Tag Archives: Winchester

The Kids are Alright…

One of the stops I did while on the road filming last month was to drop in on America’s fastest-growing school sport at the Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria – which for the record is the world’s largest shooting sport event – with over 6,500 student-athletes in 300 high school teams taking the field over the course of nine full days of competition.

It was pretty impressive.

Guns of the U.S. Army, 1775-2020

While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?

For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.

I Hear People Gripe That They Can’t Get a Good Deal on a Winchester 94

Used to be that North Haven, Connecticut-made Winny 94s could be had all day for $250 to $350. I myself traded a beautiful model, complete with a decent little Bushnell scope on it and a few boxes of Remington Core-Lokt, around 1998 for a gun that I valued at the time for $400 and thought I got a screaming great deal.

Then the company closed the historic plant around 2005 and just like that, old U.S. made 94s began to skyrocket in value. Today, new examples are made for USRAC by Miroku in Japan (the same people that make most of Browning’s long arms) with a premium price attached.

An overlooked avenue of fulfillment for an often truly nice 94, made in Connecticut with a ton of attention to detail, are Commemorative editions. Winchester cranked out more than 100 runs of such Commemorative Issue Model 94 lever guns between 1964 and 2005 with the largest runs made before 1985.

The guns paid homage to a historical figure, such as President Teddy Roosevelt or Sheriff Bat Masterson. Others were in honor of Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee or Cheyenne. Still, other Commemoratives showcased organizations like the Boy Scouts or Wells Fargo stagecoach service. Then some guns saluted American icons like the Bald Eagle. Events like the Golden Spike– where the Transcontinental Railroad was finally linked together in 1869– or the U. S. Bicentennial, were remembered with their own Winchester 94.

This John Wayne Commemorative, produced in 1981, is extensively engraved with a trail ride scene and the names of several “The Duke’s” classic Western films.

An Annie Oakley Commemorative, made in 1982.

The detail on the Sheriff Bat Masterson is amazing. It is little wonder why these guns were immediately collectible when issued.

And the good news is that these guns often cost less than plain-Jane models made at the same time.

More in my column at Guns.com

Whistling up 90K M1 Garands

CAMP AGUINALDO, Philippines - Joint Armed Forces of Philippines and U.S. team conducting M1 Inventory, 2017

CAMP AGUINALDO, Philippines – Joint Armed Forces of Philippines and U.S. team conducting M1 Inventory, 2017

The backstory on how six divisions worth of M1 Garands got repatriated from the Phillipines, where they have seen hard service since the 1950s in some cases, back to the U.S. to be sold through CMP in Anniston. Contrary to what a lot of people think, CMP actually had to spend a small fortune to get these vintage weapons back CONUS.

“It goes almost without saying that accurately accounting for and transporting approximately 90,000 small arms from the other side of the globe is challenging under any circumstances. Throw in termite infestation, monsoon season, and asbestos contamination, and you will have a recipe for disaster.”

More here.

Inside the CMP, and the word on M1s coming back from overseas and possible 1911s…

To see just what the non-profit has on the shelf, I visited the Civilian Marksmanship’s South operations in Anniston. Co-located near the Anniston Army Depot — which is actually in nearby Bynum — and stores much of the Army’s stockpile of guns and items not needed for current operations, the CMP has a series of warehouses dotting the rolling hills of the area.

Unfortunately, most of them are nearly empty.

While now-retired CMP boss Orest Michaels told me back in 2010 the organization had 125,000 M1 rifles on hand including complete rifles, stripped receivers, and welded drill rifles, the group is coy about just what the numbers are today after several years of brisk sales and surging interest in U.S. martial rifles.

As Jim Townsend, CMP’s business development officer, walked me through a tour of their largest warehouse, he swept his arms over a large expanse of empty floor space and said, “When I first started here, this whole side of the building was full of M1s.” Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.

Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.

Why keep the empty space?

Check out my column at Guns.com for the answer.

Some 86,000 surplus M1s could be coming to CMP from the PI

This is my favorite work of Rafael Desoto. The Garand is great

The Civilian Marksmanship Program advises the Army could soon hand over a large stock of historically significant M1 rifles.

