What an amazing find!
If this rifle could talk.
In a gravely voice, it may recite a yarn of weary settlers swaying on horses’ backs in the parched, rocky Nevada wilderness. It may talk about riding in a saddle holster across neighboring Utah more than a decade before it became a state of the union.
Great Basin National Park workers found the Winchester Model 1873 propped against a tree in the desert in November.
Who knows how many years the rifle stood there, after someone left behind the model called “the gun that won the West.” Did they have to depart in a hurry — running from danger?
Or did they not see it, as it stood neatly camouflaged against the arid trunk of the juniper tree?
Wind, snow, desert sun have beaten years of furrows into the Winchester’s grayed stock, and rusted its barrel brown, along with its receiver and signature figure-8 repeating lever.
But its model name remains steadfastly engraved on its tang, along with a serial number. The Great Basin National Park’s staff checked it against the Cody West Firearms Museum’s records.
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