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Winchester shot-shell manufacturing 125 years ago
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August 23, 2023 - 11:35 pm
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I’ve always been impressed with the Winchester company (of old) but the more I read, the more impressed I become.  We often comment on how back in the day, Winchester would do about anything for a customer.  This is evidenced by the numerous special order guns we encounter.  

I find the same customer service applies to shot-shells.  In reading Harold Williamson’s book on Winchester, he writes:

“Even before smokeless powders became widely adopted the variety of individual shot-shell loads had mushroomed.  In 1895, just a year after it had first listed loaded shells in its catalog, Winchester was prepared to furnish its customers at no extra cost with a choice among twenty-three combinations of shot-and-powder weights, sixteen sizes of shot, and at least twelve brands of powder.  The result was between four and five thousand individual loads.”

“After the introduction of smokeless powder the list grew steadily, largely because of the increase in powder brands,  It has been estimated that by 1907, Winchester’s total allowable loads came to 14,383.”

This is amazing to me.  I wonder if there aren’t many examples of some of these shells for which there are no surviving specimens?  I also wonder if each box of shells was marked as to what powder had been specifically ordered.  So, a person could order a specific shell – let’s say 12 boxes of the same shell – but specify one box of each of 12 powders (or more than 12 powders).  I’m trying to get my head around this.

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August 24, 2023 - 2:13 am
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Another interesting revelation for me was that Winchester offered shells for reloading for years before they offered loaded rounds.  Individuals, clubs and regional reloaders loaded them as they pleased so I suppose Winchester realized they would have to load what the customers wanted. Or maybe they just wanted their secret recipes. 

 

Mike

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August 24, 2023 - 5:49 pm
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Do you have Winchester Shotguns and Shotshells by Ronald Stadt?  Covers from the hammer double to the Model 59.  Has info on the shells back to at least 1884.

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August 26, 2023 - 1:17 am
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Chuck said
Do you have Winchester Shotguns and Shotshells by Ronald Stadt?  Covers from the hammer double to the Model 59.  Has info on the shells back to at least 1884.

  

Chuck-

Quite honestly first I’ve heard of it. Is it still in print? I’ll make a note to peruse my enablers tomorrow. Thanks!

 

Mike

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August 26, 2023 - 1:40 am
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TXGunNut said

Chuck said

Do you have Winchester Shotguns and Shotshells by Ronald Stadt?  Covers from the hammer double to the Model 59.  Has info on the shells back to at least 1884.

  

Chuck-

Quite honestly first I’ve heard of it. Is it still in print? I’ll make a note to peruse my enablers tomorrow. Thanks!

 

Mike

  

I’ve been browsing ebay.  A great many on there.  As low as about $15.  It looks like there’s a couple editions.  Early one is about 200 pages and later, about 288 pages.  Have to pay about $25 or so for a later one.

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August 26, 2023 - 8:48 pm
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The copy I have is dated 1995 Second Addition and is marked $35.  Lower corner of dust jacket says All New Second Edition.  The second addition is the one to buy.

When I took a look at it I noticed that the empty cases started at 1877.  Loaded ammo started in 1894 I believe.

Bert, if you don’t have this book, you should.  Lots of info on the 1893 and 1897.

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August 26, 2023 - 9:07 pm
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Chuck said
The copy I have is dated 1995 Second Addition and is marked $35.  Lower corner of dust jacket says All New Second Edition.  The second addition is the one to buy.

When I took a look at it I noticed that the empty cases started at 1877.  Loaded ammo started in 1894 I believe.

Bert, if you don’t have this book, you should.  Lots of info on the 1893 and 1897.

I have it… in fact, I think that I have two copies of it.

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August 27, 2023 - 4:12 pm
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Bert, maybe you could sell one to Steve or Mike?

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August 27, 2023 - 4:27 pm
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Chuck said
Bert, maybe you could sell one to Steve or Mike?

  

Sure, but I first need to verify that I still have two copies of it, and I am currently away from home (still in Astoria, OR taking care of my elderly mother).

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August 27, 2023 - 4:32 pm
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I understand.  My mother is 90 and my wife and I spend a few days a week taking care of her.  I’m currently in the last stages of getting a new heating and air conditioning system installed. Luckily she lives close.

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August 27, 2023 - 4:35 pm
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Chuck said
I understand.  My mother is 90 and my wife and I spend a few days a week taking care of her.  I’m currently in the last stages of getting a new heating and air conditioning system installed. Luckily she lives close.

  

It is a 4-hour drive from Kingston WA to Astoria OR on a good day… right now, with all of the tourists that are motoring up & down Hwy 101, it is a Zoo!

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August 27, 2023 - 4:52 pm
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I guess I’m lucky.  At least you can by pass Seattle.  Seattle is know for terrible traffic and drivers.

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August 27, 2023 - 5:35 pm
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Chuck said
I guess I’m lucky.  At least you can by pass Seattle.  Seattle is know for terrible traffic and drivers.

I have purposefully not driven through Seattle for the past 15-years… way too many nut-cases, druggies, criminals, and the homeless.  The entire city is imploding on itself, and yet they keep voting in the ultra liberals.  Currently, more than 50% of all businesses (large & small) have abandoned downtown Seattle, and the city government is clueless as to why.  Seattle and San Franciso are mirror images of what is wrong with our society today!

Sorry for the rant…

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August 27, 2023 - 6:30 pm
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Rant on.  I totally agree.

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