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Help with my new (to me) '73
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February 7, 2021 - 3:51 am
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Hello to everyone….

I recently purchased a Winchester 1873 in 32-20.  SN 283xxx. I just received the Cody letter for it.  I’m trying to get a value established for it, at least for insurance purposes. 

So, is this the place for me to get that info?

I will be happy to provide tons of photos and other info needed for an evaluation.  I haven’t done anything to it, and will not untill I hear from someone who is knowledgeable.  

Any/all help and advice will be greatly appreciated.

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February 7, 2021 - 4:07 am
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You can email the pictures to me at the below address or as a guest you would have to upload them to a third party host site and then post the link to them. The value of the gun is what you paid for it but I think what your looking for is if you got a good deal. Take good clear pictures  with good light preferably outdoors in the shade (indoor photos with artificial light or flash can throw the color off) showing the different parts of the gun i.e. each side of the stock, receiver, forearm, stampings etc. Also the barrel length including the threads.

I would also like the serial number and how it letters for my survey on 73’s

Bob

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February 7, 2021 - 4:13 am
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Start by posting a copy of the CFM factory letter, and clear pictures of the gun.

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February 7, 2021 - 4:36 am
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Wilco…..tomorrow am….

thanks,

John

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February 7, 2021 - 6:00 pm
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John sent me the pictures. Its a 32 caliber rifle with 28″ full octagon barrel  with casehardening and plain wood checkering. The letter confirms the features. The condition of the gun is overall brown with sharp edges at least with the pictures he sent. You can just see some flecks of silver case in protected areas on the receiver. The wood is dark and fits well with dents and scratches from handling with some larger damaged areas. The checkering of the stock is quite deep compared to the forearm which could be wear or something else done. As to value it lack sufficient condition and the caliber holds it back so I’m at $2000 to $2200 with a good bore which would be high retail.

Bob

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February 7, 2021 - 6:28 pm
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All this gun needs is a careful cleaning and oiling of all the metal and wood surfaces.  

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February 7, 2021 - 7:14 pm
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Chuck said
All this gun needs is a careful cleaning and oiling of all the metal and wood surfaces.    

Done right it would help but done wrong and you have a $1200 gun. Its like paying professional to restore a painting and get a Mona Lesa back or have someone that does not know what their doing and get back “Dogs Playing Poker”. Also once you pay someone to do it will it be worth the cost.

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February 7, 2021 - 10:13 pm
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1873man said

Done right it would help but done wrong and you have a $1200 gun. Its like paying professional to restore a painting and get a Mona Lesa back or have someone that does not know what their doing and get back “Dogs Playing Poker”. Also once you pay someone to do it will it be worth the cost.

Bob  

Though I prefer “Dogs Playing Poker” to the Mona Lisa, I don’t see how cleaning & oiling is going to improve the badly abused wood, which is the worst thing about this gun; clearly, to be that bashed up, it was in the hands of idiots over a long period.  Cleaning the wood would make all the dents & gouges stand out even more conspicuously.

I think it’s a job for Doug Turnbull.

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February 7, 2021 - 10:34 pm
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You have to remember that these guns before the 50’s were about worthless and dealers would take them to gunshows in barrels or be stacked like cord wood on a table. So it may not of been user abuse. The nice deluxe guns that looked nice were probably treated better.

The gun does not have the potential to pencil out after adding Turnbulls bill to it. Unless its a family heirloom I can’t see a restoration. 

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February 7, 2021 - 10:57 pm
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Thanks for all the input.  Since it’s my first ’73 I didn’t want to do anything without asking the pros.  Turnbull is out of the question anyway, so I’ll get some BP handloads , shoot it ( with my 1st Gen Colt, also 32-20), clean ‘er up, and hang on the wall.  It sure was tempting to do something as far as cosmetics go, but glad I didn’t…..maybe the next person can afford the restoration.

Now I need to do the same thing with a Savage 23A (Sporter) I bought with the ’73.

