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Looking for my first 1873
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rherteux
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May 6, 2017 - 8:51 pm
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Hi all, I’ve been a Colt SAA collector for some time now and I’ve been thinking about getting a decent pre 1900 Winchester 1873 in 44-40 or 38-40 to complement my cowboy period revolvers.  I’m not looking for anything too fancy…if it has all the blue gone and it’s just patina I actually prefer that.  Would like a gun that’s all original and not too pitted with a nice bore and decent stocks that aren’t all beat to hell or cracked/repaired, etc.  Would like to spend less than $3K.  I’ve seen some nice guns on Gunbroker that seem to fit the bill.  I’ve read the FAQ on what to look for when buying a rifle but it’s tough when you’re buying online.   Is there anyone here who would mind looking at a couple of auctions I have bookmarked to give me their opinion?  Not sure if it’s OK to post the links here in this thread.

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May 6, 2017 - 11:47 pm
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It is perfectly “OK” to post links to old Winchesters in your topic.

Bert

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May 7, 2017 - 12:06 am
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I would look for pre 1899 guns so your into the antiques. A lot easier to ship and you have more buyers when it come to sell. For less than 3k you should find one. Last year I picked off a 44 with a set trigger for $2500 off of GB

Bob

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rherteux
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May 7, 2017 - 12:06 am
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I tried to post a link to a GB auction but it said I’m “not allowed to put links in post content”.

 

  

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May 7, 2017 - 1:24 am
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rherteux said
I tried to post a link to a GB auction but it said I’m “not allowed to put links in post content”.

 

    

That is because you are not a registered User on the WACA website.  To protect the website from illicit Spam or other undesirable activities, all posts from unregistered users must first be reviewed and approved by an Admin (I am the primary Admin person).

Bert

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rherteux
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May 7, 2017 - 3:10 am
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That makes sense.  Well, if anybody is so inclined I’ll post the item numbers.  This one seems to have everything that I’m looking for and if there are no more bids by the time this is over the price seems about right:  641999945

Here’s one that’s quite a bit cheaper but with a replaced front sight and rear tang with an extra hole (from a peep tang sight?):  643361279

Another really nice one but I’m not sure what the reserve is:  642438308

Would love to get your perspective on any one of these and particularly the first two since I don’t know the reserve on the last one.

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May 7, 2017 - 5:04 am
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May 7, 2017 - 8:26 am
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I wouldn’t buy either of them.

I haven’t followed ’73’s auctions, so my 2 cents is not worth much.  Other folks on this forum will have better help and advice.

For the money you intend to spend, I recommend you be patient and purchase one you know is what you want and worth your money.  If you are going to shoot it, you will want a good bore.  The two 73’s we have in our family have poor bores, and it took tests of powder and bullet combinations to get them shooting accurately.

The round barreled .38 WCF–The muzzle/bore looks to be marred.  If so, it won’t shoot straight until you touch up the crown.  The two screw holes forward of the lever look to be dished–a sanding/refinish?  How well cared for was the rifle if the owner couldn’t find the proper screw for the tang sight?  The last person to screw in the fore-end cap didn’t properly adjust the screws.  The two screw ends in the side-plate behind the loading gate are not tight enough? or something odd?  You can find a much better rifle than this one.

The octagon rifle is fairly beaten up.  Metal shows several methods of abuse–screwdrivers, filed notches, scarred carrier at its top.  Stocks have been sanded and still show ill treatment.  At the chamber mouth, the rifle has caked crud–easily accessible area–lack of cleaning for many years.  Lever seems to hang down too far with the action closed.  Some might say these aspects are to be expected on a 100+ year old firearm–I disagree.  You should be able to find a well-cared for rifle with no major sins to the metal and having beautiful wood.

I’ve not handled enough ’73’s to know if that carrier in the 11th photo is normal–as in, why does it not fit flush with the bottom of the receiver?

If you are patient and accept the help of the knowledgeable people here, you should be able to find a dandy ’73.

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May 7, 2017 - 11:44 am
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Thanks for the feedback, that is greatly appreciated!  You helped point out some things I would have never really noticed.  Man, I have much to learn.  I have no doubt that I can find a much better gun, the question is at what cost.  Trying to find a decent 1873 in the low 2000s online seems not so likely.  And where I live now (SW Florida) pretty much all they sell at the gun shows are black guns.  Perhaps I just need to set my sights higher on the cost.

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May 7, 2017 - 3:12 pm
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The only one worth considering is the last one, the 44 octagon barreled gun but it has some condition issues. Here are a few rules of thumb when buying a Winchester. The  bigger the bore the more its worth, a crescent butt plate is more collectable than a shotgun butt and a octagon barrel is more desirable than a round.  The gun with the extra hole in the tang is a real detraction and will drive any most buyers. I think you will find a nicer gun if you just keep looking

Bob

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May 7, 2017 - 7:05 pm
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There are other auctions and sales sites other than GunBroker.  Take a few weeks or longer to see what your $3000 might buy.  Many sellers set the price higher than the firearm is worth and just keep renewing the listing, likely hoping to snag a buyer.  Bob knows better than I just what you can get for your money.

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rherteux
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May 7, 2017 - 8:01 pm
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Thanks guys, all great advice.  I spent some time on Gunsinternational today and found a few nice listings.  I normally look at GB, GI, and GunsAmerica.

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May 7, 2017 - 8:11 pm
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I agree with the above advise, patients most always results in acquiring the best examples no matter what you are collecting..

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Winchester Model 1873 44-40 circa 1886

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rherteux
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May 8, 2017 - 11:37 am
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Beautiful pieces Kevin!

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May 8, 2017 - 12:39 pm
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Thank you

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Winchester Model 1873 44-40 circa 1886

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May 8, 2017 - 2:58 pm
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I saw an original second model, 26 inch octagon barrel, single set trigger in 44-40 at the Great Falls gun show last weekend. I could find the guy that had it if you are interested. It looks original although it had sling studs on the forearm and butt. He had a yellow sheet on it and it letters as a 44-40 26 inch single set trigger rifle. He wanted $3,000 for it and I believe it is well worth it, I just didn’t buy it as it just wasn’t nice enough to go with an identical gun I already have in 38-40. 

I believe you could do a lot worse for the same money and not get those features on a decent rifle. If you are interested, let me know, I may be able to track the guy down…

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May 9, 2017 - 6:10 am
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That’s good of you to help, Shrapnel.  The rifle sounds as if it is one he would be pleased to have.  I’m hoping he contacted you–or maybe he is in non-computerland for a while.

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rherteux
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May 10, 2017 - 2:20 am
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Sorry, I was offline for a bit.  Shrapnel, that is indeed nice of you to offer and if there is any way you can get this guy’s contact info I would be much obliged!

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rherteux
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May 12, 2017 - 4:19 pm
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One more shout out to Shrapnel…if you were able to get the guy’s contact info please email me at [email protected]

Thanks much!

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