A little bit of history

Even though I am flat out at work, :rofl::rofl:, I found sometime to do a bit of reading;

Samuel Colt

Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814 - January 10, 1862) was an American inventor and industrialist, who is today best remembered as the creator of one of the most popular gun designs in the history of the world - six-barreled Colt pistol called “revolver”. As a founder of" Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company" (today known as “Colt’s Manufacturing Company”) he greatly popularized the use of interchangeable parts, assembly lines and simple gun designs which made him one of the most influential and wealthiest industrialists of his time. According to many historians, his successes and contributions in the field of military arms paved the way for the expansion of America influence across the world.

Samuel was born in Hartford, Connecticut as a son of a Christopher Colt. After the death of Samuel’s mother Sarah Colt (née Caldwell) Christopher remarried to Olive Sergeant. His family counted eight children. Three of his daughters did not live to be married, and they all died in childhood or committed suicides later in life. His sons however managed to live long lives, except for John C. Colt who in 1841 killed a prospector in New York City. He was promptly captured and sentenced to death by the court, but he managed to kill himself on a day of execution. After spending early life as a farmer, Christopher Colt moved his family to Hartford where he started his career as a businessman.

Education of young Samuel Colt started in age 11, when he was sent to the farm in Glastonbury where he did chores and attended school. There he first came to contact with the scientific encyclopaedia book “Compendium of Knowledge” which captured his imagination and solidified his wish to become famous inventor. In the pages of that book he found the history of gunpowder and the interesting lives of Robert Fulton (inventor of the first commercially successful steamboat and first submarine) and other inventors. The most important thing that this book imprinted in young Colt’s mind was the notion that these and many other inventors managed to accomplish things that were deemed to be impossible. During his time on Glastonbury farm he first came to idea to make an impossible gun - one which is able to shoot more than one bullet without manual reloading.

At the age of 15, Colt started working in his father textile plant in Massachusetts, where he used accessible tools, materials and experienced factory workers to work in his ideas. In those years he managed to create homemade galvanic cell which he used to test the gunpowder charges near the Ware Lake. In 1832, his farther sent him to learn a sea trade on a merchant ship, and it was there that Samuel conceived the initial designs of his rotating gun barrel. While serving on first voyage on the ship, he noticed the movement of the ship’s wheel, and was insipid to create similar rotating concept for loading bullets in front of the main firing barrel. According to the words of Colt himself, “regardless of which way the wheel was spun, each spoke always came in direct line with a clutch that could be set to hold it… the revolver was conceived!” He immediately began designing the basic shape of a gun, and before returning home he managed to make a wooden model of a revolver.

After returning to the Massachusetts, he presented his designs to his father who was not impressed with the idea, but he eventually financed the production of first to pistols. Sadly, those two guns were made in very poor quality (after the wishes of the Christopher Colt to use inexpensive and not experienced mechanics). One of those guns exploded upon firing, and the other one refused to fire at all. To obtain money required for the construction of the proper guns with the help of professional gunsmiths in Baltimore, Colt started touring the USA and Canada as the public demonstrator of the laughing gas. At the age of 18, he applied for a patent on his revolver, with a promise that he would soon deliver working model.

In 1835, Samuel Colt went to England where he hoped to learn more about the interesting rifle designs that were made by the inventor Elisha Collier. There he inspected Collier’s revolving flintlock models, and applied for a patent for his revolver. Even though English officials were reluctant to issue a patent, in the end Colt managed to receive one. In America, he soon established a firearm manufacturing factory in Paterson, New Jersey. After securing patent rights in the US on 25 February 1836 and August 29, 1836, he managed to protect basic principles of his revolver (revolving-breech loading and folding trigger). His design improved the popular revolving flint rifle models of Elisha Collier (which were very popular in Europe), and enabled the price of the gun to be much lower than before. All of its parts were intended to be made by a machine, easily replaceable, and easily assembled at the factory with the small workforce (via the assembly line).

Samuel Colt Facts and Biography

During his life, Samuel Colt managed to forever change the way of how the weapon industry worked. His vision of user replaceable parts, mass produces interchangeable parts, revolving firing chamber and the creation of the first “Colt” pistol paved the way for all of the modern firearms that we use today. Read about Samuel Colt facts, biography, his company and other information.

