How Well Do You Know the History of America's Famous Firearms Manufacturers?

By: John Miller
Image: youtube

About This Quiz

From the Revolutionary War, to the Old West, to the World Wars and everything in between, firearms have played a major role in the development of United States history. Whether you consider the American Long Rifle or the M1 Garand to be the most iconic weapon, none of these famous guns would’ve ever seen the light of day without innovative manufacturers.

It’s the gunmakers, after all, who arm the hunters and warriors who make history.

What do you really know about the companies that built some of America’s best-loved firearms? Do you know which ones relied on shotgun sales? How about those that made nothing but revolvers and pistols?

In the late 1800s, a flurry of innovations drastically changed the firearms market. Do you remember which companies jumped on these changes in order to make cutting-edge weapons? And do you know how these intrepid businessmen reacted to the American Civil War?

Do you know which company perfected one of the most iconic lever-action rifles of all time? Do you know who took existing revolver designs and made them commercially successful?

It’s these stories that make up the history of America’s best-known firearms builders. Let’s find out if you know Remington from Winchester!

Which company did Eliphalet Remington found in 1816?

In 1816, in New York, Eliphalet Remington founded Remington Arms under the name E. Remington and Sons. It's the oldest factory in the country that still makes the same product it did 200 years ago.

Smith & Wesson is an American company famous for its _____.

Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson is a legendary maker of pistols and revolvers. The brand is especially coveted by law enforcement agencies.

Colt's Manufacturing Company was the first company to popularize which product?

Colt was renowned for making some of the first successful revolvers. Some of Colt's products are among the most famous in firearms history.

Which company made the famous Model 700 bolt-action rifle?

In 1962, Remington launched the Model 700, a legendary bolt-action rifle. It went on to become one of the company's best sellers and resulted in many new designs based on the original.

Which company made a legendary revolver called The Peacemaker?

In the 1870s, Colt introduced its Single Action Army, which is often better known as The Peacemaker. This .45-caliber revolver helped to resolve many frontier confrontations ... in one way or another.

Which conflict greatly increased demand for Smith & Wesson revolvers?

During the Civil War, soldiers on both sides scrambled for sidearms in order to protect themselves in close-quarters combat. Smith & Wesson orders skyrocketed.

What event helped jumpstart Remington's early business?

Eliphalet Remington made his own rifle and then entered a shooting competition. He didn't win, but he so impressed bystanders that he found competitors asking him to make guns for them.

Which company built what is sometimes called "The Gun That Won the West"?

It's true that multiple companies claim to have made the guns that conquered the West. But Winchester, with its successful repeating rifles, has as much right to that distinction as any other gunmaker.

When Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson first banded together, they wanted to make which product?

Smith and Wesson were initially aiming to manufacture Volcanic lever-action rifles. But when the product failed commercially, they moved on to greener pastures.

Browning is responsible for making which famous firearm?

Browning Arms created the M1911 pistol, which became the official sidearm of the U.S. military from 1911 to 1986. It's still regarded as one of the finest handguns ever made.

True or false, during WWI, did Remington manufacture guns originally designed by other companies?

During the Great War, many companies retooled their factories to make new or different products. Remington made Pattern 1914 Enfield rifles for Britain and Berthier rifles for France, among others.

How did Colt fare during the American Civil War?

Like other gunmakers, Colt made a fortune during the war. It manufactured hundreds of thousands of muskets and revolvers for the battlefields.

Which company purchased Remington during the Great Depression?

DuPont made a killing with its technological advances to gunpowder. So when the Depression left Remington floundering, it made sense that DuPont bought the struggling gunmaker.

Which company was the predecessor to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company?

Oliver Winchester was the biggest shareholder in the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company, which failed to find commercial success. Years later, Volcanic's assets were folded into what became Winchester.

After the Civil War, demand for Smith & Wesson revolvers dropped significantly. How did the company respond?

Following the Civil War, Smith & Wesson recognized that frontiersmen needed bigger, beefier revolvers for the Wild West. So it began making larger revolvers to suit those purposes.

Which company made the first cartridge revolver officially adopted by the U.S. military?

The Smith & Wesson Model 3, which entered production in 1870, was the first cartridge revolver adopted by the American military. Up to that point, Army revolvers were black powder models.

Which company is America's oldest gunmaker?

Since 1816, Remington Arms has been making guns in America. It's the country's oldest gunmaker.

What year was the Winchester Repeating Arms Company formed?

Oliver Winchester formed Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1866. The company's headquarters is located in New Haven, Connecticut. It's now regarded as a true American icon.

During WWI, which country stiffed Remington on a payment of firearms, leaving the company in dire financial straits?

Remington manufactured huge numbers of rifles for Russia during WWI, and near the end of the conflict, the Russians didn't pay. Remington was stuck with the tab … but fortunately, the U.S. government offered a bit of a bailout.

The first Winchester rifle was based on the design of what famous gun?

The 1860 Henry rifle was an early and successful repeating rifle. For his Model 1866 Winchester rifle, Oliver Winchester used the Henry rifle as a template but added some significant improvements.

Before starting his company, Eliphalet Remington first learned to make which part of a gun?

Remington's father was a blacksmith, so he had some familiarity with metalworking. The young Eliphalet learned how to make gun barrels first and then began making them for other people.

Which company was the first to make a revolver meant to fire the gigantic .357 Magnum cartridge?

In the 1930s, Smith & Wesson introduced the Model 27, the first revolver ever capable of firing a .357 Magnum. When it debuted, the gun was called the Registered Magnum.

Starting in the 1950s, Remington decided to diversify its product line. One of its new products was ______.

In the post-war years, Remington opted to spread out its product offerings. It made chain saws, among other items.

After Oliver Winchester died in 1880, who took control of his famous and profitable company?

Winchester's death left the company in the hands of his son, William … who then promptly died of illness. William's wife became transfixed on supernatural matters and began blowing much of her inheritance on weird projects like the Winchester Mystery House.

Following Oliver Winchester's death, which famous gunmaker teamed up with the company to make new shotgun and rifle designs?

In 1883, the legendary gun designer John Browning teamed with Winchester to design new rifles and shotguns. Some of those firearms became so successful that they are still in production.

True or false, were many of Winchester's repeating rifles used during the Civil War?

Repeating rifles were still in their infancy during the Civil War. Few of Winchester's famous rifles made it to these battlefields. But in the Old West, these models definitely got their due.

Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New Jersey, was the first incarnation of which company?

When he first began making revolvers, Samuel Colt formed a mouthful of a company named Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New Jersey, Colt's Patent. He intended to use his revolver patents to make handguns.

True or false, did Colt start its manufacturing history by making revolvers?

Colt meant to start with revolvers but actually began with the Colt First Model Ring Lever rifle, which was introduced in the late 1830s. It was a caplock revolving rifle.

A partnership between which famous firearms entities lasted for decades?

John Browning licensed many of his revolutionary designs to Winchester, and for decades the two entities worked together on groundbreaking guns. In the end, the deal soured when Browning tried to alter his contract to make more money from the production of his designs.

Which company is renowned for its Model 870 shotgun?

In 1950, Remington designed the Model 870 shotgun. It's one of the most rugged and reliable shotguns ever made, and the company has sold millions of them.

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