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The Winchester Arms Collectors Association (WACA) is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation with a worldwide membership of over 2,500 individuals. WACA was organized in July 1977, incorporated February 21, 1978 in the State of Montana and has been NRA affiliated (#G8143) since 1978.

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In order to educate and promote better understanding of the role Winchester arms and related products played in American and world history; as well as to highlight the collecting activity of historic items; the Winchester Arms Collectors Association promotes display competition.  We do this primarily at our annual meeting in July in Cody, Wyoming, along with a presence at three other satellite shows during the year where we also promote competitive displays.  Two of these satellite shows are held in October each year–with the Ohio Gun Collectors held in Cleveland, Ohio and with Mid-Hudson Promotions held in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  Our third satellite show is in November at the Big Reno show in Reno, Nevada.


Below are examples of some outstanding displays
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Winchester Arms Collectors Association Display Awards Program Event Forms Download


Cody Awards Program
Cody Display Rules
Cody Judging Form
Satellite Show Awards Program & Rules
Satellite Show Judging Form


2017 WACA Featured Auction Gun

Deluxe Engraved Model 1886 Rifle
chambered in .45-90 WCF

As part of WACA’s 2017 fund raising efforts, we are offering a unique rifle for auction at the WACA Member Reception held after our Annual Membership Meeting at the Buffalo Bill Center of The West in Cody, Wyoming on July 14, 2017.  Our Canadian members are also invited to participate in an Absentee Bid program that will compete with live bidders.

WACA and Turnbull Manufacturing have teamed-up  to create a new Deluxe Engraved Model 1886 Rifle chambered in .45-90 WCF, with beautifully crafted fancy American walnut stocks, expertly hand checkered in “H” factory pattern at 24 lines per inch by Turnbull’s in-house stock maker.

In addition to Turnbull’s generous participation, master engraver John Pease graciously donated his work to engrave this rifle in Winchester Style 10 factory pattern replicating the way it would have looked in the 1800s—a real talent as the originals have their own look and feel in contrast to much of the contemporary engraving seen today.

The receiver, lever, hammer and forend cap are color case-hardened using the original Winchester bone and charcoal process.  The barrel and magazine tube are rust blued just like the originals were.  The result is a deluxe rifle closely duplicating the look and feel of an original Winchester 1886.  Included is a beautiful gun case donated by Negrini.


 Auction – July 14, 2017 – Cody, WY

 Absentee Bid Form

If you would like to bid on this beautiful Winchester rifle, just fill-out the form below with the
amount of your bid and agree to the Bid Terms; or download, fill-out and mail/fax this form to
Winchester Arms Collectors Association
P.O. Box 10427, Bozeman, MT 59719
or simply telephone your bid to WACA at (406) 285 – 3722

New, One-of-a-Kind Winchester Repeating Arms
Deluxe Engraved Model 1886 Rifle .45-90 WCF
Estimate: $8,500 – $17,500
Minimum Absentee Bid $5,500

  • Absentee Bid Terms - By clicking the submit button below, should your bid be the highest acceptable bid at the live auction conducted during the WACA Member Reception on July 14, 2017, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody Wyoming; you hereby agree to purchase the rifle for the amount indicated, and promptly pay for the rifle upon notification from WACA. After receipt of payment, WACA will ship the rifle to your designated US-based FFL.

Winchester Collectore Cody Show


July 9-10-11, 2021

Winchester Collectore Cody Show

Riley Arena, 1400 Heart Mountain Street, Cody, WY

Over 300 Trade and Display Tables

This Show Will Be Sold-Out.  Reserve Tables Online  or call (508) 922-9267

or Download a .pdf version here and mail to the address on the form.

Exhibitors Hours

  • Thursday Exhibitor Set-up 9am-6pm
  • Friday & Saturday Exhibitor Hours 8am-5:30pm
  • Sunday 8am-2pm

Public Hours

  • Early Entry passes available for Thursday, 9am-6pm – $35
  • Friday & Saturday, 9am-5pm
  • Sunday, 9am-2pm


  • Children Under 12 – Free
  • General Admission – $8
  • 3-Day Pass – $20
  • Early Entry – $35
  • Free Admission on Friday, Saturday & Sunday for WACA Members   Join Now



Show Manager

  • Vinny Martin:   (508) 922-9267



Winchester Commemoratives were first introduced in 1964, with the Wyoming Diamond Jubilee.  Each Commemorative was issued as a reproduction of a historically famous gun model or to honor a historically significant person, group, event or institution relating to U.S. or Canadian history.

Commemoratives are generally of very excellent quality and are often embellished with fancy stocks and metal finishes such as silver, nickel, or gold plating.  Manufactured to be instant collectibles, they are pleasing to the eye.  As with firearms in general, not all commemorative models have achieved collector status, although most enjoy an active market.  Commemorative collectors prefer new unfired guns as issued in their original factory boxes (most of these boxes were highly decorated) and with all paperwork, wooden cases, boxed ammunition, and other artifacts issued with or relating to the Commemorative.

Commemoratives were produced in relatively large numbers and consequently the “rarity” generating the collector value is grossly less than the original Winchester models that have become antique collector items today.  However, an impressive collection of Winchester Commemoratives can be assembled for a fraction of the cost of the antique models, and all in new to nearly new condition.  Even though some of the Commemoratives are extremely rare, Winchester Commemorative issues are an affordable way for beginning collectors to put together a variety of collections of new condition Winchesters to suit individual interests (States, Centennials, Indians, Lawmen, Canadian, etc.).

Interview with a British WACA Member and collector of Winchester Commemoratives on YouTube

Listed below are recognized as Factory Issues or Special Order and not after-market productions.  Consult the Blue Book of Gun Values for New in Box (NIB) current average values.

