Winchester rifle
Overview
In common usage, Winchester rifle usually means any of the lever-action
Lever-action
Lever-action is a type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked. Most lever-action firearms are rifles, but lever-action shotguns and a few pistols have also been made...

 rifles manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company
Winchester Repeating Arms Company
The 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 of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

, though the company has also manufactured many rifles of other action types. Winchester rifles were among the earliest repeating rifle
Repeating rifle
A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. These rounds are loaded from a magazine by means of a manual or automatic mechanism, and the action that reloads the rifle also typically recocks the firing action...

s; the Winchester repeater is colloquially known as "The Gun that Won the West" for its predominant role in the hands of Western settlers.
In 1848, inventor Walter Hunt
Walter Hunt
Walter Hunt was an American mechanic. He lived and worked in New York state. Through the course of his work he became renowned for being a prolific inventor, notably of the lockstitch sewing machine , safety pin , a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, knife...

 of New York patented his "Volition Repeating Rifle" incorporating a tubular magazine, which was operated by two levers and complex linkages.
Encyclopedia
In common usage, Winchester rifle usually means any of the lever-action
Lever-action
Lever-action is a type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked. Most lever-action firearms are rifles, but lever-action shotguns and a few pistols have also been made...

 rifles manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company
Winchester Repeating Arms Company
The 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 of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

, though the company has also manufactured many rifles of other action types. Winchester rifles were among the earliest repeating rifle
Repeating rifle
A repeating rifle is a single barreled rifle containing multiple rounds of ammunition. These rounds are loaded from a magazine by means of a manual or automatic mechanism, and the action that reloads the rifle also typically recocks the firing action...

s; the Winchester repeater is colloquially known as "The Gun that Won the West" for its predominant role in the hands of Western settlers.

Predecessors

In 1848, inventor Walter Hunt
Walter Hunt
Walter Hunt was an American mechanic. He lived and worked in New York state. Through the course of his work he became renowned for being a prolific inventor, notably of the lockstitch sewing machine , safety pin , a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, knife...

 of New York patented his "Volition Repeating Rifle" incorporating a tubular magazine, which was operated by two levers and complex linkages. The Hunt rifle fired what he called the "Rocket Ball
Rocket Ball
This article is about a specific type of ammunition for firearms, For the sport known as rocket ball, see RocketBallThe Rocket Ball was one of the earliest forms of metallic cartridge for firearms, containing bullet and powder in a single, metal cased unit.-Construction:The Rocket Ball, patented in...

," an early form of caseless ammunition
Caseless ammunition
Caseless ammunition is a type of small arms ammunition that eliminates the cartridge case that typically holds the primer, propellant, and projectile together as a unit...

 in which the powder charge was contained in the bullet's hollow base. Hunt's design was fragile and unworkable; but in 1849 Lewis Jennings purchased the Hunt patents and developed a functioning, if still complex, version which was produced in small numbers by Robbins & Lawrence of Windsor, Vermont until 1852.
Horace Smith
Horace Smith (inventor)
Horace Smith was a gunsmith, inventor, and businessman. He and his business partner Daniel B. Wesson formed two companies named Smith & Wesson, the first of which was financed in part by Oliver Winchester and was eventually reorganized into the Winchester Repeating Arms Company-Early career:Born...

 and Daniel Wesson of Norwich, Connecticut acquired the Jennings patent from Robbins & Lawrence, as well as shop foreman Benjamin Tyler Henry
Benjamin Tyler Henry
Benjamin Tyler Henry was an American gunsmith and manufacturer. He was the inventor of the Henry rifle, the first reliable lever-action repeating rifle....

. Smith made several improvements to the Jennings design, and in 1855 Smith and Wesson together with several investors formed a corporation, the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company
Volcanic Repeating Arms
The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company was a company formed in 1855 by partners Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson to develop Walter Hunt's Rocket Ball ammunition and lever action mechanism. Volcanic made an improved version of the Rocket Ball ammunition, and a carbine and pistol version of the lever...

, to manufacture Smith's modification of the Hunt-Jennings, the Volcanic lever-action pistol and rifle. Its largest stockholder was Oliver Winchester.

For the Volcanic rifle, Smith added a primer charge to Hunt's "Rocket Ball" and thus created one of the first fixed metallic cartridges which incorporated bullet, primer and powder in one self-contained unit. While still with the company Smith went a step further and added a cylindrical copper case to hold the bullet and powder with the primer in the case rim, thus creating one of the most significant inventions in firearms history, the metallic rimfire cartridge. (Smith's cartridge, the .22 Short
.22 Short
.22 Short is a variety of .22 caliber rimfire ammunition. Developed in 1857 for the first Smith and Wesson revolver, the .22 rimfire was the first American metallic cartridge....

, would be introduced commercially in 1857 with the landmark Smith & Wesson Model 1
Smith & Wesson Model 1
The Smith & Wesson Model 1 was the first firearm manufactured by Smith & Wesson, with production commencing in 1857. It was also the first commercially available revolver to use rimfire cartridges instead of loose powder, musket ball, and percussion caps...

 revolver and is still manufactured today.)

