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History of Winchester Ammunition
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company is possibly one of the most well recognized names in the firearms world. Known for its lever and bolt action rifles, as well as shotguns, Winchester will be one of the names that will always be associated with the Wild West, World Wars and excellent firearms, even though the company has had an interesting roller coaster ride through its history.
Winchester was born out of the failure of the Volition lever action rifle which was being offered through a partnership of Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson (Yes, that Smith and Wesson), which led to and improved lever action rifle designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry (Yes, that Henry). The partnership wanted to sell their improved lever action rifle, so they incorporated under the name of the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. The Volcanic rifle was having limited success and in 1860 an improved version of the Volcanic rifle, the Henry rifle, was introduced.
The Henry rifle was highly regarded during the civil war and gave the company, (reorganized with a new name: New Haven Arms) a large measure of popularity and recognition. Unfortunately, after a disagreement with led to reorganization by the company’s chief stockholder, Oliver Winchester. With a modified and improved version of the Henry rifle, Winchester Repeating Arms Company set out to forever change the way the world viewed firearms.
Known for lever action rifles, Winchester also introduced other very popular firearms in the late 1800’s. Most notably, the John Moses Browning designed Model 1897 pump action shotgun. Browning continued to work with Winchester through the First World War where he designed the Browning Automatic Rifle and the .50 Caliber Browning Machine Gun.
The interwar years were tough for Winchester. In an effort to use the production capacity that they had achieved in the war, Winchester began to sell a variety of household and recreational goods through its “Winchester Stores.” This idea flopped and accompanied with the depression, forced Winchester into receivership. The only bright spot was the introduction of the .32 Winchester Special.
World War II brought a high level of production back to Winchester. The M1 Garand and M1 Carbine helped the company to recover some of the ground they had lost during the interwar years. This recovery was mild at best and because of rising labor costs and decreasing profit margins. The .308 Winchester was introduced in the 1950's and became the most influential cartridge the company has introduced to date. In the 1960's the company formed a new design group to take advantage of the newer manufacturing technology. This resulted in what are known as “pre” and “post” 1964 models. The “post-64” models were seen as being a lower quality product and are much less desired among Winchester collectors.
Even with the popularity of the Winchester Model 70 rifle, Model 94 lever action rifle and Model 12 pump shotgun, Winchester couldn’t keep pace with the increase in labor cost and in 1980, the company was sold to its employees and incorporated as U.S. Repeating Arms. Olin, Winchester’s parent company, retained the rights to the name and continues to manufacture ammunition using the Winchester name.
Winchester continues to be a major force in the ammunition market. They offer products that touch virtually every niche of the ammunition market. From the AccuBond CT to the PDX1 Defender, the technology in Winchester’s newest ammunition is cutting edge. For those who want to keep their traditional ammo, the Super-X line continues to be a popular choice among shooters.
The Winchester company has been through many changes and ups and downs in its history. It is impossible to tell where the company will go, but it seems to be that Winchester will remain in the top manufacturers of ammo for a long time to come.
Discuss Winchester ammunition by adding your comment to the 0 comments below or by asking a new question
- Kris said:
"My wife and I both love this ammo for range ammo. We have never had a failure or jam in either of our pistols. And unlike our local stores it seems to be always in stock here!"
- Nubb said:
"I shot several rounds and didn't have any problems....worked just fine!"
- spymyeyes said:
"Quality ammo MADE IN AMERICA! Every round went bang and cycled perfectly. For bulk orders they should cut down on the excessive packaging. 50 or 100 rounds per box instead of 5 rounds per box."
- Ronald said:
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- Bob said:
"Ammo fired without any jams, misfires or problems of any type. Ammo feed was smooth and no ejection problems. All spent casings cleared weapon cleanly. "
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- Ariel said:
"This is great low recoil buckshot, it's perfect for pistol grip only shotguns because of its low recoil. The pattern is also very tight. The crimp is also better than what I usually see on other brands so the buffer wont leak out into the magazine tube. You can't go wrong with this ammo and I plan to order more when its back in stock."
- TOM said:
"BEST OF THE INEXPENSIVE AMMOS THAT I HAVE TRIED IN MY SAVAGE MARK 2. CONSISTENTLY SHOT AROUND 3/4 INCH GROUP AT FIFTY YARDS AND MOST WERE CLOSER THAN THAT. ,PRICE RIGHT, QUALITY GOOD. MORE ACCURATE THAN MORE EXPENSICE AMMO IN MY GUN AT LEAST. SINCERELY, TBA"
- marcblueturtle said:
"Bought several boxes. Just now got around to firing some in my Henry Golden Boy 17 HMR. Shot 100 rounds. 15 failed to fire. Good strike marks on rim. Just failed. Bad!! I have never had any other 17 cal brand do this. In fact, since I have had my Henry, I have had no failures until now. I read some other reviews around the internet and some had more failures per 100 than I did. Very disappointed in Winchester. Once I get these boxes used up at firing range, I will buy no more and I sure would not use these loads if I were out coyote hunting. - "