Original U.S. Winchester Model 1873 .38-40 Rifle with Octagonal Barrel made in 1889 – Serial 311849B


Category: Product ID: 7608


Original U.S. Winchester Model 1873 .38-40 Rifle with Octagonal Barrel made in 1889 – Serial 311849B

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. “The Gun that Won the West!” This wonderful “frontier worn” rifle is in .38-40 caliber, correctly marked with .38 W.C.F. over the chamber. It features a desirable 24″ octagonal 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 a “flat-top” rear adjustable sight. The serial number is 311849B denoting the year of manufacture as 1889. The engraving on the top of the barrel present and fully legible:

Condition of the rifle is very good, with the wood stocks in very good shape, showing the expected wear from frontier use. Both stocks have a lovely red brown color, though the fore stock is quite worn from handling next to the receiver. The metalwork has a worn gray patina, with a few areas of past peppered oxidation in places. The crescent butt plate has a working storage compartment, which is empty.

Very crisp 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 wear to the lands with 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: 1889
Caliber: .38-40 Winchester
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 24 Inches
Overall Length: 43 Inches
Action type: Lever Action Repeater
Feed System: 15-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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