The Volcanic rifle had only limited success, which was in part attributable to the design and poor performance of the Hunt-derived Volcanic cartridge: a hollow conical ball filled with black powder and sealed by a cork primer. Although the Volcanic's repeater design far outpaced the rival technology, the unsatisfactory power and reliability of the .25 and .32 caliber "Rocket Balls" were little match for the competitors' larger calibers. Wesson had left Volcanic soon after it was formed and Smith followed eight months later, to create the Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world...

 Revolver Company. Volcanic moved to New Haven in 1856, but by the end of that year became insolvent. Oliver Winchester purchased the bankrupt firm's assets from the remaining stockholders, and reorganized it as the New Haven Arms Company in April 1857.
Benjamin Henry continued to work with Smith's cartridge concept, and perfected the much larger, more powerful .44 Henry
.44 Henry
The .44 Henry, also known as the .44 Rimfire, the .44 Long Rimfire, or the 11x23R cartridge was a rim-fire round that uses a .875 inch casing. The round has a total length of 1.345 inches. It uses a 200 or 216 grain bullet with a .446 diameter. The cartridge was loaded with 26 to 28...

 rimfire. Henry also supervised the redesign of the rifle to use the new ammunition, retaining only the general form of the breech mechanism and the tubular magazine. This became the Henry rifle
Henry rifle
The Henry repeating rifle was a lever-action, breech-loading, tubular magazine rifle.-History:The original Henry rifle was a .44 caliber rimfire, lever-action, breech-loading rifle designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry in the late 1850s. The Henry rifle was an improved version of the earlier Volcanic...

 of 1860, which was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company, and used in considerable numbers by certain Union army units in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Confederates called the Henry "that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!"

Development

After the war, Oliver Winchester renamed New Haven Arms the Winchester Repeating Arms Company
Winchester Repeating Arms Company
The 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 of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

. The company modified and improved the basic design of the Henry rifle
Henry rifle
The Henry repeating rifle was a lever-action, breech-loading, tubular magazine rifle.-History:The original Henry rifle was a .44 caliber rimfire, lever-action, breech-loading rifle designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry in the late 1850s. The Henry rifle was an improved version of the earlier Volcanic...

, creating the first Winchester rifle: the Model 1866. It retained the .44 Henry
.44 Henry
The .44 Henry, also known as the .44 Rimfire, the .44 Long Rimfire, or the 11x23R cartridge was a rim-fire round that uses a .875 inch casing. The round has a total length of 1.345 inches. It uses a 200 or 216 grain bullet with a .446 diameter. The cartridge was loaded with 26 to 28...

 rimfire cartridge, was likewise built on a bronze-alloy frame, and had an improved magazine and a wooden forearm. In 1873 Winchester introduced the steel-framed Model 1873 chambering the more potent .44-40 centerfire cartridge. In 1876, in a bid to compete with the powerful single-shot rifles of the time, Winchester brought out the Model 1876 (Centennial Model).
While it chambered more powerful cartridges than the 1866 and 1873 models, the toggle link action was not strong enough for the popular high-powered rounds used in Sharps or Remington single-shot rifles.

From 1883, John Moses Browning worked in partnership with Winchester, designing a series of rifles and shotguns, most notably the lever-action Winchester Model 1886, Model 1892
Winchester Model 1892
The Winchester Model 1892 was a lever-action repeating rifle designed by John Browning as a smaller, lighter version of his large-frame Model 1886, and which replaced the Model 1873 as the company's lever-action for smaller dual-use rounds such as the .44-40 .-History:When asked by Winchester to...

, Model 1894
Winchester Model 1894
Winchester Model 1894 is a lever-action rifle which became one of the most famous and popular hunting rifles...

, and Model 1895
Winchester Model 1895
The Winchester Model 1895 is a lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century, chambered for a number of full-size military and hunting cartridges such as 7.62×54mmR, .303 British, .30-03, .30 Army, .30-06, .35 Winchester,...

 rifles, along with the lever-action Model 1887/1901 shotgun, the pump-action Model 1890
Winchester Model 1890
The Winchester Model 1890 is a slide-action repeating rifle produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th and early 20th century.-History:...

 rifle, and the pump-action Model 1893/1897
Winchester Model 1897
The Winchester Model 1897, also known as the Model 97, M97, or Trench Gun, was a pump-action shotgunwith an external hammer and tube magazine manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The Model 1897 was an evolution of the Winchester Model 1893 designed by John Browning. From 1897...

 shotgun.

