LETTERED Antique W.F. SHEARD MONTANA WINCHESTER M1873 .32-20 WCF RIFLE
1890 Manufactured with LIVINGSTON, MT Retailer Mark
Here we present an antique Factory Lettered Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle in .32-20 WCF, made in 1890 in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold by W.F. Sheard in Livingston, Montana. 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. This rifle would have paired up very well with a Colt Single Action Army of the same caliber.
William F. Sheard was a Montana Territorial gunsmith who was located in the Livingston Montana Territory from 1884-1895 until he moved to Tacoma, Washington. He patented a unique front sight for rifles that can be found on many Winchesters. He later sold the patent to the Marble Gunsight Co. When he received this rifle for his inventory Montana had just achieved statehood after being a territory in late 1889.
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. Still an icon in the modern day, it was manufactured between 1873 and 1923. It was originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, which was the first centerfire cartridge, and which became immensely popular. The 1873 was later produced in .38-40, .32-20, and .22. The Model 1873 was produced in three variations: a 24-inch barrel rifle, a 20-inch barrel carbine, and a “musket”, which was aimed at military contracts and only made up less than 5% of production. In all, over 720,000 Model 1873s were produced.
The barrel on this example is marked “FROM W.F. SHEARD / LIVINGSTON MONT”. The included factory letter confirms the current configuration and shipment on May 15, 1890.
The overall condition is very good. Original finish/patina. There is a small amount of rounding of the edges at the muzzle. The action is excellent. The bore is in good condition, clean with good rifling. The walnut stock is in very good condition. A great rifle in a great caliber shipped to newly minted Montana!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 24 inches.
Caliber: .32-20 Winchester Center Fire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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