Tigre rifle

1892 Piece of the month
This year is the 100th anniversary of the manufacture of Spain’s Winchester Model 1892, known as the ‘tigre’ rifle and manufactured in Eibar by GAC. We will therefore present this model belonging to our permanent collection as piece of the month of June.
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Founded in 1892 as a society by Juan José Larrañaga, José Francisco Anitua, Eulogio Anitua and Nemesio Astaburuaga, GAC (Gárate, Anitua y Compañía), like the other factories in Eibar, was initially dedicated to arms manufacturing, including pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. The ‘tigre’ carbine or so-called Spanish Winchester was produced from 1919 until 1938 and was the official Civil Guard standard issue weapon for several years.

On a curious note, we must mention that the Winchester arms were originally considered inadequate for arming the Spanish Infantry due to their ammunition given that although they could hit or stop their target, they lacked long-distance precision. However, the light weight and firing capacity of these arms made them highly attractive for the Royal Guard where, although in small numbers, they were put into service in 1873. Later, in 1982, given the insistence of Winchester and the facilities offered, the Spanish Government acquired 2,500 units of the Winchester shotgun, which it would later copy at the Oviedo Arms Factory to equip the Civil Guard Cavalry Brigade.

Generally speaking, we can say that these arms did not enjoy great popularity among the Spanish Army; however, GAC, the small Eibar gunsmithery, considered this model of weapon to be an excellent product for both the security forces and for citizens. Thus, 1919 saw the birth of the ‘tigre’ carabine, a copy of the Winchester Model 1982, which went on to become the standard issue for the Civil Guard Railroad Division from March 1926.

The model was manufactured in two options: the short model and the long model. The short model was a clone of the Winchester 1892. However, issues with patents and licenses prompted GAC to create a long model, mechanically similar to the short version, but with a few aesthetic changes. They therefore avoided potential allegations of plagiarism.

Our piece of the month is specifically a long model, with a lever system, barrel length of 540mm, .44 calibre, 2,800gr in weight, rifled bore and walnut wood butt.

Both the ‘tigre’ carabine made by GAC and the copies produced at the Oviedo Arms Factory were widely used in the Civil War, particularly by the Republicans. Today, a century after it was made, the ‘tigre’ carabine is still favoured for individual hunting purposes, giving us an excellent idea of its fine quality.