Winchester Model 1866

The original Winchester rifle- the Winchester Model 1866- was famous for its rugged construction and lever-action
Lever-action
Lever-action is a type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area, to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked. Most lever-action firearms are rifles, but lever-action shotguns and a few pistols have also been made...

 mechanism that allowed the rifleman to fire a number of shots before having to reload: hence the term, "repeating rifle." Nelson King's new improved patent remedied flaws in the Henry rifle by incorporating a loading gate on the side of the frame and integrating a round sealed magazine which was covered by a fore stock. Originally chambered in the rimfire .44 Henry
.44 Henry
The .44 Henry, also known as the .44 Rimfire, the .44 Long Rimfire, or the 11x23R cartridge was a rim-fire round that uses a .875 inch casing. The round has a total length of 1.345 inches. It uses a 200 or 216 grain bullet with a .446 diameter. The cartridge was loaded with 26 to 28...

, the Model 1866 was nicknamed the "Yellow Boy" because of its "brass" receiver (actually a bronze alloy called gunmetal
Gunmetal
Gunmetal, also known as yellow brass in the United States, is a type of bronze – an alloy of copper, tin, and zinc. Originally used chiefly for making guns, gunmetal was eventually superseded by steel...

).

Winchester Model 1873

One of the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous Winchester rifles was the Winchester Model 1873. Originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, it was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20, all of which were also popular handgun cartridges of the day. Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt
.45 Colt
The .45 Colt cartridge is a handgun cartridge dating to 1872. It began as a black powder revolver round developed for the Colt Single Action Army revolver, but is offered as a magnum level handgun hunting round in modern usage. This cartridge was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1873 and served as the...

 cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions of the rifle are chambered for the round. The popularity of the Winchester in .44-40 led Colt to manufacture a version of the Single Action Army revolver chambered for the same round called the "Frontier Model"; Winchester produced three variations of the Model 1873: the rifle, carbine, and musket (although the musket variation accounted for less than 5-10 percent of those produced). The rifle variation used a 24" barrel while the carbine used a 20" barrel. The carbine was the most popular due to its portability as well as allowing its users to conveniently carry one type of ammunition for both their rifles and pistols. Winchester produced over 720,000 carbines, making them hugely popular and readily available on the frontier. This popularity has led the Model 1873 to be credited as "The Gun that Won the West", although there are some that claim the Springfield Model 1873 deserves the title due to both the U.S. Army's and civilians' heavy usage of Springfields. Regardless, the legend inspired the 1950 Western film Winchester '73 starring Jimmy Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann.

Winchester Model 1876

The Winchester Model 1876 or Centennial Model was a heavier-framed rifle than the Model 1866 or Model 1873, and was the first to be chambered for full-powered centerfire rifle cartridges, as opposed to rimfire cartridges or handgun-sized centerfire rounds. While similar in design to the 1873, the 1876 was actually based on the prototype 1868 lever-action rifle that was never commercially produced by Winchester.

The 1876 was introduced to celebrate the American Centennial, and earned a reputation as a durable and powerful hunting rifle. Originally chambered for the new .45-75 WCF cartridge (designed to replicate the .45-70
.45-70
The .45-70 rifle cartridge, also known as .45-70 Government, was developed at the U.S. Army's Springfield Armory for use in the Springfield Model 1873...

 Gov't ballistics in a shorter case), versions in .40-60, .45-60 and .50-95 Express followed; the '76 in the latter chambering is the only repeater known to have been used in any numbers by the professional buffalo hunters. The Canadian North-West Mounted Police used the '76 in .45-75 as a standard long arm for many years with 750 rifles purchased for the force in 1883; the Mountie-model '76 carbine was also issued to the Texas Rangers
Texas Ranger Division
The Texas Ranger Division, commonly called the Texas Rangers, is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction in Texas, and is based in Austin, Texas...

. Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 used an engraved, pistol-gripped half-magazine '76 during his early hunting expeditions in the West and praised it. A '76 was also found in the possession of Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 warrior Geronimo
Geronimo
Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident...

 after his surrender in 1886.

Winchester Model 1886

The Model 1886 continued the trend towards chambering heavier rounds, and had an all-new and considerably stronger locking-block action than the toggle-link Model 1876. It was designed by John Moses Browning, who had a long and profitable relationship with Winchester from the 1880s to the early 1900s. William Mason
William Mason (Colt)
William Mason was an engineer and inventor who worked for Remington Arms, Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, and Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the 19th century.-Remington:...

 made some improvemnts to Browning's original design. In many respects the Model 1886 was a true American express rifle
Express rifle
The term express was first applied to hunting rifles and ammunition beginning in the middle 19th century, to indicate a rifle or ammunition capable of higher than typical velocities. The early express cartridges used a heavy charge of black powder to propel a lightweight, often hollow point...

, as it could be chambered in the more powerful black powder cartridges of the day, such as the .45-70 Government (chambering a rifle for the popular .45-70 had been a goal of Winchester for some time). The 1886 proved capable of handling not merely the .45 Gov't but also the huge .45-90 and .50-110 Express
.50-110 Winchester
The .50-110 Winchester is an obsolete American black powder centerfire rifle cartridge....

