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April 19, 2022 - 11:01 pm
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I’m a new member and have several questions about early ‘73’s. Almost 50yr ago I found an old Winchester in the back corner or a garage at a house sale I wasn’t into rifles but what the h—- for $100 how wrong could I go. I have determined that it’s an early model with script Model 1873 thumb print and everything else but a serial number.

– can a serial number be found anywhere other than the lower tang?

– after getting the old ‘73 back from a gunsmith to fix a dust cover issue I noticed the set trigger screw was missing -can they be sourced somewhere?

– the dust cover opens when the lever is jacked but is loose enough to slide open when the rifle is held barrel up. Can this he corrected?

all responses are greatly appreciated.

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April 19, 2022 - 11:10 pm
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 When you say script are you meaning no upper tang markings? Is it a raised thumbprint dust cover?

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Paul
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April 20, 2022 - 12:49 am
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Yes the script is on the upper tang and it is a raised but worn oval thumb print. 

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April 20, 2022 - 1:41 am
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Paul,

If you can take some real clear closeups of the markings and the lower tang where the serial number normally is and general photos I can tell you what you have. You can email them to me at the below address if you have issues posting them.

Bob

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73_86cutaway.jpg

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April 20, 2022 - 1:46 pm
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Bob thank you for your reply and offer of help. I’ve taken the picture and will try to upload to this site but if I have trouble (I’m no techi) I’ email them to you.

Paul

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April 20, 2022 - 9:18 pm
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Paul,

Here are the pictures. I’m posting these asis since I’m not near my home computer and can’t rotate the picture on my cellphone. It has the impressed thumbprint cover on it not the raised cover. I can’t make out any serial number. Looking at the receiver it’s going to be a serial between about 2500 and 27,000. What is the barrel length?

Bob

IMG-1067.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1085.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1069.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1082.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1078.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1075.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1080.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1076.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1084.jpgImage EnlargerIMG-1079.jpgImage Enlarger

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Researching the Winchester 1873's

73_86cutaway.jpg

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April 21, 2022 - 12:18 am
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Bob the barrel length is 24” octagonal. Wow that a pretty wide range. Is there any hidden marks that could help in narrowing it down?

In the Winchester Book by George Madis he states “occasionally a model 1873 is found with a set trigger and without a serial number. The explanation for this is that often when trouble developed with the original trigger, whether standard or set type, the entire lower tang was replaced and replacement lower tangs were unnumbered.”

on and off over the years I’ve kept some written notes of things I found like the above and amount those notes is this “probably 1874” there was no source identified with it. Would the 250 range put it in or around that year?

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April 21, 2022 - 1:08 am
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Paul,

I have heard the replaced lower tang with a set trigger too and I never discount anything Winchester might of done.Now that I’m home and can see the pictures in more detail on a full size screen I can tell that the receiver is not a early first model i.e. The  rear sight placement tells me its not earler than 1250 since it would have the reverse rear sight and the dovetail would be close to the receiver and its not before 2500 because of small differences in the receiver. Here is serial 1073 with the raised thumbprint and reverse rear sight. You can remove the stock and look for assemble numbers. It might have them or not.

Bob

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April 21, 2022 - 2:05 am
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Paul-

Welcome! Rough old 1873 but I like it! Truckloads of character and the stories it could tell would probably keep you up for days. 

 

Mike

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April 21, 2022 - 4:03 am
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Looks like the serial has either been worn off or the lower tang was swapped at one time. Or as you say the old it was converted to a set trigger and the tang was changed out then.

You’d have to do some work to try and recover the original serial number. If it ever had one. If I recall Bob has done this before and discussed it on the forum in the past.

Nice old work horse 1st Model Rifle.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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