Historical Timeline 1950-1999


1950s

1950. North Korea invades South Korea. Millions of Winchester-made arms from prior wars are quickly pressed into service. 

- Image source: 
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/
Korean_War_HA-SN-98-07010.jpg

 

1950. The western movie “Winchester ‘73” is released, staring Jimmy Stewart. Winchester’s wizard Herb Parsons fills in for Stewart during the film’s trick shooting scenes. Stewart’s rifle is an original Model 1873 loaned to the movie production from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company Museum.

Image source: Olin Corporation

1950. As part of the movie’s promotion Winchester and Universal Pictures launch a nationwide search for any of the 123 One-of-One Thousand Model 1873s that might still exist. The first 20 lucky owners who respond received a brand new Model 1894 from Winchester. More than two dozen previously unknown One-of-One Thousand guns are uncovered in America’s dusty attics, barns and cellars. 

Image source: Olin Corporation

1952. The Featherweight variant of the Model 70 is introduced, and its stock becomes the signature profile of The Rifleman’s Rifle.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1952. Winchester introduces the 308 Winchester cartridge that becomes the standard of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1952. NILO Farms (Olin spelled backward), a 640-acre hunting and shooting facility in Godfrey, Illinois, is created as part of Winchester’s ongoing commitment to product development, field-testing and modern game management.

Image source: Olin Corporation

1955. The Model 88 is introduced, breathing new life into the lever-action rifle. 

 

1955. The 243 Winchester cartridge is introduced.

 

1956. The 458 Winchester Magnum cartridge is introduced.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1958. Chuck Connors stars as Lucas McCain in the hit TV series “The Rifleman” which runs in primetime for six seasons. Conner’s chosen firearm is the Winchester Model 1892 with a large D-shaped lever loop

Image source: Photo courtesy of Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions    

1959. Two-time national champion King Buck, the most honored black labrador retriever bred and trained at Nilo Farms and Kennels is the first and only dog to appear on the Federal Duck Stamp.

Image source: Used by permission of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service    

1959. Winchester’s exhibition shooting wizard Herb Parsons suffers an unexpected heart attack and passes away at age 51.

Image source: Olin Corporation


1960s

1960. The Model 100 autoloading centerfire rifle is introduced. This trim rifle becomes instantly popular with hunters wanting faster follow-up shots.

1960. Winchester begins production of the new M14 rifle for the U.S. Military, ultimately building more than 350,000 of the total 1.3 million M14s made.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms and Utah DWR

 

 

1960. The 264 Winchester Magnum and 338 Winchester Magnum cartridges are introduced. 

1961. The Power Point bullet is introduced, designed provide more rapid expansion on thin-skinned game. 

- Image source: Olin Corporation

1962. The Winchester Mark 5 shot collar is introduced, enclosing the shot column and greatly improving patterning performance.

- Image source: Olin Corporation

1963. The 200 Series of rimfire rifles are introduced with different models offering lever-action, pump-action or autoloading operation. Magnum rimfire and deluxe models soon follow to fill out the 200 family. 

1963. The Model 101 over-and-under shotgun is introduced and quickly becomes popular with clay target and upland shooters alike. Shown is 1968 catalog page. 

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1963. The 300 Winchester Magnum cartridge is introduced, filling an important performance niche between Winchester’s 264 and 338 Magnums.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1963. Winchester’s introduction of Grex granular plastic buffer dramatically decreases deformation in buckshot loads. 

 

1964. The Model 70 undergoes a significant redesign to adapt to a changing marketplace. 

1964. The Model 1400 autoloading shotgun and the Model 1200 pump shotgun are introduced. 

1964. The first of many Winchester Factory Commemoratives is a Model 1894 produced for the Wyoming Diamond Jubilee. It remains among the rarest of the all the Winchester Factory Commemoratives, and establishes the Custom Shop as an important part of commemorative design and production.

1964. The United States makes a major military commitment to defend South Vietnam.

1965. Winchester introduces the legendary AA shotshell. Its durable one-piece compression-formed hull is ideal for reloading and quickly becomes the “go-to” shell for millions of clay target shooters. 

