By Lars Dalseide | April 5 2012 17:35

1873 lever action rifle aimed by Phil Schreier of the NRA Museum

"The 1873 Winchester Lever Action Rifle is the most identifiable of the legion of guns that earned the moniker of the guns that won the West."

When you think about all those cowboy movies and television shows you watched as kid, you'll probably agree with that assessment. And how could you not? After all, those words came directly from National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier when asked to described the focus of tonight's Curator's Corner.

Weighing in at just under ten pounds, the Winchester '73 came chambered for the .44-40, .38-40 and .32-20 cartridge. That, according to Phil, was one of the major deficiencies.

"It was an extremely popular gun," said Schreier. "It was very successful in it's action, in it's accuracy, but it had the drawback of never firing a substantial cartridge of caliber or length. That's why the military never adopted it."

But that didn't matter as much to the general public. For when it came to the civilian market, it performed well enough to call for nearly three quarters of a million rifles to be produced. At the very least, it was enough to impress Jimmy Stewart.

action of the 1873 lever action rifle

"This rifle, after all, was immortalized by Jimmy Steward and Dan Duryea with the film of the same name. Very few guns have their own movie," he laughed.

To get the full skinny from Phil, tune in this evening at 10:40 pm eastern standard time as he's joined by John Popp to provide you all the details on and Sirius/XM Patriot Satellite Radio.

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