YOU LOOK AT THE history of the westward expansion in America, you will see a period of roughly a hundred years, the 19th Century, full of major battles and forgotten skirmishes, isolated shootings and one-shot affrays. It was a chaotic and turbulent century, but when the last page of the calendar was turned, the historians had plenty to study and write about.
It is also true that many of the remembered events, and a great deal of the day-to-day life on the Frontier, turned on the skillful use of firearms. Only in the last 35 years or so of the 19th Century did those guns fire metallic cartridges. It is also true that the latter three decades were pretty well dominated by Winchester lever-action rifles and one model or another of the Colt revolver.
According to Hollywood’s historians and their dubious scholarship, the most widely used Winchester of them all was the Model 1892. If the gun had existed in those earlier days of the 19th Century, it would have no doubt had a major impact.
But it didn’t, because the ‘92 was not offered until 1892 or 1893. That was long after the major battles of the time. There were no ‘92s at the Little Big Horn or the OK Corral, none in the hands of Custer or James. The guns simply did not exist, but they are almost invariably used in Western films and TV shows.
I am pretty well convinced that the reason is that Hollywood gun rental firms of the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s had plenty of ‘92s to use, but relatively few ‘66s or ‘73s.
They had ‘92s because the gun stayed in production at Winchester’s New Haven plant until 1941. It was easy to buy new ones and get parts to keep them all running. Now that the replica firearms business is doing so well, we can buy a top-notch replica of almost any variation of the Henry or Winchester rifles really used. Actor Tom Selleck is a fiend for authenticity in films and he has used such esoteric guns as a replica ‘76 Centennial Model.
However, the demand for SAS (Single Action Shooting) arms is such that we now have a good variety of ‘92 replicas, including carbines, rifles and even takedowns. Clearly, we have an abiding fondness for the little ‘92 Winchester, be it original or replica. That’s grounds for taking a look at the Model 1892 Winchester, another of John Browning’s timeless designs.