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1965. While the “Horse & Rider” have been part of Winchester’s brand since 1919 when it was used by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, it’s not until now that the “Horse & Rider” trademark is officially registered.

Image source: Olin Corporation        

1965. Winchester introduces Double X, a high velocity game load with buffered, copper-plated hard shot.

1966. To mark the 100th Anniversary of Winchester Repeating Arms, a gold-tone plated Model 1894 named the Model 66 Centennial is introduced.

1966. SGT Carlos N. Hathcock II uses a standard Winchester Model 70 match rifle for sniper duty with the First Marine Division in South Vietnam. After two tours of duty and 93 confirmed kills he becomes the most well-know sniper of the conflict.

1967. The Model 190 autoloading rimfire rifle is introduced and more than two million are eventually produced.

1969. Winchester introduces WinChoke, one of the first interchangeable choke tube systems offered on a factory shotgun.

1969. John Wayne wins the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Rooster Cogbun, the one-eyed U.S. Deputy Marshal in the classic western film “True Grit.” In the film’s climatic scene Wayne rides in a full gallop joust against a band of outlaws with the horse’s reins in his teeth, twirling and firing his trademark large loop Winchester Model 1892 carbine with one hand.


1970s

1971. To mark the 100th Anniversary of the NRA, Winchester introduces a special Model 1894 Musket with full-length stock and a Model 64 rifle with a half-length magazine.

1972. A rimfire version of the Model 1894 is launched. Called the 9422 it helps introduce a whole new generation to the Winchester lever-action mystique. 1973 catalog page shown.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

 

1973. The National Wild Turkey Foundation (NWTF) is founded to help conserve the wild turkey and preserve the heritage of hunting. Winchester is one of the NWTF’s first partners in conservation. 

Image source: National Wild Turkey Foundation    

1974. The Super X Model 1 autoloading shotgun introduced - the first of the Super X automatic shotguns. 

1975. The Buffalo Bill Historic Center in Cody, Wyoming (now referred to as the Buffalo Bill Center of the West) begins negotiations to secure the Winchester Repeating Arms corporate gun collection. Thousands of Winchester guns (and millions of pages of important corporate documents) become the cornerstone of the new Cody Firearms Museum.

Image source: Cody Firearms Museum            

1976. The nation celebrates its 200th anniversary with fireworks and firearms. Winchester introduces the Bicentennial Model 1894 finished with an antique silver receiver, special engraving and an inlaid stock medallion. 

1976. A team of six trapshooters uses six Winchester Super X Model 1s to set a new world’s one-day record of 24,000 thrown targets, crushing the old mark by 9,000 targets.

1976. Winchester leads the industry by introducing the first non-toxic Steel Shot loads. 

1977. The Winchester Arms Collectors Association is organized. Its thousands of members are devoted to the preservation, understanding and collecting of Winchester firearms and related products as well as the role these products had in forging America’s heritage.

Image source: Winchester Arms Collectors Association            

1978. The Model 1300 pump shotgun and Model 1500 autoloading shotgun are introduced. 

1978. The Model 23 side-by-side shotgun is introduced, the first production double in the Winchester lineup since the Model 21 became a custom order-only item in 1960.

1979. The first Matched Set of One Thousand commemorative in Winchester history is released. It pairs a Model 1894 and a Model 9422 rimfire carbine with matching serial numbers along with a gold-satin finish and special engraving.

1979. Silvertip high-performance defensive pistol ammunition is introduced in both 45 ACP and 9mm.


1980s

1980. Winchester sets a new industry standard by introducing the one-ounce rifled shotgun slug.  

1981. Olin Corporation sells most of its Winchester Division firearm manufacturing assets to U.S. Repeating Arms Company, which will manufacture and sell Winchester brand rifles and shotguns through a trademark license agreement with Olin Corporation. Olin Corporation continues to manufacture Winchester brand ammunition.

1981. Winchester 209 shotshell primers are so reliable that NASA selects them to initiate the separation and parachute recovery systems on the Space Shuttle's solid rocket booster engines.

