The 44 WCF was standard for the “gun that won the West,” though it also was made in 38 WCF (first offered in 1879), 32 WCF (introduced in 1882) and .22 rimfire (1884), with a few special-order guns built in .22 extra long rimfire. Model 1873s had iron receivers until 1884, when a steel receiver was introduced. The Model 1873 was offered as a sporting rifle (with a 24” round, octagonal or half-octagonal barrel), a carbine (with a 20” round barrel) and as a musket (with a 30” round barrel). The Model 1873 was officially discontinued in 1919, after approximately 720,000 guns had been produced.
The First Model 1873 (s/n 1 to about 31000) has grooved guides on each side to retain the dustcover (sometimes referred to as a “mortised dustcover). The Second Model (s/n 31000 to 90000) has a dust cover on one central guide secured to the receiver with two screws. The central guide rail on the Third Model is integrally machined as part of the receiver. The Model 1873 .22 Rimfire Rifle was the first .22 caliber repeating rifle in America was introduced in 1884 and discontinued in 1904. Winchester sold a little more than 19,000 .22 caliber Model 1873s.
Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 720496, except 497 thru 610 and 199551 thru 199598.
Videos of Interest:
The Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle