Gun of the Week: Winchester Wetmore-Wood Revolver

Winchester made revolvers? Winchester Wetmore-Wood Revolver, .44-40 caliber, date: ca 1876. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming; Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection, 1988.8.998

This week I am going to stick to another seemingly oxymoronic concept. Last week, I covered the semi-automatic revolver, well what about a Winchester Revolver? Now if you're thinking, hold up, Winchesters didn't make revolvers, then you're probably in line with a solid portion of the population. But Winchester did, and the revolvers were actually quite innovative.

The apocryphal story goes like this: Colt threatened to make a lever action, so in retaliation Winchester developed their version of the revolver. It’s a great story. However, we don’t know if it’s completely accurate. I will say though that when it comes to firearms manufacturers during this time period, it’s not out of the realm of possibility given some of the personalities involved.

This firearm is a Winchester Wetmore-Wood Revolver manufactured between 1876 and 1879. It is the second series of Winchester Revolvers that they produced. The cool thing about this gun is that Stephen Wood’s design featured a cylinder that pivots out of the frame for cartridge ejection—the earliest form, which is still in use today.

Winchester considered manufacture for the civilian and military markets, but did not ultimately produce a lot of these revolvers. However, some samples were distributed to the governments in Russia and Spain. A large display of the prototypes and productions models however can be seen right here in Cody, Wyoming. Our Winchester Arms Collection has a lot of prototypes and surprises that appear that might even stump the most avid collector…maybe.

To see the previous Gun of the Week—a Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver__—click here. Stay tuned for a new gun next week. For more information, check out the Cody Firearms Museum page here, or follow the Cody Firearms Museum on Facebook and Twitter.