As of September 2015, the Winchester Model 73, also known as the Model 1873, is a lever-action rifle manufactured by Herstal International under the brand name Winchester. Historically, the Winchester Model 73 was a rifle manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, introduced in 1873. The original model 1873 is a desirable weapon amongst firearm collectors. Herstal manufactures the modern Model 1873 to be as close to the original as possible, with a walnut stock and blued steel barrel.
The original Model 1873 is known as "the gun that won the West," a moniker that came from the gun's widespread use amongst settlers of the American West. Settlers desired the Model 1873 largely because of its ammunition, a .44 caliber center-fire cartridge that was more reliable and better-performing than that of other manufacturers. Additionally, Winchester Repeating Arms designed its pistols to fire this same cartridge, doubling the ammunition's utility.
The modern Winchester Model 1873 is a smaller caliber firearm than the original, firing either a .38 special or .357 magnum cartridge. Its under-barrel magazine holds either 10 .357 or 11 .38 special cartridges. It comes in five models: two short models that use different types of steel hardware, and three long models with octagonal, rather than round barrels.