A post on an M1 Garand collectors group on Friday mentioned a group of loaned rifles coming in from the Philippines was being processed by the U.S. Army for shipment back to the states. Mark Johnson, CMP’s chief operating officer, confirmed that a large group of rifles may indeed be headed home and wind up in the organization’s hands.

”There are 86,000 or so M1’s hopefully coming back to the Army,” said Johnson. “We hope to see them in the future.”

More in my column at Guns.com

Not a steampunk cosplay laser gun

Via the Cody Museum

Winchester designed an anti-tank rifle in 1918. It is a bolt action chambered in .50 BMG and the grip serves as the bolt handle. The gun was patented by Edwin Pugsley and was an American take on the German T-Gewehr anti-tank rifle of the day.

Ian with Forgotten Weapons has the dish best served old on David Marshall “Carbine” Williams’ Winchester AT rifle, a completely different design of WWII vintage.

Springfield Armory still has 2/3rds of the first M1917 rifles

The 30.06 caliber Model 1917 Enfield was developed from the .303 British Pattern 1914 (P.14) rifle. Currently on the Springfield Armory museum collection, there are two Model 1917 Enfields with Serial #1.

In the above photo, the top rifle was made by Winchester in New Haven, Connecticut, while the bottom rifle was made by Eddystone Arsenal in Chester, Pennsylvania. Approximately 2.2 Million Model 1917 Enfields would be produced between 1917 and 1918, and remain in service through WWII and with overseas American allies to this day (The Danish Sirius Patrol still uses it as the M17/M53 rifle).

The rifles were cranked out extremely fast, with the assembly record being 280 rifles a day for an individual craftsman while the assemblers in the various plants averaged 250 rifles per day per man.

The cost of the Model 1914 Enfield to the British Government was $42.00 each. These modified Enfields cost the United States Government, due to standardization methods, approximately $26.00 each.

Eddystone made 1,181,910 rifles with #1 being SPAR 3191 in the Museum’s collection

Winchester made 465,980 rifles with #1 being SPAR 3192 . It was presented to President Woodrow Wilson on 23 January 1918.

Winchester M1917 SN#1 on the rack at Springfield. Note how blonde the stock is on "Woodrow's" gun

Winchester M1917 SN#1 on the rack at Springfield. Note how blonde the stock is on “Woodrow’s” gun

Unfortunately, Springfield does not have Remington’s M1917 SN#1.

As the company was the first to start production, they likely shipped it right out. The earliest Remington M1917 rifle I can find is serial number of 137, which was likely made the first day of production. This gun is in the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va.

sn-137-remington-m1917-first-day-of-production

 

Go for the big bang with a saluting cannon!

So you have those special occasions when you just want to call upon the gods of fire and smoke– but don’t necessarily want to hit anything. We are not talking about irresponsible gunplay here; we are talking about the satisfying, window rattling joy that is a saluting cannon.

What is it?

Back in the old days, the practice of firing gun salutes came as a way to show both sides that their cannon were empty and not ready to fire. For instance, if say a French warship sailed into a Swedish port, they would exchange salutes with the warship firing its cannon (sans ammunition) and the Swedish fort replying likewise. This evolved over time and is still practiced to this day. In many countries the saluting cannon became used to tell time (fired at midday), to deliver news (in Imperial Russia, naval ships and forts fired 100 shots for the birth of a girl to the Tsar, 300 for the birth of a boy– leading a lot of people to listen for that 101st shot), start races, and to celebrate special occasions.

How the professionals do it

The Navy, or more correctly, the Continental Navy, started the practice of military gun salutes in the United States as on Nov. 16, 1776, the American warship Andrew Doria fired a cannonball-less salute of 13 guns, one per each colony, on entering the harbor of St. Eustatius in the Dutch West Indies. Well the Dutch, checking the courtesy book, answered with a 9-gun salute, which was what is required for the warship of a visiting republic. Since then the Navy has been the caretaker of saluting gun traditions…

Gunners Mates First Class (GM1) Ronnie Owens and Richard Ashley fire a 40mm saluting cannon in honor of the Governor of the State of Florida from the destroyer USS Momsen in 2004. US Navy photo.

Gunners Mates First Class (GM1) Ronnie Owens and Richard Ashley fire a 40mm saluting cannon in honor of the Governor of the State of Florida from the destroyer USS Momsen in 2004. US Navy photo.

Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk