I just realized that the only serial number that I can find is on the lower tang. Is this usual? Since the tang is removeable, the serial number could be changed simply by swapping the tangs out.
You are correct.
I always thought the same thing but that is the way WINCHESTER did it.
The bad thing is that if the gun was sent back to the factory for a replacement trigger or for an up grade to double set triggers the workers would reach in the trigger bin and do what needed to be done but would not transfer the serial #.
If it had a trigger replaced by a gunsmith of the time he would have used one from another gun and therefore the serial # could call for a completely different caliber, barrel, wood, sights ect.
This has caused many good Winchester rifles over the years to be faked and sold at higher prices or sold at a fraction of the price they would have been if they would letter.
The only 73 I have that won't letter is the best one I have.
It is fully engraved, nickle plated, with a set trigger and deluxe wood.
I sent it to the CODY MUSEMUM and they said it was period done, meaning it was done in the style and appears to be original but the trigger has been replaced with a latter one.
No serial transfer and therefore they can't verify if it was engraved at the factory or not.
As it stands it is a $3000.00 gun.
If it was done at the factory it is in the $50,000.00 range.
They tried every way to verify it with no luck.
If they just would have stamped them someplace else---------
It probablely would have been out of my price range!!!
Long answere to your quwstion.
YES that is the serial #!