The 1873 Winchester made its way into the arms of Buffalo Bill Cody and Belle Starr.
- Written by Phil Spangenberger
- Published March 01, 2009
Thanks largely to its use on the American frontier, the slab-sided 1873 Winchester lever-action rifle has become an icon of the Wild West.
The 1873 Winchester outsold all its competitors and was the premier choice with gun savvy Westerners like the post-1874 Texas Rangers, Pat Garrett, Butch Cassidy, Belle Starr and Buffalo Bill Cody.
Introduced in 1873 in “.44 Winchester Central Fire” (.44-40—designed for this rifle), it was in fact the first centerfire arm for the New Haven, Connecticut, firm.
A year later, Winchester added the .38 WCF (.38-40) to its line, and in 1882, introduced the .32 WCF (.32-20) and the .22 rimfire. As with the .44-40, Colt and other revolver makers began producing handguns in these chamberings and when paired with a ’73 Winchester, these rifle and six-gun combinations quickly gained popularity, especially out West where...
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