 "buffalo" cartridges, and in 1903 was chambered for the smokeless high-velocity .33 WCF
.33 Winchester
The .33 Winchester Center Fire is an American centerfire rifle cartridge.Introduced by Winchester for the Model 86 lever rifle , it survived until the Model 86 was dropped in 1936...

. In 1935 Winchester introduced a slightly modified M1886 as the Model 71
Winchester Model 71
The Winchester Model 71 was a lever-action rifle introduced in 1936 and discontinued in 1958. A slightly modified version of the Browning designed Model 1886, it was only chambered for the .348 Winchester round; it was also the only firearm that ever used that cartridge...

, chambered for the very powerful .348 Winchester
.348 Winchester
The .348 Winchester is an American rifle cartridge. It was introduced in 1936, and developed for the Winchester Model 71 lever rifle. The .348 was one of the most powerful rimmed rounds ever used in a lever rifle.-Performance:...

 cartridge.

Winchester Model 1892

Winchester returned to its roots with the Model 1892, which, like the first lever-action guns, was primarily chambered for shorter, lower-pressure handgun rounds. The Model 1892, however, incorporates a much stronger Browning action (based on the larger M1886) than the earlier Henry-derived arms of the 1860s and 1870s. 1,004,675 Model 1892 rifles were made by Winchester, and although the company phased them out in the 1930s, they are still being made under the Puma label by the Brazilian arms maker, Rossi, and by Chiappa Firearms
Chiappa Firearms
Chiappa Firearms is an Italian firearms manufacturing company based in Brescia, Italy. It was founded in 1958 by Ezechiele Chiappa as Armi Sport. Total unit production is around 60,000 per year. Its U.S. headquarters are in Dayton, Ohio. Chiappa is to put RFID tracking chips into their firearms...

, an Italian factory. In its modern form, using updated materials and production techniques, the Model 1892's action is strong enough to chamber high pressure handgun rounds, such as .357 Magnum
.357 Magnum
The .357 S&W Magnum , or simply .357 Magnum, is a revolver cartridge created by Elmer Keith, Phillip B. Sharpe, Colonel D. B. Wesson of firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. It is based upon Smith & Wesson's earlier .38 Special cartridge. The .357 Magnum cartridge was introduced in...

, .44 Magnum
.44 Magnum
The .44 Remington Magnum, or simply .44 Magnum, is a large-bore cartridge originally designed for revolvers. After introduction, it was quickly adopted for carbines and rifles...

, and the high-powered .454 Casull
.454 Casull
The .454 Casull is a firearm cartridge, developed in 1957 by Dick Casull and Jack Fulmer. It was first announced in November 1959 by Guns & Ammo magazine. The basic design was a lengthened and structurally improved .45 Colt case...

 round. The Winchester '92 was commonly used in Hollywood Western movies and TV shows, as a substitute for the Winchester '66 and '73 models, because they have a similar appearance, and were cheaper and easier to acquire.

Winchester Model 1894

The John Browning
John Browning
John Moses Browning , born in Ogden, Utah, was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of military and civilian firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world...

 designed Winchester Model 1894 is perhaps the best known of the Winchester repeating rifles. The Model 94 was chambered for the newly introduced smokeless
Smokeless powder
Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of propellants used in firearms and artillery which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older gunpowder which they replaced...

 .30-30 Winchester
.30-30 Winchester
The .30-30 Winchester/.30 Winchester Center Fire/7.62×51mmR cartridge was first marketed in early 1895 for the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle. The .30-30 , as it is most commonly known, was the USA's first small-bore, sporting rifle cartridge designed for smokeless powder. The .30-30 is...

 cartridge, and later, a variety of calibers such as .25-35 WCF, .32-40 WCF, .32 Winchester Special, and the .38-55
.38-55 Winchester
The .38-55 Winchester cartridge is named for its approximately .38 caliber bullet and was introduced in 1876 by Ballard which belonged to Marlin Firearms from 1875 on for various single-shot target rifles and in their 1893 lever action. It was later used by Winchester for its Model 1894...

. Winchester was the first company to manufacture a civilian rifle chambered for the new smokeless propellants, and although delays prevented the .30-30 cartridge from appearing on the shelves until 1895, it remained the first commercially available smokeless powder round for the North American consumer market. Though initially it was too expensive for most shooters, the Model 1894 went on to become one of the best-selling hunting rifles of all time—it has the distinction of being the first sporting/hunting rifle to sell over one million units, ultimately selling over seven million until US production was discontinued in 2006. A 2010 commemorative rifle has been produced to celebrate 200 years since Oliver F. Winchester's birth. The Winchester 94/.30-30 combination is practically synonymous with "deer rifle."

Winchester Model 1895

The Winchester Model 1895 has the distinction of being the first Winchester lever-action rifle to load from a box magazine instead of a tube under the barrel. This allowed the Model 1895 to be chambered for military cartridges with spitzer
Spitzer
Spitzer may refer to:* Andre Spitzer, Israel's 1972 Summer Olympics fencing coach and victim of the Munich massacre* Bernard Spitzer, father of Eliot Spitzer* Eliot Spitzer, 54th Governor of the State of New York...

