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Winchester rifle, left side, on shelf

Oliver Winchester, an American Icon

Born in Boston, Oliver Winchester played a significant role in the evolution of rifles primarily due to the innovations and contributions of his company, Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Founded in the mid-19th century, this firearms manufacturer is one of today’s most iconic and distinguished historical manufacturers of rifles. But what exactly did Oliver Winchester do that was different from other manufacturers of the time, The Henry Rifle In 1866, the company introduced the Henry rifle, designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry. The Henry rifle was one of the first successful repeating rifles, using a lever-action mechanism to load cartridges from a tubular magazine in the rifle’s stock. It significantly impacted the concept and design of repeating firearms and revolutionized the entire industry.  The next in a long line of successful Winchester repeating rifle models was the Model 1866. The company’s iconic Model 1866, often called the “Yellow Boy,” was one of the earliest successful lever-action rifles. This design allowed for rapid and relatively easy reloading compared to single-shot rifles, significantly increasing a shooter’s firepower and allowing them to shoot rounds more quickly. Development of Iconic Models Winchester continued to refine and develop lever-action rifles, producing a series of iconic models, including the Model 1873, known as the “Gun that Won the West.” The 1873 to this day remains one of Winchester’s most successful rifles. Another popular rifle was the Model 1894. The M1894 was primarily used for hunting and surpassed the 1873 as Winchester’s best-selling rifle. Both rifles were reliable, popular, and widely used by civilians and military forces, contributing to the widespread adoption of repeating rifles. Winchester’s lever-action rifles were not only influential but also commercially successful. The company’s rifles were in high demand in the United States and internationally, contributing to its economic success and its ability to invest

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winchester long mare's leg leaning on a wall

The Winchester Mare’s Leg: A Look at Its History

The Winchester Mare’s Leg is a unique and iconic firearm that has left an indelible mark on popular culture, particularly in Western movies and television series. This compact and distinctive firearm is essentially a cut-down Winchester lever-action rifle with a pistol grip, making it a true hybrid of a rifle and a handgun. Its history is fascinating, and it has gained widespread recognition for its appearances in various forms of media, including the famous film “Zombieland.” Today, the Mare’s Leg is a generic term for all derivations of the iconic piece. It is no longer made out of a Winchester rifle and is in gun stores as a pistol, which avoids the ATF tax for a Short-barrel Rifle. (SBR) Ironically, this weapon was almost not included in the popular series as the producers and gunsmith failed to consult with the forerunner of the ATF, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division (ATTD), before they started filming. Because they didn’t, the producers paid $1,100.00 in taxes and license fees for the three Mare’s Legs they made for the show because they violated the National Firearms Act, but the gun was allowed in the series. Winchester Origins The term “mares leg” was first introduced in 1957. It was designed by Kenny “Von Dutch” Howard, an experienced gunsmith and artist, for use in the TV series “Trackdown.” Kenny “Von Dutch” Howard made the original Mare’s Leg by cutting down a .44-40 caliber Winchester Model 1892 carbine rifle manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. In creating the initial Mare’s leg, the butt-stock was cut, and much of it was removed, and the barrel, which didn’t have sights at the time, was cut to a length of nine inches. Ironically, this weapon was almost not included in the popular series as the producers and gunsmith

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small old west pistol with a farm land background

A Shot Through Time: The History of American Guns

Firearms have played an integral role in American history, shaping the nation’s destiny in countless ways. From the earliest flintlock muskets used in the Revolutionary War to today’s modern firearms, the history of American guns is a rich and complex tale of innovation, conflict, and cultural evolution.

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colt single action pistol laying on a pipe

