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Winchester's Model 1873: One of One Thousand

Image: Winchester's Model 1873: One of One Thousand
Two old rifles winchester. (Dekanaryas/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 05:14 PM

To attract the high-end gun market, Winchester Guns introduced a special product in the 1800s. This collectible gun was known for exceptional quality and accuracy, and was put in a class known as “One of One Thousand,” Gun Digest said.

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Manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, this rifle was one of the earliest lever-action repeating guns, modeled after the 1860 Henry rifle, which was used in the Civil War and by American frontiersmen.

The rifle, the Winchester 1873, went on to be called “The Gun that Won the West.” The rifle was available in three models: one had a 24-inch barrel rifle, one had a 20 barrel carbine, and one was a musket. Easy to handle, the carbine became the most popular, and the musket accounted for less than 10 percent of Model 1873 sales. Today, replicas of this rifle are manufactured by the Miruko Corporation in Japan. In American Rifleman, Paul Schreier, senior curator of the National Firearms Museum calls the new Model 1873 "a worthy successor to its legendary predecessor.”

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The legendary rifle has been memorialized in Universal Studio’s 1950 western, “Winchester ’73,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Shelley Winters. The studio promoted the film with a search for “One of One Thousand” rifles, taking ads in sporting magazines and placing posters in places that sold hunting supplies. A bit of trivia exists about a famous scene where “James shoots a bullet through the washer with the postage stamp ... that is not Hollywood magic. The shot is performed successfully by renowned marksman Herb Parsons,” noted IMDB.

According to the editors of Gun Digest, a Winchester Model 1873 sold for $93,000 at a gun auction in Montana. Records show that the gun was manufactured in 1877, and the authenticity was verified by the Winchester Museum in Wyoming. The gun is valued for its rarity and for its beautiful condition. The barrels bore the Winchester mark on both ends, and checkered polished walnut was used to make the stock and fore-grip.

The new 1873 is a favorite today, according to Schreier, popular with “hunters and cowboy action shooters who desire a smooth functioning, lever-action action bearing the Winchester name.”

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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To attract the high-end gun market, Winchester Guns introduced a special product in the 1800s.
guns, winchester, gun history
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2015-14-30
Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 05:14 PM
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