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Winchester 1873 32wcf worth saving?

4652 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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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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Thats a wonderful fireplace mantle rifle ,got the look
That's what I have done with mine: hung it over the door in the shop. Someone welded together a couple of old horseshoes, and I got some leather and stitched up a covering, so they make nice decorative hooks. I think mine is an '84 or '87 production, if I recall. Mostly petina. I might shoot it someday.
If you really want the rust off, soaking in vinegar will remove everything that is not metal. A good hot tank re-blue afterwards on the treated metal would look pretty good - all the age would show, but the finish would be, well, blued.
When a rifle is that far neglected a restoration would not be feasible.
If you can restore function to shoot cowboy loads ,great .Find a matching buttstock and leave the patina it will be far more valuable and have the cool cowboy look for display.
Thanks. That is my thought. Anyways I will be going slow when I have the time to work on it.
Many old Winchesters are Re Lined bringing back the Bore to like new but lowering the Collectors value. Redman's gunshop used to specialize in this type of work. Don't know if they're still in Business...................Lew
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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