30-80 wcf

After a year of searching I finally was able to verify the reason behind the 30-80 WCF cartridges.

As some of you may know, the very first 308 Winchester ammunition was unheadstamped but the boxes were labeled 30-80 WCF. It’s always been my understanding that Winchester was developing a Model 80 rifle and was intending to introduce it and the new cartridge together. But, for whatever reasons, development of the rifle was delayed and the new cartridge was introduced in October, 1952 in the Featherweight M70 as the 308 Winchester. The new rifle was later introduced as the Model 88.

Here’s a response that I received from the Winchester Museum in Cody Wyoming.

[b][i]Ray -

I just verified in our collection that we have 3 Model 80 prototypes - with 1 lefty. All 3 are marked .30-80 on the barrel. Sounds like proof enough!

Dave K.

David Kennedy
Cody Firearms Museum[/i][/b]


I just received another interesting note from Mr kennedy. It seems that their computer records were a little screwed up and in searching for a Model 80, nothing showed up. He happened to be looking thru some card files when he noticed a reference to a 30-80 WCF and he then recalled my question about the cartridge, and the rest is history. Is that a fortunate coincidence or what? (The computer records have now been corrected BTW)


Perhaps something that can be asked of the gentleman at Cody. If the Model 80 was later released as the Model 88, which is a lever-action rifle, why was note made that one of the Model 80 prototypes was “a lefty.” What would make it left-handed? Usually lever guns are perfectly operable right or left-handed. sometimes a push-button safety is reversed. Was the rifle made as a mirror image of the right-handed versions, ie: with the ejection port on the left instead of the right, or is the Model 80 actually NOT a lever-action rifle?

Sorry for gun questions, guys, but in scholarly research, it is patently impossible to separate the subject of ammunition from the guns it was made for use in.

This whole subject is worthy of an article published in the IAA Journal, along with pictures of the guns. If no one can get the gun pictures, but wants to write an article, let me know. I have two friends very, very close to the Cody Museum, not only in distance, but in relationship. One is the former owner of the store I worked at, who lives in Cody. I have more than one entire file drawer full of information on guns and ammunition from Winchester, not including books (another four feet plus of book shelf space), and have not heard of the Model 80 before! Not to say its not buried in one of the books, but…we need an article!

John Moss


It’s true. Great minds think alike. I had thought of the same things.

I assumed a “leftie” meant that the ejection port was on the left side. But the Model 80 could be an autoloader for all I know. This note from Cody is the first real clue I have had and I know there is a lot more to learn. My intention is to contact Mr Kennedy and ask if he could provide me with photos of the rifles including a close-up of the caliber marking. I did send him a photo of the cartridge box from my collection but will ask him if the museum has one also.

And I will ask Chris if a short article would interest him since I know there are several collectors who have specimens of the cartridge. And there must be others who have boxes.

If any of you are interested in doing an article I will help in any way that I can. It may even help to have a byline other than mine and it certainly would be a good way for a wannabe writer to get his/her feet wet. (Guy and Bob A. , are you reading this? I know you have one of those cartridges)

So maybe this will all come together. I agree that it should be of interest to cartridge collectors, even those who do not shoot. I wonder how many collectors may have passed on one of those unheadstamped cartridges, not knowing what it was.

It’s been a few years since I have been to the Cody Museum but I would encourage anyone who is the vicinty to pay a visit. Even if you’re only interested in cartridges you will find enough of interest to occupy your whole day.

Now, anybody know about the 33-82 WCF??


I know a guy (on another board) that’s seriously into Winchesters, and IIRC he has done some research at the Cody Museum.
I’ll pass along a link to this thread, and perhaps he can shed some light on the “off topic” part.