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Winchester: An American Legend Hardcover – August 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A thorough survey of every model manufactured, featuring lavish illustrations in color and black and white.

From the Inside Flap

No arms maker in history has captured the imagination in the way Winchester has: rifles, shotguns, and ammunition famous the world over for craftsmanship, design capability and performance, historical tradition, and sheer romance. And it is the Winchester that is known as "the gun that won the West."

Now, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Winchester marque, R. L. Wilson -- Americas most distinguished writer and expert in the firearms field -- has produced the definitive and official history of Winchester arms and ammunition. Valuable production tables are presented, in addition to a spectacular tribute, in text and photographs, of the full spectrum of products, first introduced in 1849.

Designed companion volume to the best-selling Colt: An American Legend, Winchester matches that award-winning work with a fresh and breathtaking look at Americas most renowned and respected maker of long guns and cartridges. Every collector and enthusiast will delight in its broad appeal, with over 300 photographs in full color and more than 165 in black and white. Winchester: An American Legend pictures and describes virtually every model ever made from the prototype rifles by Hunt and Jennings, to the Volcanics and Henrys, through the full range of lever-action post-Civil War rifles, into the myriad of single-shot, pump, semiautomatic, and bolt actions. Major models, such as the famed 1873 rifle, the Model 12 and 21 shotguns, and the Model 70 bolt-action sporting rifle, are all given lavish attention in text and pictures. Moreover, for the first time in any major firearms book, pictorial and textual material on Winchester's wide range of ammunition) is presented.

The hundreds of Winchester firearms pictured range from standard models for service or sport use, as well as for target-shooting and plinking, to the most elaborate of presentations -exquisite gold-inlaid and engraved arms (some by Tiffany & Co.) with historical pedigrees of the elite and famous. Here are guns of President Abraham Lincoln, stagecoach king Ben Holladay, markswoman Annie Oakley, John Wayne, and the keenest of all Winchester enthusiasts, ranchman and U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt Winchester's contributions to the two world wars, Korea, and Vietnam are also detailed, including the development of the M1 carbine's basic design configuration in the amazing time of thirteen days. The contributions of gun designers B. Tyler Henry, John Browning, T. C. Johnson, and Marshall Carbine Williams are recognized as are the artistic achievements of such gifted engravers as Gustave Young, L. D. Nimschke, the Ulrich family, and the dean of contemporary artisans, Alvin A. White. Several beautiful guns from the Winchester Custom Shop are featured in full color.

The books large format presents many of the firearms in exquisite close-ups, accompanied by substantial details of history, development, and significance. Variations within model groups are given ample attention, and the books organization gives an unequaled overview of nearly a century and a half of Winchester achievement A unique, comprehensive table in the appendix gives serial numbers and related production data previously unavailable in any one source.

The most lavish work ever produced on American long arms, Winchester: An American Legend has been published with the full cooperation of the Winchester Division of the Olin Corporation, as well as Winchester licensee, the U.S. Repeating Arms Company. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Chartwell Books, Inc.; Reprint edition (August 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785818936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785818939
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By ABH457 on February 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For those who do not own an 1866 Winchester or its predesessor, the Henry, this book comes as close to putting one in your hands as paper and print can. The cool of blued steel and the balance in a fine walnut stock are to be felt on every page. This book is an emblem for the art of still life photography today and for printers' skills. The images are stunning throughout. And pread after spread of exceptional Winchesters from collections around the world confirm that innovation and fine craft make collectables, whether from industry or the fine art studio. The text is useful but leaves one wanting more detail. For the beginner or aspiring collector, for example, a clearer way of differentiating one model and the next would be useful.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Joseph H Pierre on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
R.L. Wilson, who wrote this book, also wrote one called 'Colt, an American Legend.' Both books are exquisite, coffee table size--eight and a half inches by eleven inches (landscape)--and each are over 400 pages, almost every page filled with extremely high quality color photographs.

R.L. Wilson, in addition to being a collector and well-known author in the firearms field, is a historical consultant to Colt's Firearms Division.

The subtitle on the first page says, "The official history of Winchester firearms and ammunition from 1849 to the present," which pretty much covers the entire history of the Winchester Firearms Company (now known as U.S. Repeating Arms, since a bankruptcy and change of ownership.)

If you are a Winchester aficionado, or just a Western history buff, with an interest in "The Gun That Won the West," this is a book you will want in your library.

It is one of my favorite books. It will probably be one of yours, also.

Joseph Pierre,
Author of THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS: Our Journey Through Eternity
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karl on December 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Just the pictures in this huge volume are enough to make it worth thumbing through, but the written information is tremendous and the author manages to cover all connections to Winchesters' Fathers, including John M Browning, my personal hero (other than my Father, Uncle, Grandfather and all other veterans of WWII and Korea). Probably not all the information on Winchester firearms and ammo history but all that I can absorb and still have a social life.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Cordell on April 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful to look at. Not heavy in the way of company or technical history, but what a great coffee table book. Costly - if you can find it - but wow!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sinclair on May 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
the next best thing to owning a winchester rifle itself.

excellent in every respect and well recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Warren Flay on January 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an eye opener for sure! Okay it is a coffee table book rather than a serious reference work, but hey, you cannot deny the shear luminous beauty of the photography and the well thought out layout and design. There is good info to be had as well, this book is a 'faster' reference than Madis' work and leaves you hungry for more. Well done Mr Wilson, I will be buying more of your work!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Dellios on February 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I live in Australia and I'm always on the lookout for books about the history of guns, as my father and brothers are collectors and it's getting harder and harder to find books of these sort here. Amazon made it very easy to order and make payment, I ordered 4 books at once, they all arrived neatly packed and in no time at all! Extremely happy with the process, I'll be a return customer!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hal Herring on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It is a coffee table book for anyone who loves beautiful guns. But it is more than that, too. Prop it up (its a monster book, hard on the wrists) and delve into the history of these deadly works of art, and into the history of America's Number One riflemaker.

Wilson is a fine, workmanlike writer with a full grasp of his subject. The photos are magnificent. This book sits in the place of honor in my own living room, and I notice all but the most die hard hoplophobes are inexorably drawn to it, losing themselves in the text and photos, marveling at the genius of the Winchester designs and the artistry of the gunmakers. It's harder to find a better recommendation than that one. An essential text for the Winchester fan, or anyone who shoots or collects.

Hal Herring
author of:
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Famous Firearms of the Old West
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