It’s safe to say that a lot of people recognize the name Annie Oakley. She’s one of the most iconic shooters in American history, a woman who got her start shooting at a young age.
Oakley (1860 -1926) was born Phoebe Ann Moses and had seven siblings. She learned to hunt at age eight and would sell the game to local businesses in her hometown in Ohio. She had a rather rough life after her father passed away, but when she was a teenager everything changed.
In 1875, famous marksman Frank Butler came to Ohio and challenged locals to a shooting competition. The young Oakley not only showed up, she won. Butler was intrigued by Oakley and courted her; they married a year later. Together, the couple joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1885. During her time with the Wild West, Oakley amazed audiences all over the world.
This Winchester Model 1892 Lever Action Rifle was one of the guns she used during her arena performances. The rifle, however, has a smoothbore; the performers in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West used bird shot because of their close proximity to the crowds. In fact, a potentially apocryphal story arose that the performers once broke a greenhouse outside of the arena with a bullet and then thought it best to switch to shot.
To look at this rifle, it’s fair to say that it is about as elegant in its engraving as Annie Oakley was in real life, but still packed quite the punch.