The Winchester Model 1873 is without a doubt the most successful of the lever-action rifles, and the most iconic. Originally chambered for the .44-40 black powder cartridge, the Model 1873 is often called “The gun that won the West.”
Over 700,000 of these rifles were made over a span of 50 years, chambered for several calibers including .38-40, .32-20 and .22 Long Rifle. By chambering the rifle for handgun cartridges, users didn’t have to stock multiple ammo types for use with their rifles and revolvers.
Now Winchester is bringing it back, but chambered for something considerably more popular and accessible: .357 Magnum (it of course also shoots .38 Special). It has also been updated in small ways to make it a little more versatile than the original.
The new Model 1873s sport semi-buckhorn sights with a front gold bead by Marble Arms as well as a drilled and tapped tang for aftermarket sights. It also has a redesigned firing pin for improved safety. It does come standard with a traditional oil-finished walnut stock with a deep blued steel crescent buttplate and a 20-inch round barrel, “just like the original.”
While slightly less authentic, these small touches make it easy to tweak the new Model 1873s to your liking and really use them. Model 1873s were workhorses and the same should be true for the guns made in 2013.
Winchester is offering the gun in two versions, the “Short Rifle” with a 20-inch barrel (original models had up to 30-inch barrels) and a full-length magazine that holds 10 rounds of .357 or 11 rounds of .38.
The other version is the “Case-Hardened Sporter.” Functionally identical, this model has a deluxe finish and a grade II/III stock and forend.
The guns have an overall length of 39 inches, a length of pull a traditional 13 inches and weigh just seven pounds, four ounces. The blued 1873 has an MSRP of $1,300; the case-hardened 1873 runs a bit more at $1,580.
But then again, these are Winchesters, not replicas, not reproductions, Winchesters. And they’re competition-ready. Winchester’s shipping these with an action job, promising a light trigger and ultra-smooth action.
For more info hit up the Winchester website.