Revolver History

The long history of the handguns was forever changed with the introduction of the fast reloading and reliable revolvers. Here you can find details about their early years, inventors that created landmark models, and the influence they made into the world of modern weapon industry.

The first commercial model of a revolver that was made by Samuel Colt was named “Colt Paterson” and it featured revolving chamber that housed five bullets of .28 and .36 calibers. Although it was easy to use, it had one big flaw - the loading mechanism was not advanced enough and users had to partially disassemble the gun to reload it. Few years later in 1839, Colt added a capping window which enabled the user to reload the gun without disassembling it.

After the release of “Colt Paterson”, Samuel Colt decided that he needed to raise money for a machine that would make all of the gun’s interchangeable parts. He went on the road and started promoting his revolver across the America. Seeing that this tactic is not paying off, he went straight to Washington D.C., and presented his invention to the American President Andrew Jackson. With his help he received the started promoting his gun directly to the military and senate, sadly with little success. He found out that the “Militia Act of 1808” doesn’t not allow him to sell his revolvers directly to the local militias, and slow manufacturing time led him to cancel lucrative order of 75 pistols for the state of South Carolina. The economic crash of 1837 under the presidency of Martin Van Buren almost led to the bankruptcy of the Colt’s business. His company was saved however with the rise of the war against the Seminoles in Florida. He provided his revolvers and revolving muskets to the soldiers in Florida, who loved these new weapons but they also found few flaws. Untrained soldiers had great difficulty reloading their weapons, and they often managed to completely lock or break some parts of the gun. In the following years Colt continued to improve the designs of his “Colt Peterson”, until 1843 when he ran out of funds and was forced to close his manufacturing factory in New Jersey.

After the end of his first phase of gun making, Samuel Colt focused himself in the creation underwater electrical detonators and cables. Created with the help of the fellow inventor Samuel Morse, they both lobbied to the US Government to provide funding for the creation of the underwater cable that could be used to send telegraph messages between the America to Europe. During those years, Colt manufactured large quantities of waterproof cable, which was used across all America (under various lakes, rivers and bays). By the end of 1841 Colt finally received funds from the US military to create the prototype for underwater mine. In 1842 he successfully demonstrated his technology to the US President John Tyler, but the opposing force from the Senate left him without military contract.

Soon after, Colt was forced to return to the gun making business when Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers placed the order of over 1000 guns for his soldiers that fought in Mexican-American War. Colt soon established new manufacturing plant, and with the help of Samuel Walker and engineer Eli Whitney Blake, they designed the famous gun model called “Colt Walker”. Powered by the large .44 caliber bullet, enforced firing chamber, and long barrel, this gun became the most powerful handgun ever created at that time. Variations of this gun remained in production all until 1935, when the famous .357 Magnum started to be used. After the initial order of 1000 guns, and another 1000 more, new factory of Samuel Colt at Hartford, Connecticut became stable and ever-growing. During the following years they manufactured the guns for several conflicts in the US, and the ensuing California gold rush and western expansion created unseen demand for his guns.

In 1852, for the first time Colt received competition in the Allen & Thurber gun making company. After the court battle, Colt won his case in which he claimed that Allen & Thurber infringed on his patents and he was awarded with the royalties from each of their gun that was sold. This caused the eventual stop of production by Allen & Thurber, and Colt remained the only manufacturer in the US. During that time he expanded his sale to the Europe, where he offered his gun to various countries that had tense international relations. He told each country that their enemies were buying his guns, which enabled him to sell everyone very large quantities of his product.

Around 1855, Samuel Colt started the construction of his new factory along the Connecticut River, near Hartford, Connecticut. This complex called Colt Armory consistent of big manufacturing plant, employee housing area, club “Charter Oak Hall” where his workforce could rest, and a manor called “Armsmear”. After 1864 fire, East Armory was rebuilt and since then Colt Armory worked on the manufacture of many gun and arms models, but also it was used for the manufacture of many other items (most notably letterpress printing presses that are even today regarded for the quality of their manufacture).

