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Ordering a rifle back in the day
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WACA Guest
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March 11, 2014 - 9:39 pm
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Lets suppose the year is 1900. A whole catalog of Rifles, Shotguns and Options are available through your local hardware store or sporting goods store.

Lets suppose you order a nice Model 1895 with

28" barrel
30-40Krag chamber
Engraved receiver
Carved stock and forend or if you like one of the fancy checkering patterns
Fancy combo front sight and rear tang sight
A++ Walnut, Ebony cap
Crescent Butt plate


Anyone have a clue how long it might have taken the factory to deliver such a wonder new toy? (disregarding actual shipping time)

Would this be a month, 2 or 6?

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March 13, 2014 - 2:31 am
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Good Morning Mark,

It seems that Marks think along the same path.

I often wondered about the same subject. Going to the Hardware Store on a Saturday Morning,meeting your friends and store owner,huddled around the potbelly stove with coffee brewing on top of it. The main subject is Special Ordering a Winchester Rifle,as everybody gazes at the Standard Winchesters that the Hardware Store has in the rack behind the counter.The coffee is done and in walks the Winchester Salesman with the latest Catalog from Winchester with all the available Options and Accessories. All the guys have now turned away from the heat from the potbelly stove to huddle around the Winchester Salesman to view the pictures in the Catalog, the Salesman says I’ll be right back, walks out to his wagon and comes back in with a Cased Special Order Winchester Sample. Different topics are asked the Salesman about every Model and he is overwhelmed, finally everybody calms down and each Winchester enthusiast gets a chance to order their Special Winchester with whatever Options they want.

As for a time frame on receiving your Special Order Winchester,not having to wait for shipping, I would Guess one Week maybe two.

Instead of being born in the 20th century and the Space Age,
I wish I was born in the 19th century to witness the Industrial Revaluation.

Enjoy the Day, hokie (Mark)

"I Would Have Rather Lived Through The Industrial Revaluation"

"Instead of The Space Age"


 The Twilight Zone


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March 13, 2014 - 4:19 am
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Nice write up Mark.



Brad Dunbar


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March 13, 2014 - 7:22 am
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Another thing I have been wondering is what businesses were the big Winchester Retailers. Were they in places like Cheyenne, Wyoming or were they at Abercrombie and Fitch in NEW YORK? Who had the equivalent of 1900’s Cabelas gun wall? Or were almost all sales through small outlets.

I know Sears was a big retailer but then that would have been mail order.

Kingston, WA
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March 13, 2014 - 8:17 am
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Winchester had its own New York office and store, another in San Francisco. The Browning Brother shop in Odgen, UT was also a notable retailer of Winchester firearms. E.C. Meachum in St. Louis was also a very larger retailed of Winchester products.


WACA Historian & Board of Director Member #6571L

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March 13, 2014 - 10:51 am
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Observing the often very short time span between a special order rifle being received in the warehouse, and it being shipped (often about one or two business days), I would infer that special orders were given first priority. So a letter requesting a particular special order rifle might take two weeks max to get to the factory, and work would likely begin within one week of receiving the order. The build of the rifle would be hard to standardize, due to the possibility of checkering, case hardening, non-standard barrel lengths, and so forth. Let’s say one month max.

There you have it, almost entirely conjecture based only on the short turn around time between received in warehouse and shipped.

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