Image source:
NASA - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/
4/4b/STS-114_Shuttle_launch_closeup.jpg 

1983. The Model 9422 Annie Oakley rimfire commemorative carbine is released. It is the first Winchester brand factory commemorative to honor a woman.  

1984. Winchester offers a reproduction of the classic Parker side-by-side shotgun. Production continues until 1989.  

1984. Four avid hunters in Montana form the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, dedicated to elk, elk hunting and the protecting habitat they need to thrive.

Image source: RMEF    

1985. Winchester is awarded the contract to operate the government’s Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri. Over the next 15 years the plant will deliver more than 8 billions rounds of mil-spec ammunition. 

1986. The Kevlar®-reinforced WinLite synthetic stock is offered, marking another first for the Model 70.

1987. A group of private investors form a new corporation named U.S. Repeating Arms Company, Inc. and purchase the firearm manufacturing assets of U.S. Repeating Arms Company. A minority stake is taken by Fabrique Nationale (FN). Over the next several years FN through its Browning Arms Company subsidiary becomes the sole owner of U.S. Repeating Arms Company, Inc. U.S. Repeating Arms Company, Inc. manufactures and sells Winchester brand rifles and shotguns through a trademark license agreement with Olin Corporation.  

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms    

1987. Winchester introduces Silvertip® Hollow Point Boattail rifle ammunition. 


1990s

1991. The magnificent Model 70 Custom Shop Super Grade with controlled round feeding is the lead item in this year’s catalog.

1991. Winchester introduces the Super-X BRI Sabot Slug, setting a new standard for shotgun accuracy and terminal performance.

1991. 90% of the small arms ammunition used in Operation Desert Storm is supplied by facilities owned or operated by Winchester.

1992. The Pre-’64 Model 70 action returns to general production.

1992. The Model 70 with a stainless steel receiver and barrel and a black synthetic stock is introduced, instantly making the legendary rifle as modern as tomorrow.

1993. The Model 70 Custom Sharpshooter is introduced. Fitted with a Schneider stainless steel barrel, it comes with a 1 MOA accuracy guarantee and is one of the world’s first match-grade factory rifles.

1993. The Model 12 and Model 42 pump shotguns and the Model 52 rimfire rifle are reintroduced in the Winchester Classic Traditions line.

1993. High-performance, water-resistant Super-X Drylok Super Steel Waterfowl shotshells are introduced. 

1993. Winchester introduces Supreme Fail Safe® rifle ammunition.

1994. The new firearms factory for making Winchester brand firearms in New Haven, Connecticut opens with great fanfare, including a horse and cowboy-costumed rider walking up and down the factory aisles.

1995. After decades of absence from the Winchester brand product offerings, an engraved, limited edition 100th anniversary Model 1895 lever-action rifle is introduced.

1995. Winchester gives clay target shooters the performance edge with the new AA Super Handicap shotshell.

1996. The optional Ballistic Optimizing Shooting System (BOSS) is introduced. BOSS combines a barrel tuner and a choice of either a ported muzzle brake or non ported weight to allow the shooter to fine tune their rifle to get maximum accuracy with just a twist of the wrist.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms               

1996. At 17, Kim Rhode becomes the youngest women’s shooting champion in Olympic history in Atlanta, Georgia, and will go on to win individual medals in Olympic shooting in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, the only American athlete ever to do so. Rhode has her sights set on winning an unprecedented sixth individual Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. 

Image source: Olin Corporation               

1997. The Model 1892 lever-action rifle makes its reappearance.

Image source: Winchester Repeating Arms               

1997. Winchester introduces the Supreme line of ultra high-performance ammunition.

1998. A new era of autloading shotgun performance begins with the introduction of the Winchester Super X2.

1998. For the first time since 1935 the Model 1886 is rejoins the Winchester line in a magnificent High Grade version, chambered in 45-70 Government.

1999. Winchester becomes the exclusive official shotshell supplier to the USA Shooting Shotgun Team.