Rifle & Carbine * Not Advertised in the US + European (E)
Year Model Scheduled Produced Orig Price
1964 Wyoming Diamond Jubilee 1,500 1,500 $99.95
1966 Centennial ’66 * 102,666 102,309 $125.00
1966 Nebraska Centennial 2,500 2,500 $100.00
1967 Canadian ’67 Centennial * 97,395 90,301 $125.00
1967 Alaska Purchase Centennial 1,500 1,500 $125.00
1968 Illinois Sesquicentennial 39,699 37,648 $110.00
1968 Buffalo Bill * 122,169 112,923 $129.95
1968 Buffalo Bill Museum Presentation 300 300 $1,000.00
1969 Golden Spike 73,619 69,996 $119.95
1969 Theodore Roosevelt * 56,060 52,386 $134.95
1970 North West Territories + 3,106 2,500 $149.95
1970 North West Territories Deluxe + 500 500 $249.95
1970 North West Territories Donation Model + 10 10 $1,000.00
1970 Cowboy 28,904 27,549 $125.00
1970 Cowboy Hall of Fame Presentation 300 300 $1,000.00
1970 Lone Star 55,259 38,385 $140.00
1971 NRA Musket & Rifle 58,927 44, $149.95
1972 Yellow Boy (E) + 5,500 4,903 $149.95
1973 R.C.M.P + 10,442 9,500 $189.95
1973 R.C.M .P- Members Model + 5,100 4,850 $189.95
1973 R.C.M.P Presentation Model + 10 10 Presentation
1973 M .P.X + 32 32 $78.00
1974 Texas Ranger 4,850 4,850 $134.95
1974 Texas Ranger Presentation 150 150 $1,000.00
1974 Apache + 10,200 8,600 $149.95
1975 Klondike Gold Rush + 10,500 10,500 $239.95
1975 Klondike Gold Rush Dawson City Issue + 25 25 Presentation
1975 Klondike Gold Rush Presentation + 15 15 Presentation
1975 Comanche + 11,511 11,500 $229.95
1976 U. S. Bicentennial 19,999 19,999 $325.00
1976 Sioux + 2,000 10,000 $279.95
1976 Little Big Horn + 11,350 11,000 $229.95
1977 Wells Fargo 19,999 19,999 $350.00
1977 Cheyenne 44/40 + 13,000 11,225 $300.00
1977 Cheyenne 22 + 8,221 5,000 $319.95
1977 Legendary Lawman 30,858 19,999 $375.00
1977 Limited Edition I 15,000 15,000 $1,500.00
1978 Cherokee 30/30 + 9,000 9,000 $384.95
1978 Cherokee 22 + 3,950 3,950 $384.95
1978 Antlered Game 19,999 19,999 $375.00
1978 One of One Thousand + 250 250 $5,000.00
1979 Limited Edition II 1,500 1,500 $1,750.00
1979 Legendary Frontiersman 19,999 19,999 $425.00
1979 Bat Masterson 8,000 8,000 $650.00
1979 Matched Set of One Thousand 1,000 1,000 $3,000.00
1980 Oliver F. Winchester 19,999 19,999 $520.00
1980 Alberta Diamond Jubilee + 2,700 2,700 $650.00
1980 Alberta Diamond Jubilee Deluxe + 300 300 $1,900.00
1980 Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee + 2,700 2,700 $695.00
1980 Saskatchewan Diamond Jubilee Deluxe + 300 300 $1,995.00
1981 Calgary Stampede + 1,000 1,000 $2,200.00
1981 Canadian Pacific Centennial + 2,700 2,700 $800.00
1981 Canadian Pacific – Employee + 2,000 2,000 $800.00
1981 Canadian Pacific Presentation + 300 300 $2,200.00
1981 U.S. Border Patrol 1,000 1,000 $1,195.00
1981 U.S. Border Patrol – Member Model 800 800 $695.00
1981 John Wayne Standard 49,000 49,000 $650.00
1981 John Wayne Canadian 1,000 1,000 $995.00
1981 John Wayne Duke 1,000 1,000 $2,250.00
1981 John Wayne Matched Set 300 300 $12,000.00
1982 Great Western Artist I 999 999 $2,500.00
1982 Oklahoma Diamond Jubilee 1,000 1,000 $2,200.00
1982 American Bald Eagle Silver Model 2,800 2,800 $895.00
1982 American Bald Eagle Gold Model 200 200 $2,950.00
1982 Annie Oakley 6,000 6,000 $600.00
1983 Great Western Artist II 999 999 $2,500.00
1983 Chief Crazy Horse 19,999 19,999 $550.00
1984 Winchester-Colt Set 4,440 3,250 $3,900.00
1985 Boy Scout 15,000 15,000 $625.00
1985 Eagle Scout 1,000 1,000 $2,250.00
1986 Texas Sesquicentennial Carbine 15,000 15,000 $695.00
1986 Texas Sesquicentennial Rifle 1,500 1,500 $2,995.00
1986 Texas Sesquicentennial Set 150 150 $7,995.00
1986 Statue of Liberty 100 50 $6,500.00
1986 1 of 1000 – European Second Edition 250 64 $6,000.00
1986 120th Anniversary 1,000 1,000 $995.00
1986 Ducks Unlimited 2,800 2,800 $700.00
1986 Ducks Unlimited – Gold 300 300 $1,500.00
1986 Ducks Unlimited – Canada 1,400 1,200 $700.00
1987 U.S. Constitution 50 17 $12,000.00
1989 Italy Anagni 1 of 25 25 N/A N/A
1990 Wyoming Centennial 999 500 $895.00
1991 125th Anniversary 125 61 $4,995.00
1991 125th Anniversary European Edition 125 N/A N/A
1992 Ontario Conservation Officer Centennial 400 400 $1,195.00
1992 Kentucky Bicentennial 500 500 $995.00
1992 Arapaho 500 500 $895.00
1993 Nez Perce 600 600 $950.00
1993 Ducks Unlimited-Canada 1993 500 500 $750.00
1994 Limited Edition Centennial 12,000 12,000 $811.00
1994 Limited Edition Centennial – High Grade 3,000 3,000 $1,272.00
1994 Limited Edition Centennial – Custom 94 94 $4,684.00
1994 Browning Tribute 1 of 100 100 N/A N/A
1995 Florida Sesquicentennial 360 360 $1,195.00
1996 Wild Bill Hickok 350 350 $1,195.00
1997 Earp Brothers 250 250 $1,195.00
1997 25th Anniversary 9422 2,500 2,500 $606.00
1997 25th Anniversary 9422 – High Grade 250 250 $1,348.00
1998 IAM 3,000 3,000 $375.00
1998 Shoshone 250 250 $1,195.00
1998 Wal-Mart Wildlife Conservation 2,000 2,000 $560.00
1998 Klondike Centennial 450 450 $550.00
1998 Klondike Centennial-Deluxe 100 100 $1,000.00
2002 Heritage 1 of 1000-High Grade 1,000 1,000 $1,883.00
2002 Heritage 1 of 100-Custom 100 100 $5,200.00
2003 New Generation – 1st Edition 100 100 $2,995.00
2003 New Generation – 2nd Edition 110 110 $3,271.00
2005 9422 Custom Tribute 1 of 222 222 222 $2,313.00
2005 9422 High Grade Tribute (22 WMR) $1,050.00
2005 9422 High Grade Tribute (22 LR) $1,078.00
2005 9422 High Grade Legacy Tribute (22 WMR) $1,139.00
2005 9422 High Grade Legacy Tribute (22 LR) $1,085.00
2005 9422 Special Edition Tribute (22 WMR) $545.00
2005 9422 Special Edition Tribute (22 LR) $516.00
2005 9422 Special Edition Legacy Tribute (22 WMR) $606.00
2005 9422 Special Edition Legacy Tribute (22 LR) $551.00
2005 John M. Browning (30-30) 150 150 $1,107.00
2005 John M. Browning (44 Mag.) 150 150 $1,107.00
2005 John M. Browning (45 Colt) 150 150 $1,107.00
Special Issues
1983 Dodge Marksman (Central Region) 1,000 1,000 $250.00
1983 Dodge Marksman (Southeast Region) 3,565 3,565 $250.00
1983 Dodge Marksman (Corporate) 516 516 $250.00
1984 Dodge Marksman (Western Region) 775 775 $250.00
1984 Captain James Cook 100 100 $995.00
1984 Lander, Wyoming 400 400 $495.00
1985 Mark Twain 150 150 $475.00
1986 WACA Winchester/Colt 100 22 $2,695.00
1987 Coca-Cola 2,500 1,574 N/A
1987 WACA Trapper 45 Colt 250 250 $329.00
1988 U.S. Marshals Bicentennial 500 500 $1,995.00
1992 WACA 7/30 Waters 250 250 $695.00
1994 WACA Limited Edition Centennial 250 250 $690.00
1998 WACA 9422 500 500 $695.00
2001 Wild Turkey Federation 9422 1,900 N/A Auction
2002 Friends of NRA N/A Auction
2003 Wild Turkey Federation 410 2,200 N/A Auction
2006 Friends of NRA 1,200 1,050 Auction
2006 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 400 400 Auction
Private Issues
1981 WACA 30-30 Trapper 130 130 $250.00
1985 Roy Rogers, Jr. 3,000 $395.00
1985 Louis Riel 900 900 $749.00
1985 Louis Riel – Deluxe 100 100 $1,749.00
1990 Ties That Bind 14 $1,800.00
1992 Larry Bird 100 100 $2,995.00
American Indian Tribute 300 300 N/A
Great American Buffalo N/A N/A N/A
Custer’s Last Stand 300 300 N/A
1994 Limited Edition Centennial – Gold 50 50
1997 First Swiss American 300 300 (E)


Welcome to our general store! We are Open for Business! We are proud to use PayPal to accept secure payments for our products.

NOTICE: For all shipments outside of the United States. Please contact the WACA office directly or by postal service to arrange for shipping and expenses.
SHIPPING: Any excess Shipping/Handling paid will be refunded back to your account once your items have been shipped.
ALL APPAREL ORDERS are processed and shipped directly by our third-party vendor, Travelers Ink and not by WACA.  Please read item descriptions and sizing charts carefully since all apparel is custom-made to order and is non-returnable.  Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

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Winchester Arms Collectors Association
PO Box 130
Winnett, MT 59087


  • Model Year
  • Patent Dates
  • Polishing Room Serialization Record Books (manufactured date)
  • Received in the warehouse date
  • Shipped from the warehouse date
  • “Parts Bin” Concept
  • “Work Order” Number
  • Pre-1899 versus Post-1898  (antique vs. modern)
  • Pre-’64 versus Post-‘63


  • Rifle
  • Carbine
  • Musket
  • Spanish Musket
  • Short Rifle
  • Baby Carbine or Trapper
  • Shotgun
  • Smooth bore
  • Line throwing gun
  • Models (Receiver style variations) –  First Model, Second Model, etc.

Numbers and Markings:

  • Serial Number
  • “A” & “B” Suffix
  • “L” serial number prefix
  • Assembly Number
  • Fitters’, Assemblers’, and Inspectors’  numbers & marks
  • Winchester “W” mark
  • Martial Markings
  • Proof Marks
  • Barrel Address
  • Tang Markings
  • K.S.M. (Kelly S. Morse)  government inspector


  • Factory vs. Non-Factory or  “Outside” Engraving
  • Factory Engravers – Hoggson,  Nimschke, Ulrich (Conrad, Herman,  John, Alden), Stokes, Gough,
  • Lockwood Sanford
  • Signed
  • Styles
  • Relief Engraving
  • $2.50 worth of engraving
  • Inscription


  • Upper
  • Lower


  • Forend
  • Forearm
  • Fore Stock
  • Handguard
  • Stock
  • Butt stock
  • Pistol Grip
  • Round Knob
  • Semi Pistol Grip
  • Heel
  • Wrist
  • Comb
  • Whelen Fluted Comb
  • Length of Pull
  • Drop
  • Inletting
  • “Proud” of the metal
  • Checkering (H & I patterns)
  • Carved (A – F patterns)
  • Walnut
  • Dense Walnut
  • Gumwood
  • Rosewood
  • Birdseye Maple
  • Deluxe
  • Fancy Wood – x, xx, xxx, xxxx
  • Presentation Grade
  • Extra Finish
  • Straight (plain) grain
  • Tiger striped
  • Flame grain
  • Figuring
  • Burl
  • Oil Finish
  • Varnish Finish
  • Piano Finish
  • Original Finish
  • Refinish
  • Sanded
  • Repair
  • Henry Bump


  • Chamber
  • Crown
  • Muzzle
  • Length – how to measure
  • Octagon
  • Round
  • ½ Octagon (Part Round)
  • Matted
  • Heavy
  • Extra Heavy, Bull or Buffalo barrel
  • Tapered
  • Rapid Taper
  • Pencil
  • Light weight
  • Short


  • Full mag
  • Half Mag
  • ⅔ Mag
  • ¾ Mag
  • Button Mag
  • Cartridge Count Mag
  • Special Mag
  • Box Mag


In the 1800s the idea of a repeating rifle was finally realized by Oliver Winchester, the largest stockholder of the New Haven Arms Co. of Connecticut. He was assigned US patent No. 5501, which protected

Each year the National Rifle Association, at their annual meeting, invites gun clubs and gun collector’s organizations to put on competitive displays for the general public. This highly spirited competition brings out the best in displays. The Winchester Arms Collectors Association has exhibited at the NRA show for over thirty years! Following are photos of our display in Houston, Texas in May of 2013.

model70The Model 70 was introduced in 1936 and is currently in production. Calibers range from the .22 Hornet to the powerful .458 Winchester Magnum. The pre-64 models include Standard Grade, Carbine, Featherweight, Alaskan, Westerner, and Super Grade. Special order features include fancy walnut stocks with cheek-piece, and engraving. One of the most outstanding features of the Model 70 is the Mauser-style action with claw extractor/controlled round feeding and the innovative three-position safety.  There are no factory records available for this model.


Winchester Model 70 Bolt Action Rifle

model42Designed by William Roemer and introduced in 1933, the Model 42 Slide Action Shotgun was chambered exclusively for .410 gauge in 3″ and 2-1/2″ shells. The Model 42 was produced from 1933 thru 1963, with a production of about 160,000.

Referred to as “Everybody’s Sweetheart”, variations include: Standard Grade, Deluxe Grade, Trap Grade, Skeet Grade and Pigeon Grade. Various chokes, barrel lengths, plain barrels, solid ribs, ventilated ribs, engraving patterns, and checkering patterns were offered.

There are no factory records available for this model.

Model 64

The Model 64 was introduced in the January 1933 catalog specifically as a replacement to the Model 55.  As it was originally cataloged, it was available in the same 25-35 W.C.F., 30 W.C.F., and 32 W.S. cartridges as the Model 55.  Like the Model 55, the Model 64 was never officially offered or cataloged in either the 32-40 or 38-55 cartridges, but there were a very small number of each that were made up through the year 1937.  They are very rarely encountered, and many of them that are found today are fakes!

