The Winchester Rifle
by L. R.

Oliver Winchester invented the volcanic repeating rifle in 1854. (Below.)

What Is It, And What Does It Do?
    This invention is a revolver that can shoot repeatedly without reloading, and in a matter of seconds. The volcanic repeating revolver proved to be reliable, rugged and easy to handle, even by those not used to firearms. This invention was also dangerous as well.   It killed thousands of innocent people in the 1800's, not including those who were involved in the War of the West.

    Before the Winchester volcanic repeating rifle was invented, the original handgun had to be invented by Samuel Colt.  Then there was the tubular magazine, which was invented in 1849 by Walter Hunt. After the tubular magazine was invented, the improved action lever for the hunt rifle was created by Lewis Jennings that same year. Daniel B. Wesson invented the the rim fine cartridge, one of  the guns that made modern weapons possible. When Oliver Fisher Winchester bought the Volcanic Arms Company, he changed the name to Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1866.

Postcard from the Winchester Mystery House Gift Shop. (above)

    This invention changed people's lives in many ways. Some were seriously injured or killed with Winchester Guns. The war of the West was won by using the Winchester Volcanic Repeating Rifle. Many famous people used Winchester rifles including Buffalo Bill and Theodore Roosevelt. Buffalo Bill reported that a bear had been charging him from 30 yards away, and by the time it reached him, it had eleven bullets in his stomach. Theodore Roosevelt was also known to bring Winchester rifles with him on his famous Africa expeditions. Indians avoided white men with the new lever action repeating Winchester guns
    Volcanic Arms Co. Pistols used self-contained cartridges and loaded by a cocking lever incorporated into the trigger guard. this was an excellent design, yet poor cartridges destroyed performance. All Winchester guns are based in previous designs. Daniel Wesson and B. Tyler Henry invented the rim fire fine cartridge, one of the guns that led to modern day machine guns.
    The name Winchester also has a more creepy background. Many of you may have heard of the Winchester Mystery House. It was said that Sarah Winchester, the wife of the son of Oliver Winchester, was haunted by the ghosts of all the people who had been killed with a Winchester rifle. She was haunted by these ghosts until she received orders by a Boston Spiritualist to build a house for all of the restless spirits. This house is full of stairways leading to nowhere, doors on the ceiling, and quite a number of 13th rooms. The Winchester Mystery House is very peculiar, and many people still visit it today.
This concludes my report on the Winchester volcanic repeating rifle.
Oliver Winchester, age 37.


Internet Sources:
"The Winchester Mystery House and other Ghost Stories of Silicon Valley. August 27, 1997. (May 6, 2000)

"Firearm Auction in CA successful; Main Antique Digest, August 1998." Unknown.
http://www. (May 7, 2000)

"USRAC Winchester Historical Timeline."  May 2, 2000.
http:// (May 12, 2000)

Book Source:
Colby, C.B. Firearms by Winchester. C.B. Colby; New York. 1957.

CD Source:
Macaulay, David. The Way Things Work. Dorling Kingsley; New York, New York. 1996.