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Looking to purchase 1873 Winchester
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December 1, 2013 - 10:13 am
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Thinking of a new purchase
Just looking for some info on a Winchester 1873 sporting rifle Button mag, 38wcf Serial number 691xxx. Barrel length is 24 inches, Manufactured in 1916, Crescent butt plate, Standard sporting sights.
The reason for this post is no matter where I look on the internet there is no picture of a rifle to compare it to. Wondering if someone has a gun of this age and wish to show some pictures or share some info .The tang stamp seems different to other 73’s I have seen? Its not the standard tang stamp-Model 1873-, is this correct.

I am as green as they come to these old guns, so any info is much appreciated. Sorry no pictures of this gun, its a local deal.

Bruce

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December 1, 2013 - 3:51 pm
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A ’73 rifle with that serial number should have the 3-line stamp on the upper tang:

MODEL 1873
-WINCHESTER-
TRADE MARK

At some point the bottom line was changed to "TRADE MARK REG. IN U. S. PAT. OFF.", but I’m not sure when.

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December 1, 2013 - 5:02 pm
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Bruce,

You didn’t say if it was round or octagon barrel and what condition its in. Barrel shape makes a big difference in price. Round barrels are harder to sell so they are not worth as much. The other thing is to check the serial number with Cody to see if its in the original configuration. At 691xxx your right at the point the three line model stamp went from "Trade Mark" to the the addition of the patent

Bob

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December 1, 2013 - 5:25 pm
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Bob,
Its a round barrel, condition is probably fair to good still quite a bit of blueing left on barrel and receiver. Barrel is probably 7 out of 10. Wood fits well no chips or cracks and has not been refinished the screws are a little used on receiver but they are original for what I can see ,like I say I am a novice at all this.
Bob, I know that some pictures would be handy and all try and get serial number . What do you think a 1873 would be worth like I described.

Bruce

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December 1, 2013 - 8:39 pm
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Bruce,

You said its in fair to good shape. This is NRA’s definition of Fair and good but you also said it had quite a bit of blue. How much blue coverage does it have percentage wise.

GOOD: Some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned or re-blued; principal letters, numerals and design on metal legible; wood refinished, scratched bruised or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.

FAIR: Some major parts replaced; minor replacement parts may be required; metal rusted, may be lightly pitted all over, vigorously cleaned or re-blued; rounded edges of metal and wood; principal lettering, numerals and design on metal partly obliterated; wood scratched, bruised, cracked or repaired where broken; in fair working order or can be easily repaired and placed in working order.

If its in fair to good shape then I would say its worth $1200.

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December 2, 2013 - 4:31 pm
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Bob ,
thanks for the info

The serial number is 691798 with a capital B

Bruce

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December 2, 2013 - 7:13 pm
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With ‘quite a bit of blueing left on the barrel and receiver’ WHERE post_id = I would say it is worth more than $1,200, at least where I live. A photo would be extremely helpful but if it actually has ‘quite a bit’ of blueing on the receiver and barrel, around here I’d be looking at dishing out at least $3,000.

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December 3, 2013 - 1:54 am
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Kirk,

Going to try and work a deal today. If I get it all try and post a picture or two.

Thanks for the help guys

Bruce

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December 3, 2013 - 2:32 am
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To run the serial number with Cody firearms files. Do you have to be a member of the W.A.C.A., or can any random Joe, like me call.If so is there not a fee.

Bruce

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December 3, 2013 - 5:13 am
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Bruce,

You need to be a member to have the serial number checked. If you want a factory letter, anyone can do that, but it cost more if you are a non-member.

Bert

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December 3, 2013 - 7:28 am
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Bruce,

I called in the serial number this morning and they should get back with the info today.

Bob

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December 3, 2013 - 11:12 am
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December 3, 2013 - 2:57 pm
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Bruce,

Here is the Cody information on the gun.

WINCHESTER MODEL 1873 – SERIAL NUMBER 691798
Serial number applied on October 06, 1911
Caliber: 38
Barrel Type: Round
Smokeless
1/2 Magazine
Shipped to Martin H. Co., St Johns, Newfoundland
Received in warehouse on November 20, 1911
Shipped from warehouse on November 28, 1911, Order number 340363

I see the pictures and I see that someone wrenched on the barrel leaving pipe wrench marks which hurts the guns value.

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December 3, 2013 - 3:08 pm
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Interesting to see that it has spent it’s life in Canada.

