Winchester Model 1873 Review and Price

Winchester Model 1873 Review and Price

A Comprehensive Guide

Winchester Model 1873 Review

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Technical Data

  • Model
    Model 1873 Competition Carbine High Grade
  • Caliber
    357-38, 45 Colt
  • Length
    39 in
  • Barrel Material
  • Barrel Length
    20 in
  • Weight
    7 Lbs | 4 Oz
  • Magazine Capacity
    10 Rounds

Winchester Model 1873 review explains the history and key features of this rifle and explores its wide range of uses. Model 1873 was extremely popular during its time. It had a large magazine capacity, making it great for dealing with multiple targets. This rifle is also well known for being the favorite of notorious outlaws Billy the Kid and Jesse James. With these factors combined, this rifle quickly became the flagship weapon of the Wild West. 


Table of Contents

The Winchester Model 1873 was one of America’s first truly successful lever-action rifles. Developed and manufactured by John Moses Browning, it was designed for black powder cartridges and was used during American westward expansion and into the modern gun era. There is a certain mystique surrounding the Model 1873. Perhaps it’s because it was such a powerful rifle for both Winchester and America, or maybe it’s due to the sheer number in circulation. Whatever the case, these rifles are frequently sought after by collectors and are commonly used in gun enthusiast circles for their historical significance.


Price of Winchester Model 1873

Today, the Winchester 1873 rifle is well respected for its historical value and capabilities. It has become a favorite for collectors and shooters alike. The price of Model 1873 ranges from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on grade and condition. The Winchester Company stopped producing this gun in 1923 after millions of these rifles were produced. Since then, many replica models have been made that are mechanically different but aesthetically similar.


Features of Winchester Model 1873

The Winchester Model 1873 rifle has a few critical features that define it as a masterpiece. Not only does this rifle have a beautiful design, but its mechanism was ahead of its time and continues to be part of the modern rifle culture. It is also worth mentioning that the Model 1873 was one of the first rifles to use a small-diameter receiver. Here are some of the most important features of the Winchester Model 1873:

Stock and Grip

The Model 1873 rifle has a walnut stock and fore-end and a hardened carbine strap butt plate. This style of grip is well known for being simple yet very effective, especially when paired with the rapid-fire capabilities of lever-action rifles. The curve in this grip allows for natural pointing, which means the shooter doesn’t have to adjust their grip to aim at a target. The receiver of the Model 1873 is made from a small diameter steel tube, which was a new feature when this rifle was introduced in 1873.


This design allowed the gun to handle the higher pressure produced by cutting-edge smokeless powder cartridges. In addition, it also allowed the rifle to be lighter and more affordable. This design is still used in rifles today, albeit upgraded for modern materials. The Model 1873 has a particular lug added to the underside of the forearm where it locks into the receiver when closed. When open, the shooter can then use this lug as a hand stop or lever hook to hold onto when carrying the rifle.

Stock and Grip of Winchester Model 1873

Size and Weight

The Winchester Model 1873 rifle comes in several sizes and weights depending on the caliber, barrel length, and trim. The weight for the competition carbine high-grade model is about 7 pounds 4 ounces, and the weight for a standard rifle model is about 7 pounds 8 ounces. Its weight is typical of a hunting rifle of that period, which usually weighed between 7 and 9 pounds. However, the rifle was not meant to be carried all day.


It was a weapon of range and was optimized for power and accuracy over portability. Thus, this is why it weighed what it did. The length of the Model 1873 is approximately 20 inches, which means it is a relatively long rifle. The length is optimized for the power of the cartridge that was meant to be used in this gun. Another important aspect of the size of this gun is that it was meant to be carried in a saddle scabbard. Thus, Winchester designed the Model 1873 rifles to fit into saddle scabbards specifically.

Size and Weight of Winchester Model 1873.

Barrel and Tube Magazine

The Winchester Model 1873 rifle has a round barrel with deep rifling and an attached magazine tube under the barrel. The rifle comes in several different barrel lengths depending on the desired use. The standard barrel length for this gun is 24 inches, which was considered optimal for a hunting firearm at that time. This weapon also comes in a 20-inch carbine length meant for carrying in a saddle scabbard. There is also a short version of this rifle available, which also has a 20-inch barrel and is fitted with military sling swivels on the forearm and toe of the buttstock. The magazine tube holds a total of 10 rounds of ammunition, which is more than enough to handle any hunting or target-shooting situation.


