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Old 06-01-2004, 01:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
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1873 Winchester

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a friend of mine has a 1873 Winchester
44wcf. the gun is in good shape.
by the serial nunber it was made in 1894/95.
he had someone clean and check the gun and they advised
it was ok to shoot modern ammo in it.
I am looking for a appx value on gun and also if ok to shoot
looks like it is now 44-4o ammo.
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Old 06-01-2004, 01:19 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Alaska
Posts: 5,228
From what I've seen on some of the on-line gun selling sites, a rifle of that vintage, if it's in good or better condition, is a pretty valuable firearm. Starting prices appear to start in the $2,500-$3,000 price range and go up as condition increases.

If he is really wanting to shoot it, and has had it examined by a knowledgeable and careful gunsmith, I don't think he would have any problems with modern 44-40 loads. These loads are held to low pressure for firearms like this one. He might even want to start with the original blackpowder load.

I would have to be convinced that the person that inspected the rifle really knew his stuff, though.
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:10 PM
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Location: Saskatchewan
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I'd say it's safe with modern ammunition if it's mechanically sound. I'm just wondering if the ammo companies made some high-speed loads for the considerably stronger Winchester 1892 at one time. In any case I'd stick to new ammo, as the company lawyers don't let many hot loads out the door now.


Last edited by Jack Monteith; 06-01-2004 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:50 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: NorCal
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I don't believe that there has been any Hi-Speed .44-40 ammo produced in many years At least not in the US. Maybe Dominion made it later up in Canada,I'm not sure.
I have owned several '73 Winchesters, some very fine, some pretty bad. All of the were fired using off the shelf ammo. It is very low pressure stuff, mainly because of the sheer number of 1873 Winchesters and ancient Colt SAs that are still in use.
These days, you can still pick up a shooter '73 for $1500., or less. I'm only considering mechanics, not finish. When you get into guns with original finish, un-buggered screws, and clean original walnut, the price escalates very rapidly. The reality is that there are still bargains out there; it just takes more work to ferret them out.
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Old 06-03-2004, 08:24 AM
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You can get by for a while with modern ammo in the original 44/40 1873 ! But i have seen some of these old guns with their rifling all but warn away from the jacketed bullets shot in them ! The jacketed bullets are also undersized .428 for their .431 or larger groove diameters, so gas cutting also comes into play ! Get reloads for the 73 made with soft cast bullets that will slug up to the groove diameter ! BP loads are good also ! JAGG
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