Before the start of the US Civil War, Colt married Elizabeth Jarvis, the daughter of the Reverend William Jarvis who lived near Hartford. He was drafted into the army in the rank of Colonel on May 16, 1861, but he never entered into combat. He died soon after the war on January 10, 1862, at the age of 47. At the time of his death he was the wealthiest US inventor (with estimated wealth of around 15 million dollars), and most certainly inventor who influenced the rise of the entire war industry. His designs continue to live on in the following centuries, and his “Colt’s Manufacturing Company” continues to thrive and innovate even today. Some of the most important gun designs that were made in the Colt’s Manufacturing Company during the centuries are Colt-Browning Model 1895 (first operational gas–actuated machine gun), Thompson Submachine gun Mod 1921 (which was very popular in the age of US Prohibition, where many policeman and gangster used it), and Colt CMG-1 and CMG-2 machine guns which became main weapon of the US army during 1960s.

Complements from http://www.samuelcolt.net/

Gatling, Richard Jordan,

by John Richard Jordan, Jr., 1986

12 Sept. 1818–26 Feb. 1903

Richard Jordan Gatling, inventor of the machine gun and numerous other devices, was born in the Maney’s Neck section of Hertford County. His father was Jordan Gatling, a slaveholder who owned an almost completely self-sufficient plantation containing more than a thousand acres; his mother was Mary Barnes Gatling. Richard Jordan had three brothers, Thomas B., James Henry, and William J., and two sisters, Mary Ann and Martha. The entire family is remembered for its exceptional intellect. Jordan Gatling was himself an inventor and in 1835 patented machines for planting and for thinning cotton. James Henry, an older brother of Richard Jordan, was greatly interested in heavier-than-air flight by man and in the 1870s constructed a crude hand-powered aircraft with which he experimented unsuccessfully; he also invented and patented devices for chopping cotton stalks and for converting pine into lightwood. It was in this climate of intellectual curiosity that Richard Jordan Gatling spent his boyhood. He had brief formal education at Buckhorn, a local common school. He then became a schoolmaster but gave up teaching to open a country store near the town of Winton. During this period Gatling’s inventive genius first found expression. Having observed an experimental steamboat trial while on a visit to Norfolk, Va., in 1841, he conceived the principle of the screw propeller as a substitute for the slow and cumbersome paddle-type wheels then in use. At first his father refused him permission to go to Washington to patent the principle, but relented seven months later. When Gatling arrived in Washington, he learned that the celebrated Scandinavian-American inventor, John Ericsson, had patented the identical invention only a few days before.

Three years later Gatling obtained his first patent. It was for a rice-seed planter. He then left North Carolina and moved to St. Louis to manufacture and market his planter. There, converting his machine to a wheat-planter, he amassed a fortune in the midwestern wheat fields. During the winter of 1845, Gatling contracted smallpox while on a business trip by riverboat. For two weeks, when the steamer was ice-locked, he was unable to obtain medical attention. Upon recovering from this near-fatal illness, he decided to study medicine simply to be able to care for himself and his family. Accordingly, Gatling attended both Indiana Medical College and Ohio Medical College, receiving a diploma as a physician in 1850. At this time he moved to Indianapolis, where he practiced medicine only briefly. Returning to his creative interests, he invented and patented a hemp-breaking machine and later invented a steam-plow.

The outbreak of the Civil War stimulated Gatling to produce the greatest invention of his career and one that revolutionized warfare. This was the machine battery gun that became known the world over as the “Gatling gun.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the life of Gatling is his own conception of the meaning of the terrible weapon that he had created. When he invented his famed gun he acted not as a merchant of violence but as a humanitarian who wished to reduce the number of men required to fight wars and thereby reduce the incidence of death. At the beginning of the Civil War, Gatling frequently visited the trains bringing in dead and wounded troops from the battlefields and army camps. From his examinations, he learned that only three out of eighteen died from their bullet wounds; the remainder died from fever, pneumonia, and other illnesses contracted in camp. The loss of life due to illness impressed Gatling with the idea that, if a weapon could be devised to shoot more bullets, fewer men would be required to fight wars and, therefore, fewer and smaller concentrations of men would be necessary. This, he contended, would cut down the rate of death by both illness and combat. He also hoped that the terror created by such a weapon would tend to discourage war altogether.

