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Winchester Model 55 Takedown

The Model 55 is an example of a 20th century hunting rifle that, while still serviceable, is also increasingly collectible.


Winchester had a winner with its Model 1894, the first rifle made for smokeless propellant cartridges. But by the early 1920s, with the Wild West giving way to “urban wilderness,” the role of the Model 94 was being redefined as more outdoorsmen were traveling by motorcar and railroad in addition to horseback.

Thus, while the handy Model 94 carbine remained a favorite, the longer-barreled rifle was losing sales. Consequently, in 1924 Winchester introduced an “updated” version of the Model 94 rifle. The company dubbed it the Model 55 (not to be confused with the Winchester Model 55 top-loading, single-shot .22 rimfire of later years), in keeping with a similar policy for the Model 1892, which had become the Model 53.

The Winchester Model 55 was a rifle with a 24-inch barrel, an integral ramp front sight and a half-magazine that held three cartridges. It was initially chambered only in .30-30 Win., but .25-35 Win. and .32 Win. Spl. were added in 1926. For the first few years, the Model 55 carried its own set of serial numbers; however, in 1926, around serial number 2,865, the Model 55 reverted to serial numbers within the already established Model 94 range.

The earliest guns were made as takedowns, a nod to the popularity during that era of storing guns in closets or trunks or transporting them via bicycle or in suitcases. In 1930, solid-frame Model 55s were made available. Extra-order options, such as shorter or longer barrels, double-set triggers and half-octagon barrels, are known to exist. In 1932, with approximately 20,500 guns made, the Model 55 was discontinued to make way for the Winchester Model 64. There were enough spare parts in Winchester’s inventory, however, to keep the Model 55 in production until 1935, even though it was no longer catalogued.

This early Model 55 Winchester takedown is one of those guns I wish could talk. Its four-digit serial number puts it in the second year of manufacture, and although it shows signs of long, hard use, it has been taken care of, with no serious rust or pitting (although the link pin stop screw is an original replacement). The bore, too, remains shiny, and the rifling is sharp. As it came out of a ranch in Montana, no doubt it could tell tales of many deer hunts. It is a classic example of an early 20th century hunting rifle that, while still serviceable, is also increasingly collectible.

Gun: Winchester Model 55 (takedown)
Caliber: .30-30 Win.
Serial No.: 16XX
Condition: NRA Good (Modern Gun Condition Standards)
Manufactured: 1925 (note: 1,847 Model 55s were made that year)
Value: $1,250 to $1,450

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12 Responses to Winchester Model 55 Takedown

Bert Hartman wrote:
October 11, 2013

For all who are seeking information about the Model 55, contact me at Win1885@msn.com I can provide the exact date of manufacture, and answer most other questions.

JL Hughes wrote:
September 28, 2013

I have a model 55, 30-30 ser# 1031. Was bought in the late 30's by my step-father. would like some good background. Thank You

jesse berry wrote:
April 30, 2013

i have model 55- 25-35 wce. 1075542 made new haven,conn. can you tell me more about it

Dan Carlson wrote:
April 25, 2013

I have a Winchester Model 55 with a serial # 855. It is a 30 WCF. Would appreciate any information.

Buffalo Phil wrote:
March 30, 2013


A Buettner wrote:
January 25, 2013

Hello, I inherited my father's Model 55 Winchester 25-35 take down rifle. S/N appears to be 6484....very good condition. Would you be able to tell me the year it was made?

john harrison wrote:
September 28, 2012

i have a modle 55 ser#1020131 it also only has a 20 inch barrel is that right?

D.L. Murphy wrote:
July 22, 2012

I inherited a Model 55, 30 WCF rifle from my grandfather and the serial number is 4467. Can you tell me anymore about the gun? Thanks.

Bert Hartman wrote:
July 18, 2012

Hello B.R. Lewis, If you see this, I can be contacted at Win1885@msn.com I did find the information and background for W.E. Scagel.

B.R. Lewis wrote:
June 20, 2012

Bert Hartman - sorry, this is totally off topic, but I cannot find any other way to reach you. I noticed a post on a knife forum some years back where you were looking for some information on a rifle that you had that was owned by a man named W.W. Scagel from Fruitport, MI? I was wondering how your search for information was coming. I also am seeking some information on the man, and was wondering if you could help me. Please send me an email if you have some time. Thanks.

Bert Hartman wrote:
May 30, 2012

Hello Joe, The information in the article above is not accurate. Winchester serialized the first 12,002 Model 55 Rifles in their own serial number sequence, then in early March of 1928, they merged them into the Model 94 serial number sequence. Your rifle is one of them, and it was manufactured in January of 1929. Bert Hartman WACA 6571L, Historian

Joe R wrote:
May 01, 2012

I've got a model 55 inherited from my grandfather. My problem is the serial number "1038992" which appears by all accounts to be a non-existent number. Can you provide an explanation?