Remember the 133-year-old Winchester rifle found under a tree in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park in November 2014? The folks at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming have given it the once-over and are sharing some of their findings
The butt of the old Winchester was buried in 4 or 5 inches of dirt and debris from the tree, completely obscuring its metal butt plate and the lower portion of its stock. The gun was uncocked, its chamber and magazine empty, its metal rusted.
The rifle sat there, leaning against a juniper tree on a remote outcrop, since at least 1930, but it could have been left as far back as 1900.
An X-ray of the rifle discovered a cartridge tucked inside its stock where the cleaning rod is normally kept. The .44-40 caliber bullet in the rifle was removed and traced back to its long-gone manufacturer: Connecticut-based Union Metallic Cartridge Co.
The cartridge was made sometime between 1889 and 1911, before the Union Metallic Cartridge Co. merged with Remington in 1912.
The rifle was manufactured in February 1882 and shipped from Winchester’s factory in New Haven, Connecticut in June 1882. But the Winchester records did not reveal where the gun was shipped or what happened to it after that.