In the 1970’s Winchester invented a new game called Wingo, basically a shooting game which turned clay pigeon shooting into a carnival like indoor shooting game. The game consisted of ten shots where the shooter had to hit a small 4 inch diameter hollow ball of ice which was thrown toward the shooter by a special ice machine 50 or 75 feet away. Scoring was based on the accuracy and speed of hitting the target. The ice balls were ejected from one of five ports, and the opposing team could choose which port it was ejected from and how fast it was thrown. An automatic program was also created for solo players. The gun itself was a specially made lever action shotgun that fired .20 caliber shells. The reason for using .20 caliber shotshells instead of the more common .22 caliber shotshells was to ensure participants didn’t bring ammo from home, and thus were forced to buy the ammo from Winchester at a Wingo facility. To ensure the safety of participants, the gun was permanently attached to a shooting bench preventing it being pointed at spectators, and the gun programmed to fire only when an ice ball was launched. In addition, the low powered .20 caliber shotshell produced little sound, protecting the hearing of participants. Only 20 Wingo .20 caliber shotguns were ever produced, making them rare collectibles today.
The sport of Wingo only lasted a year when in 1971 when Winchester opened a Wingo facility in San Diego, California. Winchester also formed teams and competitive leagues. Unfortunately due to its high cost of $1 per round ($6 dollars when adjusted for inflation), the high cost of .20 caliber shotshells of which Winchester only made in limited quantities, and its location in an area where that lacked popularity of shooting sports, the Wingo facility closed in less than a year. Winchester never attempted to resurrect the sport afterwords.
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