Although Gatling’s humanitarian theories have proved fallacious, the essentially humanitarian conception of his invention was accepted in many respectable quarters, particularly in England where the Gatling gun was early adopted. A British newspaper of the period commented: “The general use of the formidable weapon will tend to diminish the barbarity and actual carnage of warfare, as its known relentless certainty of execution will help to prevent wars and thereby aid in keeping the peace of Christendom.” The first gun was tested and patented in 1862. Although crude, it had a firing capacity of more than 200 rounds a minute. There is some evidence that this early model was used by Union forces on the James River near Richmond on 6 May 1864, but the actual facts have never been ascertained. Gatling worked diligently to refine his invention, and in 1865 an improved model was patented. Twelve guns of this model were subsequently manufactured and submitted to the U.S. Army for tests. In 1866, the Gatling gun was officially adopted by the War Department.

The gun consisted of a group of ten rifle barrels grouped around a central shaft that was revolved by gear action and a hand crank. Bullets were automatically fed into the barrels, the hammers of which revolved continuously as the hand crank was turned. A later model was capable of firing 1,200 shots a minute and, before selling his patent rights to the Colt Fire Arms Co., Gatling experimented with a model that stepped up firing to 3,000 shots a minute. The Gatling gun was eventually adopted by every European power except Belgium. It was used with particularly telling effect by the British in the Boer War and by the American armies in Cuba.

In 1854 Gatling married Jemima Sanders, the daughter of Dr. John H. Sanders of Indianapolis. The couple had four children: Mary S. (b. 1855), Ida (b. 1858), Richard Henry (b. 1870), and Robert B. (b. 1872). Gatling became a member of the Methodist church during his boyhood in North Carolina. In Indiana in 1864 he was reported to have been a member of the Order of American Knights, an organization regarded as treasonable by the federal government. He died in New York City at age eighty-four. He and his wife were buried in a family plot in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Ind.

Complements from https://www.ncpedia.org


In 1848, Walter Hunt 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”, an early form of caseless ammunition 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 and Daniel Wesson of Norwich, Connecticut, acquired the Jennings patent from Robbins & Lawrence, as well as shop foreman Benjamin Tyler Henry. 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, 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, would be introduced commercially in 1857 with the landmark Smith & Wesson Model 1 revolver and is still manufactured today.

The Volcanic rifle had only limited success, which was partially 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 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 cartridge. 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 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. Confederates called the Henry “that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!”


After the war, Oliver Winchester renamed New Haven Arms the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The company modified and improved the basic design of the Henry rifle, creating the first Winchester rifle: the Model 1866. It retained the .44 Henry 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, Model 1894, and Model 1895 rifles, along with the lever-action Model 1887/1901 shotgun, the pump-action Model 1890 rifle, and the pump-action Model 1893/1897 shotgun.

Winchester lever-action repeating rifles

Model 1866

The first Winchester rifle – the Winchester Model 1866 – was originally chambered for the rimfire .44 Henry. Nicknamed the “Yellow Boy” because of its receiver of a bronze/brass alloy called gunmetal, it was famous for its rugged construction and lever-action “repeating rifle” mechanism that allowed the user to fire a number of shots before having to reload. Nelson King’s 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 partially covered by a forestock.

France purchased 6,000 Model 1866 rifles along with 4.5 million .44 Henry cartridges during the Franco-Prussian War. The Ottoman Empire purchased 45,000 Model 1866 rifles and 5,000 carbines in 1870 and 1871. These rifles were used in the 1877 Russo-Turkish War, causing much surprise when outnumbered Turks at the Siege of Plevna inflicted many times more casualties than their opponents armed with single-shot Krnka and Berdan rifles. The Model 1866 compelled Russians to develop a new rifle, the Mosin–Nagant, after the war.

The Swiss Army initially selected the Model 1866 to replace their existing single-shot Milbank-Amsler rifles. However, ensuing political pressure to adopt a domestic design resulted in the Vetterli Model 1867, a bolt-action design utilizing a copy of the Winchester’s tubular magazine, being adopted instead.