 (pointed) projectiles, and the rifle was used by the armed forces of a number of nations including the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, and Imperial Russia. The Russian production models could also be loaded using charger clips
Stripper clip
A stripper clip or charger is a speedloader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function...

, a feature not found on any other lever-action rifle. Calibers included .30-40 Krag
.30-40 Krag
The .30-40 Krag was a cartridge developed in the early 1890s to provide the U.S. armed forces with a smokeless powder cartridge suited for use with modern small-bore repeating rifles to be selected in the 1892 small arm trials...

 (.30 US or .30 Army), .303 British
.303 British
.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle and machine gun cartridge first developed in Britain as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powders...

, .30-03
.30-03
The .30-03 was a short-lived cartridge developed by the United States in 1903, to replace the .30-40 Krag in the new Springfield 1903 rifle. The .30-03 was also called the .30-45, since it used a 45 grain powder charge; the name was changed to .30-03 to indicate the year of adoption. It used a...

 Springfield, .30-06 Springfield, 7.62mm Russian, and the mighty .405 Winchester
.405 Winchester
The .405 Winchester is a centerfire rifle cartridge introduced in 1904 for the Winchester 1895 lever-action rifle. It was the most powerful lever-action cartridge available until the .444 Marlin was introduced in 1964, and was highly regarded by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt during his safari...

. Teddy Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 used a Model 1895 in .405 on African safari, and called it his "Big Medicine" for lions. In 1908 the 1895 Winchester became the first commercially produced sporting rifle chambered in .30-06 (then called ".30 Gov't 06").

Winchester Model 88

Introduced in 1955, sixty years after Winchester's last all-new lever-action design, the Model 88 was unlike any previous lever action; it was really a lever-bolt hybrid. A short-throw underlever operated a three-lug rotating bolt, and rounds were fed vertically from a detachable box magazine. These bolt-action features in a "lever-action" permitted the use of high-powered modern short-case cartridges with spitzer bullets: .243
.243 Winchester
The .243 Winchester is a popular sporting rifle cartridge. Initially designed as a varmint round, it is now more frequently used on medium to large game such as whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, wild hogs, and even black bear and caribou...

, .284
.284 Winchester
The .284 Winchester is an example of a commercially rather unsuccessful cartridge that has enjoyed a resurgence in interest due to interest from long-range competitive shooters...

, .308 (7.62mm NATO) and .358 Winchester
.358 Winchester
The .358 Winchester is a .35 caliber rifle cartridge based on a necked up .308 Winchester created by Winchester in 1955. The cartridge is also known in Europe as the 8.8x51mm. -History:...

. The 88 did not prove to be especially popular, although it has its share of devoted enthusiasts, and was discontinued in 1973. It is, however the third biggest selling lever action rifle in Winchester's storied history, following only the M1894 (1st) and M1892 (2nd). The later Sako Finnwolf and Browning BLR
Browning BLR
The Browning BLR is a lever action rifle manufactured by Browning Arms Company. It comes in many different variations and is chambered in calibers from .22-250 Remington to .325 WSM to .450 Marlin.- Differences :...

 have similar actions. A Winchester Model 88 in .308 Caliber was used to harvest the current World Record Typical Whitetail Deer.

Winchester Model 9422

Winchester's Model 9422 was introduced in 1972 and was rapidly recognized for high quality. It was designed to capture the image of the traditional lever-actions with exposed hammer, straight grip, tube magazine and barrel bands. Unlike older Winchester lever actions it came grooved for scope mounting. It was offered in .22 Long Rifle and .22 WMR, and was priced at the high-quality end of the .22 sporting rifle market.

The 9422 action design was original and extremely reliable. The feed system handled the cartridge from the magazine to the breech face by its rim, and the slide cammed the rear of the breechblock up into the locking recess. A concealed polymer buffer above the breech gave a firm-feeling lockup and a very positive unlocking motion.

The 9422 had worldwide appeal to customers raised on 'westerns' and to those looking for a fun and historic way to introduce their children to shooting. Over the course of production a higher finished model called the 9422 XTR, a .17 rimfire model, and several commemorative models were offered. Production ended in 2005.

Winchester Model 1885 Single Shot Rifle

In 1885, Winchester
Winchester Repeating Arms Company
The 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 of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

 entered the single-shot
Single-shot
Single-shot firearms are firearms that hold only a single round of ammunition, and must be reloaded after each shot. The history of firearms began with single-shot designs, and many centuries passed before multi-shot designs became commonplace...

 market with the Model 1885 rifle, which John Browning
John Browning
John Moses Browning , born in Ogden, Utah, was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of military and civilian firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world...

 had designed in 1878 (the beginning of the fruitful 20-year Winchester-Browning collaboration). The Winchester Single Shot, known to most shooters as either the "Low-wall" or "High-wall" depending on model, but officially marketed by Winchester as the Single Shot Rifle, was produced to satisfy the demands of the growing sport of "Match Shooting", excelling at it, with Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Ned H. Roberts
Roberts
- Places :United States* Roberts, Idaho* Roberts, Illinois* Roberts, Wisconsin* Roberts County, Texas* Mount Roberts , a summit in the Ossipee Mountains- Other uses :* Roberts class monitor, a class of British warship...

