Antique guns: Winchester rifles from the early 20th century

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Antique Winchester rifles - Vintage ad

Winchester rifles for all kinds of hunting (1905)

Winchester rifles are not the choice of any one special class, but of all intelligent sportsmen who go to the woods, the plains, or the mountains in quest of game.

They are designed to handle all calibers and types of cartridges, to meet the requirements of all kinds of shooting, and can always be counted on to shoot where they are pointed where the trigger is pulled. Winchester rifles and Winchester cartridges are made for one another.

1905 - Antique Winchester rifles for all kinds of hunting


.351 caliber high-power self-loading repeating rifle: Winchester

Antique Winchester rifles - Vintage ad


Your boy should be taught to shoot (1920)

Has your boy’s voice begun to change? Has he commenced wearing suspenders? Is this first pair of long trousers just around the corner, so to speak? Then his yearning for a gun demands your attention.

He will get hold of one sooner or later — it is his natural instinct. He needs your help now. Barn his lifelong gratitude and add to your own pleasure and self-esteem by giving him the proper start.

Naturally, you want him to become a good shot to be trusted to handle a gun properly under all circumstances. Just as a boy should learn to swim. He must be taught.

Any older person may act as instructor who will properly supervise his shooting and impress upon him the right principles. These can easily be obtained in printed form, with illustrations, at any hardware or sporting goods store that sells Winchester Guns and Ammunition.

Or your boy may receive his instructions through membership in the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps, for which there is no charge. And he can shoot for the W.J.R.C. medals and diplomas Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert Rifleman regardless of where he practices or receives instructions.

Teach him yourself if possible. A boy’s best shooting instructor is his father. And the companionship developed between them when they share the sport is rarely equaled in any other pastime.

If you would like to teach a few other boys to shoot along with him — a good plan, stimulating effort — your dealer will obtain a complimentary, W.J.R.C. Instructor’s Manual for you. It will give you the complete W.J.R.C. program, including full details concerning how to conduct the tests for the medals already mentioned, one of which is awarded any boy who makes the required score.

Go to your local hardware or sporting-goods store today and ask to be shown the Winchester 22 caliber Rifles for boys. The Model 06 repeater, one of which appears in the above illustration, is the most popular how’s rifle. But if you prefer one of the single-shot models, you can depend upon its being equally accurate. The steel in all Winchester barrels is of uniform quality and all are bored alike.

Buy the boy a .22 caliber Winchester Rifle or an official W.J.R.C. Range Rit, containing everything needed, including ammunition, Get out on the range along with him, improve your acquaintance, and brash up your own shooting.

(Pictured: Winchester .22 Caliber Repeating Rifle, Model 06)

Vintage Winchesters from 1920 - Your boy should be taught to shoot

.MORE: Antique guns: Winchester rifles from the early 20th century


New products and a new policy (1920)

by J.E. Otterson (President Winchester repeating arms company)

When we decided to branch out into the manufacture of other lines of products, we were not satisfied that) we ought to put the name Winchester on cutlery, tools, skates, fishing tackle, flashlights.

Here was a name which had come unblemished through fifty-three years of the cleanest kind of business dealings.

Some held that it would lower the prestige of this name that we would destroy its significance — if we applied it to more than one line of products. This was given no small consideration.

We wondered if it would not perhaps be better to put these new products out under a new name, such as “Eagle,” or “Victory,” or something similar.

We have finally decided to call them Winchester. And to make this name mean everything it now means on Guns and Ammunition.

We will not put this name on any product until we are sure that the quality is such as to entitle it to be stamped with the name. And so when an article is handed you with Winchester upon it, it will carry our assurance that it is up to Winchester standards,

When we decided to establish a series of local retail agencies, it was a very great question whether we should let dealers throughout the country put the name of Winchester on their stores, we determined not to give this privilege indiscriminately.

We have picked out a responsible dealer in each town and offered it to him. And we do not want him to fake it unless he appreciates it, and takes the responsibility that foes with it.

If he feels that he can make the Winchester Store stand in his community for fair, honorable. clean-cut business dealings, then we want him to come into this proposition.

