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Winchester 1873 32wcf worth saving?

4650 Views 27 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  3/17
There is a rusty Winchester 1873 32wcf rifle down at the local shop. 24" octagon barrel. No butt stock and some smaller parts missing. Serial number is 255K range so maybe 1887? Bore needs to be cleaned up. Would you pick it up and slowly get original period parts in about the same condition to get it working?
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I will be picking up couple project bolt action rifles from the same shop this weekend. Both in 7.62MM so I will probably pass unless I can get the 1873 at a really good price. I'll need to save up more dollars or sell some things.

Here, anything before 1899, black powder guns or replicas do not need to be registered. Also before July 1994 registration for long guns was not mandatory. Just had to have a long gun permit.

With a super Democrat majority in both houses and a Democrat for governor, it will be really hard next year. We already have 10rd limit on magazines that can fit into a pistol and the "assault Pistol" ban since July 1992.

It is easy to imagine they will extend the ban to rifles,shotgun, and make the 10rd limit to include all magazines.

Shipping is not too bad for the smaller items. Larger items can go in the flat rate priority air mail boxes. Cost is same to all 50 states.
I checked at the shop today to take another look at the Winchester. The bore was dark and had some cobwebs. The muzzle looked to be too big for a 32 so I looked at the top of the barrel. What seemed like 32 WCF was actually 38 WCF. Rust had covered part of the 8 and I assumed it was a 32.The rifle will need a lot of work.
The magazine tube is completely covered with rust and the barrel is about 50-75% covered. Looks to be blued. Receiver is more patina than the rust. The forearm has a split on the bottom. No cover or the screw, or the 2 screws for the cap. I was able to pull the lever open and close.

One of the books the shop owner looked at had a 10% rifle at $800. Since it is not a complete rifle, no way I am paying that. I'll see what happens tomorrow.
Took a look at the Winchester a little more. The finish is is mostly brown. Little hint of blue on the loading gate and the hammer. Markings are good. Bore might be able to clean up. IF I were to get it then I would just soak it with penetrating oil, disassemble and then slowly clean it up. I won't be going crazy and try to scrub the brown off. I won't be refinishing it. Parts I would get would be original and close to the condition the rifle is in. New parts would be obvious and not right on the rifle. It is what it is.

I let the owner that I am still thinking about it. Only thing would be to think up a offer. Maybe $200? Or under.
No cover or the screw for this rifle. Also rifle turned out to be 38WCF 38-40. I have one fired case for the 32-20, 38-40, and 44-40. Just curious to see what a 38-40 round looks like so I put a 180 plated bullet. Really thinking more of getting it. Next time in is Tues
I finally got it today.
Rifle is on the back burner for now. Going very slow. I have the rifle soaking. Screws were buggered from previous owner(s) Screw for the side plate snapped off. On the inside was 120+ years of dirt, powder fowling, rust ,dried oil. Really caked. Have some parts off and still soaking. Some parts cleaned and oiled in another container. Bolt still in plus fore end, band, and mag tube. No pics on those yet.
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Pics of receiver,cleaned parts and soaking parts. Cleaned parts came out pretty nice. Screws are SOFT so no wonder they were buggered. Been using 0000 steel wool, BP blaster penetrating oil. I had some LSA and surprisingly that worked pretty good but out of that. Red Liquid is ATF
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Thanks. That is my thought. Anyways I will be going slow when I have the time to work on it.
Finally had some time to work on the rifle the past week for a couple hours a night. I was able to get the firing pin, and bolt out. No finish and some light pitting. Hammer and the springs lock lever. The magazine tube was really hard to take off. The rear of the magazine tube had lots of rust and pitting. Same as in the front. Some pitting on the bottom of the barrel next to the tube. Near the front of the barrel lots of rust and pitting too. Found a punch mark a 2 a 3 and couple 7's along with a VP in a oval. Inspection marks? The inside of the receiver was full of hard crud and rust. I got most of that out. Some more soaking needed. Still lot more to do.

Redman's is still in business/ I went to his site. The relining is $375+. I think more with the larger calibers. The bore has rifling but lots of pits and the muzzle can swallow a bullet to the base.
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