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Out With A Bang
The Washington Post ^ | January 20, 2006 | Stephen Hunter

Posted on 01/21/2006 9:24:23 AM PST by neverdem

A famous ad that most boy baby boomers will recall from Boys' Life, the old scouting magazine of the '50s, showed a happy lad, carrot-topped and freckly like any number of Peck's Bad Boys, his teeth haphazardly arrayed within his wide, gleeful mouth under eyes wide as pie platters as he exclaimed on Christmas morn, "Gee, Dad . . . A Winchester!"

All gone, all gone, all gone. The gun as family totem, the implied trust between generations, the implicit idea that marksmanship followed by hunting were a way of life to be pursued through the decades, the sense of tradition, respect, self-discipline and bright confidence that Winchester and the American kinship group would march forward to a happy tomorrow -- gone if not with the wind, then with the tide of inner-city and nutcase killings that have led America's once-proud and heavily bourgeois gun culture into the wilderness of marginalization.

And now Winchester is gone too, or at least the most interesting parts of it. The traditional company whose symbol was a fringed rider flying across the plains on a pinto, gripping his trusty Model '73, is finally biting the dust. The entity -- now technically U.S. Repeating Arms, which produces the rifles and shotguns as a licensee of the Olin Corp., which still owns Winchester ammunition -- announced Monday it was closing the plant in New Haven where the rifles and shotguns have been fabricated for a century and a half. Some Winchesters will continue to be built overseas, but three guns -- the classic lever-action rifle of western fame, the bolt-action hunting rifle (called the Model 70) and the Model 1300 pump-action shotgun -- will no longer be manufactured.

That lever-gun -- the quintessential cowboy rifle, the mechanism that "won the West" and maybe helped lose it...

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Arizona; US: Connecticut; US: Illinois; US: Montana; US: Pennsylvania; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: banglist; winchester
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Despite protests, Rockland legislators OK toy gun ban NY
1 posted on 01/21/2006 9:24:25 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

It's kind of sad to read this. Oh well I still have my memories.


2 posted on 01/21/2006 9:26:53 AM PST by Sunshine Sister
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To: neverdem

A sad day!


3 posted on 01/21/2006 9:27:56 AM PST by Fiddlstix (Tagline Repair Service. Let us fix those broken Taglines. Inquire within(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: neverdem
>>And now Winchester is gone too, or at least the most interesting parts of it. The traditional company whose symbol was a fringed rider flying across the plains on a pinto, gripping his trusty Model '73, is finally biting the dust.<<

And unless we start eating more fish and chips, so are most fishwraps like the Washington Post.

Muleteam1

4 posted on 01/21/2006 9:32:29 AM PST by Muleteam1
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To: Muleteam1

I believe the "Henry" rifle is still being produced in the U.S., so lever-action "cowboy" rifles aren't extinct.

I've never read anything in the newspaper by this Stephen Hunter, but I do like his novels.


5 posted on 01/21/2006 9:39:20 AM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: neverdem

Can't we find a rich gun enthusiast that will keep the plant open?


6 posted on 01/21/2006 9:40:36 AM PST by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: Travis McGee; Joe Brower; El Gato; Squantos; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; risk; Criminal Number 18F; ..
Tear-jerking ode to Winchester, from WaPo no less!

A Hard Kick From John Wayne's Gun

7 posted on 01/21/2006 9:40:50 AM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
I am the proud owner of a Winchester model 80. 22 short repeater. serial #26404. It is a 20 shot pump. made in 1896. This was the first run. The serial number is the production number on the rifle.
Betcha it has caused the demise of 5,000 squirrels and rabbits in its time
8 posted on 01/21/2006 9:41:41 AM PST by primatreat (Alzheimer's in all its glory is knocking at my door. Driving into the sunset with my prius+ Nav.!)
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To: primatreat

That's only 50 squirrels a year. Is your eyesight going bad?


9 posted on 01/21/2006 9:55:10 AM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: neverdem

"Out with a bang" my Aunt Fanny! Winchester died with a whimper. A death wholly unfitting one of America's great amorers.


10 posted on 01/21/2006 9:58:23 AM PST by IronJack
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To: Emmett McCarthy
I recall deer hunting with my father-in-law's old Winchester Model 94 thirty odd years ago. It was a heavy rifle to carry through the mountains of New Mexico. By far the most beautiful Winchester lever action I have ever seen was my father-in-law's Model 88, 284 caliber (lever action with oak leaves in the fore and aft stocks.) I always wanted this model in a smaller caliber.

