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 model and serial number of the firearm in the form of factory letters or serial number searches.


jingle-bellsJingle Bell Sale: Just in time for the holidays!

December 1 – 31, 2016 only

Buffalo Bill Center of the West Firearms Members receive 20 percent off the already discounted member price on Factory Letters, Letter packs, and Search packs.

  • Promo Code: JINGLE20
  • Letter packs and search packs purchased during in this sale expire December 31, 2018.
    • Packs available in increments of 5, 10, or 20.
    • When ordering packs online, type “Letter” or “Search” and the size of the pack needed under Winchester Model.

Winchester Arms Collectors Association (WACA) members who are not Firearms Members receive 15 percent off each Factory Letter.

  • Promo Code: your WACA number (Example: WACA0000)

Non-Members receive 10 percent off each Factory Letter.

  • Promo Code: BELLS10

Discounts do not apply to the Winchester Model 21 Order Sheet add-on fee.


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 the official report on the information contained in the original company records which the museum holds. Letters 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.

Serial number searches contain the same information as factory letters, but are a quick, informal report rather than a formal document. A serial number search is an exclusive firearms member benefit which provides the data on a firearm by phone, fax, or e-mail within 24 hours of a request.

The data included in factory letters and serial number searches varies from firearm to firearm, but may contain the following information:

Manufacturing dates Stock and butt configuration
Caliber Sights
Barrel length and shape Magazine length
Trigger Other features

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 (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. 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.


Records Office Hours

Regular office hours are Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m.–3 p.m.

2016 extended weekend hours and gun show attendance:

  • November 12: In office for Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show
  • November 18–20: Attending Big Reno Show, Reno, Nevada

2017 extended weekend hours and gun show attendance (subject to change):

If you would like to download a PDF with the schedule, click here.

  • January 17–20: Attending the SHOT Show, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • January 20–22: Attending Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • February 11–12: Attending Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association Show, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • March 4: In office 7 a.m.–3 p.m. MST for National Gun Day
  • March 11: In office 9 a.m.–5 p.m. MST for Big Reno Show; Ohio Gun Collectors Association Show
  • March 18–19: Attending Maryland Arms Collectors Association Show, Baltimore, Maryland
  • April 1–2: Attending Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • April 29: In office 7 a.m.–3 p.m. MDT for Texas Gun Collectors Association Show
  • May 20–21: Attending Colorado Gun Collectors Association Show, Denver, Colorado
  • July 14–16: Attending Winchester Arms Collectors Association Show, Cody, Wyoming
  • August 26: In office 9 a.m.–5 p.m. MDT for Big Reno Show
  • September 9–10: Attending Ohio Gun Collectors Association Show, Wilmington, Ohio
  • October 20–22: Attending Texas Gun Collectors Association Show, Fort Worth, Texas
  • November 11: In office 7 a.m.–3 p.m. MST for Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show
  • December 1–3: Attending Big Reno Show, Reno, Nevada

Records Office schedule and hours subject to change; please call to confirm. Ask about our Factory Letter and Search pack sales available during gun shows!


Firearms Member Benefits

Buffalo Bill Center of the West firearms members receive free or discounted factory letters and serial number searches. Member benefit serial number searches and letters do not carry over from year to year. Prices of additional letters and searches are based on firearms membership commitment level. These special benefits are available only to firearms members of the Center of the West. 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 a 15-pack of free serial number searches. 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.