Winchester rifles

In common usage, Winchester rifle usually means any of the lever-action rifles manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, though the company has also manufactured many rifles of other action types.

These firearms were inspired by the Henry Repeater Rifles used during the Civil War by certain Union regiments.

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.

While all of these were in use at Blair Mountain, the M1894 and M1895 were the ones with widest use.

The Winchester Model 1894 was the first commercial repeating rifle built to be used with smokeless powder. The 1894 was originally chambered to fire 2 metallic black powder cartridges, the .32-40 Winchester and .38-55 Winchester. In 1895 Winchester went to a different steel composition for rifle manufacturing that could handle higher pressure rounds and offered the rifle in .25-35 Winchester and .30-30 Winchester. The .30-30 Winchester, or .30WCF (Winchester Centerfire), is the cartridge that has become synonymous with the Model 1894.

The Winchester 1894’s design allowed the cycling of longer cartridges than the Winchester 1892 carbines could permit. When the lever is pulled down, it brings the bottom of the receiver with it, opening up more space and allowing a longer cartridge to feed without making the receiver longer. The mechanism is complex but very reliable. Complete stripping of the action is a multi-stage task that must be accomplished in precise sequence. However it is rarely necessary to completely strip the action.

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. Calibers included .30-40 Krag (.30 US or .30 Army), .303 British, .30-03 Springfield, .30-06 Springfield, 7.62mm Russian, and the mighty .405 Winchester. Teddy Roosevelt used a Model 1895 in .405 on African safari. In 1908 the 1895 Winchester became the first commercially produced sporting rifle chambered in .30-06 (then called “.30 Gov’t 06”).

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Published in: on March 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm  Comments Off on Winchester rifles  
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