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You may recall that an archaeological crew stumbled onto a old rifle leaning against a tree during a survey of the Great Basin national park last November. The Las Vegas now reports that “the park sent the Winchester Model 1873 this year to be examined and stabilized in its current, weathered condition. In the process, the staff at Cody took an X-ray of the rifle and discovered a cartridge tucked inside its stock where cleaning rods normally were kept.” And so . . .

The .44-40 caliber bullet was carefully removed and traced back to its long-gone manufacturer: Connecticut-based Union Metallic Cartridge Co., which merged with Remington in 1912.

Jensen said the folks in Cody believe the cartridge was made sometime between 1889 and 1911.

They also were able to determine the rifle was manufactured in February 1882 and shipped from Winchester’s factory in New Haven, Conn., in June 1882. But the Winchester records kept at the museum did not reveal where the gun was shipped or what happened to it after that.

The Winchester has been preserved in its current state. It will go on display at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, welcomed home with a screening of the 1950 Western Winchester ’73 starring Jimmy Stewart [before the four rules of gun safety kicked in].


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  1. One of the great guns of the west. I would love to know the story of the cowboy who left it against that tree. He probably cursed that day. There is still romance in the west despite our worlds relativism. May God rest his soul.

  2. Awesome gun , the local gun shop owner has several old Winchesters he keeps on display way up high where no one can touch them . I’ve got a Uberti 44-40 Henry replica .Fun to shoot .

  3. Hey… more malware screwing things up. I bugged out of the site as soon as I saw it, but I noticed that the address of the popup was something like “” or something like that. It represented itself as a “Firefox Security Scan”.
    Anything you can do with that? In any case, add my voice to the multitudes asking you to switch to a better ad provider.

  4. That was the first western movie I ever saw. Still my favorite to this day.

    Made me want a winchester 73. Just need $15k

    • Spend 5 or 600 and get a good used Italian replica. Well made, and you don’t have to worry about shooting the guts out of it. Few things more fun than ringing steel with a lever gun.

  5. “The .44-40 caliber bullet was carefully removed…”

    Imagine that, a 44 caliber lead bullet somehow lodged in the stock. Could this be the missing piece of the puzzle?

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