Muleteam1

11 posted on 01/21/2006 10:02:44 AM PST by Muleteam1
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To: Darksheare; Beagle8U; VOA; raybbr; endthematrix; RadioAstronomer; bitt; DMZFrank; ALOHA RONNIE; ...
BANG!
12 posted on 01/21/2006 10:08:41 AM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Emmett McCarthy

Henrys are made in Brooklyn, N.y. They do levers in .22 long, .22 mag. and .44 mag [brass receiver]. they also do pumps [ like the shooting gallery models], and a .22 survival rifle that stores in its stock [made it for years now].

Henrys have REALLY smooth actions. The .44's a little pricey, though.


13 posted on 01/21/2006 10:11:37 AM PST by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: neverdem

bump


14 posted on 01/21/2006 10:24:40 AM PST by VOA
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To: PzLdr
They do levers in .22 long, .22 mag. and .44 mag [brass receiver].

Does its lever action also handle .22 short and .22 long rifle?

15 posted on 01/21/2006 10:46:11 AM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

16 posted on 01/21/2006 10:46:13 AM PST by UnklGene
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To: neverdem; PoorMuttly; Eaker; humblegunner; TEXASPROUD; Shooter 2.5; Tijeras_Slim; razorback-bert; ..

Winchester lever guns ............gone !

The 1873 Model
This is the first Winchester Lever Action designed for center-fire cartridges. It is known as "the gun that won the West." This rifle was produced from 1873 to 1923 in three basic models. Most configurations were rifle, carbine and musket with any special order options available.

Calibers……………..…………………Production Quantities



.44-40 or 44 W.C.F……………………566,487

.32-20 or 32 W.C.F……………………109,558

.38-40 or 38 W.C.F………………….….24,826

.22 Rimfire………………………….…..19,738





The 1876 Model
The Model 76 is an overgrown Model 73 designed to handle heavier cartridges. There were a total of 63,871 Model 76s produced from 1876 to 1898. There are three configurations: rifle, carbine, and musket. Again, many special order options were available.

Calibers

.45-75 W.C.F.

.45-60 W.C.F.

.50-95 Express

.40-60






The 1886 Model

The Model 86 is generally recognized as "one of the best gun actions ever developed." A total of 159,337 rifles were produced from 1886-1922. Although there was one basic model, there were two variations referred to as "early" and "late" models. Configurations were rifle, carbine and musket with many special order options available. Muskets are very rare.

Calibers

.45-70

.45-90

.40-82

.40-65

.38-56

.50-110 Express

.38-70

.40-70

.33 W.C.F.

.50-100-450 Express





1887 and 1901
The 71 is basically the 1886 action with major changes in the stock and forearm. No takedown models and few extras were offered. It was offered only in the 348 W.C.F. caliber (an improved .33 W.C.F.). Produced in two styles, standard and deluxe, it is still prized as a "big bore", reliable hunting firearm.

Total produced from 1935 to 1943 - 22,051

Total produced from 1946 to 1958 - 47,254

THE 1887 MODEL AND 1901 MODEL
Another John M. Browning design and one of the most unusual actions ever used by Winchester. It is a rolling block design shotgun chambered in 12 gauge and 10 gauge. A few were made in the .70-150 rifle cartridge and were designed to shoot a .70 caliber bullet of 700-900 grains.

Total produced from 1887 to 1898 - 64,855

The main special order options were limited to grade of the stock, barrel length and type of barrel. The standard barrel was rolled steel with three blade Damascus and four blade Damascus available at extra cost.

The Model 1901 is basically the same as the 1887 Model, but was offered in 10 gauge only. The 1901 had the same special order options and 79,455 were produced between 1901 to 1920.





Model 92
This time we are going to look at the Model 92 and its related cousins. The 92 is a fine firearm from which to build up a collection. There are many variations and calibers that can become targets for acquisition and research. Although the "mint" condition pieces do bring top dollar, do not lose sight of the fact that there is still the opportunity to put together an outstanding collection of good used guns without bankrupting the family budget. Do your homework, set some goals and start working on putting the collection together. Here is the 92 and it's relatives.

THE 1892 MODEL
The Model 92 was mechanically a stronger design and cost less to produce than the 73. Only one basic model of receiver was used to produce rifles, carbines and muskets. The musket configuration is very rare, only 574 of a total 1,004,675 assembled.

Calibers

.25 W.C.F. or .25-20

.32 W.C.F. or .32-20

.38 W.C.F. or .38-40

.44 W.C.F. or .44-40

.218 Bee

Produced from 1892 through 1941 in both solid and take down variations. Many special order options were available.