Production of the Model 64 began in late 1932, and two variants were offered; (1) the standard Rifle, and (2) the Deer Rifle. Many collectors refer to the Deer Rifle as a “Deluxe”.  Throughout its entire production, the Model 64 was serialized in the Model 94 serial number range.  Production of the Model 64 ended in late 1957, with an estimated at 66,783 manufactured, but that estimate may be too low.

In 1934, a 20-inch barrel was offered for both the standard Rifle and the Deer Rifle, with collectors commonly referring to them as “Carbines”.  In 1937, the 219 Zipper was added to the production line.  Other than different rear sight arrangements, very little else was offered for the Model 64.

The Cody Firearms Museum research office has the Polishing Room serialization records for all Model 64s manufactured through serial number 1352066.

model-21With the design and production promoted by John M. Olin, the Model 21 was one of Winchester’s finest shotguns with regards to quality, reliability and strength. Although technically a production gun, each example was custom-made in terms of configuration, workmanship, quality, and attention to detail.

First 30,000 unit production of the Model 21 began in 1931 and ran to 1959. Even during the lean years of the Great Depression, a double barrel shotgun, offered as a production item, attracted considerable attention in the market place. After World War II, the Model 21 increasingly became a custom-made, lavishly decorated gun. From 1960 to 1993, the Winchester Custom Shop produced about 1,000 Model 21s. Subsequently, Winchester sold the rights to produce the Model 21.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 35000.

Model 55

Winchester introduced the Model 55 in June of the year 1924.  This was a brand new variant of the Model 94 Sporting Rifle, and it was apparently introduced to fill the gap between the standard Model 94 Sporting Rifle with its 26-inch barrel and the standard Model 94 Carbine with its 20-inch barrel. It was offered in calibers 30 W.C.F., 25-35 W.C.F., and 32 W.S. with a 24-inch rapid taper nickel steel barrel.

Production of the Model 55 began on June 26th, 1924 and it ended in late December of 1932. The total production is estimated to be 20,580 rifles.  The Model 55 was initially offered in Take Down only, but was changed to solid frame only in early 1931.  It is estimated that 82% of the total production were Take Downs, making the solid frame variant relatively rare.

Initially, the Model 55 was serialized in its own serial number range, with serial numbers 1 – 12002 completed through March 7th, 1928.  After March 7th, 1928, the Model 55 serial numbers were co-joined with the Model 94 until the end of production.

Special order options were offered but are rarely found. The most common special order option was a Stainless Steel barrel.

The Cody Firearms Museum research office has the Polishing Room serialization records for all of the independent serial number range rifles, and for all of them in the Model 94 serial number range.

Historically Important Henry Rifle


From the collection of WACA member Wayne Thompson

In collecting Henry and Winchester rifles, very seldom do we know where these guns have been. Historically important inscribed guns, such as this one, are most sought after by today’s collectors.

 The Man

myersLeonard Myers (1827-1905), a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Attleboro (now Langhorne), Bucks County, PA, on November 13, 1827. Attended private academic schools and the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia; studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1848 and practiced in Philadelphia. Held the rank of Major with the Ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia, during emergency service of September 1862. Elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, and Fortieth Congresses (March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1869). Successfully contested the election of John Moffet to the Forty-first Congress. Reelected to the Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses and served from April 9, 1869 to March 3, 1875. Chairman for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Patents (Forty-second Congress), and Committee on Private Land Claims (Forty-third Congress). Resumed his law practice after an unsuccessfully run for reelection in 1874. Died in Philadelphia, PA February 11, 1905; interment in De Benneville family cemetery.

The Gun

receiver-sSecond Model Inscribed Henry Rifle .44 RF s/n 7488 mfg 1864 – 24” Henry barrel; 1000-yard no-retaining screw rear sight; sling swivels; straight grain varnish finished walnut stock; inscription on right side plate: “Presented to the Hon. Leonard Myers by his German Republican Friends”. Receiver is in sound condition with reasonably sharp corners. The trigger spring appears to be an old replacement; barrel and magazine blue has turned a plum to brown color with some areas of scattered light pitting especially evident on the right side forward and on the loading sleeve; butt-stock is sound and in good condition, retaining a high degree of varnish finish, with signs of honest use but no abuse; action is mechanically excellent; bore is in good condition with good rifling and some pitting, and is considered a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. Most of these guns were used in the Civil War, and later in the Indian Wars. Many Henry rifles were used on the battlefield and as a result saw much hard use and abuse. As such, this is an above average gun in very good condition. All of the standard markings on this rifle are correct and original to the gun. The barrel markings are clear. The serial number is stamped on the rear top flat of the barrel, on the left side of the lower tang inside the stock, and on the toe of the buttplate. Lower tang is marked “W” indicating Oliver F. Winchester was the inside contractor. The inscription “Presented to the Hon. Leonard Myers by his German Republican Friends” appears to be old, authentic, and of the period. This Henry remains in the original .44 rimfire caliber configuration and the bolt, firing pins and chamber have never been altered.

assembly-sI would like to thank my dad for getting me interested in American history and gun collecting, and Rob Kassab for authenticating my Henry rifle. If anyone has any information about this Henry rifle or Leonard Myers, please email me.


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winmodel12Designed by T.C. Johnson, The Model 12 Slide Action Shotgun is the first as well as most popular hammerless slide-action shotgun made by Winchester.

The model was available in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge; and in the following grades: Field, Fancy, Skeet, Trap, Pigeon, Tournament, Featherweight, Heavy Duck Gun, Riot Gun and Trench Gun.

The Heavy Duck Gun was introduced in 1935 and was chambered for the 3” magnum 12 gauge only. All model 12s of this era had Nickel Steel barrels, except the ones with Stainless Steel barrels. 30” and 32” barrels were offered until around 1948 when the 32” barrels were discontinued. These 3” magnums were also offered as Trap guns and Pigeon Grade guns. Special features may include barrels with solid rib, or ventilated rib. Special features include fancy stocks, checkering, carving, and engraving.

With about 2 million Model 12s produced in both standard and deluxe grades between 1912 and 1980, the Model 12 had milestone serial numbers set aside for presentation to notable individuals.

There is only factory Serial Number Application Data available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 1970885.

1906The Model 1906 was introduced as a low cost version of the Model 1890, and came with a 20” round barrel. Between 1906 thru 1932, approximately 800,000 were manufactured, all in takedown configuration and in .22 RF caliber. Standard and Expert semi-pistol grip versions were available. Special order options include walnut stocks and nickel plating.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody , Wyoming , from serial number 1 thru 79999.



The Model 1901 utilized the same action design as the Model 1887, but it featured a newer alloy steel specifically designed for the new smokeless powders. It was offered in 10-Gauge 2 ⅞” chamber only, and a blued receiver frame only.

Production of the Model 1901 began on June 29th, 1899 at serial number 64856, and it ended on November 5th, 1931 at serial number 78356. Total production was just 13,500 guns, with the bulk of the production occurring prior to 1925.

Special order options were the same as the Model 1887. The standard barrel was a 30-inch rolled fluid steel, with a three-blade “Good” damascus steel, or a four-blade “Fine” damascus steel barrel available at extra cost through year 1913.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model (including the Model 1887) from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 17999.  Polishing Room serialization records are available through serial number 78356.



The Model 1897 was a superior slide-action exposed hammer shotgun that was specifically designed for the new smokeless powder.  Winchester manufactured just shy of one million Model 1897 shotguns, with the production taking place from July 1897 to September 1957.  The Model 1897 was an improved redesign of the older Model 1893.  Serial numbers were a continuation of the Model 1893 and began in the 34150 range, and continued through 1024701.

The Model 1897 was originally offered in solid frame 12 gauge only with a 2 ¾ chamber until April of 1898 when the Take Down was introduced.  The new 16 gauge with a 2 9/16” chamber was introduced in 1899, Take Down only.

The Model 1897 was offered in a variety of grades: standard Field; Fancy; Standard Trap; Special Trap; Pigeon; Tournament; Brush; Riot and Trench Gun.  The 20” barrel Riot and Trench Guns were especially desirable for Military and Law enforcement use. The Law enforcement Riot and Trench Guns may have police or prison unit markings.  The WW II military Riot and Trench guns will have “U.S” and flaming ordnance bomb markings.  Trench guns differed from Riot guns in that they have a ventilated heat shield and a bayonet stud attachment.  All Trench Guns and the military Riot Guns were equipped with sling swivels. The WW I Trench and Riot Guns were made in solid frame only, then for WW II, they were all Take Downs.

The Winchester Model 1897 became the most popular exposed-hammer, slide-action shotgun in history. Special features include fancy checkered walnut stocks, Damascus barrels, and engraving. According to a 1916 catalogue, the plain-finish example sold for $25, while an engraved receiver with checkered and finer wood sold for $100.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 377999.  Polishing Room serialization records are available for all serial numbers.

1895-LeeThe Winchester Lee Model 1895 (also known as the Lee Rifle, Model of 1895, caliber 6-mm, Model 1895 Lee Navy, 6mm Lee Navy, Lee Rifle, Model of 1895, etc.) was a straight-pull, cam-action magazine rifle adopted in limited numbers by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 1895 as a first-line infantry rifle. The Navy’s official designation for the Lee Straight-Pull rifle was the “Lee Rifle, Model of 1895, caliber 6-mm”. It fired a 6mm (0.236-in. caliber) cartridge, used an early smokeless powder, was semi-rimless, and fired a 135-grain (later 112-grain) jacketed bullet. The 6mm U.S.N. or Lee Navy Cartridge was also used in the navy version of the Colt-Browning Model 1895 machinegun.

Production History and Development
By 1894, the U.S. Navy desired to adopt a modern small-bore, smokeless powder rifle in keeping with other first-line naval powers. Naval authorities decided that the new cartridge should be adaptable to both rifles and machine guns. As the military forces began adopting smaller and smaller caliber rifles with higher velocity cartridges, U.S. naval authorities decided to leapfrog developments by adopting a semi-rimless cartridge in 6-mm caliber, with a case capable of holding a heavy charge of smokeless powder. On August 1, 1894 a naval test board was convened at the Naval Torpedo Station in Newport, Rhode Island to test submitted magazine rifles in the new 6mm Navy government chambering. Per the terms of the Notice to Inventors, the new government-designed 6mm U.S.N aka Ball Cartridge, 6mm was the only cartridge permitted for rifles tested before the Naval Small Arms Board. Both the ammunition and rifle barrels were supplied by the government; the barrels, made of 4.5 per cent nickel steel, used Lee-Metford-pattern rifling with a rifling twist of one turn in 6.5 inches, and were supplied unchambered with the receiver thread uncut. The rifle action was required to withstand the firing of five overpressure (proof) cartridges with a chamber pressure of 60,000 psi.

