CODY LETTERED 1881 SHORT Rifle Antique WINCHESTER 2nd Model 1873 .38-40 WCF
RARE “BORDER MODEL” w 20 Inch Octagonal Barrel
Here we present an antique Special Order Winchester 2nd Model 1873 Lever Action “Short” Rifle in .38-40 WCF, made in 1881 in New Haven, Connecticut with a factory letter. The accompanying Cody letter lists the short rifle in .38 caliber with a 20-inch octagon barrel and plain trigger when received at the warehouse on February 22, 1881. It also has the rifle-type crescent butt plate. This is a rarity in Winchester collecting. According to Madis, this was a seldom seen configuration that tended to be popular around the Mexican border with the Southwestern US—hence the moniker of “Border Model”—and those that have been found were hard-used. According to Madis, only 450 rifles were made with special order barrels out of the entire original production.
The Model 1873 is one of the most iconic of American rifles. Given the moniker “The Gun that Won the West”, the 1873 was there during the Indian Wars and Range Wars of the late 19th century. Cowboys, Natives, settlers, miners, law enforcement, express companies and hunters all found these rifles and carbines useful tools.
These rifles made excellent companions to revolvers at the time as they were chambered for the same ammunition, meaning that the user only had to keep one type to feed both guns. One could easily defend the homestead and provide for his family with this versatile weapon. The 1873 really was the quintessential Western rifle, handily outpacing all the muzzle-loading and Civil War surplus guns that also made their way to the frontier.
The overall condition is very good. Original patina. Strong action. Good bore, certainly used, with worn but serviceable rifling. Smooth and solid stock. A great example of a rare Winchester!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 24 inches.
Caliber: .38-40 WCF
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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