 (inventor of the .257 Roberts
.257 Roberts
The .257 Roberts a medium powered .25 caliber cartridge known affectionately as the Bob. It has been described as the best compromise between the low recoil and flat trajectory of smaller calibers such as the .22 and 6mm, and the strong energy but not the strong recoil of larger popular hunting...

 cartridge) describing the Model 1885 Single Shot as "...the most reliable, strongest, and altogether best single shot rifle ever produced."
Winchester produced nearly 140,000 Single Shot rifles from 1885 to 1920, and it was found that the falling-block Model 1885 had been built with one of the strongest actions known at that time. Winchester also produced a large number of Single Shots in .22 Short for the US Army as a marksmanship training rifle, the "Winder musket
Winder musket
The Winder musket was a .22-caliber training rifle used by the US Army in the early 20th century.-History:The Winder musket was the brainchild of Colonel C. B. Winder, who advocated marksmanship training with a rifle of similar size and weight to a service rifle but chambered in .22 rimfire, which...

."

Winchester Bolt Action Rifles

Winchester lever action rifles remained the most popular in the US through WWI and the interwar period. However, advances in the development of bolt action rifles made them increasingly preferred over lever actions. These new rifles, such as the Mauser Gewehr 98
Gewehr 98
The Gewehr 98 is a German bolt action Mauser rifle firing the 8x57mm cartridge from a 5 round internal clip-loaded magazine that was the German service rifle from 1898 to 1935, when it was replaced by the Karabiner 98k. It was hence the main rifle of the German infantry during World War I...

 and M1903 Springfield, could chamber pointed "Spitzer
Spitzer (bullet)
A spitzer, also commonly referred to as a spire point bullet, is an aerodynamic bullet design used in most intermediate and high-powered rifle cartridges...

" bullets, which lever action rifles with tube magazines could not (a pointed bullet can accidentally fire the round in front of it in a tube magazine). Bolt actions as developed by Mauser
Mauser
Mauser was a German arms manufacturer of a line of bolt-action rifles and pistols from the 1870s to 1995. Mauser designs were built for the German armed forces...

 and other military manufacturers had front locking lugs which stabilized the cartridge head very well, and allowed for unprecedented accuracy. Bolt actions were simpler and cheaper to manufacture than high-power leverguns like Winchester's 1886 and 1895
Winchester Model 1895
The Winchester Model 1895 is a lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century, chambered for a number of full-size military and hunting cartridges such as 7.62×54mmR, .303 British, .30-03, .30 Army, .30-06, .35 Winchester,...

 models.

In response to the increasing competition from these bolt-action rifles, Winchester introduced the Winchester Model 54
Winchester Model 54
The Winchester Model 54 is a bolt action rifle manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The 54 was the first successful production run centerfire bolt action for Winchester....

 in 1925. This was not Winchester's first bolt rifle (that distinction belonged to the Winchester-Hotchkiss
Winchester-Hotchkiss
The Winchester Hotchkiss was a bolt-action repeating rifle patented by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss in 1876 and produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Springfield Arsenal from 1878...

 rifle of 1878), but it was by far their most successful. It was based on the Mauser Gewehr 98 design, but with modifications and popular North American chamberings such as .30-06 which made it more appealing to American hunters than were the European imports or sporterised military rifles. The famed Model 70
Winchester Model 70
The Winchester Model 70 is a bolt action sporting rifle. It has an iconic place in American sporting culture and has been held in high regard by shooters since it was introduced in 1936, earning the moniker "The Rifleman's Rifle". The action has some design similarities to Mauser designs and it is...

 was developed from the Model 54, which it replaced in 1936. The Model 70, often dubbed the "rifleman's rifle," was produced continuously at New Haven (except during WWII) until 2006, and production has resumed at FN Herstal's plant in Columbia, South Carolina.

From 1900, Winchester manufactured cheap single shot .22 bolt action rifles, including the models 1900, 1902, 1904 and 99. On the other hand, in 1920 Winchester introduced the high-quality Model 52
Winchester Model 52
The Winchester Model 52 was a bolt-action .22-caliber target rifle introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1920. For many years it was the premier smallbore match rifle in the United States, if not the world...

 .22 bolt action target rifle, which from its inception and for years thereafter was America's reference standard smallbore match rifle. A very desirable sporter model of this action was also made from 1934-59.

Winchester Models 1903 and 63

The Winchester Model 1903 was the first commercially available self-loading .22 rimfire caliber
Caliber
In guns including firearms, caliber or calibre is the approximate internal diameter of the barrel in relation to the diameter of the projectile used in it....

 in the US. Designed by T.C. Johnson
T.C. Johnson
Thomas Crosley Johnson was an American firearms designer. The son of a President of the Yale Safe and Iron Company, Johnson was trained as an industrial engineer and worked for several companies before coming to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company...