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December 3, 2013 - 3:09 pm
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Bob
Thanks a lot for the information from Cody, I appreciate it.
It does have a few bruises ,not sure what the marks are,maybe a wrench.
From your experience what is she worth?
Also Button mag and half mag same thing right?

Ps thanks Bert ,for information about the letters.

Bruce

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December 3, 2013 - 3:11 pm
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Roadking,

I would imagine it well always be a Canuck.

Bruce

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December 3, 2013 - 4:32 pm
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Bruce,

The button and half mag are the same.

From looking at the pictures it looks like the metal is ruff and I don’t see any finish unless you have better pictures. If the wood is unsanded and has no problems I think its about a $1400-$1500 gun.

Bob

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December 4, 2013 - 6:26 am
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From the photos, I suspect that the ‘quite a lot of blue’ is actually patina that occurs on a well worn, old rifle. I see you are up here in Canada, in the same province I live in. I have bought and sold a few 1873’s. The last one I purchased and sold was also a 38 WCF and in about the same condition, with a strong patina on the metal were the blueing once was. I searched around for quite a while before I was able to find one for sale and in honest, unmessed-with condition. I was not able to find any under $2,000. However, a major collector said that if I searched long enough, I might be able to find and honest one for as low as $1,800. I ended up paying $2,200 including shipping. 1873man has a lot more experience buying and selling than I do, but he is in the USA where, perhaps, these 1873’s are easier to come by. I think you would be extremely fortunate to find that rifle for $1,500 IF (and it is a very important ‘if’) it is unsanded and unmeshed with. If those are wrench marks on the barrel, then I would put the value at around $1,500. Wrench marks probably means someone took the barrel off or replaced the barrel and wasn’t too professional about it. On the other hand, if they are just dings and not wrench marks, then the value would probably be closer to $1,800. If there were no major dings, then it would be worth closer to $2,000. One in well-sanded and poor condition would cost around $1,000 to $1,300 up here. I purchased such a beater (also a 38 WCF) for a fellow who simply wanted a shooter 1873. I had to replace a lot of home-made and broken parts before I got the old ’73 working again. The cheapest 1873 I ever got my hands on was also a beater, with bent tangs and sewer pipe barrel and very well worn for $1,000 but that was about 8 years ago. Looking at your photos, I can see that the wood is proud of the receiver which is a good sign that it has not been sanded or messed with. Close up photos showing both sides of the receiver, and one or two of the barrel and one of the buttplate/buttstock fit would be more helpful. I see that the brass has not been polished, so that is also a good thing. A close up photo of the possible wrench marks would also help in assessing the value.

Bottom Line: The wood looks original and unsanded from what I can see. Given the possible wrench marks, I think it would be hard to find a ’73 like that for less than $1,500. With no wrench marks and relatively smooth metal with patina, it would add at least $300 to $500 to the value up here in Canada.

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December 4, 2013 - 7:21 am
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A little off topic, but are there any reasons a person would remove a barrel and *not* replace it (just put it back on again)? My nickel 66 has wrench marks but all the metal (barrel, magazine tube, bands, etc.) seem to go together in age, nickel, etc. They forced the forearm through the band with a sling swivel on it, scarring the wood, but that does explain why the barrel would have been removed. If it is a period replacement barrel, then they went to the trouble of getting a nickel one. Just curious.

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December 4, 2013 - 7:35 am
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A barrel might be removed to reblue it (not the case for this particular ’73). Another possible reason someone might have tried to remove the barrel is if there was a case head separation using old balloon head ammo, and the fellow could not get the case out (minus the head). In that situation he might decide it would be easier to get in there to get the case out if he took off the barrel. One way to see if this might have been the case is to examine the chamber walls for gouges made by a sharp metal object. I had this once in an original ’86. A case head must have separated and someone was digging around in there with a sharp metal object. Another possible reason someone might get vice marks on the barrel is if they wanted to saw a bit off the end of the barrel if the rifling was worn from cleaning rods, or if the muzzle was damaged from hitting a rock. In that case, they would not remove the barrel, but they would might remove the fore stock to better place the rifle in a vice. In the case of this rifle, however, the front sight looks to be the proper distance from the muzzle, so I don’t think anything has been sawed off. Of course, collectors cringe at all these scenarios. I’d like to see a photo of the wrench marks. Even with the wrench marks, that looks like a decent ’73 that has earned its keep. Coming from Newfoundland, it may have taken its share of Moose and seal. What is amazing to me is that in 1911 people were still ordering the ’73 in sufficient quantities to keep Winchester production of this rifle going.

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