Beautifully Made Rifle: Firing The Classic Winchester Model 1873 (Watch)

One of the first repeating rifles to be produced, the Winchester was based on the Henry rifle, which first appeared in the 1860’s. Although the name covers a number of different variations, the most well known Winchester was probably the Model 1873, often referred to as “The Gun That Won The West”. A previous iteration, the 1866 model, had proven popular, both in America and abroad, but the 1873 version has come to be remembered as the quintessential Winchester rifle.

These guns were incredibly popular and sold extremely well. Not only were they reliable and efficient, but the cartridges could be used for handguns as well. This meant that anyone with a Winchester and a pistol only had to carry one kind of ammunition.

They were also aesthetically attractive, and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company played to this strength, producing customized rifles with different colored casings, elegant engravings, and unique barrel shapes. This, along with the weapon’s accuracy and effectiveness in combat, made it an enormous success.

Almost a century later, the Winchester company was taken over by new management, at which point the designs of many of their classic firearms were overhauled dramatically. This move was unpopular with the public, and many consider only rifles produced before 1964 – the year of the changes – to be real Winchesters. As a result of this, older designs like the Model 1873 are noticeably more expensive than they used to be.

In this video – posted by the InRangeTV YouTube channel – viewers can see the classic 1873 Winchester in action. As well as shooting the rifle on a firing range, the creators behind the video also provide a little historical context for the weapon. This channel posts a variety of interesting content, covering many different examples of antique weaponry. If you’re looking for more videos of this kind, InRangeTV and its sister channel Forgotten Weapons are definitely worth a look.

Malcolm Higgins

Malcolm Higgins is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE