June 4, 2017
From the pictures it looks like you did right. A antique 1873 rifle with an octagon barrel, full magazine, and a rifle butt is a good starter gun. The 38-40 is easy to load and fun to shoot.
Your gun has a good look, a surviivor, and as the new owner please keep it that way. Shooting and carrying will not down grade the gun, sand paper and cold blue will. The gun is only original once.
It doesn’t take a great bore to send a 38-40 bullet straight but you should check out the toggles, firing pin, hammer notches, and other internal parts if you are going to shoot it. Have fun with the hobby.
Welcome to Winchester Arms Collectors Association. T/R
March 31, 2009
I second what TR said. Don’t mess it up. I would slug the bore then order bullets .001″ over the measurement you get. If there is any rifling left it most likely will shoot. How accurate is unknown at this point. Internally you are looking for missing, broken or cracked parts. The hammer has several notches and you want to make sure each of them will hold the hammer in place. Sometimes excessive wear can cause things not to work right.
November 7, 2015
It appears the original post has disappeared but I have an 1873 in 38-40 that I was very apprehensive about shooting. A bore scope showed a goodly amount of rough and missing rifling but my cast bullets sized at .401” found enough rifling to make it an acceptable and fun shooter. I hope yours shoots as well.