Firearms Records

Cody Firearms Records Office

The Cody Firearms Museum Records Office has rare access to select serial number records from Winchester, Marlin, and L.C. Smith. See below for more information, serial number ranges, and a video about the services offered by the Firearms Records Office.

The Records Office provides individuals with information from the original factory records based on the make and serial number of the firearm in the form of factory letters or serial number searches.

Take a quick video glance at what we do:

This video was produced in 2012. Contact the Records Office for current rates and benefits.

The details (view and print):

A factory letter is an official report on the information contained in the original company records which the museum holds. They are available to firearms museum members and non-members for a fee. Factory letters are on Winchester or Marlin letterhead and bear the seal of the Cody Firearms Museum.

A serial number search is a members-only benefit which provides the data on a firearm by phone, fax, or e-mail. Serial number searches contain the same information as factory letters.

Factory letters and serial number searches may contain the following information on your Winchester, Marlin, or L.C. Smith:

  • Warehouse date
  • Type of firearm
  • Caliber
  • Barrel length and shape
  • Trigger
  • Stock and butt
  • Sights
  • Magazine
  • Shipping date
  • Other features

Click here to view and print the Records Office Fee Schedule

Due to the high demand for this service, we limit the number of member serial number searches to four (4) per day.

Contact the Records Specialist for more information:
Phone: 307-578-4031
Fax: 307-578-4079

CFM Records Office
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY 82414

According to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Code of Ethics, under no circumstance may staff members appraise objects either as part of their normal daily duties or as an independent service.

Ready to order your factory letter? Click here to download our Non-Member Order Form, print it and fill it out, and return it to the Records Office with your payment. Questions? Call 307-578-4031.

Records Office Fee Schedule

Click here to view and print the Records Office Fee Schedule

Serial Number Application (SNA) Dates

You may have heard about the “Polishing Room Books.” The staff of the Cody Firearms Museum and the Records Office refer to the information in them as the Serial Number Application date (SNA) ledgers. These ledgers record the dates on which serial numbers were applied to the firearm components at the beginning of the manufacturing process. No configuration or customer information is recorded in these ledgers. The 1866, early 1873, 1876, and Hotchkiss serial number application dates are currently not available. For some models the SNA ledgers continue beyond the serial number ranges of the warehouse ledgers which contain configuration information, even into the 1950s. There are even SNA ledgers for models which have no other records. Click here for the list of Winchester Available Serial Number Ranges.

The SNA date, when available, is included with all member serial number searches and factory letters. If you purchased a factory letter after January 1, 2007, and would like to update the letter with the SNA, please return the original letter with a check for $15. We will confirm the factory letter data, add the SNA, and send an updated letter. Contact Records Office staff with additional questions.

Extended Weekend Office Hours:

The CFM Records Office is open on the following Saturdays during these shows (times listed are Mountain Time):

  • December 13, 2014 (7 a.m. – 3 p.m): Great Eastern Show, Louisville, Kentucky
  • January 10 – 11, 2015: Attending Crossroads of the West Gun Show, Mesa, Arizona
  • January 23 – 25, 2015: Attending Las Vegas Antique Armns Show, Las Vegas, Nevada*
  • February 14 – 15, 2015: Attending Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association Show, Sioux Falls, South Dakota*
  • February 28 – March 1, 2015: National Gun Day, Louisville, Kentucky
  • March 27 – 29, 2015: Big Reno Show, Reno, Nevada
  • April 11 – 12, 2015: Attending Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Gun Show, Tulsa, Oklahoma; open for NRA Annual Meeting/Winchester Arms Collectors Association Show, Nashville, Tennessee
  • May 16 – 17, 2015: Attending Colorado Gun Collectors Association Show, Denver, Colorado
  • May 30 – 31, 2015: Ohio Gun Collectors Show, Wilmington, Delaware

Show dates and our hours may change; call to confirm.
*CFM will have a table at these shows.

Firearms Member Benefits

Members of the firearms museum are part of a special group, and receive free or discounted factory letters and serial number searches. The firearms member benefit of serial number searches applies for one year from the date of membership payment, and is based on the Firearms Membership commitment level.

These are special benefits that are not included in other Buffalo Bill Center of the West membership categories.

Find out more!

WACA Member Special

Buffalo Bill Center of the West Firearms Members who are also Winchester Arms Collectors Association (WACA) members may sign up to receive 15 additional free serial number searches. You must contact the Records Office and give your WACA number to receive these additional benefits.

Not a member of the Winchester Arms Collectors Association? Visit to learn more.