This high amount of ammo was impressive for the era when this rifle was first introduced. The tubular magazine under the barrel was one of the most innovative designs available at that time. The tube magazine can be loaded with cartridges singly or by using an ammunition carrier that holds five rounds on each side. To load, one generally flips up the loading gate located on top of the rifle just forward of the receiver and slides cartridges in one at a time through the gate opening into the chamber. This process is repeated until the magazine has been loaded. The tube magazine can also be loaded by tipping it down, which exposes a cartridge loading port at the rear of the tube.

Barrel and Tube Magazine of Winchester Model 1873

Stopping Power

The Winchester Model 1873 rifle is chambered for several different rounds. The most common round in these rifles is the 45 colt, full metal jacket round. This was the highest velocity round at that time, which meant it had an impressive amount of stopping power when fired from this gun. In addition to the size of the cartridge, the Model 1873 rifle also has high velocity because of its relatively large caliber. The 45 colt round is .452 inches in diameter, giving it an edge over other guns with smaller rounds. The rifle has a firing range of up to 15-200 yards, which means this gun can be used for target shooting and hunting.


This range is also impressive for the era when this weapon was introduced because it far exceeds the distance of other firearms used at that time. The ammunition for this rifle can be difficult to come by and is not easy to make due to its high velocity and powerful cartridge. The main issue with making ammunition is the amount of gunpowder needed to propel this high velocity round. It takes a large amount of powder to launch such a heavy bullet. If not enough gunpowder is used, the cartridge can become too dangerous and cause serious damage and injury.

Stopping Power of Winchester Model 1873

Safety Mechanism

The Winchester Model 1873 rifle has few safety features, a concern for many gun owners. There is no trigger locking mechanism, and the only visible safety feature is the half-cock notch located on the hammer of this firearm. Having no trigger locking mechanism is a serious issue with this weapon because it doesn’t prevent unintentional discharges. However, this rifle does have a half-cock notch located on the hammer of the gun. The hammer must be fully cocked to fire, but it can still do so even if it is at half cock.


This feature provides an added safety measure for hunters who plan to carry their Model 1873 rifles loaded with the hammer down. This ensures that the gun cannot be fired while being carried because it is resting on half-cock. This safety measure is adequate for most situations, but it isn’t ideal. For this reason, there are several modern accessories available to add a trigger locking mechanism. This feature is very useful because it ensures that the firearm cannot accidentally discharge when not in use or carried.

Safety Mechanism of Winchester Model 1873.

Recoil and Accuracy

The Model 1873 rifle has minimal recoil, making it excellent for target shooting. It also makes it accurate at longer distances because the shooter isn’t affected by the gun’s recoil while aiming. The ability to aim and fire accurately is a key feature of these guns, particularly for hunters or others using them as home defense weapons. The Model 1873 was designed for single-action use, which means it can only be fired if the hammer has been cocked manually. This design does not allow for quick follow-up shots, but it does mean the firearm’s mechanism is simpler in design and can be made with fewer moving parts.


Today, many common firearms are semi-automatic, which means they automatically load the next round after firing without requiring the shooter to cock or release the hammer manually. Semi-automatic firearms also allow for faster follow-up shots than their single-action counterparts. This rifle is very effective when used with a 357-38 or 45 Colt caliber bullet, but it can also be used with smaller rounds. For example, it can be fired using the 38 special round often used in modern revolvers. Ultimately, the Model 1873 is a powerful gun that can be used in various ways, but its power and accuracy are best utilized with larger rounds.

Recoil and Accuracy of Winchester Model 1873


The Model 1873 rifle is a beautiful and well-designed weapon. The simple design of this gun is highly effective, but it also gives the weapon an attractive appearance. This gun has distinctive features such as a color case hardened receiver and steel crescent butt plate. The wood used to make the stock of this rifle is made from two pieces of walnut with panels in between them. Top tang is drilled and tapped for tang sight, and spring-loaded lever and the walnut used for the stock is absolute of grade 3/4. The Winchester Model 1873 has a lever-action design that can be fired quickly with little effort. This style of firearm was trendy when the model was made, but it isn’t frequently made today. This gun is an excellent example of 19th-century engineering and design because it has stood the test of time since its creation more than 100 years ago.

Aesthetics of Winchester Model 1873.

