Was the WSM the Death of Winchester?


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ReadyontheRight
February 23, 2006, 09:50 PM
I'm not sure if this has come up here yet, but what do you think? Marketing blunder of this young century?

It seems that Winchester put all their product development thought, investment, promotions and future of the plant into the very tight niche of WSM cartridges.

I don't know anyone who bought one.

Their official press releases say "An eroding demand for rifles and shotguns has caused the plant to steadily lower production and decrease the number of workers it employs." and "The problem is the overall decline in the market for rifles and shotguns made by the New Haven plant, not a loss of market share for the Winchester brand in general."

GIVE ME A BREAK! :fire:

When you only sell three basic hunting products that last for generations, with the only changes being tweaks to the consumables that go through them, your sales will eventually decline. I barely have an idea of what to do differently with a .270 vs. a 30-06...but I'm supposed to run out and buy a whole new bunch of shorter, fatter versions of already very similar cartridges?

"That looks like a FEMALE cape buffalo...better hand me the SHORT action magnum."

A "Brokeback Mountain" commemoritive Model 94 (with a little product placement :p ) would probably have sold more copies than all the WSM models combined.:D

The current crew at Winchester has been making rifles and shotguns for decades! Have they ever looked at what else their customers want or even thought about new designs since John Browning died?

Where are the Winchester CQB rifles?
Where's a Winchester M1 Garand or M1A?
Where's the police division/salesforce?
Where's the military division/salesforce?
Where are the Winchester Scout Rifles?
Where are the new Winchester lever gun designs?
Where is a breakthrough Winchester shotgun design?
Where's a nice Winchester double rifle?
Where's an every Man's Winchester bolt gun with iron sights?
Where's a nice modern Winchester rolling block that can handle high pressures?
Winchester handgun?

Where's a ground-breaking, high-capacity Winchester self-defense rifle that you can "load up on Sunday and shoot all week" compared to current designs? Do we only get that every TWO hundred years?

Granted, they did come back with a Model 70 "Pre-64" action, but finally admitting you made a HUGE mistake 40 years ago isn't exactly Marketing genius.

So...in your opinion was it...

A) An overall declining interest in rifles and shotguns or
B) Winchester's choice to squeeze just a little bit more out of the politically-correct hunting market while ignoring all other firearms markets

...that killed the "Made in USA" Winchester?

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iamkris
February 23, 2006, 10:23 PM
The WSM wasn't the idea of USRAC. It was Winchester (the Olin one). I highly doubt it was the foucs on the cartridge that did in the line. I don't think all the Savage's, Tikka's, etc, etc that are being snapped up in the WSM are hurting the other manufacturers.

Rather it's all the other reasons...lack of focus on new markets, reliance on a narrow product line, lack of innovation, high labor costs, low productivity machinery, etc, etc.

stolivar
February 23, 2006, 10:37 PM
they only closed one new haven plant. and they only made a few of their guns.
Winchester is not closing down.


steve

The Real Hawkeye
February 23, 2006, 10:41 PM
I'm not sure if this has come up here yet, but what do you think? Marketing blunder of this young century?

It seems that Winchester put all their product development thought, investment, promotions and future of the plant into the very tight niche of WSM cartridges.

I don't know anyone who bought one.

Their official press releases say "An eroding demand for rifles and shotguns has caused the plant to steadily lower production and decrease the number of workers it employs." and "The problem is the overall decline in the market for rifles and shotguns made by the New Haven plant, not a loss of market share for the Winchester brand in general."

GIVE ME A BREAK! :fire:

When you only sell three basic hunting products that last for generations, with the only changes being tweaks to the consumables that go through them, your sales will eventually decline. I barely have an idea of what to do differently with a .270 vs. a 30-06...but I'm supposed to run out and buy a whole new bunch of shorter, fatter versions of already very similar cartridges?

"That looks like a FEMALE cape buffalo...better hand me the SHORT action magnum."