On us rests the heavier responsibility of maintaining the prestige, significance, and high standing of the Winchester name in the actual manufacture of these new products.

It is with greatest confidence in Winchester artisanship, in Winchester methods and Winchester manufacturing purpose, that we have taken this momentous step.

In committing the Winchester organization to the making of these new products to bear the Winchester name, and in extending the use of that name to retail stores, I personally have assumed a great responsibility to the American people.

I feel this obligation keenly.

My confidence in receiving your approval is secure — knowing all that Winchester has done and can do.

New products and a new policy (1920)


1911 Winchester self-loading antique rifle

1911 Winchester self-loading antique rifle


Winchester rifles, shotguns & ammo from the 1900s

Winchester rifles, shotguns and ammunition embody everything that is modern and desirable in a gun and ammunition line. If you buy other makes you may get satisfaction, but if you buy the old reliable Winchester make you are sure to get satisfaction.

Winchester guns are made in all desirable calibers, bores, weights and styles, and are plain, partially or elaborately ornamented, suiting every purpose, every pocketbook and every taste. Winchester ammunition is made for all kinds of shooting and all kinds of guns.

Antique 1900s Winchester rifles, shotguns and ammunition

Winchester rifles, shotguns and ammo from the 1900s


Antique Winchester Repeating rifles from 1902

Antique Winchester Repeating rifles from 1902


Repeating rifles for hunting

Shoot a Winchester once and you will shoot a Winchester always: That’s because Winchester rifles after a test of over thirty years represent today in accuracy, reliability and quality, the highest development in gunmaking.

Whatever your preferences may be, some one of the nine different Winchester models will surely suit you; for they are made in all calibers, styles and weights. Use Winchester guns for all kinds of shooting and Winchester cartridges for all kinds of guns.

Antique Winchester Repeating rifles for hunting from 1905


Antique Winchester .30 caliber big-game rifles

The rifles that experienced hunters are so enthusiastic about for big-game shooting are the Winchester Model 1895, the only sporting rifle made that shoots the powerful .30 Army cartridge; and the Model 1894 “.30 Winchester” caliber.

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These rifles shoot smokeless powder cartridges of the most modern, high-power type, and when used with soft-nosed bullets, have as much shocking, smashing and killing power as the .45 caliber.

Winchester ammunition is made for all kinds of rifles, shotguns, revolvers and pistols.

Antique Winchester 30 caliber big-game rifles

MORE: Vintage Iver Johnson safety revolvers (1905-1920)


Take-down repeating shotguns (1905)

The notion that one must pay from fifty dollars upwards in order to get a good shotgun has been pretty effectively dispelled since the advent of the Winchester Repeating Shotgun.

These guns are sold within reach of almost everybody’s purse. They are safe, strong, reliable and handy. When it comes to shooting qualities no gun made beats them. They are made in 12 and 16 gauge. Step into a gun store and examine one.

Winchester Take-down repeating shotguns 1905


The Winchester — One hundred years on target

New York, N.Y, (ED) — Product testimonials from Buffalo Bill Cody, President Theodore Roosevelt and Chief Sitting Bull make more than sales, they make history.

And so it was for the new Winchester Repeating Arms Company (W.RA.C.) a century ago when opening of the last frontiers stretched west of the Mississippi.

It was in 1868, a year after the Civil War ended, that Oliver Fisher Winchester founded the company in New Haven, Connecticut. Success was based upon introduction and mass production of the first practical repeating rifle.

Antique Winchester rifles (1)

Acceptance of Winchester’s early models proved that a long-standing demand was finally being supplied. From Mexico, Benito Juarez ordered 1,000 of the first Model 68 rifles to augment the firepower his forces needed to free Mexico from the Napoleonic occupiers.

A more powerful version of Model 66, the Winchester Model 73 became Colt revolver for Western pioneers — it was celebrated as “the gun that won the west.”

So impressed with it was Colonel Buffalo Bill Cody that he wrote the company in 1871, stating “I have been using and have thoroughly tested your latest improved rifle. I pronounce your improved Winchester the boss. Believe me, that you have the most complete rifle now made.”

