By Lars Dalseide | March 18 2013 17:31

Heavy barreled, pistol grips and custom carving for Whelen's Winchester

The Winchester 1895 rifle once owned by Field & Stream editor Townsend Whelen

Fairfax, Virginia - There aren't many guns that surprise Philip Schreier. As Senior Curator for the National Firearms Museum, chances are that he's seen it all. But sometimes, every now and then, one will will catch him off guard. Even one that he's known for more than twenty years.

This specific surprise came wrapped in a Winchester wardrobe. A Model 1895, it was previously ownedby Field & Stream contributing Townsend Whelen.

"Whelen was the Editor and Chief of most of the major outdoor magazines in this country, back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s … including a sting as a Senior Editor of American Rifleman," said Schreier. "He had this Winchester, in 40-72, made for him back in 1900. This is not your average Winchester 95."

First there's the barrel.

Known for his exploits as a solider and a big game hunter, Whelen was partial to a heavier barrel. Using the Winchester #3, he was able to pursue North American Big Game with one of the larger caliber available at the time (the .405 came later).

Right side view of the Winchester 1895 rifle once owned by Field & Stream editor Townsend Whelen

Then there's the pistol grip.

"The grip is unusual because of the nature of the lever action," explained Schreier. "Almost all of the 95s are straight grip because it's very difficult to get this curve in the lever."

But the surprise didn't sneak up on Phil until the day of the interview.

Giving the Winchester a quick once-over heading on the set, Phil notice a carving in the buttstock. A relief including a turtle, squirrel, frogs and more. Memories of Whelen's favorite place on earth ... the outside.

To see this gun for yourself, turn on the Sportsman Channel around 5:40 this afternoon as NRANews highlights a beautifully customized Winchester 1895 for one of my favorite segments (and Phil's) — Curator's Corner.

Buttstock carving of a wilderness scene on the Winchester 1895 rifle once owned by Field & Stream editor Townsend Whelen

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