Winchester quality

Winchester entered the knife market as a manufacturer in 1919 by acquiring two existing knife companies; Eagle Knife Co. of Connecticut & Napanoch Knife Co. of New York. Winchester stepped away from the market in 1942 to focus on war related manufactured products, but re-entered in the late 1980s by licensing its name to Blue Grass Cutlery. Blue Grass had high quality knives made by Queen Cutlery that featured the Winchester brand name for a handful of years until the license arrangement ran its course. Winchester eventually started licensing to other companies & now you will find the brand name used by several knife manufacturers by way of license agreements.
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Winchester quality

Postby Berryb » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:16 pm

I am wondering how Winchester knives stack up quality-wise with other knives of the same period. The reason I ask is; I've collected alot of stuff over the years and have seen lots of stuff marked Winchester. It seems they would put their name on just about anything. I have seen Winchester roller skates and even a Winchester onion hoe. I have a pretty large fishing tackle collection with a few winchester items in it. The quality seems to be second tier. Not bad, but not the best either, and generally priced way higher than most items, even those of higher quality. I have some Wichester rifles that I wouldn't consider letting go of, but that quality doesn't seem to translate to their other items. Thanks
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby Quick Steel » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:27 pm

Thanks for the observation Bruce. As your opinion is backed by wide exposure to the brand, it carries a lot of weight.
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby stockman » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:40 pm

Winchester made everything under the sun paint to sporting goods. I don't know about quality on the stuff, but the old real Winchester knives were on par for quality with any other manufacture that I have seen. Late they made a assortment line that was a lower quality. I think that was the norm. As for the recent Winchester marked knives I have no opinion.

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Re: Winchester quality

Postby FRJ » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:53 pm

I have three knives stamped Winchester. This is the only one I feel is a real Winchester.
I can't speak to the finish on the blades or if they were polished or not because of the age and use of the knife but,
I will say that it is well put together. There is no wobble in either of the three blades and it is as smooth as butter.
Look how beautifully fashioned the center liner is. The composition covers are holding their own so far.
This little whittler is 3 5/16" closed and is a real pleasure to carry.
I have an old fishing plug that is not in terrific condition but I assume it was a fine plug when it was new.
They did have their hand in All Things Household and more.
Of course their guns were always desirable.
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby Sharpnshinyknives » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:18 am

Keep in mind that Winchester is owned by Olin Corp, a chemical company that still does very well. Since they own the trade mark it’s up to them to monetize the brand. That can be a real problem if you cheapen the brand name, or it can work for you when you stick to quality, like Orvis. I have never had a product from Orvis that disappointed. Same for an A.G. Russell knife. Since I don’t own anything but guns,ammo, knives and stock in the company, I can’t speak to the quality issues of other products, I know everything Winchester I have is top notch.
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby WillyCamaro » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:43 am

From my short experience with Blue Grass Cutlery (Queen) Winchesters, they are all top notch knives. Especially if you can get your hands on the genuine pearl scaled ones. Have 4 with cracks in them (factory defect), but are simply wonderful knives! Scales have ton of fire, fit and finish is great, pull and snap is very good. I would have to say, all of them, including my other ones are very nice knives! Better IMHO then the same knives Queen produced at the same time. I had 9 a while ago, gave 2 to my dad for his birthday (June 6th), he loves em! Comparing to Bulldog, Fight'N Rooster, Boker, Hen & Rooster, Schatt & Morgan (Queen), Queen, Case, ect. They live up to all these brands. About equal to S&M. Some S&M's are nicer. But if you go with, let's say the Charcoal Ruby, then you have a knife that's up too snuff all the way.
Hope that helps!
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby msteele6 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:06 pm

I can give an answer for the quality of the pre WWII knives (excluding the celluloid handled assortment knives), they are of the exact same quality as the Walden and Keen Kutter knives of the 1920's and '30's. The reason being that they were made by the same people with the same equipment and patterns. There are some exceptions, notably some of the earlier ones are Napanoch made patterns and their quality is actually better than the Walden made knives. The Keen Kutter patterns from the '20's and early '30's are identical to the Winchesters, many times you can distinguish them instantly by their shields. After 1932 (if memory serves) Simmons and Winchester went their separate ways and Simmons had their Keen Kutters made by Camillus.