In the first set of service trials, the naval small arms board tested several submissions, including the Van Patten, Daudeteau, Briggs-Kneeland, Miles, the Russell-Livermore Magazine Rifle, five Remington turn bolt designs (all with side-mounted magazines), and the Lee straight-pull. In a second set of trials the Model 1893/94 Luger 6-mm Rifle and the Durst rifle were also considered, along with a Lee turning-bolt design. The Durst prototype fractured the receiver in firing and was withdrawn from the test, while the Luger Rifle performed excellently. Luger’s submission had only one major disadvantage: it failed to meet government specifications, having been chambered in a non-standard rimless 6mm cartridge. The Lee turning bolt design was considered to be a good one, but marred by its magazine system, which the Small Arms Board found to be problematic. The Board thought so highly of the Luger Rifle that it recommended purchase of either a prototype or an option to purchase the rights to manufacture. Apparently this never came to pass, as Luger not only declined to submit its design in the Navy’s government 6mm chambering, but withdrew from the third round of the service trials. The Lee straight-pull rifle with its charger-loaded magazine was chosen as the winner in repeated small arms trials, and was selected for adoption by the U.S. Navy in 1895 as the Lee Rifle, Model of 1895, caliber 6-mm, aka the M1895 Lee Navy.

First Contract
The first naval contract for the M1895 was let to Winchester for 10,000 rifles in January 1896 (serials 1-9999). However, deliveries of the initial shipment of 10,000 rifles were not completed until 1897, owing to delays caused by manufacturing issues, as well as contract changes imposed by the navy. The latter included a significant change in ammunition specification, which required extensive test firings followed by recalibration of the sights.

Of the 10,000 rifles produced under the first contract, 1,800 were issued to the U.S. Marine Corps. Marine battalions scheduled to be equipped with the 6 mm Lee rifle did not begin to receive their new rifles and ammunition until 1897, two years after adoption of the cartridge and rifle. Colonel-Commandant Charles Heywood of the Marine Corps reportedly refused small initial allotments of the 6mm Lee rifle to the Corps until he was given assurances that the Corps would be immediately issued at least 3,000 Lee rifles, improved target ranges, and most importantly, enough ammunition for Marine units to continue their existing marksmanship program. Despite this threat, the September 1897 report of the Marine Corps Quartermaster to the Secretary of the Navy urgently requested a minimum additional $10,000 in funding to purchase sufficient 6mm ammunition to allow Marines to conduct live fire and target practice with the Lee rifle. The report warned that, except for drill practice, enlisted Marines were “entirely unfamiliar with the use of this arm”, since all target practice still had to be conducted using the old single-shot Springfield and .45-70 black-powder ammunition. Rifles with a serial number below 13390 (approx.) were made prior to December 31, 1898. Additional smaller purchases were subsequently made to replace lost weapons, mostly in response to a fire at the New York Navy Yard which damaged or destroyed about 2,500 rifles; around 230 rifles were condemned as not restorable. The additional small quantity purchases by the Navy as well as all sporting models fall into the 10000–15000 serial range, purchased between the two major contracts. Some confusion arises as to production dates for the sporting rifles as many of the commercially manufactured and numbered receivers (not USN marked) were not made into complete rifles until 1902, and sales continued until 1916. Military rifles have 28-inch (71-cm) barrels and navy anchor stamp, while rifles made for civilian sale have 24-inch (61-cm) barrels and no anchor.

Second Contract
A second contract was let on February 7, 1898 for an additional 5,000 rifles at $18.75 each. This second contract (serials 15001 to 20000) began delivery in August 1898 and was completed in December 1898.

Non Contract Military Sales
Military pattern rifles were produced throughout the civilian range of 10000 to 15000. The earliest production rifles conformed to first contract US Navy specifications. Most, however, had the latest Navy improvements: a gas shield machined as part of the bolt rather than pinned and brazed on, a sighting groove in top of bolt, a low bolt stop, a roller firing pin lock and sometimes a hardened screw on the side of the receiver for the Navy extractor to contact.

The later production rifles reflect the improvements Winchester implemented in response to problems of extraction and gas leakage. A number of rifles, both military pattern and sporting, were noted as “A” model. This referred to the front-mounted short extractor spring, bolt with two gas holes on top, floating firing pin, and gas vent on the left side of the receiver. Some rifles are recorded as “Style A Except Extractor & Spring last Navy style”.

Other common notations with dates in the 1902 to 1906 period are: “to Russ (date)” and “(date) Imps”. This is found both alone and in combination with the “A” designation. Many of the early rifles were altered by milling a second slot farther back along the left side of the receiver for the end of the short front-mounted extractor spring to bear against. Most of the rifles will have the leaf sight notch centrally located rather than offset like the Navy contract rifles.

The serial number ledgers denote 169 of the arms as muskets. The author has examined some of these muskets but could not find any visible difference between a musket and the standard military pattern rifle.

The US Navy purchases in this range will have the US Navy inspector and sub inspector stamps. The military pattern rifles purchased by civilians will have the Winchester proof, an oval with P or WP enclosed, stamped on the receiver ring.

There are at least four distinct groupings of the military pattern rifles. Two are US Navy purchases.

The first group consists of US Navy purchases as replacements for losses in the New York Navy Yard fire. The need for more rifles became critical as the Navy and Marine Corps mobilized for the Spanish-American War. Very little is known about these replacement rifles and so far no official record of their purchase has surfaced in the Bureau archives. Springfield Research Newsletter, Issue #53, April – June 1990 has a serial number listing of 96 Lee rifles turned in by the Marine Corps Barracks, Pensacola, FL on September 17, 1900. There were 11 rifles in the 10800 to 11300 range. One rifle in this range has turned up – number 10843 – inspected by Lt. William B. Whittelsey USN. It was shipped April 25, 1898, along with 14 other rifles, to order number 7686.

These rifles are stamped on the receiver ring in the normal Navy manner: – U.S.N. – over an anchor over No. xxxxx over – W.B.W. – . The side of the receiver has the standard Winchester manufacture and patent date markings. Lt. Whittelsey’s inspection stamp, a triangle with a W enclosed, may be found on the butt plate near the lower butt plate screw.

An examination of the known serial numbers published by SRS and their associated Winchester order numbers reveals that over 250 rifles were shipped to the Navy on April 22, April 25 and July 7, 1898 under seven different order numbers. The standard notation “Rifle 1st Model” was used with no indication that these were sold to the Navy. It is possible that over 800 rifles were purchased during this crisis period as there are a number of other orders with multiple rifles. Positive identification will have to wait until additional Navy inspected rifles in this group appear.

The second group of 186 rifles is also a US Navy purchase. These rifles are stamped on the receiver ring: – U.S.N.M. – over an anchor over No. xxx over US Navy inspector initials – X.X.X. -. This Navy number, unlike prior Navy purchases, is not the same as the Winchester serial number. It ranges from 1 to 186. The Winchester serial number is lightly stamped on the right receiver rail. These rifles have the same characteristics
as the later Navy rifles: sighting groove on top of bolt, hardened screw on side of receiver, low bolt stop, and roller firing pin lock. They do not have the Winchester improvements of short front-mounted extractor spring, twin bolt gas vents, floating firing pin and gas vent on side of the receiver.

These rifles were ordered and issued after the Joint Army Navy Board met in December, 1898 and recommended a uniform caliber and rifle for the services.

The 186 USNM stamped rifles fall into three clusters. The first cluster of 70 rifles, between the Winchester serial numbers of 11252 and 11718, were shipped on July 14, 1899 to order number 30337. Observed serial numbers are:

Win S/NInspectorUSNM No.

These rifles were apparently randomly pulled from stock, inspected by Lt. John N. Jordan, USN and stamped with the USNM numbers in sequence from number 1 to 70.
The second cluster of 16 rifles, in a block between the Winchester serial numbers of 13869 and 13884, were shipped on April 29, 1901 to order number 94631. These rifles were shipped with knife bayonet and scabbard.
Observed serial numbers are:

Win S/NInspectorUSNM No.

These rifles were inspected by Lt. Charles A. Brand, USN and both the Winchester and USNM numbers are in sequence, beginning with USNM number 71 and ending with USNM number 86.

The third cluster of 100 rifles, in a block between the Winchester serial numbers 14084 and 14183, were shipped on October 15, 1901. The first 50 rifles were shipped to order number 1118 70 and the second 50 were shipped to order number 1118 71. The only observed serial number so far is:

Win S/NInspectorUSNM No.

These rifles were inspected By Lt. Frank H. Schofield, USN and both the Winchester and USNM numbers are in sequence, beginning with USNM number 8 7 and ending with USNM number 186. The ledger lists these as “Musk (et) 6m/m,” however, a close examination did not reveal any differences from the standard Navy rifle.

There are no notations in the Winchester records as to who ordered the rifles. The Springfield Research Newsletter Issue No. 53, April, 1990 notes that the Navy Inspector of Ordnance at Hartford, in his monthly reports, stated that 16 Winchester-Lee rifles were delivered in April 1901 and that 100 additional Winchester-Lee rifles were ordered during the period July to September 1901. This is consistent with the Winchester ledgers.

There is some discussion over the meaning of the USNM markings. The author contends that it stands for United States Naval Militia, but no US Navy records have been found specifically authorizing this marking or documenting the shipment of these rifles to a state naval militia. The naval militia battalions were and still are separate state organized units reporting through the state Adjunct-General to the governor. They did receive congressional appropriations that were supplemented by state and, in the case of the New York City battalions, city funds.

Thus, the wealthier battalions had the means to purchase equipment on their own. The third group of military pattern rifles were the 221 that were factory altered to a sporting rifle configuration beginning in 1908. This group is discussed in the chapter on sporting rifles.

Sales of the fourth group, true civilian military pattern rifles, were slow. Winchester made 4,298 rifles in the civilian range; 1,563 are identified as factory sporting rifles, with another 100 or less first pattern sporting rifles sold but not recorded as sporting rifles. The US Navy purchased 1,014 military pattern rifles including those stamped USNM. This leaves 1,621 military rifles available for civilian sales. The factory altered 221 of these military pattern rifles to sporting rifle configuration in 1908.