Advantages of Winchester Model 1873

Some of the advantages of the Winchester Model 1873 rifle are its simplicity, durability, accuracy, and low recoil.


As previously stated, the Winchester Model 1873 is a simple firearm with fewer components than many modern guns of the same caliber. This makes it easier to maintain and more reliable because there are fewer opportunities for parts to break down or malfunction.


The Model 1873 rifle is made with very few moving parts, which is solid and durable. This gun can be dropped, thrown around, or even left out in the elements for years without sustaining much damage.


The Model 1873 rifle can shoot with high accuracy, making it suitable for hunting games like deer. This gun also has low recoil, making it easier to aim and fire accurately than many other guns of its caliber.

Low Recoil

This firearm has little recoil because the prime mover, or the part responsible for sending the bullet out of the chamber, moves back into the trigger guard immediately after firing. The shooter’s hand does not feel this movement because it happens so quickly. Not feeling recoil also means shooters are less likely to flinch when firing, leading them to miss their target.

Disadvantages of Winchester Model 1873

The bland design and the lack of a safety mechanism are two significant disadvantages of this firearm.

Bland Design

Some may argue that the generic design is an advantage, but it might also be seen as a disadvantage by some people. This rifle does not have any unique features or qualities that stand out from other firearms.

Safety Mechanism

This rifle does not have a safety mechanism that prevents it from being fired by mistake or accident, leading to injuries. Although this gun was made more than 100 years ago, many contemporary guns still do not have a safety mechanism. This is a disadvantage because users might accidentally fire the weapon if they forget to take the safety off.

Aftermarket Accessories – Winchester Model 1873 Review and Price

The Winchester Model 1873 rifle has many aftermarket accessories that can be purchased for this firearm, including scopes, sling swivels, cleaning kits, and rifle cases.


Different types of sights can be added to the Model 1873 rifle because there are multiple holes on the top tang. These include aperture (peep) sights, scopes, and tang sight. Adding a scope increases the difficulty of use because it is more difficult to pull open the loading gate. A tang sight can be mounted on top of the stock, but it takes up some space where users could place their hands while shooting.


The Model 1873 rifle has holes in the stock for attaching a strap or sling, but it doesn’t come with one when purchased. Slings can be attached to the firearm using swivels inserted into these holes in the stock. Swivels can also be added to straps or slings, making them easier to attach. A sling will allow a hunter to carry their rifle over their shoulder or around their back, so it is readily available but does not interfere with the use of the hands. It also allows hands to be free when the big game is retrieved.

Cleaning Kit

The Model 1873 rifle does not come with a cleaning kit, but one can be purchased and attached to the stock, so it is easily accessible. A cleaning kit typically includes a few different types of brushes and patches for removing residue from the barrel and other parts of the firearm. Someone with this rifle might purchase a cleaning kit so it is easier to clean after heavy use.

Rifle Cases

A rifle case can be purchased for the Model 1873 rifle for carrying and storing. The rifles of this period were not designed to be carried around frequently, which means a case can make it more convenient to transport them from one location to another. You have several different options if you want to buy a rifle case. The most common type of case is a soft case that fits over the firearm in a specific way and has a zipper in the middle where it opens up to allow a user to pull out their rifle from both sides.

Bulldog Extreme Rifle Case

This is one of the most popular rifle cases available because it is inexpensive yet durable. The Bulldog Extreme Rifle Case is made from solid materials that are water-resistant, has a steel cable in the zipper to prevent it from being opened by thieves, and comes with a Lifetime Warranty. It has two pockets on the outside convenient for storing extra items, adjustable handles to carry it over your shoulder or around your waist, and a few different color options.

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The Model 1873 rifle is one of the best rifles for hunting large game because it can fire a large bullet with a lot of power. It is sturdy, reliable, and has been around for many years. Although some improvements have been made on firearms since this period, the Model 1873 is still considered accurate and dependable even by modern standards. Several accessories can be purchased for the Model 1873, including rifle cases and protective cases.


A person who owns this firearm might choose to buy a case to keep it safe, or they might want to purchase accessories like these because they like to collect different kinds of gun parts and pieces. This Winchester Model 1873 review should have clarified whether or not this rifle is right for you. If you are thinking about buying it, there are given resources online to find more information, such as the official website of Winchester Repeating Arms Company and historical documents from the period when it was invented.

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