WinchesterGun Library ArticleWinchester

Updated:

Winchester and his Guns – A Big Part of American Gun History

Let’s take a look at some of the most famous guns in the world made by the legend that was Oliver Winchester. His company was in the business for over 140 years and just put down their arms in 2007 when they closed their doors for business for good. Throughout the times, Winchester firearms have been used by a lot of people and for a lot of purposes. Shooters, soldiers and even policemen have trusted this company, being especially attracted by the innovative designs and high standards of quality.

The 21 model was produced between the years of 1931 and 1970. And though it was not semi-automatic or based on a pump-action mechanism, it remained in history as one of the most popular firearms ever manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Company. It was in fact a custom fit shotgun, with double barrels and a wide variety of other features. The loading was done manually and it was chambered for 12, 20, 28 and also 40 calibers. At some point in time, the total number of 21 model rifles had reached 30000 and the numbers were going up. Depending on the customer needs and preferences, they ranged from plain wood to more special models that were decorated with either gold or silver prints.

And as Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a company completely dedicated to the firearm production, the 70 model didn’t come as an actual surprise. From all the guns manufactured by this company, this one has the longest and richest history. It has managed to exist up to the year of 2006 ever since its first appearance on the American market in 1936. Nicknamed the ‘Rifleman’s Rifle’, the 70 model had undergone various changes and improvements throughout time, always adapting to demands of its customers. The original model could chamber a wide variety of cartridges, including the .22-.250 Remington, the 225 Winchester, the 7 mm Mauser and of course the .300 Winchester Magnums.

A lot of people consider that the golden era of this model lasted until 1963. The truth is that before 1964, the features of the 70 model were too good to compete with other models on the market and the prices were more than competitive. The controlled round feed system and the cut checkering made the M 70 even more appealing. As for other features that made the 70 Winchester so attractive, there are included: extraction and special ejection system used for both feeding and extraction of cartridges, the bolt with the non-rotating claw type extractor and also the innovative breeching system. There was something special about this model manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Shooters particularly preferred it because it had a high degree of control and could hunt for more dangerous game.

From 1964, the Model 70 was redesigned and released on the market, being considered as even more reliable and accurate. This time, the checkering system was changed and so did the shape of the stock. And as the whole purpose of designing a weapon was to make it as simple as possible to be handled, they simplified the action mechanism and replaced the non-rotating claw type extractor with a smaller one. Special models were prepared and distributed, retaining some of the original features of the 70 model but having also features walnut stocks with impressed checkering.

In 1992, manufacturers of the Winchester 70 model reintroduced the original model and produced a new exclusive line of rifles. The blend between the original model and new technological innovations was incredible, especially since the equipment used finally got the model 70 the attention it deserved. The controlled round push feed action and also the black resin stocks made the firearm even more popular, especially as it was highly effective and at the same time affordable.

Oliver Winchester was one of the most intelligent gun manufacturers in the world. He always looked to improve existing designs and this thing hasn’t changed even up to this day. And because of that, the model 70 Winchester has seen the use of Carlson fiberglass stocks, carbon fiber barrels and even laminated walnut stocks. Special models soon appeared on the market, made from aluminum to be of light weight, combining latest designs with advanced manufacturing techniques. Today’s manufacturers are looking to provide the same chambering options as did the original model, including the new Magnum cartridges. Their prices are competitive and the firearms quite easy to operate.

As for the military use, the model 70 has been used for a long time by military forces and other law enforcement agencies. They have all relied on the sniper rifle to do its job, some models being especially adapted with a heavier barrel and also with customized tactical rifle stocks. These firearms have been utilized by the US Marine Corps as well, until they were replaced with the new Remington’s 700 models, which seem to meet better their standards. Still, the Winchester 70 has remained as one of the most used rifles during the Vietnam War, having gained an incredible reputation and remaining deeply embedded in the history of American firearms.

When Oliver Winchester and the famous gun inventor John Browning decide to collaborate and join their skills, no one knew what was going to happen. Winchester needed John Browning’s ingenuity in gun designing and Browning wanted a place to manufacture his guns. Together, they produced some of the best lever-action shotguns such as the 1887 and 1901 Model. They brought success for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and made the Winchester rifle truly famous. Winchester had one great quality and that was to think ahead of his times. He recognized the importance of brands and tried to establish Winchester as a powerful one. He continued to work closely with Browning and in just a couple of years, he introduced a new shotgun based on the pump-action mechanism and called it the 1893 model.

The name of Winchester has also been connected with the hunting rifles manufacturing and industry. As an example, the 1894 model, designed by the same John Browning, quickly became one of the most popular rifles made especially for hunting. Produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, it ensured success once more and allowed for the introduction of another innovation: the first smokeless powder cartridges. Competing with other firearms manufacturers in the business, Winchester became more than a brand. For those who considered buying a rifle or a shotgun, it was their first choice. The market was dominated by this company for a long period of time and new models kept on appearing, including the 1886, 1894 and 1895 models. Even one of America’s Presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, owned a Winchester pistol especially made for his hunting passions.

It was an early 1876 model and he was quite proud of it, considering it both powerful and durable. With the 1912 model, Winchester started to implement the hammerless slide mechanism providing an extremely advanced pump-action shotgun. The manufacturers and gun designers working for the company were always looking to come up with revolutionary designs; they managed to do that and even more. They brought the Winchester name to the highest levels of success and ensured the company’s financial prosperity.

There can be said many things about the American firearm history and the famous names that contributed to its making. Men like Browning, Colt or Winchester have written history, transforming their dreams into reality and led to the true development of the gun making industry. Each and every one of them had something special; they were men of honor, dedicated to achieving their goals and succeeding. The Winchester repeating rifle is popular even today, being known worldwide. And so are many other models produced and designed by this company. Some of the older models are more than exquisite, being extremely important for passionate gun collectors. And if there is anything to say about Winchester and his company, it is one thing: they are an important part of the gun making history!