Winchester had on hand almost one half of the approximately 1,400 military pattern rifles manufactured when it, on August 16, 1913, offered to sell to the El Paso, TX firm of Shelton-Payne Arms 566 Lee Muskets,
566 bayonets and 396 scabbards. The price was $6.00 for the musket, $1.00 for the bayonet and $0.20 for the scabbard. Shipping added $0.96, and ammunition was $22.00 per thousand without clips and $2.00 more with clips. The offer was not accepted. Winchester did sell the bulk of these rifles in 1914. The purchaser is not known, but 465 rifles were shipped February 14, 1914 to order number 561,508.

There were over 300 rifles, mostly military pattern, listed as being received in the warehouse but never recorded as being shipped. These arms, mostly in the 11000 to 13000 serial number range, were received in the warehouse in 1898 and sent to Russ in the 1902 to 1906 period for improvements. Their final disposition is not known. If these rifles were retained and later broken up by Winchester, then civilian sales of military pattern rifles would ‘drop to around 1,100.

A number of rifles are noted in the Winchester Firearms Reference Collection (WFRC) and other records.

Serial number 10073, WFRC W3180, was sent to the cartridge shop August 20, 1897.

Serial number 10271 was sent to the Navy on December 2 7, 1897 with the revised bolt stop.

Serial number 10273, WFRC W449,”like Navy first order.”

Serial number 10301 was used for ammunition testing.

Serial number 10476, WFRC W792, “like Navy first order.”

Serial number 10983, WFRC W447, “like Navy first order.”

Serial number 11575, WFRC W450, “latest style” November 23, 1900.

Serial number 12364, WRFC W793, “style furnished Navy during Spanish-American War.” Serial number ledger has a shipping date of March 9, 1917 to showroom case.

Serial number 12601, WRFC W448, barrel chambered and bored for 7m/m cartridge. Bore .2755, 9″ twist, September 1906.

The last record for a Winchester-Lee was April 22, 1926 when military pattern rifle number 11101 was returned from the Broadway Store, New York City to the warehouse and had a knife bayonet fitted. It became W 446 in the Winchester Firearms Reference Collection.

Reliability in the Field
Overall, the Lee had a reputation for reliability in the field, though some issues were never overcome during the rifle’s relatively short service life. Beginning in 1898, during the Marine expeditionary campaign in Cuba, reports emerged from the field criticizing the floating extractor design. The firing pin lock and bolt-lock actuator were relatively fragile, and would occasionally break or malfunction, while the tension in the en bloc cartridge clips proved difficult to regulate, occasionally causing failures to feed.

Design and Operation
Magazine System

The Lee’s magazine system was improved over the prior navy rifle, the M1885 Remington-Lee, by incorporating a charger-loaded magazine system and an action capable of handling high-velocity, small-caliber smokeless cartridges. Designed by inventor James Paris Lee, the rifle weighed 8.3 pounds (3.7 kg) and was about 48 in (122 cm) long. It was the first American military rifle to be loaded by charging an en bloc clip or charger of five 6mm cartridges into the rifle magazine, similar to the Mannlicher charger system. Lee later claimed in an unsuccessful lawsuit that his single-row charger-loaded magazine patent was infringed by von Mannlicher, but most historians agree that Mannlicher and Lee independently developed their en bloc magazine systems along separate but parallel lines.

After inserting the clip, the charger was then given a second push to ready the first round for chambering. Closing the bolt stripped off each round in succession, feeding the next cartridge into the chamber. The clip itself dropped free from the magazine when the first cartridge had been loaded. Unlike the M1892 Springfield (Krag) and the later M1903 Springfield rifle, the Lee straight-pull did not have a magazine cut-off to enable the cartridges in the magazine to be held in reserve in keeping with the prevailing small arms military doctrine of the day. The Chief of Ordnance considered the Lee clip to be superior to either the Mauser stripper clip or the Mannlicher clip, as cartridges were not required to be stripped from the clip into the magazine (like the Mauser ‘stripper clip’ system), yet the Lee clip was not an essential part of the magazine (like the Mannlicher system), since it dropped out after the first cartridge was loaded, and since single cartridges could be loaded into an empty or partially loaded magazine to replace cartridges fired. This conclusion was in conflict with the Naval Small Arms Board, which did consider the Lee clip to be an essential part of the magazine.

When specifying the requirements for its new service rifle, the Navy emphasized that it desired a repeating rifle loaded by means of chargers or clips, but “since the conditions of service may require the use of loose cartridges, or may result in the disabling of the magazine, it is desirable that the small arm be susceptible of use as a single loader, and that the magazine be capable of being replenished by single cartridges. The new Lee rifle and its magazine met all of these requirements, enabling a rifleman in an emergency to use the loose cartridges taken from loaded belts supplied to machine gun crews for the 6 mm Colt-Browning machine gun.

Bolt Mechanism
Along with the M1885 Remington-Lee and the M1892 Springfield, the M1895 Lee was one of the first infantry weapons adopted by U.S. forces to be equipped with a repeating action. To operate the straight-pull mechanism, the operating handle is first pulled up at an angle to disengage the bolt and its wedge lock, then pulled sharply to the rear to extract and eject the spent case. Pushing forward on the bolt handle strips a round from the magazine; as the bolt is slammed home, the bolt’s wedge lock seats into place, the firing pin is cocked, and the fresh cartridge is seated in the chamber. Once the M1895 is cocked, the rifle’s bolt cannot be retracted unless the bolt-release lever is pushed downward. This prevents opening of the action caused by an inadvertent bump or contact to the bolt handle. The rifle has a safety located on the top of the receiver, which is released by pushing down with the thumb on the safety button.

Unlike many other military rifles of the day, the Lee was not fitted with a turning bolt. Though frequently described as a straight-pull action, the M1985 Lee actually utilizes a camming action in which a steel wedge or locking block beneath the bolt is forced into a recessed area in the receiver. Pulling the operating handle back causes the bolt to rock back and upwards, freeing a locking stud on the receiver and unlocking the bolt. The firing pin cocked on final closing where the resistance would be overcome by the forward inertia of closing the action. Once the rather odd “up and back” bolt movement was mastered, and as long as the action was clean and well-lubricated, it worked fairly well, though the slightly inclined opening stroke proved awkward for some men when the rifle was operated from the shoulder. Despite this, the Navy’s Chief of Ordnance noted with approval that the Lee rifle could be fired “with great rapidity”, achieving a rate of fire considerably faster than most existing turn-bolt rifles of the day.

Sights and Other Features
The M1895 was equipped with a ladder-type rear sight adjustable to a maximum of 2,000 yards, determined by actual firing at Winchester in March 1896. Because of the relatively high velocity and flat trajectory of the 6mm Lee cartridge, authorities calibrated the sights at their lowest setting with a point-blank or dead aim range of 725 yards (663 m). The latter was intended for use on targets at all ranges from point-blank to 700 yards. The single battle setting was intended to discourage individual soldiers or marines from adjusting their sight elevation unless firing at mass targets at extreme ranges, in which case officers would give commands for ranges to be set in such situations. Owing to the necessity of supplying the Navy with rifles as soon as practicable, no provision for drift (windage) was included in the rear sight. The prominence of the front sight and its exposure to damage led to the adoption of a sheet metal front sight cover for the 10,000 rifles in the original order. The front sight cover was browned (blued) to reduce glare. Each rifle was tested at Winchester for accuracy by firing a group of three shots at 50 yards, any rifle not showing the desired accuracy was returned to the line for adjustment, which sometimes involved restocking the entire rifle.
The rifle was equipped with a firing-pin lock on the left side of the receiver, which acted as a safety. Pushing down on the slide-type lever unlocked the firing pin striker and made the weapon ready to fire.

With its slim-contour 28-inch (710 mm) barrel, the rifle was slightly muzzle heavy. With practice it could be rapidly fired, recocked, and reloaded without taking the rifle from the shoulder. Contemporary reports and subsequent tests indicate that the M1895 and its ammunition were exceedingly accurate: target groups approaching a minute of angle at 100 yards were not unusual with individual rifles. The M1895 was normally issued with a sling, bandoliers, and a modern 8.18-inch (208mm) knife-type bayonet. Individual sailors and marines were issued a black leather belt with adjustable cross suspenders, fitted with twelve black leather ammunition pouches. The Lee Navy bayonet was the forerunner of short pattern bayonets still in use today.

In December 1894, after a series of test evaluations with both rimmed and rimless 6mm cartridges, the U.S. Navy adopted the 6mm U.S.N. or 6mm Lee Navy cartridge. It was the first U.S. military round to use a metric caliber in its official designation, the first cartridge designed for use in both rifles and machine guns, and the smallest-caliber cartridge to be adopted by any military power until the advent of the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge in 1964. The original 6mm ball loading was supplied by Winchester, and used a round nosed, cupro-nickeled steel-jacketed lead-core bullet with a total weight of 135 grains. In March 1897 a new military loading was adopted using a 112-grain (7.3 g) round-nose, copper-jacketed (FMJ) military loading developing 2,560 feet per second (780 m/s) and 1,629 ft·lbf (2,209 J) of energy at the muzzle. Besides providing increased velocity and a flatter trajectory, the primary reason for the change in cartridge and bullet design was to reduce chamber pressures and extend the life of the rifle barrel: the new 112-grain loading with its copper-jacketed bullet gave an average barrel life of 10,000 rounds as opposed to only 3,000 for the 135-grain steel-jacketed load. Ordnance authorities specified a slightly slower rifling twist for the new loading – one turn in 7.5 inches (18 cm). At some point during later production, this rifling was again changed to one turn in 10 inches RH (25 cm).

The U.S. 6mm Lee Navy (6mm U.S.N.) cartridge used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps was initially supplied by Winchester Repeating Arms (WRA) and later, the Union Metallic Cartridge Company (UMC). The rifle powder was Rifleite, a nitrocellulose flake powder supplied by a British company, the Smokeless Powder Co. Ltd. The cartridge was semi-rimmed, and was designed to function in machine guns such as the M1895 Colt-Browning as well as in infantry rifles. Intended for primarily for shipboard use against enemy naval forces in small boats, the 6mm Lee had considerably more penetrating power than the U.S. Army’s .30 Army (.30-40 Krag) cartridge, and could perforate 23 inches (58 cm) of soft wood at 700 yards (640 m), a single 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) thick steel boiler plate at 100 feet (30 m), or a 0.276-in. (7 mm) plate of chromium steel (no backing) at 150 feet.