THE MODEL 53
First introduced in 1924, it is basically an improved Model 92 rifle.

Calibers

.25 W.C.F. or .25-20

.32 W.C.F. or .32-20

.44 W.C.F. or .44-40

A few in .218 Bee are believed to exist.

Total produced from 1924 to 1941 - 15,120

Takedown models, pistol grips, set triggers, crescent butts and deluxe wood were available as an extra. Pistol grip stocks are rarely encountered. Notice the limited total production.

THE MODEL 65
One of the lowest production runs of any Winchester rifle. This is another model using the basic Model 92 action.

Calibers

.25 W.C.F. or .25-20

.32 W.C.F. or .32-20

.218 Bee

Total produced from 1933 to 1941 - 5,717

Produced from 1933 through 1941 with some guns assembled from left over parts as late as 1947. All 65s are serially numbered in the 92 Series. Twenty-two inch round barrel, ramp front sights, and oiled straight grain walnut were standard. Keep your eyes open for these little jewels, even if you do not collect Winchesters! Call me first!





Model 94
This time we are going to look at one of Winchester's most famous and popular rifles, the Model 94.

Using its excellent action with the locking bars and bolt systems of the Browning patents, the Model 94 became the gun that outsold all other models. Most important of its many features were the cartridges Winchester features were the cartridges Winchester developed for this action. The old standby developed for this action. The old standby .30 W.C.F. or .30-30 remains popular today.

Calibers

.32-40

.38-55

.25-35

.30-30

.32 Winchester Special

The 94 has been in production from 1894 to the present time. Production of receivers was suspended in 1943 due to World War II and none were manufactured or numbered for the duration of the war. World War I did not cause an interruption of the Model 94 production. As serial numbers approached 1 million, 1.5 million, 2 million, and 2.5 million; special presentation guns were made. There were many special orders options available for the early model 94's and a variety of configurations - rifle, carbine, trapper, musket, takedown, etc.

In 1964 major changes in the manufacturing process were adopted to lower production costs. Because of these changes, the "pre 64" guns are generally recognized to be of higher quality and more desirable. The "post 64" guns have additional calibers and come in both top and angle eject models with a variety of stocks.

Winchester has also issued the 94 in various commemorative models over the past several years and these guns provide an identifiable goal for the collector desiring to specialize in them. In addition to the original calibers, there are commemorative models found in .22 Long Rifle, .22 Rimfire Magnum, 44-40 Winchester and 375 Winchester.





Model 95
THE MODEL 95
The 95 was developed by John Browning and the Winchester engineers in response to a need for a lever action rifle to accommodate a new generation of military cartridges promising to gain a substantial market. There are two models in the 95. The first model has flat sides, rounded top breech bolts and one piece levers. The second model has fluted receivers, two piece levers and other distinctive features. One of the more unusual features of the 95 was the use of a "box magazine" made necessary because of new pointed bullets being developed. This was the first box magazine rifle developed by Winchester.

Calibers

.30-40 Army

.40-72 W.C.F.

.35 W.C.F.

.30-'03

.38-72 W.C.F.

.303 British

.405 W.C.F.

.30-'06

7.62 Russian

Configurations were rifle, carbine and musket. Production ran from 1895 to 1940 with a total of 426,754 guns made. Of these, 293,816 were in the 7.62 mm Russian caliber in the musket version which were shipped to the Russian Imperial Government in 1915 and 1916. The 95 in 405 W.C.F. was a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt and he described his special order Winchester .405 as "The medicine gun for lions." The 95 had many special order options available throughout its 45 year production period.

During my visit to Russia in the spring of 1991, I saw Model 95 Russian Muskets in every military museum I visited in Moscow and Leningrad. With nearly 300,000 of these rifles being made in the Russian version, you have to know there are a lot of them in storage, yet to be liberated.; If they start coming back to the U.S., look for the prices to take a downward tumble. In the meantime, the Model 95, especially in the non-Russian version will continue to be a prime item for collectors.





Models 55 and 64
The last article covered some details about the popular Model 94. Now let's look at a couple of clones of the 94, the Models 55 and 64.

THE MODEL 55
In 1924 the Model 94 rifle was discontinued in favor of continued production of the 94 carbine. To fill the gap, Winchester introduced the Model 55 as a new improved rifle. The 55 was really a 94 rifle with most of the popular special features of the 94 as standard.

Calibers

.30-30

.25-35

.32 Winchester Special

Total produced from 1924 to 1936 - 20,592.