A "Brokeback Mountain" commemoritive Model 94 (with a little product placement :p ) would probably have sold more copies than all the WSM models combined.:D

The current crew at Winchester has been making rifles and shotguns for decades! Have they ever looked at what else their customers want or even thought about new designs since John Browning died?

Where are the Winchester CQB rifles?
Where's a Winchester M1 Garand or M1A?
Where's the police division/salesforce?
Where's the military division/salesforce?
Where are the Winchester Scout Rifles?
Where are the new Winchester lever gun designs?
Where is a breakthrough Winchester shotgun design?
Where's a nice Winchester double rifle?
Where's an every Man's Winchester bolt gun with iron sights?
Where's a nice modern Winchester rolling block that can handle high pressures?
Winchester handgun?

Where's a ground-breaking, high-capacity Winchester self-defense rifle that you can "load up on Sunday and shoot all week" compared to current designs? Do we only get that every TWO hundred years?

Granted, they did come back with a Model 70 "Pre-64" action, but finally admitting you made a HUGE mistake 40 years ago isn't exactly Marketing genius.

So...in your opinion was it...

A) An overall declining interest in rifles and shotguns or
B) Winchester's choice to squeeze just a little bit more out of the politically-correct hunting market while ignoring all other firearms markets

...that killed the "Made in USA" Winchester?Of the two choices, B is the best answer, I think. I like your idea of a Winchester Scout Rifle. Maybe one based on the Model 94 would have been cool. Could have put military style sling swivels on the side instead of the bottom, a steel semi crescent buttplate, back up peepsights, and forward mount for a scout scope. A good trigger pull from the factory. This combined with the recent release of Lever Evolution ammo would have been a hit. It would have been a huge seller, in my opinion. That alone might have pulled them out of the tail spin.

kentucky_smith
February 23, 2006, 10:42 PM
yeah, but the New Haven plant made the good ones! :eek:

Poor management. I'd still rather have a Win M70 over any 700 or 77.

Dionysusigma
February 23, 2006, 11:20 PM
Never really saw what the big deal was with Winchester anyway. :confused:

Want a lever gun with no safeties? Uberti. A Mauser-action rifle, but made new? Ruger, CZ, etc.

So it's an "American Icon." So was Colt. Look what happened to them. :rolleyes:

ReadyontheRight
February 24, 2006, 12:41 AM
duh

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

they only closed one new haven plant. and they only made a few of their guns.
Winchester is not closing down.


steve

Hence the phrase "the "Made in USA Winchester" at the end of my post. I suppose Belgian Cowboy action guns are Winchesters, but nothing I'll probably ever buy.

355sigfan
February 24, 2006, 12:47 AM
I personally liked the WSM rounds. The short action is easier to deal with.
Pat

asknight
February 24, 2006, 03:06 AM
I personally liked the WSM rounds. The short action is easier to deal with.
Pat

Exactly what do you mean?

Colorado Ntv
February 24, 2006, 03:48 AM
What about shortened barrel life/ meat destruction on short mags???

355sigfan
February 24, 2006, 04:00 AM
Exactly what do you mean?
Easier bolt throw. Easier to work the action without breaking cheekweld.
Pat

dakotasin
February 24, 2006, 10:47 AM
Never really saw what the big deal was with Winchester anyway.



there's the short answer. winchester produced a very average gun and sold it (or tried to) at a high price.

the wsm's didn't hurt winchester - probably helped them a lot, actually. the wssm's probably hurt them a bit.

not paying attention to the market... the market was screaming for a 25 wsm, and winchester responded by producing a 25 wssm. ooh, missed a huge one there. market was looking forward to a 338 wsm, and they brought out the 325 wsm. whoops!

high labor costs... whether or not that was the fault of the union...?