Colt Single Action Army Revolver

The single-action Colt Army revolver, officially known as the Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver, was a highly popular firearm during the mid-19th century and used during the American Civil War and to help tame the Wild West. It is a single-action, cap-and-ball revolver designed by Samuel Colt and produced by Colt’s Manufacturing Company. But why was the 1860 Army Revolver so popular? Reliable, Durable, and Versatile     The main reason that this particular revolver stands out in a time when many different styles of revolvers were being produced was because of its robust construction and reliability. It was designed to withstand the rigors of combat and the harsh conditions of the American frontier. Its solid steel frame and simple design contributed to its durability, making it a dependable sidearm for soldiers, lawmen, and civilians. It is also quite versatile. The Colt Army is chambered for the .44 caliber round, which is powerful enough for self-defense, hunting, and combat. Its versatility makes it a practical choice for various applications, from personal protection to use in the field. Simplicity of Operation The Colt Army is a single-action revolver, meaning the shooter has to manually cock the hammer before each shot. This simplicity of operation made it easy for users to become proficient with the firearm. The single-action mechanism also contributed to the revolver’s reliability because it had fewer moving parts to potentially malfunction. High Capacity The Colt Army typically featured a six-round cylinder, giving users a respectable ammunition capacity for the time. A larger ammunition capacity was advantageous in combat situations, as it allowed the shooter to fire multiple rounds before reloading. The Colt Army’s popularity can be attributed to its reliability, versatility, and simplicity of operation. Its iconic design and the fact that it was widely used and recognized during a pivotal

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A Pair of Dueling Pistols

History of Dueling Pistols

Dueling pistols symbolize a time when personal honor was paramount, and disputes between individuals often culminated in lethal face-offs on the dueling ground. This blog delves into the historical evolution, mechanical intricacies, and cultural context of dueling pistols, shedding light on their role in society. Historical Evolution Early Development Dueling with firearms emerged in Europe during the 16th century, primarily with flintlock pistols. These early duels were often fought over matters of honor, and the outcome was considered a judgment of one’s character. As dueling gained popularity, specialized pistols were developed to ensure fairness and accuracy. Dueling pistols were typically single-shot, smoothbore firearms characterized by their long barrels, adjustable sights, and hair triggers. These features aimed to provide precision and reliability during a duel. Gunsmiths like Henry Nock and Robert Wogdon in 18th-century England and Nicolas-Noël Boutet in France were renowned for their craftsmanship in creating dueling pistols. The early 19th century saw a transition from flintlock to percussion cap ignition systems. This innovation improved reliability and eliminated the need for loose powder, making dueling pistols more practical and efficient. Mechanics of Dueling Pistols Dueling pistols were typically chambered in small calibers, such as .36 or .45, which allowed for greater accuracy and reduced lethality. Using round balls rather than conical bullets ensured consistency in flight and impact. While early dueling pistols had smooth bore barrels, some later models featured rifled barrels, imparting spin to the projectile, increasing accuracy at longer distances. However, smoothbore guns remained popular due to their reliability in close-quarters combat. Dueling pistols were known for their hair triggers, reducing the force required to fire the weapon. Hair triggers made them more responsive but also more prone to accidental discharges. Cultural Significance Dueling was a deeply ingrained part of the aristocratic culture in Europe and the United

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Colonial flintlock laying under wooden chair.

Popular Colonial Firearms

The colonial period in American history was marked by the use of firearms crucial for survival, defense, and expansion. These firearms evolved alongside the colonists’ needs and experiences, leaving an indelible mark on the shaping of the nation. This paper explores three popular colonial guns—the musket, flintlock pistol, and long rifle—and their roles in colonial life and the American Revolution. The Musket The musket was the primary firearm colonial militias and British regulars used during the 18th century. Musket technology evolved from the matchlock to the flintlock mechanism, allowing quicker and more reliable firing. It featured a smoothbore barrel and fired lead balls or shot. The musket was instrumental in colonial conflicts, including the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. It allowed for mass volleys of fire, transforming warfare tactics. It became a symbol of the military might of colonial powers. The musket’s design also laid the foundation for future military rifles. However, its prevalence in colonial America cemented firearms as a crucial aspect of American culture. So much so that two muskets, the Brown Bess and Pennsylvania long rifle, continue to be celebrated in American history and popular culture. The Flintlock Pistol Flintlock pistols were popular among colonial officers, civilians, and pirates due to their compact size and portability. They were often used for self-defense and as symbols of authority. Flintlock pistols were carried by colonial leaders like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and they played a symbolic role in duels and honor culture. Early flintlock pistols had rudimentary designs and needed to be more reliable. Later models, such as the “Queen Anne” pistol, featured improved mechanisms and craftsmanship. Their design paved the way for the development of more advanced handguns. The Long Rifle The long rifle, often called the Kentucky or Pennsylvania rifle, was renowned for

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