Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The John Wayne Gun

Model 1892 Winchester

As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.

This is the story of Winchester when it was owned by Americans and a customer could write to them and have them make any firearm they wanted to specifications. No one who loved John Wayne ever could not be thrilled over the Winchester Model 1892, as that is the lever action rifle of all of the old westerns. In that, the "Winchester rifles" of John Browning design, appeared in the 1873, which Jimmy Stewart made famous by the movie, the 1886 which was the 'heavy" and Teddy Roosevelt's Medicine Gun, the 1892, the 1894 which became the American deer gun in 30 30 Winchester and the 1896 chambered for 30.06 and 405 Winchester, and the lovely 1871 Winchester in the 348 Winchester which I always wanted to go to Canada with and shoot bear, moose and boo.


Model 1871
All of these rifle designs were lovely in their different conceptions and my favorites are the 92, 71, 94 and 86 in that order. This is about the 1892 in the quick lever action chambered often for revolver cartridges like the 25 20, so a cowboy or trapper could just carry one load for their pot gun.
These were pot guns as they were designed to harvest small game, as the era of large game had disappeared and person on horseback needed a handy rifle for defense, for shooting varmints, popping grouse on the trail for the pot and if an opportunity arose to shoot an antelope, the  92 serviced that too.


92 Trapper

That is why the 92 came in a configuration of the Saddle Ring Carbine, along with the later Wrangler with the big ring on the lever which the Rifleman in Chuck Connors made famous along with John Wayne.  There was a model in this which was called the Trapper, because after 1900, the cowboy and drifter had become not a Bill Cody riding across states, but stayed within their counties, and the Trapper appeared into the wilds, and from Jaguar hunters in South America where these Trappers were very popular to the American wilds, the Trapper carbine became thee most cherished possession.

What made these guns unique is they all had short barrels. The 92 came in two production models in 25 20 Winchester Center fire of 14 and 15 inch barrels in the early 1900's. As mentioned above, Winchester would special order guns, and in reading old articles in the NRA Rifleman, I recall that there were a number of 10 and 12 inch barrel models ordered, and the Latino of South America adored these guns.

These most handy rifles though in the Prohibition era became a problem for ATF, because the FBI was going after people gone outlaw in the  American Midwest in trying to make a living. The greatest punishment to Americans came in this era when the guns of criminals robbing banks in sawed off shotguns and Tommy Guns brought about guns banned with barrels less than 18 inches.
That 18 inches though caused a  problem as the NRA had numbers of carbines from the Government which had 16 inch barrels. So having nothing to do with the law or need, the ATF simply rewrote the law to 16 inches as the law of the land. Of course none of that stopped criminals, but it did stop law abiding people from having Tommy Guns unless under special permit, but it ended all barrels 16 inches and less.

That is when the ATF discovered all of these little short Winchesters. In seeing they just made Americans criminals for owning guns they used on the trail, the ATF rewrote the law again, and listed certain serial numbers as not part of the national firearms registry.  If the guns were not on the registry, that meant a 10,000 dollar fine and 25 years in prison. So a Jaguar hunter with a 10 inch barrel in Mexico was legal, but if he crossed into America he was criminal, but if the barrel was 16 inches he was not a criminal.

So this is the story of the firearm that I have always wanted in a John Wayne gun, but they can not be had are they are worth tens of thousands of dollars. The tragedy of this is there are some firearms which still appear, and must be sent to ATF, and if they can not assess if the gun was factory original, they will destroy the gun by removing the barrel. It is that or jail time.


 Mare's Leg

Both Rossi and Henry came out with a configuration of the 92, as others with 16 inch barrels in Winchester were called "Trappers", in their configurations though the were called the Mare's Leg, but in order to be "legal", they were defined as a pistol with this stupid chopped of stock. See if you put a stock on this Mare's Leg it would get you arrested for 25 years in prison.

The reason the ATF kept these Winchester's legal is they reasoned that Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson would never use these lever actions in a crime, so they were put on a list, but manufacturers can not make them for Americans ever.

I had hoped with Donald Trump, in Don jr is an avid hunter, that a re regulation would appear so firearms manufacturers could make these real Trappers again, but that has vanished with Donald Trump banning firearms and becoming quite the Nazi in researching private medical records to keep you from owning guns.

My 92 Trapper though is just in my mind and always will be. It is with me though, in a 10 inch barrel, 45 long Colt, and this bunty little thing is in my pack, on my horse scabbard or in my pick up as it is just handy. It is only in my dreams but it is where it only legally can exist in this infringement on American Rights.

You have no idea how stupid American regulations are. Do you now why you can't use an 8 gauge to hunt with  in shotguns? Because 100 years ago in DC decided that a 10 gauge is what was the largest gun most people had, so that was the upper limit. It was a mob rule rule again and had zero do with conservation just as banning the Model 92 Trapper has nothing to do with criminals.

As I close this out, I will remind all of you, that before 1934 anyone could order from Thompson a full auto 45 rifle through the mail, and no one was ever shot with one by Citizens. You could write to any American firearms company and order any gun the  way you wanted it, and it came to your door. Before 1968 you could order guns through the mail and they came to your door without any paperwork, providing they were not machine guns or guns with barrels less than 16 inches.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness ended in America like Make America Great Again. What I want to pursue to make me happy is 92 Winchester with a 10 inch barrel. I will never have my dream fulfilled, because laws which violate the Constitution are violating my rights, for the Republic is dead and the epitaph is the 92 Winchester Trapper.


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