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Winchester 1873
December 23, 2015
7:07 am
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December 23, 2015
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I just have a few questions about my Winchester 1873 and I’m wondering if anyone could help me. 

The serial number is 18793,  I think it’s a rifle version but it has a round barrel, is there anyway to tell the difference?

also on the bottom of the barrel next to the receiver their is a  +++ 77, what does this mean?

any Information would be greatly appreciated. And is there anyway to tighten the action? The lever is very loose and hangs about an inch or two off the stock.

alos what do y’all think I should do with it? Is it any valuable? I’m not interested in selling it I’m just wondering if I should keep it as is or should I refinish it and replace some parts?

December 23, 2015
3:25 pm
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Brock,

A rifle can have any shape barrel on them. The difference between a carbine and rifle is that a carbine will have 2 barrel bands that wrap around the barrel and mag tube and forearm wood will extend past the rear band. A carbine will have a ring on the left side of the receiver. A rifle will have a metal cap on the forearm with no bands wrapping around the two and a mag tube retainer that is attached to the bottom of the barrel. There is a different butt plate too but its possible a rifle could be ordered with a carbine butt plate.

The +++ is a inspection stamp and the 77 is probable a year stamp but 73’s normally don’t have them. Your gun was made in 1876 from checking the serial number.

The lever hanging down is usually a spring issue or the cam on the lever. Under the left side plate there is a spring that rides on a cam on the lever. I have seen both have lots of wear on a old gun depending on the amount of use. The springs are easily replaced but the cams are not. I have made new cams and replaced them but no one sells them commercially. The only other option is to replace the lever and for a first model that can be expensive and hard to find.

The first thing to do is take some pictures and post them or send them to me. Without knowing what condition the gun is in I can’t come up with a value. Refinishing is your last option. It will kill any collector value the gun has. Having it refinished by your local gunsmith will destroy its value even more. There are few gunsmiths in the country that can refinish a gun so it looks right and will cost money, more that the gun is worth depending on its condition now. Just to give you an idea of what standard gun can be worth, a junker first model is worth about $1500 and can go up to  $30,000 in new like condition. The more special feature you have the more its worth.

Bob

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73_86cutaway.jpg

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December 24, 2015
5:42 am
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I took some photos but I’m not sure how to post them, also I’m not sure what you mean when you say cam and spring, I don’t see any spring inside the action all I see is an arched metal piece. I don’t know much about these guns so sry for my ignorance. Also the finish is not original, my dad had it reblued before he passed away, and the stock is not in the best condition either.

December 24, 2015
5:53 am
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Brock,

You can email them to me and I can post them. The there are two springs that are held by screws that come through the bottom of the receiver ahead of the lever the spring on the left is for the lever and the one on the right is for the elevator lever.

bob

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December 24, 2015
6:06 am
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Here is a picture of the spring and the cam on the lever.

Boblever2.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 24, 2015
6:29 am
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My lever looks fine but the finger piece on my spring looks broken, it’s not as long as the one on the other side, I’ll have to order a replacement I think.

December 24, 2015
3:34 pm
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The two springs you are referring to are not identical.  The Finger Lever Springs should be 1 59/64″ long. The Carrier Lever Spring should be 2″ long.

1876-4-1.jpg

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." 

December 24, 2015
3:37 pm
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Brock,

Here are the photos of your gun.  What I see in the pictures is the spring is full length but I can’t see if the stud that sticks out and engages the cam is there or not. The cam looks like it might of been replaced already since it looks like it has shape edges but I can’t see the whole cam. Either one could be the problem. If the cam is the wrong shape it wouldn’t work right and if the spring is broke or worn it wouldn’t work. You can buy springs on ebay but the cam would have to be made by a gunsmith and fitted. The other thing I see is the gun was assembled wrong. There is a short lever that retracts the firing pin. It is in there upside down and backwards. It is on the forward pin of the toggle. The narrow end goes up and the tappers go to the left. I don’t see a dust cover but it just might be the angle you took the photos. You don’t need a dust cover  to fire the gun it just affects value.

The gun has been refinished by someone that didn’t know what he was doing so value wise your at the bottom. It does not pay to refinish it again since there is probable not enough metal left to clean it up so it looks right plus the money it would cost is a lot more that its worth.

Bob

 image1-1.JPGImage Enlargerimage2-1.JPGImage Enlargerimage3-1.JPGImage Enlargerimage6.JPGImage Enlargerimage7.JPGImage Enlargerimage8.JPGImage Enlarger

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December 24, 2015
4:40 pm
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Here is a second model that was professionally restored. This kind of work will cost many thousands of dollars.

Bob

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December 24, 2015
7:13 pm
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I took some pics of the lever cam and the spring, I’ll send them to you. The dust cover is gone so I’m gonna buy a new one, I’ll probably just reblue the gun myself, also the white you see on the receiver is because there was some gouges in the metal that I removed so that’s why the finish is worn off. I don’t mind that it’s not worth much because I was never planned no on selling it, I just wanted to know if I should leave it alone or not. The bore looks good except for some pitting in some spots.

When it shoots close range ( like less than 100 feet) the bullet hit around a foot to the right of where I was aiming, but when I shoot at a distance the shots are pretty accurate, any idea why this is? Maybe I’m just a horrible shot, though my cousin did say he thinks the barrel is slightly bent but I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

December 24, 2015
8:07 pm
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No idea why it would shoot to the right and be right on at distance unless you had a good wind from the right or you are resting the gun differently.

Bob

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December 25, 2015
4:10 am
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Yes, your spring is broken and the cam looks good. Now you can buy a spring or fix the old one if you have access to a tig welder. Here are a few places that have them.

Ebay finger lever spring

chasjonesgunparts.com

homesteadparts.com

Bob

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