shortened barrel life? meat damage? no, not very likely. the 300 wsm isn't as hot as the 300 win mag, and the 300 win mag is hardly a poor seller. the 7 wsm isn't as hot as a 7 rem mag, stw, or rum, and those ones sell and get used a lot. not sure on how the 270 wsm stacks up to the 270, though.

winchester handgun? right next to remington's, i suppose.

winchester did a lot wrong, but the wsm's and catering to the hunting market did not drive winchester out. police stuff? well, winchester did have the stealths. unless you are referencing a winchester version of the ar-15 or something.

breakthrough leverguns... dunno. leverguns don't move around here, but i did put a winchester takedown in 450 marlin on order. 'course, winchester decided to shut down before my order was filled, so i doubt i'll ever see it. a modern takedown rifle at a respectable price ($650) seemed a good idea to me.

winchester did have a lot of rifles... stealth, coyote, featherweight, etc etc, but what killed them is they tried to compete w/ remington and ruger on price (but wouldn't come down as low as either) and quality wasn't up to the price they wanted. they should either have upped the quality significantly, and gone head-to-head w/ the likes of cooper and kimber, or lowered the price and stayed in competition w/ remington and ruger.

HankB
February 24, 2006, 11:22 AM
Winchester made a number of rifles that were almost done right - and that's a very important almost.

Consider their recent Model 70's . . .

* Their triggers were set TOO HEAVY at the factory, and the adjustments, at least on occasion, were epoxied in place, effectively making the adjustable trigger NON-adjustable.

* The magazine capacity of their belted magnum rifles was reduced to three - many older M70s would hold four cartridges, but not the newer ones.

* Cartridges enjoying a resurgence of popularity (like the .458 Lott) were available ONLY in their high-buck custom shop rifles, which was absurd.

The list goes on, but my impression is that the company was run by people who weren't shooters themselves, were out of touch with the shooting community, and just kept reinforcing their bad decisions by talking to themselves and not their real and/or potential customers. (And I got this impression from talking to the guy in the Winchester booth at the SCI convention some years back - when I politely asked him what I thought were some reasonable questions, he became evasive, defensive, and took an "our in-house experts know best" position. I found out other folks - hunters all, I assume - had brought up many of the same points I had.)

Mauserguy
February 24, 2006, 02:41 PM
Let's face it, most companies that go out of business don't do so because of the line workers, they close up because of their marketing. Winchester, at leas in my impression, only sold a narrow line of firearms to hunters. What about the larger, possibly growing, population of paper punchers? They could have come out with a "Tactical" line, or something, but all they had were old designs sold in a saturated market segment.

By focussing on hunters, they narrowed their options. Also, many hunters are not gun nuts. Many hunters are satisfied with one rifle, but a gun nut just keeps buying. They should have maintained product lines to appeal to many people.

Also, where are there rimfire guns? Ruger and Marlin have some nice 22s that create brand loyalty in younger shooters. The South Americans are now producing old Winchester 22 designs, and they look pretty good. Years from now, people will look back to their youths and remember their fine Taurus 22. How will that sell big bore rifles for Wincheser?

I don't think that the short magnums put Winchester out of business, but narrowing their focus on hunters only was their mistake.
Mauserguy

MechAg94
February 24, 2006, 03:10 PM
Sounds like people have hit this one on the head. I was just thinking how it would be great to have a new M1 Grand or M1 Carbine made by Winchester. Or at least receivers and parts. A good product for the "gun nut" community. :)

ArmedBear
February 24, 2006, 03:43 PM
The .308 is a perfectly adequate short-action hunting round. If you need something more powerful, there is a real diminishing return for having a short action. It's not like you can fire off a few quick followup shots with a light bolt action firing a REAL magnum, so how much benefit is there to a shorter bolt throw?

It's not that the WSM and WSSM were the problem, though. They were part of it, since Winchester stopped making most solid working gun versions of the M70 in any standard cartridges. The Classics were still made in market-leading calibers, and they were beautiful guns. But they weren't going to GAIN any market share after so many years, and furthermore, no one much under 50 can remember 1964, so Winchester's ancient reputation was scuttled long ago. And shooters over 50 seem to like to buy old Winchesters, not new ones, because they DO remember 1964.

