18. Cody Firearms Museum, Cody, WY ±7,000 guns, ±4,000 on display (57%). Formed 1976 & 1981 and established 1991

Cody Firearms Museum Exterior
Cody Firearms Museum Case


The Cody Firearms Museum was known as the Winchester Arms Museum until its dedication in 1991. Its core bequest is the Winchester factory reference collection of prototypes, standard models and competitor’s guns, and includes part of the Olin Corporation factory collection of ammunition. The Cody’ is a Smithsonian Affiliate and exhibits loans from the National Firearms Collection.

The Cody Firearms Museum is to undergo reinstallation, projected reopening in 2019. The reconfigured collection will include the new guns designed over the past thirty years. The current instillation has several methods of curating its firearms, including by historical period, type of firearm, factory collection, themed display, full-size diorama, temporary exhibit and study collections, all in open display and operable file cabinets. The museum honors individuals and corporations who have either bequeathed their historic collections or provided funds to name galleries. It is a labyrinthine display with layers of curatorial periods that is simultaneously confounding and wonderful.

The Winchester bequest includes the prehistory of lever-action firearms, including designs by Hunt, Jennings, Volcanic and Henry. Prototypes and skeletonized cutaways are included in a near complete history of all Winchester rifles and shotguns designed by Browning and Mason, and both inventors have dedicated displays. Additionally, the Cody holds the personal collection of inventor Eli Whitney Jr. Many cartridge boards & collections are hung in odd corners, including those of Winchester, Kynoch, Nobel & Maynard. Apart from production arms, there are decorated firearms of the highest quality, including Boutet, Manton, and Purdey, presentation firearms of the great nineteenth and twentieth century engravers, the Presidential firearms or Roosevelt, Regan and V.P. Cheney, and handguns embellished by Raymond Wielgus. It has a number of specialist collections of trick shooters Munden, Parsons and Knapp, whose legacy goes back to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Cases display Forsyth’s ‘Scent-bottle’ percussion system, every version of Lee Enfield rifles, miniature firearms, air guns, commemorative guns, and just about everything in between.

Houze, H.G., Cody Firearms Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, (1991)
Winchester "Factory Letter" Serial number research (307) 578-4031
Buffalo Bill Center of the West