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Honoring the Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers have served Texans since the earliest days, and the history of the Rangers is legendary. Tracing their proud heritage back to 1823, the stories of the Rangers’ courage and daring are world-renowned, and they are arguably the most famous statewide law enforcement agency in America. A brotherhood of warriors, the Rangers helped transform Texas from a wide-open territory into an independent Republic, and then into America’s 28th state. Today, more than 175 years after their founding, the Rangers continue to serve and protect the citizens of Texas.
Working in cooperation with the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas, America Remembers proudly announces the Texas Ranger Tribute Rifle, an exciting new issue honoring the proud and distinguished heritage of the Texas Rangers. Based on the legendary Winchester Model 1873 rifle, this Model 73 in caliber .44-40 has been recreated by the master craftsmen of A. Uberti. The Model 73 is a classic lever-action rifle with its own unique and celebrated history; a rifle that immediately rekindles images of America’s Western frontier and a favorite rifle for Texas Rangers in the late 1800’s.
The Tribute features a blued steel barrel, along with a polished and gold decorated lever, hammer, trigger, forearm cap and buttplate.
Left side features a portrait of Major John B. Jones. In 1874, Jones led what would be known as the “first permanent Texas Rangers.” Also pictured is a Ranger Battalion proudly posing with their rifles above a banner that reads, “They knew their duty and they did it.” The phrase is a quote from Ranger John S. “Rip” Ford, one of the toughest fighting men of the Mexican War and a legendary Ranger. On each side of the group is the famed “star in a circle” Ranger badge. The first Texas Ranger badges were homemade and cut from Mexican coins. Also featured is an illustration of Texas Rangers George Black and J.M. Britton. Both served in Company B of the Frontier Battalion after the Civil War.
On the right side of the receiver is a depiction of celebrated Ranger, Sgt. James B. Gillett astride his horse Dusty. Beside Gillett is a portrait of Captain Leander McNelly. Commissioned to head a special force of Texas Rangers, McNelly quickly became one of the fiercest fighters on Texas’ southern border. Also pictured are three Rangers from Company D of the Frontier Battalion in San Antonio in 1894. Artwork is featured in 24-karat gold with a blackened patinaed background for maximum detail and contrast.
The shoulder stock features the official logo of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the forearm features the legend, “Texas Ranger Tribute.”
With artwork honoring notable Texas Rangers and the symbols of Ranger tradition, each Tribute rifle is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of so many brave Texans. Each rifle is elegantly decorated by craftsmen commissioned specifically for this issue by America Remembers. The handsomely blued, 20-inch octagonal barrel is complemented by the elegantly decorated receiver. The Tribute magnificently captures the storied heritage of the Rangers in stunning 24-karat gold artwork with a special blackened patinaed background to highlight the details of the artwork.
BRAVE DEFENDERS OF THE LONE STAR STATE
Individually, the Texas Rangers were some of the most colorful heroes in America’s history. Together they brought peace to a region fraught with danger. As dispensers of frontier justice in a time and place when lawlessness ruled, Rangers were often the only protection for settlers facing hostile Indians, cattle rustlers, marauding bandits and murderous gunslingers. Their exploits made them one of the most famous and respected crime-fighting forces anywhere in the world. Time and again, Rangers proved that one person in the right could triumph over even the greatest odds.
Legend has it that Captain John Coffee Hays, aka “Devil Jack,” single-handedly fought back a band of Comanches at Enchanted Rock. Equally legendary is the account of William “Bigfoot” Wallace who was said to have escaped from a war party of thirty by pretending to command a battalion when in truth, he was completely alone. The Ranger ranks overflow with bold, daring men and many of the tales of Ranger exploits have reached a legendary, almost mythical status.
The rifle of choice for many Rangers was the Winchester Model 73. We felt the Model 73 was the perfect firearm to honor the unique and celebrated history of the Texas Rangers. Prior to the adoption of this legendary Winchester repeating rifle, the Rangers had relied on single-shot rifles. Introduced in 1873, the Winchester Model 73 was so popular on the Western frontier, it is often referred to as “the rifle that won the West.” With its rapid-fire repeating capabilities, it was a significant improvement over the long rifles of earlier days. The Model 73 was the latest in a long line of innovative creations from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, building on the successful design of the Model 66, which in turn had been an improvement over the legendary “Henry Rifle.” Advertisements proudly proclaimed that the Model 73 was capable of being “fired thirty times a minute continuously as a repeater.” The rugged lever action was simple to operate and offered quick and plentiful firepower providing an advantage when Rangers engaged in battles with desperadoes, cattle rustlers, or the Plains Indians who could unleash arrows with deadly speed and accuracy.
The legends and daring actions of the Texas Rangers ensures they will always occupy a special chapter in our nation’s history. Don’t miss the opportunity to honor the lives and careers of these celebrated and daring champions of justice who would not be outrun or outfought. With the combination of a classic Western firearm and handsome artwork saluting the celebrated Texas Rangers, the Tribute will certainly be a prized addition to any collection of fine firearms.
The Texas Ranger Tribute 1873 Rifle is licensed by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum™ Waco, Texas, Official Historical Center of the Texas Rangers. Historical photos courtesy of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum.
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