The Question: Was the gun that won the West really a Winchester?
The Expert Deferral:
My NRA-sources—the authorities—say not exactly.
Settlers moved west only after Lewis and Clark explored it first, and how did they do that without getting killed by hostile natives?
Key to their survival was the large-caliber Girandoni air rifle they brought on the expedition that struck fear into the natives. This smokeless thunderstick made them think twice before attacking the vastly outnumbered explorers. So, by this logic, the West was really won with an air rifle. Check out the full story on YouTube.com that received over 2 million hits in just a few days. The spot was presented by NRA/National Firearms Museum Senior Curator and frequent History Channel contributor, Phil Schreier.
The Answer: Maybe the Winchester contributed to winning the West, but only after an air rifle paved the way.