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The Model 1873 rifle is one of those few, rare firearms to achieve legendary status, with a reputation as revered as any hero of history. It’s a firearm closely identified with the American West, and it played a pivotal role in so many important chapters of the era.
It is generally agreed that the Model 73 rifle is the classic “Gun that won the West.”
Buttplate, forend cap, magazine tube cap, hammer and trigger are polished and decorated with 24-karat gold. Lever is silver nitride finished. The focal point of the rifle is the elaborately decorated silver nitride receiver. Artwork is etched in 24-karat gold to capture the exciting days on the Western frontier.
Right side of the receiver features the conclusion of a cattle drive. An experienced cowpuncher is shown preparing to lasso a steer that looks as if it’s about to leap right off the rifle. The cowhand is riding a “cutting horse,” trained to aid his rider in the tricky task of separating full grown steers from the main herd to be taken to market. A closer look at the cowboy reveals terrific details in his outfit and gear, from his wide-brimmed hat to his roping gloves, right down to his chaps and boots. In his saddle holster is, of course, a Model 73, so useful in fighting off rustlers and shooting game for meals on long, dusty cattle drives. In the distance, you can make out a settlement of Plains Indians. They too, had a profound respect for the Model 73. Stretching across this panoramic scene is a steam locomotive, complete with box cars, passenger cars and a U.S. Mail car. This signifies the importance that the railroads played in the westward movement. The more you study this image, the more you’ll see that it captures the frontier days.
The rifles checkered walnut stocks are polished with a high gloss finish. The half-octagonal barrel is blued and then polished.
The saga of the West continues on the left side, where a bustling frontier town erupts into activity. the cactus and dramatic rock formations in the background suggest the mesas and buttes of the American Southwest. In the foreground is a typical frontier town, built perhaps along the stage line or near a booming mine. A drama unfolds as bandits rob the local bank. One robber has already made it to his horse, and has lifted his rifle to take aim at the pursuers of justice. With the shots firing out, a stage driver struggles to keep his horses from bolting in terror. Meanwhile, two more of the outlaws exit the bank, their bandanas pulled up to disguise their faces. One struggles to control his horse and make a getaway, while the other brandishes a pair of six-shooters. Off to the right, a spectator watches calmly from his seat on the wooden sidewalk. Perhaps a trapper or scout, he’s decked out in buckskins and feathers. There is an unmistakable feeling of authenticity to these images, and in their richness, the frontier era comes alive once more.
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