, the Model 1903 was chambered for the unique .22 Winchester Automatic
.22 Winchester Automatic
The .22 Winchester Automatic is a .22 in American rimfire rifle cartridge....

 cartridge. In 1919, the Model 1903 moniker was shortened to Model 03, and following a partial redesign in the 1930s, was renamed the Model 63. The Model 63, introduced in 1933, was chambered for the popular and widely available .22 Long Rifle cartridge. It was initially made with a 20" barrel, then with a 23" barrel from 1936 until the end of production in 1958. About 175,000 Model 63 rifles were manufactured, with the last 10,000 having grooved receiver tops for scope mounting. Both the 1903/03 and the 63 have tubular magazines in the butt stock of the rifle and are loaded through a slot in the right side of the butt stock.

Winchester Models 1905, 1907, and 1910

The early center fire Winchester self-loading series of rifles began with the Model 1905, chambered for the .32SL
.32 Winchester Self-Loading
The .32 Winchester Self-Loading is an American rifle cartridge.Winchester introduced the .32SL and .35SL cartridges in the Winchester '05 self-loading rifle, a centerfire version of the Winchester '03...

 and .35SL
.35 Winchester Self-Loading
The .35 Winchester Self-Loading is an American rifle cartridge.Winchester introduced the .32SL and .35SL in the Winchester '05 self-loading rifle as a centerfire cartridge version of the Winchester '03...

 cartridges. Following a demand for a higher-powered self-loading rifle, the Models 1907 and 1910 were introduced along with their respective cartridges, the .351SL
.351 Winchester Self-Loading
The .351 Winchester Self-Loading is an American rifle cartridge.Winchester introduced the .351SL in the Winchester Model 1907 self-loading rifle as a replacement for the Winchester Model 1905 and the .35SL...

 and .401SL
.401 Winchester Self-Loading
The .401 Winchester Self-Loading is an American rifle cartridge.Winchester introduced the .401SL in the Winchester '10 self-loading rifle as a supplement to the Winchester '07 and the .351SL in their offering of hi-power, self-loading rifles...

.

Winchester Model 1887/1901

The Winchester Model 1887 was the first successful repeating shotgun design, developed by John Browning and produced by Winchester from 1887-1920. Browning felt that a pump-action would be much more appropriate for a repeating shotgun, but as Winchester was primarily a lever-action firearms company they felt that their new shotgun must also be a lever-action for reasons of brand recognition. The M1887 was chambered for 12ga black powder shotshells, and after the switch to smokeless powder at the end of the 19th Century, the M1901 was introduced, being chambered for 10ga smokeless shells. Although a technically sound gun design, the market for lever-action shotguns waned considerably after the introduction of the Winchester 1897 and other contemporary pump-action shotguns; modern reproductions of the gun have been manufactured by Norinco
Norinco
The China North Industries Corporation , official English name Norinco, manufactures vehicles , machinery, optical-electronic products, oil field equipment, chemicals, light industrial products, explosives and blast materials, civil and military firearms and ammunition, etc...

 in China, ADI Ltd. in Australia and Chiappa Firearms
Chiappa Firearms
Chiappa Firearms is an Italian firearms manufacturing company based in Brescia, Italy. It was founded in 1958 by Ezechiele Chiappa as Armi Sport. Total unit production is around 60,000 per year. Its U.S. headquarters are in Dayton, Ohio. Chiappa is to put RFID tracking chips into their firearms...

 in Italy.

Winchester Model 1893/1897

Another Browning design, the Winchester Model 1893 (and later Model 1897) was one of the first successful pump-action shotgun designs, being introduced in 1893 and remaining in production until the mid 1950s. Unusual for a repeating shotgun, the Model 1897 could be taken apart for easier carriage/storage, and was available in a variety of barrel lengths from 20in to 36in. During World War I, it was issued as a trench gun, with short barrel, heat shield and M1917 bayonet.

Winchester Model 1911

Winchester's long association with John Browning came to an end acrimoniously when the company refused to accept Browning's terms for the right to manufacture his revolutionary 1898 design for a self-loading shotgun; the landmark Browning Auto-5
Browning Auto-5
The Browning Automatic 5, most often Auto-5 or simply A-5, is a recoil-operated semi-automatic shotgun designed by John Browning. It was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun designed and remained in production until 1998...

 was produced instead by Fabrique Nationale in Europe and later by Remington Arms
Remington Arms
Remington Arms Company, Inc. was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. It is the oldest company in the United States which still makes its original product, and is the oldest continuously operating manufacturer in North America. It is the only U.S....

 in the US. However, Browning's semi-automatic patents had been so tightly drafted by Winchester's own lawyers that it took years for T. C. Johnson to develop a self-loading shotgun which didn't infringe them; this was the Model 1911 SL. The 1911 unfortunately was a flawed and potentially dangerous design, and was not a commercial success; it was dropped in 1925.