Due to public demand, the Model 1866 continued to be manufactured and sold until 1899, mainly because they were less expensive than the later steel-framed centerfire models.

Model 1873

The Model 1873 was one of the most successful Winchester rifles of its day, with Winchester marketing it as “The Gun that Won the West”. Still an icon in the modern day, it was manufactured between 1873 and 1923. It was originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, which was the first centrefire cartridge and which became immensely popular. The 1873 was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20, all of which later became popular handgun cartridges of the day, allowing users to carry just one type of ammunition. The Model 1873 was produced in three variations: a 24-inch barrel rifle, a 20-inch barrel carbine, and a “musket”—which was aimed at military contracts and only made up less than 5% of production. (Musket was a term that, at the time, denoted a full length military-style stock, not to be confused with a true smoothbore musket). The standard rifle-length version was most popular in the 19th century, although Winchester would make rifles to order in any configuration the customer wished, including longer barrels or baby carbines with barrels as short as 12 inches, octagonal-shaped barrels, colour case hardened receivers and fancy engraving.

The original Model 1873 was never offered in the military revolver .45 Colt cartridge, as it was a proprietary cartridge owned by Colt, although a number of modern reproductions are chambered for the round.

To both celebrate and enhance the Model 1873’s prestige, Winchester established a coveted “One of One Thousand” grade in 1875. Barrels producing unusually small groupings during test-firing were fitted to rifles with set triggers and a special finish. Marked “One of One Thousand”, they sold for a then pricey $100 (equivalent to $2,200 in 2017). A popular 1950 Western starring Jimmy Stewart, Winchester '73, was based on the coveted gun. Promotions included a search for “One of One Thousand” rifles by Universal Studios, with advertisements in sporting magazines and posters in sporting goods stores.

A second grade of Model 1873 barrels producing above average accuracy were fitted to rifles marked “One of One Hundred”, and sold for $20 over list. Approximately 136 “One of One Thousand” Model 1873s were sold, and only eight “One of One Hundreds”.

In all, over 720,000 Model 1873s were produced up until 1923. With a return to popularity due to the Cowboy Action Shooting game, '73 rifles and carbines of a high quality have been made in Italy by Uberti, encouraging a return to production under license from the Olin company in 2013, joining the Model 1892 and the Model 1894 being manufactured in Japan by the Miroku Corporation for FN/Browning. The new ten shot Model 1873 is only available with a 20" round barrel chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special.[citation needed] Nearly faithful in design to the original, including the trigger disconnect safety, sliding dustcover, and a crescent-shaped buttplate, it incorporates two safety improvements: a firing pin block preventing it from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled, and a cartridge carrier modification to eject used casings away from the shooter.

In 2014, a weathered model 1873 was found leaning against a tree in Great Basin National Park. It became known as the Forgotten Winchester and sparked media interest because of the mystery about who left it there and why they never came back for it.

Model 1876

The Winchester Model 1876, or Centennial Model, was a heavier-framed rifle than the Models 1866 and 1873, chambered for full-powered centerfire rifle cartridges suitable for big-game hunting, rather than the handgun-sized rimfire and centerfire rounds of its predecessors. While similar in design to the 1873, the 1876 was actually based on a prototype 1868 lever-action rifle that was never commercially produced by Winchester.

Introduced to celebrate the American Centennial Exposition, the Model 1876 earned a reputation as a durable and powerful hunting rifle. Four versions were produced: a 22-inch (56 cm) barrel Carbine, a 26-inch (66 cm) barrel Express Rifle with a half-length magazine, a 28-inch (71 cm) barrel Sporting Rifle, and a 32-inch (81 cm) barrel Musket. Standard rifles had a blued finish while deluxe models were casehardened. Collectors identify a first model with no dust cover, a second model with a dust cover rail fastened by a screw, and a third model with an integral dust cover. Total production was 63,871 including 54 One of One Thousand Model 1876s and only seven of the One of One Hundred grade.

Originally chambered for the new .45-75 Winchester Centennial cartridge (designed to replicate the .45-70 ballistics in a shorter case), versions in .40-60 Winchester, .45-60 Winchester and .50-95 Express followed; the '76 in the latter chambering is the only repeater known to have been in widespread use by 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. Theodore Roosevelt 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 warrior Geronimo after his surrender in 1886.

