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An American Legend Dies ~ Winchester’s Demise

Article by bob williams

On March 31, 2006, with little or no notice, an American Legend died and a giant piece of Americana quietly light into the dustbin of history. On that day, U.S. Repeating Arms Co., maker of Winchester Rifles closed their New Haven, Connecticut plant for good, ending the lifetime of a product so closely intertwined within the progress and historical past of our country that the two are almost inseparable. This involvement started in 1857 when Oliver Winchester acquired and restructured the failing Volcanic Repeating Firearms Co., subsequently altering the title to Winchester. During a large a part of their 149 12 months existence, the identify Winchester was synonymous with rifles, especially the lever action rifle, which started with the Henry Rifle, a lever action rifle that fired a metallic cased cartridge and held sixteen rounds. It began appearing within the hands of Union Soldiers in 1862 and was quickly cursed by Confederate Troops as “that rattling Yankee rifle they load on Sunday and shoot all week.”

Subsequent got here the 1866 model, dubbed “Yellow Boy” by the Indians due to its vibrant brass body, protected the pioneers on their trek during the Westward Migration after the Civil War. The Yellow Boy was followed by the Mannequin 1873 often known as “The Gun That Received The West” and was discovered over the fireplaces of settlers cabins and in the teepees of some Indians. It rode within the saddle scabbards of cowboys and armed lawmen and outlaws alike.

The fruits of all of this was the introduction of the model 1894, destined to be one of many few firearms to be in steady production for over one hundred years and the very best selling heart hearth rifle Winchester ever made. More deer have been taken with the Winchester 1894 Rifle than some other rifle made.

As well as, Winchester made the Model 70 bolt-motion rifle that became referred to as “the Rifleman’s Rifle”. Present in searching camps the world over, it has taken each species of game animal on the planet. Winchester additionally worked 24/7 producing rifles for our Doughboys in World Struggle I and for his or her sons, the GI’s of World War II.

Please pardon my nostalgia, nevertheless it saddens me to assume my grandsons and other boys won’t ever know the fun of opening a long slender box and discovering their first rifle therein with Winchester stamped on the barrel, as this writer did on his fifteenth birthday.

Thanks Winchester, not only for the reminiscences, but also for enjoying such an necessary and integral half on this Nation’s history. You will be sadly missed.

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