Bigger issues, though, are that Winchester didn't address the entry-level market. If you want a new generation to discover Winchester, you have to make a reasonably-priced basic hunting model with a good action and good accuracy in 7mm-08, 308, .270 and .30-06, or at least one family. Otherwise, your potential future customers (under 30) have already learned to like Remington, Savage, or even Weatherby. Weatherby, a mass-market rifle. Yup. Who'd have thunk? But Weatherby WAS thinking, while Winchester slept. And Ruger has an advantage with the young because who DOESN'T have a 10/22 or fond memories of one? Then there's the CZ factor. It seems like a LOT of hunters have discovered the Czech Mauser.

Then there's the Cowboy Action thing. Winchester was poised to exploit that market by reintroducing American-made reissues of pistol-caliber carbines with good triggers. Uberti's getting $1000 for them! But Winchester did the lazy thing and just kept churning out 94's with diminishing quality and reputation, while hunters were going to Marlin, whose American-made guns were by then unquestionably a better value.

Where were interesting new designs? Shotguns, sure, but again not a good value. "We make guns that we promise can hold their own with Benelli and Beretta, for around the same price!" just isn't a great ad slogan. I like their O/U's, and they're probably the only Winchester guns that were/are a good value. But those are guns for older guys with cash. Where is the entry level?

Why does Remington make the only serious pump rifle?

Why was the 1300 so pretty? I like pretty, but that's not where the pumpgun market is these days. Make pretty versions like Remington, but don't put all your eggs in that basket. The old guys buy Model 12s and Wingmasters. Winchester needed the young market that Mossberg and Remington have nearly sewn up.

Where were the semiautos? The AWB (Federal and now various states) should have been seen as an opportunity to make good civilian-market semiauto rifles, not a reason to retreat entirely into overpriced grandpa guns.

What about .22 rifles? That's another good way to get people hooked on your products. The 9422 was nice, but just not competitive, and not marketed as a first rifle. And the 9410? Why waste ad money on that?!?

BTW there WAS a 94 Scout, near the end. The fact that people here didn't even know about it is also damning to Winchester! They were busy trying to sell the 9410.

Handguns could also have been interesting. The recent barrage of new plastic guns in the marketplace was an opening for anyone.

And the old "wall" rifles could have been some good production gun fodder rather than expensive custom shop toys. Can anyone say "SASS rifle match"?

HPJeep
February 24, 2006, 09:14 PM
1.) It was purely a marketing problem. They should have dumped their marketing dept and started over with a fresh team.

2.) My dad has been collecting pre 64 levergun Winchesters for 60 years. The quality of those guns are just outstanding. Trigger pulls are a dream. The accuracy of those old things are better than new high priced guns. The quality of the more recent Winchesters have gotten better but not to the scale of the pre 64s. Granted it cost a lot back then to buy one but you got what you paid for which was the best lever gun around. Imagine saving three months of wages for a new gun in 1890. In today's dollars that would be some $6000 if you made $2000 a month. Ouch!

3.) Agree with the statements below. Again a lack of marketing:

Where are the Winchester CQB rifles?
Where's a Winchester M1 Garand or M1A?
Where's the police division/salesforce?
Where's the military division/salesforce?
Where are the Winchester Scout Rifles?
Where are the new Winchester lever gun designs?
Where is a breakthrough Winchester shotgun design?
Where's a nice Winchester double rifle?
Where's an every Man's Winchester bolt gun with iron sights?
Where's a nice modern Winchester rolling block that can handle high pressures?
Winchester handgun?

Where's a ground-breaking, high-capacity Winchester self-defense rifle that you can "load up on Sunday and shoot all week" compared to current designs? Do we only get that every TWO hundred years?

Gewehr98
February 24, 2006, 11:05 PM
Where's a nice modern Winchester rolling block that can handle high pressures?

Winchester wasn't the one with the rolling block. That was Remington.

Winchester had the falling block, aka Hi-Wall and Lo-Wall, with the Model 1885 as designed by John Moses Browning. And it's still available, but not by Winchester or USRAC, but by the same Italian firms that sell the reproduction Remington Rolling Blocks as sold by Remington's Custom Shop. Those are the cheaper versions. Then there are the high-dollar versions as sold by C. Sharps (Hi-Wall, Lo-Wall) and Lonestar Rifle Co. (Remington Rolling Block)

Where's a Winchester M1 Garand or M1A

Who's gonna buy a $1000-$1500 new-production Winchester M1 Garand, when I can get a really nice original one, as a curio and relic no less, from the CMP for $500? That cost estimate is probably conservative, because guess where the Winchester M1 Garand tooling went after WWII? Italy - who produced the Beretta M1 Garand, then product-improved the design, still using the free Winchester tooling, to make the BM-59 rifle, sister rifle to the M14 several years before Uncle Sam started production on the M14.

Care to guess where the Winchester tooling is for the M14? (Taiwan)

Winchester handgun?

Winchester was never a real factor in the handgun market. They had a little "discussion" with Colt a while back in the late 1800's, when Colt was trying to horn in on the lever action rifle market (ie, the Colt-Burgess lever rifle). Winchester subtly reminded Colt that the handgun market wasn't exclusive, so Colt backed off the lever rifles, and Winchester stayed out of the handgun business.

Now this:

shortened barrel life? meat damage? no, not very likely. the 300 wsm isn't as hot as the 300 win mag, and the 300 win mag is hardly a poor seller.

I'm confused. The big selling point of the .300 Winchester Short Magnum was the capability to duplicate or exceed the belted .300 Winchester Magnum's performance in a short action, sans extraneous belt.

Reading the ballistics data at the Winchester (Olin) ammunition website, I plug in both 150 and 180gr versions of both the .300 WSM and .300 Win Mag for comparison. Each time, for the given bullet weight the .300 WSM shows a slight advantage (just a few feet per second) in both velocity and muzzle energy. The .300 WSM does this at a higher chamber pressure than the bigger belted .300 Win Mag, so the WSM's barrel life wouldn't be any better or longer than the lower-pressure .300 Win Mag, and could certainly be considered a "hotter" round. :confused:

manitou210
February 25, 2006, 01:47 AM
I got a wsm made up last year on a used Rem 700 s/a in 7mmwsm and It is the best gun I have ever had made up, light 6.7lbs 24" Hart barrel and it does everything I expected and more under.250 groups and a hunting load at 3300fps with 140gr noslers. I never looked at winchester after 1964 they made a lot of poor quality guns in my view, although some of there last guns where okay and in the wsm cartridges shoot very good, for a off the shelf gun.
I have found these short stubby cartriges shoot well, .284, 6ppc and wsm the longrange guys seem to like the .284 case, in 6.5 its doing well and I am sure you will see more wsm cases.
and if the wsm had been brought out in 1902 we would never of heard of the 06,270,.280 and many more and the military guys would have jumped on the wsm at that time, so don't ever believe it was the wsm to give winchester there problems. It is more along with what members said on poor managment, and marketing, old tooling, labour costs etc to bad those guys made very fine guns.

mordechaianiliewicz
February 25, 2006, 01:56 AM
Ultimately who makes handguns in America? Ruger and Smith&Wesson. Springfield Armory, and Kimber.

Who makes CQB stuff? Bushmaster.

Yeah, you could adjust some stuff for cqb, and you have Hi-Point and Kel-Tec, but the "premier" manufacturers for pistols are Ruger and S&W.

Everybody that wants CQB gets an SKS,AK, or AR. All things which Winchester forgot about.

If they wanted to be successful, they would have put out a new pistol to compete with everything coming out of Europe, and to fight Ruger and S&W.

They also would have developed a serious alternative to the AR, but they didn't. Whoever takes over at this point would be wise to develop an intelligent semi-auto pistol and rifle.

Then, to market it to the new shooter instead of the old shooter.

355sigfan
February 25, 2006, 02:09 AM
Who makes CQB stuff? Bushmaster.
END QUOTE

Colt, Remington, RRA, ext. Lots of people besides just Bushy. I much prefer the Colts myself.
Pat

dakotasin
February 25, 2006, 02:12 AM
I'm confused. The big selling point of the .300 Winchester Short Magnum was the capability to duplicate or exceed the belted .300 Winchester Magnum's performance in a short action, sans extraneous belt.

Reading the ballistics data at the Winchester (Olin) ammunition website, I plug in both 150 and 180gr versions of both the .300 WSM and .300 Win Mag for comparison. Each time, for the given bullet weight the .300 WSM shows a slight advantage (just a few feet per second) in both velocity and muzzle energy. The .300 WSM does this at a higher chamber pressure than the bigger belted .300 Win Mag, so the WSM's barrel life wouldn't be any better or longer than the lower-pressure .300 Win Mag, and could certainly be considered a "hotter" round.



i haven't looked at the site or the calculator you mention... but, you plugged in data for a new, trendy cartridge that is damnedably expensive to buy ammo for, and compared it to an old, long-standing version that has more ammo, more readily available, for a little less money, and expected anything different?

i don't use calculators, and certainly not factory, trumped-up data. i have a 300 win mag. i have a 300 wsm. i have a chronograph. i have a press... i have also wrung both cartridges out. 300 win mag wins, every time. not by much (at the lighter end) in some cases, and quite a bit in others (heavy-for-caliber), but the 300 win mag has more performance. there's no replacement for displacement. and, 300 win mag brass lasts longer. that's not to say the wsm is a poor round - it isn't, and i like it. but, the 300 win mag has more performance...

The Drew
February 25, 2006, 02:32 AM
Let's just remind everyone that Winchester hasn't been Winchester for some time...

FN was using the name to churn out cheaply made rifles and sell them at "what the market can bear" prices. They made little effort to update the product line nor to introduce new innovative products. They NEVER reacted to market forces like they should have... (they SHOULD have the market cornered on cowboy action rifles and shotguns... But they dropped the ball there too) and as a consequence competitiors filled the gaps left by the big name...

where's the CQB from winchester? You've got to be kidding right? FN has no interest in introducing a new gun like that under anyone's name except their own. Where's the pistols??? They are sold under the browning and FN names...

Winchester is nothing but a name that FN has the rights to (and actually doesn't even own...) and it seems that they've just been milking the name for what it's worth before they shut the whole operation down...

ReadyontheRight
February 25, 2006, 03:02 AM
where's the CQB from winchester? You've got to be kidding right? FN has no interest in introducing a new gun like that under anyone's name except their own. Where's the pistols??? They are sold under the browning and FN names...


Well...for me the only Browning or FN model I'd consider is a Buckmark, Hi-Power (which Hi-Power? confuses the heck out of me - so I haven't bought one yet) or an A-Bolt...so they aren't doing much with marketing their "premier" lines either. IMHO.

Turning both the "Browning" and "Winchester" names into statist, zero-sum-game, harvest brands is plain old stupid.

I personally just never really thought about it very much until the latest closing of the US Winchester plant in New Haven.

kennyboy
February 25, 2006, 11:03 AM
I have a .270 WSM. A guy at the range was telling me about all the .300 WSMs he bought for various people. The ammo is pricy. When I got my WSM, Wally World said that they did not even have any ammo because people were buying it up too fast. Anyways, it's a new fad and it seems that everyone wants WSM rifles just because they are new.

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