Author Topic: Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?  (Read 279 times)

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Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?
« on: August 12, 2017, 06:12:22 AM »
Hey fellow members..

  I had a friend bring out an old Winchester 18?? .44-40 Lever Action Rifle that he's wanting to sell so that he can buy a camper of some type for a road trip. I have no idea about these older rifles so I thought I'd check around here and see if I can get any advice here. It was made well before 1900, but I don't remember the exact year. It has the old patina all over the rifle. It's definitely been used all it's life. My friend took it out and fired 6 rds through it, so it's still functional. It has the flip up rear sight that looks like it should reach out there a long way, but I wouldn't think it would with that caliber? I just know very little about .44-40.

  The only "drawback" is that it is missing the Buttstock Cleaning Rod. I don't know how much that takes off the value? The action is still smooth. It has a cover on the top of the receiver, covering the bolt, that you have to slide back to fire the rifle and eject the spent cartridge. It has a "saddle ring" that looks like it was used for the past 100 years, or so. I mean, nothing is trashed on the rifle, it just has that been there, used daily for all it's life, etc., look. There's no rot or pieces missing from the wood. I didn't check real close for any small cracks, but certainly didn't see any large ones. 

  I will take my camera down there and take some pics next time I go. What things should I look for? What specific areas should I take pics of?

  Is this something that has value? Or do these things only have value as wallhangers? I do wish that this thing could talk because I think it could tell a very interesting bunch of stories! I wish I had more info to relay for help on opinion, but I won't until this weekend.

  Thanks for any feedback.

  firstchoice

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Re: Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 09:58:25 AM »
Likely to be a Winchester 1873 FC.  From what I read, almost 750k were built from 1873 to 1923.  I've never owned one, but prices on GB are all over the map, some people asking 5 digits for one (asking, not getting).  The configuration seems to play a role (24", 20" and Military "Musket") as does condition and build date. 

Here's an auction with bids I found for one that might be close to what you saw: http://www.gunbroker.com/item/678458541

Good luck with it!  thumb1
      

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Re: Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 07:00:44 AM »
  Yeah, that's what I remember it looking like. Although, I don't remember any seration on the dust plate to help move it rearward. (above the action) And the one that I looked at had the flip-up rear sight. (I can't recall the name of that type of sight, at the moment. "Lyman", maybe? It's a ladder-style sight.) The rifle in that auction looks like the wood has been refinished and possibly, the barrel reblued. The one I'm looking at has all original patina and looks a lot less "nice". But that could actually help the value, IDK? And, wow. I had no idea some of the nicer ones could be so pricey!

  After posting this the other night, I googled the .44-40 Winchesters and came across one that had been found in the Great Basin National Park in November, 2014.

National Park Service finds an original Winchester Model 1873 in the wilds of Great Basin National Park:

http://www.winchesterguns.com/news/articles/132-year-old-model-1873-found-against-a-tree-at-great-basin-nati.html

Forgotten Winchester visits the Center of the West’s Cody Firearms Museum:

https://centerofthewest.org/2015/07/02/forgotten-winchester-now-on-display-in-center-of-the-wests-cody-firearms-museum/

  I thought it was interesting that the rifle had no cartidges in the magazine or chamber, but it did have one cartridge in the buttstock. Maybe that "save one last round, just in case" kinda deal? In whatever case, that round was a Union Metallic Cartridge Company .44 WCF cartridge, produced 1887 – 1911, and was never used. All sorts of conjecture aout the reason for it's abandonment. That was a life saving and life taking tool of the day. I'm fairly certain it wasn't one of those "I forgot my rifle while picnicing and thought, oh what the heck. And, instead of retrieving it, I'll just buy a new one".  nea1

  Thanks RM! I am going to go to a gun show tomorrow and then head to my friends house and see what kind of money he's wanting for his rifle. I'll try to get some pics, in any case. The rifle, according to Winchester's website, was produced in three models, with various options available from the factory. It appears to be a "Carbine"-style, with that model being the only one listed as having the saddle ring. I won't know until I inspect it further, and run the serial number, to find out exactly when it was made and which of the three models it is.

  firstchoice

 




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Re: Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 09:45:34 PM »
The guns that won the west.   thumb1

My father has one in 32/20 thats been in the family since new that I will inherit some day.
      
1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms... It doesn't matter how many Lenins you get out on the street begging for them to be taken.

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Re: Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 10:05:28 PM »
The guns that won the west.   thumb1

My father has one in 32/20 thats been in the family since new that I will inherit some day.

  Yeah, this guy said something about the guy that he had bought this one from, had one in .32/20, as well. It's all fairy tales now on the one I was interested in, though. I spoke to him today and he said he had it "appraised" since I last saw him and he's seeing B-I-G dollar signs now. Is it possible that something like that is worth $10,500.00 in appraisal value? He said he was going to "ask" $7,000.00. I said..okay. Outa my price range.  nea1

  I just wanted it for the history. I guess history costs more than I thought. That's over a hundred years old, yeah. I guess when the Trinity SKS turn 100+, they'll be worth that too?  ::)

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Re: Curious about an old Winchester .44-40 Lever Action?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 11:22:37 PM »
Dunno...  I'm not up to speed on them, but I think some may command a high premium especially if in really good original condition.  Octagon barrel comes to mind...  I think they went round after a certain year?  Caliber likely also plays a roll.  There were two sizes of receivers with two calibers each if memory serves me.  This is one of the two big-boy calibers on the larger frame.  The 32/20 is on the smaller.
      
1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms... It doesn't matter how many Lenins you get out on the street begging for them to be taken.