Winchester Model 1895: Last of the Classic Lever Actions, by Rob Kassab and Brad Dunbar. (ISBN 978-0-578-46655-2 Buffalo Cove Publishing LLC, 160 West Camino Real #177, Boca Raton, FL 33432; 561.750.6988; www.1895Book.com. Genuine leather hardcover, 432 pages, more than 400 color illustrations, 2019, $79.99 + shipping).
Between October 1884 and September 1887, Winchester purchased nine Browning firearm designs. Among those rifles manufactured were the popular Model 1886, Model 1892, and Model 1894 lever actions. However, the next Browning design manufactured by the company was last of Browning’s classic lever action rifle designs, the Model 1895.
Winchester produced the Model 1895 in a number of calibers and configurations, including Sporting Rifle, Fancy (Deluxe) Sporting Rifle, Musket, Carbine, NRA Musket, and Takedown Rifle. In addition, they company also cataloged the US Army Pattern Musket.
Winchester recognized a golden opportunity when the US Army expressed interest in the Model 1895 to supplement the standardized Krag rifle. In 1898, Secretary of War Russell Alger ordered 10,000 Model 1895 Muskets in .30-40 caliber with a like quantity of bayonets.
In 1914, Russia placed its first order in for 100,000 Muskets. The following year, it ordered an additional 200,000. By the time of October 1917 revolution, Winchester had delivered 293,818 Model 1895 Muskets in 7.62mm caliber to the Imperial government. In addition, Winchester shipped large quantities of arms and ammunition to Mexico during the revolution
And while the military contracts for the Model 1895 were impressive, it was the weapon’s vast civilian popularity that made it remarkable. Hunters and sportsmen, including Theodore Roosevelt, Sr, who chose it for his famous African and South American expeditions, appreciated the ease of using the self-loading rifle and wide range of calibers in which it was available.
Rob Kassab and Brad Dunbar have researched the history and design of the Model 1895 for many years. They examined several thousand Model 1895s, recording relevant data and identifying unique characteristics.
“Winchester Model 1895: Last of the Classic Lever Actions.” is filled with detailed photos of the nuances of various parts and markings of the Model 1895. These images complement a well-written text that is both enjoyable and authoritative to read. Production records and serial number guides will prove informative to anyone researching a particular weapon. Finally, the historical media — photos, ads, artwork, and even period-printed books — are interspersed throughout the volume creating the sense of just how big the impact and popularity was of the Model 1895. This book is both a joy to read and a definitive reference of the “last classic lever action.” — JAG
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