The Model 1876 toggle-link action receiver was too short to handle popular big-game cartridges, including the .45-70, and production ceased in 1897, as big-game hunters preferred the smoother Model 1886 action chambered for longer and more powerful cartridges.

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 made some improvements to Browning’s original design. In many respects the Model 1886 was a true American express rifle, as it could be chambered in the more powerful black powder cartridges of the day, such as the .45-70 Government, long a Winchester goal. The 1886 proved capable of handling not only the .45 Gov’t but also .45-90 and the huge .50-110 Express “buffalo” cartridges, and in 1903 was chambered for the smokeless high-velocity .33 WCF. In 1935, Winchester introduced a slightly modified M1886 as the Model 71, chambered for the more powerful .348 Winchester cartridge.

Model 1892

In order to compete with newer Marlin offerings, Winchester returned to its roots with the Model 1892, which was chambered for the same low-pressure cartridges as the Model 1873. The Model 1892 incorporates a much-stronger Browning action that was a scaled-down version of the Model 1886. It was also a much-lighter rifle than the 1873 model, with which it was sold concurrently for over twenty years, for the same price.

A total of 1,004,675 Model 1892 rifles were made by Winchester, and it was exported internationally, becoming very popular in South America and Australasia. Although Winchester stopped manufacture in 1941, today versions are still being made by the Brazilian arms maker Amadeo Rossi, and by Chiappa Firearms, an Italian maker. 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, .44 Magnum, and .454 Casull. The Winchester '92 was sometimes used in Hollywood Western movies and TV shows out of its correct period, achieving some fame as a ‘cowboy’ lever action, although it was historically too late for that.

Model 1894

The John Browning–designed Winchester Model 1894 is the most prevalent of the Winchester repeating rifles. The Model 1894 was first chambered for the .32-40 and .38-55 cartridges, and later, a variety of calibers such as .25-35 WCF, .30-30, and .32 Winchester Special. 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 had the distinction of being the first sporting rifle to sell over one million units, ultimately selling over seven million before U.S.-production was discontinued in 2006. The Winchester .30-30 configuration is practically synonymous with “deer rifle” in the United States. In the early 20th century, the rifles designation was abbreviated to “Model 94”, as was done with all older Winchester designs still in production (for example, Model 97, Model 12, etc.).

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 (pointed) projectiles, and the rifle was used by the armed forces of a number of nations including the United States, Great Britain, and Imperial Russia. The Russian production models could also be loaded using charger clips, a feature not found on any other lever-action rifle. Calibers included .30-40 Krag (.30 US or .30 Army), .303 British, .30-03 Springfield, .30-06 Springfield, 7.62×54mmR, and .405 Winchester. Theodore Roosevelt used a Model 1895 in .405 on African safaris and called it his “medicine gun” for lions.[16] In 1908 the 1895 Winchester became the first commercially produced sporting rifle chambered in .30-06 (then called “.30 Gov’t 06”).

Model 88

Introduced in 1955, 60 years after Winchester’s last all-new lever-action design, the Model 88 was unlike any previous lever-action. A short-throw lever operated a three-lug rotating bolt and rounds were fed vertically from a detachable box magazine: in effect it was a lever-operated bolt action. These features in a lever-action permitted the use of high-powered modern short-case cartridges with spitzer bullets: .243 Winchester, .284 Winchester, .308 Winchester and .358 Winchester. The Model 88 was discontinued in 1973 and is the third best-selling lever-action rifle in Winchester’s history, following only the M1894 and M1892. The later Sako Finnwolf and Browning BLR have similar actions.

Model 9422

Winchester’s Model 9422 was introduced in 1972. 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 end of the .22 LR 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 Western fiction and to parents looking for a 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.


Thats a great compendium of knowledge a useful day at work and a great read.


Great read! Like the 1866 yellow boys!

You missed a couple of calibres in the 1895.
I’ve got one in .35 Winchester, they were also available in .33 Win.

Missed the Model 150/250 altogether, not that that’s a bad thing…