Several years later, President Teddy Roosevelt wrote to W.R.A.C. about the new Model 76, he said: ‘The Winchester is the best gun for any game to be found in the United States.”

Roosevelt with a Winchester gun

There are no extant writings to document silting Bull’s appreciation of the Winchester repeater, but it can be believed that be surrendered with reluctance his own Model 66 to the government in 1881 — which rifle is now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

The repeating rifle, in fact, was little more than an arms concept when Oliver Winchester set up shop one hundred years ago. A forerunner, the Volitional Repeater invented by a New Yorker named Walter Hunt in 1849, was ruled out of all but historical value by overweight and an over-complex repeating mechanism.

The Henry rifle, manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company owned by Winchester before be formed W.R.A.C., did serve in the Civil War but mainly as the personal arms of state militiamen.

Antique Winchester rifles (2)

Military examiners discredited it as too delicate for the field and incapable of withstanding the explosive force of military ammunition.

Similar to the Henry rifle of 1862 was the first firearm, to bear Winchester’s name, the Model 68 (1866), though it was lighter, stronger and could fire two rounds per second to the Henry’s one shot every three seconds.

The Winchester just naturally became the “extra arm” of settler and cowboy, solider and hunter. Between 1866 and 1872 the net worth of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company rose from $450,000 to $1.1 million. As the firearm industry grew, so did the demand for better ammunition.

Winchester 73 movie from 1950
Winchester ’73 movie from 1950

Winchester added chemical ballistics laboratories and special ammunition storage facilities to the plant. In 1863, the company erected a brass rolling; mill for the manufacture of metallic cartridges.

W.R.A.C. ordinance research pioneered the most important sporting ammunition development of the era — smokeless powder cartridges much more powerful than customary black powder ammunition.

That same year, the company brought out its famous Model 1694. Still in the line, with more than three million produced, the Model 94 ‘Thirththirty” is credited with accounting for more deer than any other rifle in history.

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An equally famous Winchester is the Model 12 shotgun, introduced in 1912. More of the slide-action Model 12 shotguns have been produced than the shotguns of any manufacturer in the world — almost two million.

It was therefore, a strong sporting arms company that went to war for the U.S. and her allies in 1915. Winchester firearms served then as they have done in all succeeding conflicts up to the present one in Vietnam.

In 1931, the Company, drained by idle wartime production facilities and hard hit by the Great Depression, was purchased by Western Cartridge Company. With the merger Winchester-Western became the largest owner of patents on firearms end ammunition developments in the history.

This year Winchester-Western, a division of Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation since 1964 celebrates a century of arms leadership — more Winchester lever action rifles have been made than any other single type of big game rifle. Highlighting the 100-year birthday is the introduction, in rifle and carbine styles, of the Winchester Centennial ’66, an up-to-date operating replica of the finest lever action Winchester Model 1866.

Oliver Winchester
Oliver Winchester

In creating the new anniversary firearm, historical genuineness has been given the same careful attention as engineering precision. The receiver of the Centennial ’66 was specially gold plated to match in appearance the metallic finish of its prototype, because the shiny brass of Sitting Bull’s Model 66 inspired the Sioux chief to dub his Winchester “Yellow Boy,” an epithet which earned respect on both sides of the frontier a century ago.

The Winchester rider — This fast-riding cowboy symbolizing a century of leadership, is the trademark of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. His trusty rifle, the Winchester Model 73, is known as “the gun that won the west.”

The founder and his rifle — Pictured above is Oliver Winchester founder of the Winchester Repeating Firearms Company in New Hampshire, Connecticut, 1855. Below is Winchester’s Centennial ’66 rifle which has the appearance of its history-making ancestor the original Model 1866 repeating rifle combined with a modern lever action.

A western pioneer — Here Colonel Buffalo Bill Cody stands proudly next to his two never-to-be-without companions–horse and beloved Winchester Model 73 rifle.

President and hunter — Theodore Roosevelt, away from his Presidential duties and bedecked in hunter’s clothes, readies his Winchester Model 76 rifle and peers into the distance awaiting his prey.

MORE: The bizarre Winchester Mystery House: From the haunted, mixed-up mind of Mrs William W Winchester

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