconic gun with a lovely patina, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1884
Caliber: .38-40 Winchester
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 28 Inches
Overall Length: 47 Inches
Action type: Lever Action Repeater
Feed System: 16-round tube magazine

The Model 1873 was one of the most successful Winchester rifles of its day, gaining the reputation as “The Gun that Won the West”. Still an icon almost a century and a half later, it was manufactured between 1873 and 1919. Originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, it was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20, all of which were also popular handgun cartridges of the day, allowing users to conveniently carry just one type of ammunition. The Model 1873 was produced in three variations: a 24″ barrel rifle, 20″ barrel carbine, and a musket. The easy to transport and handle carbine was the most popular, while the musket accounted for less than 5-10 percent of total production.

Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions are chambered for the round. The popularity of the original Model 1873 led Colt to manufacture .44-40 a version of the Single Action Army revolver called the “Frontier Model”.

To both celebrate and enhance the Model 1873’s prestige, Winchester established a coveted One of One Thousand grade in 1875. Barrels producing unusually small groupings during test-firing were fitted to rifles with set triggers and a special finish. Marked One of One Thousand, they sold for a then princely $100. A popular 1950 Western starring Jimmy Stewart, Winchester ’73, was based on the coveted gun. Promotions included a search for One of One Thousand rifles by Universal Studios, with advertisements in sporting magazines and posters in sporting goods stores.

A second grade of Model 1873 barrels producing above average accuracy were fitted to rifles marked One of One Hundred, and sold for $20 over list. Approximately 136 One of One Thousand Model 1873s were sold, and only eight One of One Hundreds. In all, over 720,000 Model 1873s were produced.

The .38-40 Winchester round is actually a .40 caliber cartridge shooting .401 caliber bullets. The cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1874 and is derived from their .44-40 Winchester. This cartridge was introduced for rifles, but in its reintroduction for Cowboy Action Shooting it has seen some popularity as a pistol cartridge. It is not particularly well suited to hunting larger game, but it was popular when it was introduced, along with the previous .44-40 Winchester, for deer hunting. It can be used successfully on smaller game animals, and for self-defense.

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are not able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services. International customers should always consult their country’s antique gun laws prior to ordering.


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