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.


To order your Factory Letter online, CLICK HERE.

To print out our Factory Letter Order Form and mail or fax it in, CLICK HERE.


If you need more information about factory letters and serial number searches, read on:

A video glance of what we do:

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

Available serial number ranges (click to view):

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:

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

Due to high demand, we must 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
cfmrecords@centerofthewest.org
CFM Records Office
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY 82414


Click to view the Records Office Fee Schedule

To order your Factory Letter online, CLICK HERE.

To print out our Factory Letter Order Form to mail or fax back, CLICK HERE.

Questions? Call 307-578-4031.

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.

Serial Number Application (SNA) Dates

You may have heard of the “Polishing Room Books.” We refer to the information in them as the Serial Number Application date (SNA) ledgers. These ledgers record the dates serial numbers were applied to 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 not currently 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 questions.


Schedule of extended weekend Records Office hours and gun show attendance:

  • July 10 – 12: Attending Winchester Arms Collectors Association Show, Cody
  • August 15: Big Reno Show, Reno, Nevada
  • September 19 – 20: Attending Ohio Gun Collectors/Winchester Arms Collectors Association Show, Wilmington, Ohio
  • November 14 – 15: Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Gun Show, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • November 20 – 22: Attending Big Reno/Winchester Arms Collectors Association Show, Reno, Nevada
  • December 12: Great Eastern Show, Louisville, Kentucky

Show dates and our hours subject to change; please call to confirm. And call from the show you are attending to learn about our show specials!


Firearms Member Benefits

Buffalo Bill Center of the West Firearms Members receive free or discounted factory letters and serial number searches. The serial number searches benefit applies for one year from date of membership payment, and is based on the Firearms Membership commitment level. These special benefits are not included in other 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 Winchester Arms Collectors Association member? Visit www.winchestercollector.org to learn more.