 

Thanks again for the help.

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February 7, 2021 - 11:06 pm
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1873man said

Done right it would help but done wrong and you have a $1200 gun. Its like paying professional to restore a painting and get a Mona Lesa back or have someone that does not know what their doing and get back “Dogs Playing Poker”. Also once you pay someone to do it will it be worth the cost.

Bob  

Bob, I really don’t know where you are coming from?  If you use oil, a tooth brush and a soft rag to clean the gun there is no chance of hurting this gun. I never said anything about doing some type of restoration.  This gun would be hurt by any attempts at restoration. Yes, my process will not help the dings or dents but the gun will look better. 

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February 7, 2021 - 11:36 pm
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1873man said
You have to remember that these guns before the 50’s were about worthless and dealers would take them to gunshows in barrels or be stacked like cord wood on a table. So it may not of been user abuse.

Yes, I have seen that, & much later than the ’50s.  One of the biggest dealers (& biggest AHs) in the East was doing it into the ’90s.  Rotten b——s!  It’s why “dealer,” with some exceptions, is a dirty word to me.

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February 8, 2021 - 12:09 am
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Chuck,

For someone that hasn’t used a tooth brush to clean a gun could possible find a way to do damage. I know when I first got into rusty Winchester I had to try to clean them and made them worst. We all had to learn what are limitations are. I just don’t want a new collector to learn the hard way. That is why I said if its done by someone with experience it will turn out better.

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February 8, 2021 - 2:34 am
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1873man said
Chuck,

For someone that hasn’t used a tooth brush to clean a gun could possible find a way to do damage. I know when I first got into rusty Winchester I had to try to clean them and made them worst.

So did I, but not with a toothbrush.  Naval Jelly; need I say more?

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February 8, 2021 - 4:18 am
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I like the gun, unfortunately it has seen hard use and possibly careless handling but that’s not unusual for a gun of this era. The dark wood brings it down a bit but I don’t think I’d do anything to the rifle other than a light cleaning. A lesser gun I’d try to pull some of the oil out of the wood but I’ll defer to Bob here. It appears to be a good, honest gun and in this case less is more. Preserve it as is, John. The gun’s been around nearly 140 years without our “help”. I feel we’re merely custodians of these old Winchesters. My goal is to pass them on as good as I got them and “improving” is a risky endeavor. My goal to cleaning is generally to stabilize the gun and finish. Just my honest opinion, your mileage may vary. 

 

Mike

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February 8, 2021 - 3:01 pm
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I would leave the rifle as is.  How is the bore?  I suspect that may need a very thorough cleaning.

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February 8, 2021 - 6:04 pm
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I can’t believe anyone could do damage with a toothbrush and oil.  I do it all of the time to remove grime in tight places.  I also have a shaving brush for even lighter cleaning. I knew he was new and I didn’t want to tell him some of the other methods we use. Other than getting the grime off and stopping further rust  there really isn’t anything else to be done that wouldn’t make things worse.  Light cleaning does not mean to take the finish off the wood or metal. You’d be surprised how much a light oiling of the wood might make it look better.  Again wipe off all excess oil on the wood.  This gun was used and not taken care of so all of the internal metal surfaces could use some Breakfree CLP.

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February 14, 2021 - 1:21 am
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1873man said

Done right it would help but done wrong and you have a $1200 gun. Its like paying professional to restore a painting and get a Mona Lesa back or have someone that does not know what their doing and get back “Dogs Playing Poker”. Also once you pay someone to do it will it be worth the cost.

Bob  

Are you saying a 32-20 rifle in that condition is worth more than $1200 now?

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February 14, 2021 - 1:44 am
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wolfbait said

Are you saying a 32-20 rifle in that condition is worth more than $1200 now?  

Yes

Bob

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February 14, 2021 - 1:13 pm
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1873man said

Yes

Bob  

I would agree.  Not for most guys that hang around here, but to the general public, I can see it selling for more than that.

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