BTW, the knife that FRJ posted is NOT an assortment knife even though it has celluloid handles, it is a genuine Winchester made knife (IMO).

I went through the listings for Winchester on eBay (about 1500 listings), of these probably 20 were Winchester made or assortment knives.

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Re: Winchester quality

Postby Winchester M21 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:08 pm

I was able to handles some real Winchester’s at the show in Lexington Ky this last weekend and I was blown away at the quality of the “real thing”

Being able to handle them alongside old Case, Remington, etc proves to me they are of exceptional quality! There just isn’t a lot of nice examples around anymore. When you find one that has been used hard or rusted up you can’t really tell what it was really like when it was new.
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby 1967redrider » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:37 pm

I feel that the Winchester pocket knives made before WWII are top quality and can hold their ground against Case, Remington and others of the same time period. I also believe, from what I've read, that there are more Winchester pocket knives out there but they're branded as E.C. Simmons Keen Kutters.

Now that might be as popular as a Bigfoot sighting, but given what I have read that's what I think is the reason for having a hard time finding pre-WWII pocket knives with Winchester tang stamps. I think for a certain time period, Simmons was taking all the knives Winchester could crank out. I've posted more here viewtopic.php?f=114&t=62938 and would love to hear anyone's opinion on the subject (I can handle being wrong too ::nod:: ).

I also think the Blue Grass Winchesters made more recently are quality knives too, but they're along the line of Case Classics and more for collecting than using. Anyone out there EDC a Blue Grass Cutlery made Case Classic or Winchester pocket knife? http://www.bluegrasscutlery.com/currentspecial.html
Pocket, fixed, machete, axe, it's all good!

You're going to look awfully silly with that knife sticking out of your @#$. -Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter

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Re: Winchester quality

Postby Railsplitter » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:45 pm

1967redrider wrote:I feel that the Winchester pocket knives made before WWII are top quality and can hold their ground against Case, Remington and others of the same time period. I also believe, from what I've read, that there are more Winchester pocket knives out there but they're branded as E.C. Simmons Keen Kutters.

Now that might be as popular as a Bigfoot sighting, but given what I have read that's what I think is the reason for having a hard time finding pre-WWII pocket knives with Winchester tang stamps. I think for a certain time period, Simmons was taking all the knives Winchester could crank out. I've posted more here viewtopic.php?f=114&t=62938 and would love to hear anyone's opinion on the subject (I can handle being wrong too ::nod:: ).

I also think the Blue Grass Winchesters made more recently are quality knives too, but they're along the line of Case Classics and more for collecting than using. Anyone out there EDC a Blue Grass Cutlery made Case Classic or Winchester pocket knife? http://www.bluegrasscutlery.com/currentspecial.html


I can't say that I carry this little 2851 Gunstock every day but it's in my EDC rotation and it's gets carried occasionally. Fantastic little knife and very well made. I like it a lot.
IMG_4057.JPG

Here it is next to my AAPK Churchill for size comparison.
IMG_4113.JPG
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Re: Winchester quality

Postby 1967redrider » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:06 pm

Railsplitter wrote:
I can't say that I carry this little 2851 Gunstock every day but it's in my EDC rotation and it's gets carried occasionally. Fantastic little knife and very well made. I like it a lot.
IMG_4057.JPG

Here it is next to my AAPK Churchill for size comparison.
IMG_4113.JPG


Great looking gunstock! ::tu:: ::tu::
Pocket, fixed, machete, axe, it's all good!

You're going to look awfully silly with that knife sticking out of your @#$. -Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter

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Re: Winchester quality

Postby Mumbleypeg » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:37 pm

Winchester M21 wrote:I was able to handles some real Winchester’s at the show in Lexington Ky this last weekend and I was blown away at the quality of the “real thing”

Being able to handle them alongside old Case, Remington, etc proves to me they are of exceptional quality! There just isn’t a lot of nice examples around anymore. When you find one that has been used hard or rusted up you can’t really tell what it was really like when it was new.


This really shouldn't be surprising. During the time from slightly before the turn of the 20th century until WWII nearly all U.S.A. made cutlery was of consistently excellent quality. Regardless of who made them the quality of materials and workmanship was among the finest cutlery made anywhere in the world.

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