The Cody Firearms Museum Records Office has rare access to the 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.
View and print:
A factory letter is an official report on the information contained in the original company records which the museum holds and 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:
The Records Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 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:
CFM Records Office
Buffalo Bill Historical Center
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY 82414
According to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s Code of Ethics, under no circumstance may staff members appraise objects either as part of their normal daily duty 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.
|Letter / Service||Member Price||Non-member Price||Notes|
|Winchester letter||$40||$70||Includes Serial Number Application date when available|
|Winchester, Serial Number Application (SNA) date only||$25||$40|
|Winchester, Model 21 letter||$55||$85|
|Winchester, Model 21 order sheet||$30||$30|
|L.C. Smith letter||$40||$70|
|5 pack of letters||$175||Exclusively for members|
|10 pack of letters||$300||Exclusively for members|
|20 pack of letters||$550||Exclusively for members|
|Extended research||$50 per hour||Call Records Office to schedule|
|Factory letter re-issue/ reprint service||$35||$35||Mail in old letter, payment, and explanation/ request|
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. The list of available SNA ranges is available at the Winchester Available Serial Number Ranges link above.
The SNA date, when available, will now be 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.
The CFM Records Office is open on the following Saturdays during these shows (times listed are Mountain Time):
Show dates and our hours may change; call to confirm.
*CFM will have a table at these shows.
CALL FROM THE SHOW YOU ARE ATTENDING TO LEARN ABOUT OUR SHOW SPECIALS!
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 CFM membership commitment level.
These are special benefits that are not included in other Buffalo Bill Historical Center membership categories.
The firearm is integrally tied to the story of the history and culture of the West.
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