Winchester Model 1912

Designed by T.C. Johnson
T.C. Johnson
Thomas Crosley Johnson was an American firearms designer. The son of a President of the Yale Safe and Iron Company, Johnson was trained as an industrial engineer and worked for several companies before coming to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company...

 as a hammerless modification of the Model 1897, the Model 1912 (later re dubbed the Model 12) was one of the most successful pump shotguns ever made, with nearly 2 million produced before its cancellation in 1963. Like the Model 1897 it came in take-down form, and likewise was issued in trench gun and combat versions during both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. The Model 12 was popular with the military, law enforcement, hunters, and sporting clay competitors, the latter regarding it as having superior balance and "point" among pump-actions.

1964 Changes

In the mid-to late 1950s, Winchester saw a management change which led to an extensive and extremely controversial redesign of their firearms in 1964. This is regarded by many as the year the "real" Winchester ceased to be, and consequently "pre-'64" rifles command higher prices than those made afterwards. Winchester itself went on to have a troubled future as competition from both the US and abroad began to decrease its sales. Although in the 1970s the company attempted to recover its reputation by bringing out the well-received SuperX-1 semiautomatic shotgun, produced along pre-1964 lines, the cost of manufacture again proved unsustainable. In 1980, the company was split into parts and sold off. The name "Winchester" remained with the ammunition making side of the company, and this branch continues to be profitable. The arms making side and New Haven facilities went to U.S. Repeating Arms, which struggled to keep the company going under a variety of owners and management teams. It finally announced plans to close the New Haven facility, the producers of the Model 1894, in 2006.

On August 15, 2006, Olin Corporation, owner of the Winchester trademarks, announced that it had entered into a new license agreement with Browning to make Winchester brand rifles and shotguns, though not at the closed Winchester plant in New Haven. Browning, based in Morgan, Utah, and the former licensee, U.S. Repeating Arms Company, are both subsidiaries of FN Herstal. In 2008 FN Herstal announced plans to produce Model 70 rifles at its plant in Columbia, SC.

See also

  • Winchester Repeating Arms Company
    Winchester Repeating Arms Company
    The 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 of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

  • List of Winchester Models
  • John Browning
    John Browning
    John Moses Browning , born in Ogden, Utah, was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of military and civilian firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world...

  • Benjamin Tyler Henry
    Benjamin Tyler Henry
    Benjamin Tyler Henry was an American gunsmith and manufacturer. He was the inventor of the Henry rifle, the first reliable lever-action repeating rifle....

  • Henry rifle
    Henry rifle
    The Henry repeating rifle was a lever-action, breech-loading, tubular magazine rifle.-History:The original Henry rifle was a .44 caliber rimfire, lever-action, breech-loading rifle designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry in the late 1850s. The Henry rifle was an improved version of the earlier Volcanic...

  • List of rifle cartridges
  • Mare's Leg
    Mare's Leg
    The Mare’s Leg was the name given to a customized shortened rifle by Steve McQueen’s character on the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive...

  • Single-shot
    Single-shot
    Single-shot firearms are firearms that hold only a single round of ammunition, and must be reloaded after each shot. The history of firearms began with single-shot designs, and many centuries passed before multi-shot designs became commonplace...

  • Oliver Winchester
  • Winchester Model 70
    Winchester Model 70
    The Winchester Model 70 is a bolt action sporting rifle. It has an iconic place in American sporting culture and has been held in high regard by shooters since it was introduced in 1936, earning the moniker "The Rifleman's Rifle". The action has some design similarities to Mauser designs and it is...

  • Antique guns
    Antique guns
    An antique firearm is, loosely speaking, a firearm designed and manufactured prior to the beginning of the 20th century. The Boer War is often used as a cut-off event, although the exact definition of what constitutes an "antique firearm" varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction...


Sources

  1. Out With A Bang: The Loss of the Classic Winchester Is Loaded With Symbolism, Washington Post, January 21, 2006
  2. Winchester Rifles to Be Discontinued, Washington Post, January 18, 2006
  3. Know the enemy: Have gun will vote.com, May 19, 2003
  4. Labor history, November 17, 2006
  5. End of an era as Winchester rifle plant prepares to close, Pittsburgh Tibune-Review, January 18, 2006
  6. End of an era as Winchester rifle plant prepares to close, NC Times.com January 17, 2006
  7. Kelver, Gerald O. Major Ned H. Roberts and the Schuetzen Rifle. 1998. Pioneer Press
  8. Campbell, John. The Winchester Single Shot. 1998. ISBN 0-917218-68-X
  9. Madis, George, The Winchester Book, Houston: Art and Reference House 1971
  10. McLerran, Wayne. Browning Model 1885 Black Powder Cartridge Rifle; A Reference Manual For The Shooter & Gunsmith. TexasMac Publishing (2008). ISBN 978-0-615-26561-2.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK