Famous Winchester and Savage Firearms Headed to Exhibit at Buffalo Bill Historical Center


The Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, houses one of the most remarkable collections of firearms in the world. This gallery features more than 6,500 historically significant firearms dating from the mid-1400s through the present day. The extraordinary gun collection is seen by up to a quarter of a million visitors annually.


Beginning Sunday, April 29 of this year, and continuing into early 2013, the museum displays selected examples of extraordinary guns from the renowned private collection of Wes Adams of Nevada. An amazing man, the late Wes Adams was born in Vernal, Utah, to a rancher’s daughter and a jack-of-all-trades father. He had a very modest upbringing, but one rich in the culture and spirit of the American West. As a teenager, Adams moved to Las Vegas, where he worked in the construction industry. A brilliant mind, ambitious nature, and relentless pursuit of excellence led him to become one of the most prominent and successful developers in Nevada.

Adams’s deep and passionate interest in firearms enabled him to amass, in only about a decade, one of the finest collections of Winchesters and probably the finest collection of Savage firearms ever assembled. He was incredibly adroit in acquiring rare and premium firearms.

“The guns from the Wes Adams collection are the most remarkable blend of firearms technology and decorative artistry I have ever had the opportunity to see,” says Bruce Eldredge, Executive Director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. “It is a real privilege to have these firearms on exhibit to be seen by the public.”

Among the guns to be displayed in Cody is a superb gold inlaid Winchester Model 1886 takedown rifle in unfired condition, made for John F. Dodge, co-founder of the Dodge automotive company. The special engraving was executed by Winchester Master Engraver John Ulrich, who used 195 grams of gold in his artistry. The carving and checkering of the stock were done by his equally famous brother, Conrad Ulrich, also a Winchester Master Engraver.

Other guns included in the display are a lavishly embellished Savage Model 1899 rifle, an extremely rare Winchester Presentation Briggs Patent Lever Action Rifle, and a comparably rare Savage Model 1899 Monarch Grade Lever Action Rifle splendidly engraved by Master Engraver Enoch Tue. Altogether, more than 30 examples of the Adams collection appear in this special exhibit.

For more about the upcoming Wes Adams exhibition, please contact Firearms Curator Warren Newman at the Historical Center at 307.578.4092 or warrenn(at)bbhc(dot)org.

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center—located at 720 Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming—weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and Yellowstone natural history—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating its spring schedule, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Summer hours of 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. begin May 1. For general information, visit http://www.bbhc.org, or call 307.587.4771.

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