Twenty-four inch barrels, straight grip stocks, fluted combs, half magazine and shotgun butts were standard. Takedown features were standard until 1930 when solid frames became standard.

You will find some of these guns with a barrel stamped Model 55 and a receiver with Model 94 markings. This was normal in the scheme of things for the 55.

Introduced in 1933, the Model 64 is another Model 94 with improved features. Production was suspended during World War II and guns in the .30 and .32 caliber were offered after the war. Manufacture again stopped in 1956 with the last old model guns assembled in 1957. Winchester resumed production of the 64 in 1970 for a short time period. It was available in two configurations, standard and deluxe.

Calibers

.25-35

.30-30

.32 Winchester Special

.219 Zipper

Many Model 64 records are missing. The most popular caliber was .30-.30 and it was serially numbered with the Model 94 series. Available sales records indicate that up to 1942 approximately 29,000 guns of this model were sold. Special order options were available, but these were mainly in barrel length, type of sights or grade of stock.





Model 88
Two modern rifles designed to handle today's high power cartridges are the Model 88 and the Model 100. The 88 represents the last of the long line of big bore lever action guns and the Model 100, the first gas operated semi-auto with a single piece stock. Even a casual observer will note some of the common features - the single piece stocks, the triple locking lugs on the bolt, bolt extractor and ejector, being the most obvious. Now let's look at each in a little closer detail.

THE MODEL 88
This hammerless lever-action rifle was introduced in 1955. In design it represented a radical departure from that of previous Winchester lever action rifles. The more significant changes were its rotating bolt with triple locking lugs, its enclosed receiver, detachable box magazine, one piece stock and side ejection port.

Caliber

.308 Winchester

.243 Winchester

.358 Winchester

.284 Winchester

Although the Model 88 is no longer in production, its manufacture did continue until 1975. Therefore, recognized variations are "pre '64" and "post '64" models with both rifle and carbines in both periods. During the 20 years it was produced, a total of 284,971 guns were made.

THE MODEL 100
Check (1-800-852-5734) your Model 100 Rifle to see if it has the new firing pin. The original firing pin was subject to recall. You will need the serial number when calling.

The 100 was introduced five years after the 88 - coming out in 1960. It was first brought out in the .308 Winchester caliber (7.62 NATO) and other calibers soon followed. Taking the lead from its predecessor Model 88, the 100 has a detachable box magazine, a rotating bolt with three large locking lugs, enclosed receiver and ejects spent brass to the right. The gas system of the Model 100 resembles that of the U.S. M-14 service rifle that allows a gradual build-up and expansion of gas against the piston. This translates into a smoother operation of the operating parts than we find in gas operated guns like the U.S. M-1 rifles or carbine. This type of gas system is also effective because no adjustment of the system is required when changing from one commercial loading to another or utilizing hand loads of adequate power.

Calibers

.308 Winchester

.243 Winchester

.284 Winchester

There is some speculation that the Model 100 was also offered in the .358 Winchester, but I have never seen one. I did hear of a 100 in .358, but it turned out to have been re-barreled with a Model 88 barrel. If you ever find a 100 in .358, you had better check it out real close!

When production of the 100 ended in 1975, a total of 263,170 had been made. Like the Model 88, there are "pre '64" and "post '64" models with both rifles and carbines in both periods. An "A" prefix before the serial number began in February of 1970. Although neither of these rifles remain in production today, they have both been some of my favorites. In fact, the only time I have ever limited out at one time on Whitetails was on opening day in 1956 in South Texas with a Model 88 in .308 Winchester - two ten point bucks about 10-15 seconds apart - and my deer hunting for 1956 was over!


17 posted on 01/21/2006 10:55:21 AM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: neverdem

Winchester Art - a slice of america gone forever.

18 posted on 01/21/2006 10:58:06 AM PST by Mike Darancette (Mesocons for Rice '08)
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To: Emmett McCarthy

Yep! Henry Repeating Arms is still a going concern and based in, of all places, Brooklyn, New York! I just got a Henry Big Boy .44 for Christmas. Lever action repeater.

Maybe I better get a Winchester 73 while I still can!


19 posted on 01/21/2006 10:59:19 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Emmett McCarthy

Hunter's usual beat for the Post is movie reviews, but his expertise on firearms come from his research done for the Earl and Bob Lee Swagger novels. He did a lot of interviewing of Carlos Hathcock, who is pretty much the Marine Corps model for Bob Lee Swagger, while he was still alive too. From hearing him here on local radio and reading a lot of his stuff, he definitely has conservative leanings.


20 posted on 01/21/2006 11:02:50 AM PST by Rummyfan
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