Another advantage to the 6mm cartridge was in the reduced weight of the ammunition: 220 6mm cartridges weighed approximately the same as 160 cartridges in .30 Army caliber. The basic combat ammunition load of an 1898 naval bluejacket or marine was 180 rounds of 6mm ammunition packed five-round chargers (clips), and carried in black leather ammunition pouches. Outfitted in this manner, a navy bluejacket or marine could carry considerably more ammunition than that of the typical Army trooper of the day, who usually carried 100 rounds of .30 Army ammunition in individual cartridge loops on his Mills canvas cartridge belt.

However, the 6mm U.S.N. cartridge may have been too advanced a concept for the technology of the day. The Navy experienced continued problems with the Rifleite smokeless powder used in the cartridge, which appears to have varied in consistency from lot to lot, while becoming unstable over time. These problems were exacerbated by the custom of keeping ammunition aboard ship for long periods under conditions of high heat and humidity. After some use, many Lee rifles developed bore and throat erosion, and metal fouling due to unburned powder compounds, a problem intensified by substandard internal barrel finishing at the factory. The M1895 Lee was also the only military rifle to use Metford rifling, which British authorities had discarded because of its tendency to wear too easily when used with the smokeless powders of the day.

Naval and Marine Service Use
The M1895 Lee was carried aboard Navy ships for use by naval armed guards (bluejackets) and landing parties, and was the standard service rifle for enlisted Marines, both seaborne and guard forces. Fifty-four USN Lee rifles were recovered from the Battleship Maine, which was sunk in Havana harbor in 1898. These were eventually sold to Bannerman’s, a military surplus dealer. Surviving examples seen of the confirmed Maine rifles have pitted receivers, which would be logical considering the salt water immersion in Havana Harbor.

After the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the M1895 was issued to marines of the First Marine Battalion aboard the naval transport USS Panther, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert W. Huntington. As far as is known, all Marine companies involved in the Cuba combat operations were equipped with the 6mm Lee rifle. In addition to service with the First Battalion, additional rifles were later distributed by navy quartermasters to elements of free Cuban forces revolting against the Spanish government. The Marine assault force had only just been issued their Lee rifles, and enlisted men aboard the Panther were hurriedly given lectures on operating and field-stripping their newly issued rifles aboard ship, along with ten 6 mm rounds each to fire for familiarization purposes. During a four-day call at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and later during a two-week stopover at Key West, Florida Lt. Col. Huntington ensured that all enlisted Marines aboard the USS Panther underwent target practice on the beaches with the Lee rifle, as well as marksmanship training and small-unit battle drills. This last-minute opportunity for target practice and training proved fortuitous, as Cuban guerrillas later handed Lee rifles had some initial difficulty operating and using them, while Lt. Col. Huntington’s marines had no such problems.

The first major combat use of the M1895 occurred during the land campaign to capture Guantánamo Bay, Cuba from June 9–14, 1898 with the First Marine Battalion, in particular at the battles of Camp McCalla and Cuzco Wells. During the battle of Cuzco Wells, Marines using the M1895 Lee effectively engaged concentrations of Spanish troops at ranges up to 1,200 yards, using volley fire against groups of enemy soldiers while their officers called out the range settings. Though some problems were noted with the new rifle, the flat ballistics, accuracy and rate of fire of the M1895 and the light weight of its 6 mm ammunition proved to be of considerable benefit during offensive infantry operations over mountainous and jungled terrain against both Spanish regulars and loyalist guerrilla forces. The extra cartridges proved useful when early ammunition resupply from Navy ships was disrupted at the outset of the Guantanamo operation, allowing Marines to continue their assault even while individually resupplying Cuban rebels who had run short of ammunition. After the battle of Cuzco Wells, the surviving members of the retreating Spanish garrison informed the Spanish General Pareja at Ciudad Guantánamo that they had been attacked by 10,000 Americans.

The M1895 would see considerable action in the Pacific during the Spanish-American War and the early stages of the later Philippine–American War with U.S. Navy and Marine personnel. During the Moro Rebellion of 1899–1913, it was reported that some Marines preferred the M1892/98 Springfield (Krag) rifle and its .30-caliber ammunition to the M1895 Lee Navy and its 6mm U.S.N. cartridge, believing the latter to have inadequate shocking or stopping power against frenzied bolo-wielding Moro juramentados, who attacked from jungle cover at extremely close distances. In this situation, the 6mm Lee bullet may have over penetrated without causing sufficient shock and trauma to the enemy, a situation which the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Ordnance had foreseen as early as 1895, when he acknowledged the concern that “the wounds produced by small-caliber bullets will frequently not be sufficient to put the wounded out of action and their shock will not stop the onset of excited men at short range”. On the other hand, the Marine Legation Guard, which used the 6mm U.S.N. cartridge in the defense of the foreign legations in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, apparently had no such criticisms. U.S. forces equipped with the Lee rifle in the first (Seymour) relief expedition advancing from Tientsin to relieve the Marines at Peking were able to transport some 10,000 rounds of 6mm ball for the riflemen as well as a Colt machine gun crew, and consequently never ran short of ammunition, unlike other Western forces, who were forced to capture the Imperial Chinese arsenal at Hsiku to find enough cartridges to continue fighting. During the same expedition, Marine sharpshooters using the Lee Navy rifle managed to eliminate the gun crews of two heavy artillery batteries using only rifle fire.
However, the service life of the M1895 as a first-line infantry weapon was soon to end. In December 1898, a board of officers from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps officers recommended that all services adopt the .30 Army cartridge and the small arms and machine guns chambered for it. The board did acknowledge that the rimmed .30 Army round was less than ideal when used in modern machine guns, and that the decision to adopt the .30 Army for the Navy and Marine Corps might be postponed until a rimless version of the .30 Army had been developed. The board’s recommendations were later adopted by the War Department.

In the end, the Navy and Marine Corps decided not to wait. As early as November 1899, the Navy placed its first contract for 1,000 Model 1892/98 “U.S. Army magazine rifles” (aka the Springfield or Krag) in .30 Army (.30-40) caliber, with the first M1892/98 rifles issued to the newest pre-dreadnought battleships Kearsarge and Kentucky. New contracts for M1892/98 rifles were let as the U.S. Navy continued to expand, though the M1895 Lee and its 6mm cartridge would continue to see service aboard Navy vessels well into the turn of the century. The U.S. Marines continued to use the M1895 Lee rifle until January 1900, when they received Model 1892/98 rifles in exchange (Philippines and Far East Marine battalions were the first to receive the new rifle and ammunition). The Navy continued to use the M1895 Lee as its primary small arm through at least 1903. From 1910 to 1911, both the M1895 Lee and the M1892/98 service rifles were supplanted in Navy and Marine Corps service by the new M1903 Springfield rifle in .30-06 caliber, though the M1895 Lee would remain in service aboard some ships of the fleet into the 1920s, albeit as a secondary (drill practice) arm.

M1895 Lee Navy, Wikipedia – Wikipedia
The Winchester-Lee Rifle, Eugene Myszkowski, Excalibur Publications, pages 43-47

1895The last John M. Browning design for Winchester , the Model 1895 was engineered to accommodate a new generation of military cartridges promising to gain a substantial market. One of the innovative features of the model 1895 was the use of a non-detachable “box magazine” made necessary for use with more powerful pointed bullets. This was the first box magazine rifle developed by Winchester .

First Models have flat sides, rounded top and breech bolt, and a one-piece lever. The Second Model has a fluted receiver with a two-piece lever. Configurations were rifle, carbine and musket. Production ran from 1895 to 1940 with a total of 426,754 guns made. Of these, 293,816 were in the 7.62 mm Russian caliber in the musket version which were shipped to the Russian Imperial Government in 1915 and 1916. The ‘95 in 405 W.C.F. was a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt and he described his special order Winchester .405 as “The medicine gun for lions.” The model 1895 was a favorite among the Texas Rangers and other lawmen of the period. The 95 had many special order options available throughout its 45 years of production.

Model 1895 Calibers:
.30-40 Krag (also known as “30 Army” and “30 U.S. ”)
.38-72 W.C.F.
.40-72 W.C.F.
.303 British
.35 W.C.F.
.405 W.C.F.
7.62 Russian
.30-03 ( Springfield )
.30-06 ( Springfield )

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody , Wyoming , from serial number 1 thru 59999.



1894With its innovative Browning design action, the Model 1894 became the first Winchester specifically developed for smokeless powder. This model has seen continuous production since its inception and has outsold all other models. Most important of its many features were the cartridges Winchester developed for this action. The old standby 30 W.C.F., also known as the “30-30” (30 caliber bullet with 30 grains of powder) has killed more North American big game than any other cartridge and still remains popular to this day.

Early Model 1894 Calibers:
.32-40 – introduced in 1894
.38-55 – introduced in 1894
.25-35 – introduced in 1895
.30 W.C.F. (30-30) – introduced in 1895
.32 Winchester Special – introduced in 1901

The U.S. Army purchased 1,800 Model 1894 carbines on December 29, 1917 to help guard strategic defense industries in the Pacific Northwest. Production of receivers was suspended in 1943 during World War II. As serial numbers approached the one-million mark, the official model designation was changed from Model 1894 to the Model 94. The 1,000,000th Model 94 was presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1927. As many special orders features were available, a variety of interesting configurations can be found in both rifles and carbines making the Model 1894 one of the most collectable of all Winchesters.

In 1964, major changes in the manufacturing process were adopted to lower production costs. As such, “pre ‘64” guns are recognized to be of higher quality and command higher prices in the collector market. The “post ‘64” guns have additional calibers, with both top and angle-eject models, and a variety of stock options.

Winchester also issued the ‘94 in various commemorative models over the past several years and these guns provide an identifiable goal for the collector desiring to specialize in them.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 353999.


Videos of Interest:

The Winchester Model 1894 Lever Action Rifle
The Winchester Model 1894 Saddle Ring Carbine



The Winchester Model 1893 Slide Action Shotgun was designed and patented by the Browning Brothers, and was the first successful slide-action shotgun. It was introduced in May of 1893, and was manufactured until July of 1897. It was made in 12 Gauge only, and with a 2-5/8” chamber only, with 30” and 32” rolled steel Full choke barrels as standard.

Production of the Model 1893 was relatively short lived due to the action proving itself to be too weak when smokeless ammunition was introduced in the mid 1890s. This design flaw was corrected with the introduction of the Winchester Model 1897 Slide Action Shotgun. The total production for the Model 1893 was 34,176 guns.

Special order features included fancy checkered walnut stocks, Damascus steel barrels, and non-standard barrel lengths. A Riot Gun with a 20 inch rolled steel barrel was also available.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 34050.


