Although he probably didn’t plan it, when New England shirtmaker Oliver Fisher Winchester acquired the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co. in 1857 and re-named it the New Haven Arms Co., he ended up dramatically altering firearm technology, helped settle the American West and subsequently created a legacy that continues to this day.
Compact, reliable and powerful, Winchester's Model 1894 lever-actions may not have the popularity it once had with Western settlers, prospectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and ranchers, but its legacy remains today and is a fan favorite in Winchester's current product line.
Since its invention at the end of the 19th century, the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle design has become an iconic American firearm that is still produced and celebrated to this day.
It is said that the Winchester Model 1873 lever-action rifle is one of the guns that "Won the West." The same could also be said for its cartridge which still lives on to this day, the .44-40 Winchester, the history of which is explored here.
As an improvement over the previous Model 1892 and with the added power of the smokeless .30 W.C.F. cartridge, the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle was the most prolific American sporting rifle of its era.