Winchester Model 1893 Pump Action Shotgun

1892The Model 1892 was another fine John M. Browning design, closely following the lines of the successful Model 1886, and was intended to replace the Model 1873.

Compact, light weight, handy, and with a smooth action; the ‘92 is a pleasure to shoot. It was offered in rifle, carbine and muskets configurations. The musket configuration is considered rare, with only 574 produced of a total 1,004,675. Manufactured from 1892 through 1941, in solid and take down variations, many special order options were available making this model popular with collectors.

The 1892 was initially offered in the same shorter length pistol cartridges as the Model 1873 with the .25 W.C.F. caliber being added in 1895.

Model 1892 Calibers:
.25 W.C.F.
.32 W.C.F.
.38 W.C.F.
.44 W.C.F.

The Model 1892 was briefly offered in Winchester’s .218 Bee caliber from 1936 to 1938, using Model 53 receivers and barrels. Rifles and carbines in this caliber are considered rare.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody , Wyoming , from serial number 1 thru 379999.

Videos of Interest:
The Winchester Model 1892 Lever Action Rifle
The Winchester Model 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine

1890-03Designed by the Browning Brothers, the Model 1890 was Winchester’s first slide-action rifle, and chambered for the .22 caliber rimfire Short, Long, Long Rifle and Winchester Rimfire (WRF).

The First Models were offered exclusively in solid frame; subsequent models were offered also in takedown configuration. All first and early second models had case hardened receivers. After approximately 1901, with the introduction of the third model, all receivers were blued. Special features include pistol grip and straight grip fancy checkered walnut stocks.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 19999, and  30000 thru 329999.



Another highly innovative John M. Browning design, the Model 1887 shotgun is one of the most unusual actions ever made by Winchester. Production began in May of 1887 and it ended in March of 1899, with a total production of just 64,855 guns. The Model 1887 was replaced in June of 1901 by the modernized Model 1901.

The Model 1887 shotgun is a lever-action rolling block design, chambered in 12-gauge 2 ⅝” and 10-ga 2 ⅞” black powder shells only.

All Model 1887 shotguns have an elegant “WRA Co.” monogram engraved on the left side of the receiver frame, and were case color hardened.

Popular special order options were limited to high-grade checkered walnut stocks, shorter than standard barrel lengths, and the type of barrel steel. The standard barrel was a 30” or 32” rolled (fluid) steel, with an optional three-blade “Good” Damascus steel, or four-blade “Fine” Damascus steel available at extra cost.

Original Winchester factory and Polishing Room serialization records are available for this model (including the Model 1901) from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody , Wyoming , from serial number 1 thru 17999.


Winchester Model 1887 Lever Action Shotgun

Winchester Model 1897 Riot Shotgun

1886The Model 1886 action’s design is another result of the genius of John M. Browning and is generally recognized as one of the finest actions ever developed.

Nearly 160,000 model 1886s were produced from 1886 until 1935. Offered in rifle, carbine and musket configurations, there were two variations referred to as First and Second Models. Muskets and early carbines had full length forends and are considered rare.

Model 1886 Calibers:
.45-70 Gov’t
.45-90 W.C.F.
.40-82 W.C.F.
.40-65 W.C.F.
.38-56 W.C.F.
.50-110 Express
.38-70 W.C.F.
.40-70 W.C.F.
.50-100-450 Express
.33 W.C.F.

Today’s collectors love the Model 1886 as they were available with many special order features and Winchester factory records are generally complete for this model.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 156999, except 146000 thru 150799.


Videos of Interest:

The Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifle
The Winchester Model 1886 Lightweight Takedown Rifle



The Model 1885 Single Shot rifle was John M. Browning’s first design and patent, and it was first single shot to be built by Winchester. The patent for the Model 1885 rifle was what brought John M. Browning and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company together for beginning of their eventual 19-year association. Nearly 140,000 Model 1885s were manufactured from September 1885 to June of 1920.

The Model 1885 was offered in sizeable number of distinct variations (e.g. the Plain Sporting Rifle, Special Sporting Rifle, Special Single Shot Rifle, Schuetzen Rifle, Musket, Carbine, Shotgun, and Winder Musket).  Two basic frame types referred to as “High Wall” and “Low Wall” were made.  The frame types refer to the height of the receiver sides, and its relationship to the breech block.  With the High Wall version, built for the more powerful cartridges, just the top of the breech block is visible when viewed from the side.  The Low Wall, chambered for all of the various rim fire cartridges, and most of the pistol caliber center fire cartridges, exposes the upper 1/3 of the breech block.

Throughout its production history, a total of (91) different cartridges found their way into the 1885′s chamber. Everything from the diminutive .22 CB rim fire, the six-gun cartridges such as the 32 WCF, 38 W.C.F. and 44 W.C.F.; nearly all of the various black powder cartridges (Ballard, Sharps, etc.) made in that era including the buffalo hunting rounds such as 40-70, 40-90, 45-70, 45-90, 45-120, 50-110; and such all time powerful loads as the .405 W.C.F. (Teddy Roosevelt’s Big Medicine cartridge) and the .577 ELEY. In the later production years, all of the early “modern” smokeless rounds such as the 30/40 Krag, 30 W.C.F., 303 British, 32 Winchester Special, 33 W.C.F. and .35 W.C.F. were offered.

The Model 1885 Single Shot as with most Winchesters of the time, was offered with many special order options including; barrel lengths from 14” to 36”; set triggers, fancy wood, special target sights; Telescopes, nickel, silver, and gold plating, checkered and carved stocks, engraving, Take Down rifles, etc.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody , Wyoming , from serial number 1 thru 10999, except 74459 thru 75556.  Polishing Room serialization records are available through serial number 115308.

Hotchkiss Photo


The operating system for the Winchester Hotchkiss was originally designed by B.B. Hotchkiss. Winchester bought his patents in early 1877, after viewing the designs at the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876. It was Winchester’s first attempt at producing a bolt action firearm. There were approximately 82,000 produced in three basic designs and two calibers–45-70 and .433 Spanish.

The first production of the Hotchkiss Rifle and Carbine, the Model of 1879, was for the U.S. Military; 1,474 Muskets for the Navy, 500 Muskets for the Army, and 500 Carbines for the Cavalry. This Model had a rotary switch on the right side of the receiver serving as a safety and a magazine cutoff as they were loaded from the receiver into the stock, holding five cartridges.

For several reasons they proved unsatisfactory and the Second Model or ‘Improved Model’ was introduced. It has a lever on each upper side of the receiver for the cutoff and safety. The Navy ordered a quantity of 1,000, and most of the First Model Carbines were rebuilt into Second Models. At least for the first 80, this was accomplished by Winchester sending Second Model receiver assemblies to the Springfield Armory. Springfield then reused most of the First Model parts and machined new stocks to produce the Second Model Carbine. Whether this arrangement was continued throughout the rebuild or if Winchester rebuilt the balance of First Models is unclear. The Army rifles were also returned and were converted by Winchester into Civilian Carbines. These conversions are easily identified by the Civilian Carbine having a three digit serial number. The Army did not order Second Model Muskets.

With reference to the First and Second Model U.S. Military orders, the production arrangement between Springfield Armory and Winchester had Winchester producing the entire receiver assembly, trigger guard, and butt plate, and also partially machined the stock. These items were then sent to Springfield to do the final assembly. However, at the beginning of production, it was discovered that Winchester and Springfield used different barrel threads causing barrels to be sent to Winchester to be threaded and assembled into the receivers. Again, whether this was continued throughout production of the First and Second Models is unclear.

In 1880, Winchester began selling First Model Carbines, Muskets, and Sporting Models to the general public. Second Models for the public were also available by special order. Curiously, Winchester continued to produce First Model Carbines for the general public and for overseas sales. During this time period, 1879-1884, there were also orders produced for Egypt, Mexico, and South America chambered in .433 Spanish. China purchased First Model rifles and carbines, and out of the 13,332 Second Model Muskets produced, 11,000 were sold to China.

The above firearms used a one piece stock which was subject to cracking. Winchester then started producing the Model 1883 Hotchkiss in a two-piece stock design. The safety and cutoff were located on each side of the receiver. The U.S. Army purchased 712 of this model in the Musket configuration, and most of 11000 that were exported went to China. In total 59,446 Third Models were produced; 56,504 Muskets, 1669 Carbines and 1,273 Sporting Rifles. Production ceased around 1900.

Original Winchester factory records are available for the Hotchkiss from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming.

Many of the above production and sales figures are from Herb Houze’s excellent book Winchester Bolt Action Military & Sporting Rifles, 1877 to 1937.

For more information on the Hotchkiss model, contact Jim Curlovic at

1876Introduced as the “Centennial Rifle” in 1876, the Model 1876 was basically a larger-framed, more powerful version of the Model 1873.

The ’76 was offered as a sporting rifle with a 28” round, octagon or part round barrel; express rifle with a 22” round barrel; a carbine with a 22” round barrel; and as a musket with a 32” round barrel. Both carbine and musket configurations have full-length forends.

Model 1876 calibers:
.45-75 W.C.F.
.45-60 W.C.F.
.40-60 W.C.F.
.50-95 Express

One of the most desirable and historic configurations of the Model 1876 was the Canadian North West Mounted Police saddle ring carbine. The Model 1876 was discontinued in 1898, after 63,871 guns had been produced.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody , Wyoming , from serial number 1 thru 63871.


The 44 WCF was standard for the “gun that won the West,” though it also was made in 38 WCF (first offered in 1879), 32 WCF (introduced in 1882) and .22 rimfire (1884), with a few special-order guns built in .22 extra long rimfire. Model 1873s had iron receivers until 1884, when a steel receiver was introduced. The Model 1873 was offered as a sporting rifle (with a 24” round, octagonal or half-octagonal barrel), a carbine (with a 20” round barrel) and as a musket (with a 30” round barrel). The Model 1873 was officially discontinued in 1919, after approximately 720,000 guns had been produced.

The First Model 1873 (s/n 1 to about 31000) has grooved guides on each side to retain the dustcover (sometimes referred to as a “mortised dustcover). The Second Model (s/n 31000 to 90000) has a dust cover on one central guide secured to the receiver with two screws. The central guide rail on the Third Model is integrally machined as part of the receiver. The Model 1873 .22 Rimfire Rifle was the first .22 caliber repeating rifle in America was introduced in 1884 and discontinued in 1904. Winchester sold a little more than 19,000 .22 caliber Model 1873s.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 720496, except 497 thru 610 and 199551 thru 199598.


Videos of Interest:

The Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle

The Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Saddle Ring Carbine


Referred to as the “Improved Henry”, the Model 1866 lever-action repeater was the first model to be called a Winchester. Its distinctive brass colored frame (technically an early form of bronze, also called “gunmetal”) gave rise to the nickname “Yellow Boy”.

The most important notable improvement over the Henry was the addition of the Nelson King’s patented cartridge loading gate system which allowed for a closed magazine tube and a wood forend. The Model 1866 fired the same .44 caliber rimfire round as the Henry rifle; however; cartridge improvements made a shorter carbine barrel length practical. The ’66 was offered in rifle, carbine, or musket configurations with standard barrel length for the rifles 24”; carbines, 20”; and muskets, 27”.

During its production run from 1866 to 1898, nearly 160,000 were made. Serial numbers began in the mid-12,000 range (overlapping with Henry’s serial numbers which ended around 14,900) and carried just into the 170,000 range. First Models have flat-side receivers. Second, Third and Fourth Models have a flared receiver to accommodate a thicker forend.

Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 124995 thru 170101. Also available: 35,527, 35,952, 36,200, 96,740, 96,743, 96,745, 103,672, 104,463, 104,469, 104,470, 107,208, 107,209, 109,650, 109,651, 112,269, 112,270, 112,274, 119,180, 119,488, 119,567, 119,579, 119,739, 120,072, 120,593, 120,665, 121,191, 121,964, 124,005, 124,357, 124,876, 124,893, 124,899.


Designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry, the Henry Rifle was considered one of the most advanced weapons of its day. The toggle-link action was nearly identical to that used in the Smith & Wesson volcanic pistols and the Volcanics manufactured by the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. However both of these  firearms fired an inefficient self-contained projectile. After Oliver F. Winchester obtained the patent rights to the Volcanic, he founded the New Haven Arms Company and manufactured the Henry rifle which employed the .44 Henry rimfire cartridge created by B. Tyler Henry. Both the rifle and its ammunition were superior in every respect to the Volcanic firearms.

First Model Henrys were made with iron frames (s/n 1 to 400 range,) and brass frames (s/n 1 to 5,300 range, overlapping with iron frames) both with rounded buttplates. Second Models were exclusively brass frame with pointed buttplates (s/n 5300 – 14900 range). Henry rifles had 24” barrels with a magazine capacity of 16 rounds, with a few shorter length Henry carbines known to exist. The serial number of Henry rifles are found on the top flat of the barrel, on the left side of the lower tang under the stock, on the stock under the upper tang, and on the inside of the buttplate. On early rifles, the tang and buttplate screws also are serial numbered. Matching assembly numbers, in small numerals, are found on the barrel under the loading sleeve and on the rear face of the loading sleeve.

Some First Models were purchased by the U.S. Army and bear the “C.G.C.” mark. This was the stamp of Charles G. Chapman, indicating he had inspected and accepted this gun for the Ordinance Department of the U.S. Some Second Models bare the “AWM” and “JT” government inspection markings on the left side of the stock, on the wrist near the receiver.

From records in the National Archives in Washington , D.C. , it is known that rifles in the serial range from 1392 to 3956 were in the Ordinance Department order for Henrys, dated December 30, 18 63. Many rifles in this serial range are recorded as issued to the First D. C. Cavalry and after use with this unit were turned back in to the ordinance department. These rifles were then re-issued to the Third U.S. Veterans Volunteers, where they saw duty until the end of the war. One of the incentives for reenlisting in the Veteran Volunteers was a cash “bounty” as well as the agreement that the veterans would be permitted to keep their guns and accessories. Because many of the veterans later went west, most of these rifles saw duty in the frontier and in the Indian wars. Few of these martial guns remain in good condition; war duty and later service in the West and other wear resulted in much hard use and abuse.

Sought after due to its rapidity of fire, most Henrys used during the Civil War were purchased by Union soldiers with their own money. The largest privately funded Henry regiment was the 7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, armed with over 500 Henrys purchased at $52.50 each–almost 4 months pay for a Civil War solider. Despite the obvious superiority of the repeating rifle over muzzle loaders of the day, it was well after the Civil War before the US Government accepted the repeaters, changing warfare forever and making the muzzle loader obsolete for future wars.

That damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!


volcanicThe Volcanic Repeating Arms Company began producing rifles and pistols in early 1856. These weapons used the “Rocket-ball” cartridge that consisted of a bullet with a hollow cavity in the base which contained the powder charge. A priming cap held the powder in place and provided ignition. This ammunition, made in either .31 or .41 caliber, was grossly underpowered as muzzle energy was an unimpressive 56 foot pounds.

The frame of the Volcanic rifle was made of gunmetal, which is an early form of bronze. Softer than iron, gunmetal was easier to work with and would not rust. Pistols in .31 caliber were made in either 4 or 6 inch barrels holding 6 or 10 rounds respectively. The .41 caliber pistol came with either a 6” or 8” barrel carrying 8 or 10 rounds. A Carbine was produced in 3 barrel lengths–16” holding 20 rounds, 20” holding 25 rounds and 24” holding 30 rounds. The ammunition was held in a tubular magazine beneath the barrel that was loaded from the muzzle end by pivoting the loading sleeve.

Two advantages the Volcanics had was a rapid rate of fire and its ammunition was waterproof. However the “Rocket-ball” ammunition was too underpowered to be considered a hunting weapon or a man stopper. In addition, the Volcanic design suffered from problems such as gas leakage from around the breech, multiple charges going off at the same time, and misfires. Misfired rounds would have to be tapped out with a cleaning rod as the gun had no means of extraction.

There are no factory records available for this model.

While a myriad of items are “collected” today, there is nothing like collecting antique firearms-especially the Winchester rifle. The appeal of collecting Winchesters stems from how well they were made. Although considered “production” guns in their day, they were, by today’s standards, very much custom, hand-fitted works of art. Winchesters represent the great era of American history. With famous characters like Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Texas Rangers, and Teddy Roosevelt, who can resist the historical appeal of these tools of the Wild West? Art and craftsmanship, mechanics and performance, history and romance, all combined to create that relentless passion for collecting.

And there’s something for everyone; you don’t need a whole lot of money to begin your collection. With the volatility of today’s financial markets, collecting fine Winchesters makes a prudent, tangible investment. Rarity, originality, desirability, and condition, are the four commandments for protecting your investment.

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This document was last updated on February 05, 2014


Our quarterly club magazine, The Winchester Collector, is devoted to collectable Winchester arms and related products, club activities and classified ads.  Each issue is loaded with great articles and photographs of outstanding Winchester arms.  Some featured articles are posted here for your enjoyment. For more of this informative and entertaining material, join WACA today and receive the complete magazine 4 times a year!

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Display Awards Program

In order to educate and promote better understanding of the role Winchester arms and related products played in American and world history; as well as to highlight the collecting activity of historic items; the Winchester Arms Collectors Association promotes display competition.

Learn More About the Display Awards Program

Annual NRA Meeting and Exhibits

Each year the National Rifle Association, at their annual meeting, invites gun clubs and gun collector’s organizations to put on competitive displays for the general public. This highly spirited competition brings out the best in displays. The Winchester Arms Collectors Association has exhibited every year for over thirty years! Following is a link to photos of our display in a Previous Year!


oliver_winchester_mainThe Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a prominent American maker of repeating firearms, located in New Haven, Connecticut.  The Winchester brand is today used under license by two subsidiaries of the Herstal Group, Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.

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Like a pen with no ink or a car with an empty gas tank, a firearm is a useless mechanical contrivance without ammunition. Until the mid-1980s cartridges and their boxes were largely ignored as collectibles in spite of the obvious and essential relationship with their respective guns. But times change and most gun collectors now seek contemporary boxes of ammunition to display with their collectible guns, and virtually every award-winning gun display will have one or more original cartridge boxes, as well as other accoutrements, enhancing their exhibit. In some cases, usually unbeknownst to those viewing these elaborate displays, the antique ammo is actually much rarer than the gun! The growing recognition of the rarity of many of these boxes, as well as their aesthetic and historic appeal, has led to a tremendous increase in interest in antique cartridge boxes.*

Matching a period-proper ammunition box to display with your favorite Winchester firearm or assembling a collection of the colorful Winchester .22 caliber ammo boxes or shotgun shell boxes can be very rewarding. And the study of the Company’s ammunition history, manufacturing and marketing, lends itself to a look in the window of the New Haven plant’s overall health and prosperity.

There are many little-known aspects of Winchester ammunition history–endless testing of new smokeless powders in the 1890s; long range accuracy testing for the U.S. government; special projects that required specialized ammunition such as the 1914 Pan-American Games and the 1976 Palma Match; cartridges to restart flamed-out jet engines; special blanks for theater and television use. These are just a sprinkling of the ammunition involvements of the ‘Big Red W’ to explore, learn and enjoy.


*Quoted from the book “One Hundred Years of Winchester Cartridge Boxes 1856-1956” page 9, by Ray T. Giles & Daniel L. Shuey


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The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company began producing rifles and pistols in early 1856. These weapons used the “Rocket-ball” cartridge that consisted of a bullet with a hollow cavity in the base which contained the powder charge. A priming cap held the powder in place and provided ignition. This ammunition, made in either .31 or .41 caliber, was grossly underpowered as muzzle energy was an unimpressive 56 foot pounds.

The frame of the Volcanic rifle was made of gunmetal, which is an early form of bronze. Softer than iron, gunmetal was easier to work with and would not rust. Pistols in .31 caliber were made in either 4 or 6 inch barrels holding 6 or 10 rounds respectively. The .41 caliber pistol came with either a 6” or 8” barrel carrying 8 or 10 rounds. A Carbine was produced in 3 barrel lengths–16” holding 20 rounds, 20” holding 25 rounds and 24” holding 30 rounds. The ammunition was held in a tubular magazine beneath the barrel that was loaded from the muzzle end by pivoting the loading sleeve.

Two advantages the Volcanics had was a rapid rate of fire and its ammunition was waterproof. However the “Rocket-ball” ammunition was too underpowered to be considered a hunting weapon or a man stopper. In addition, the Volcanic design suffered from problems such as gas leakage from around the breech, multiple charges going off at the same time, and misfires. Misfired rounds would have to be tapped out with a cleaning rod as the gun had no means of extraction.

There are no factory records available for this model.

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