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Thread: A Few Old And Obscure .22 Rifles

  1. #1
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    A Few Old And Obscure .22 Rifles

    One of my more noticeable afflictions in life is collecting old American-made .22 rifles. This is an easy field to start collecting because there is literally hundreds of them out there , ranging from very cheap to "holy shit" in price.

    I started on the cheap ones - I located a very nice Winchester Model 67 single shot , like the one I grew up with. Family fall-outs , and pig-headedness resulted in some undeserving bastard ending up with "my" childhood rifle , so I set out to replace it .

    Such is life - now I have more .22's than an apparently sane person could ever need - says the Financial Controller in the family. But I only own two pairs of shoes , no handbags , and dont make hand-stitched quilts in my spare time either so one cancels out the other...

    Anyhoo - to the subject of this article ( thanks Tahr for pushing me to do this )

    The Winchester Model '03 Auto ( and the Mod 63 by default )

    In 1903 Winchester released the very first semi auto .22 rifle onto the market. Because .22 ammo at that time tended to be poor quality , semi-smokeless , or even better - black powder propelled , Winchester developed a proprietary smokeless cartridge to use in their firearm. This became known as the .22 Winchester Auto rimfire , and differs from the "standard" Long Rifle by being a fatter , shorter case so that you couldnt chamber and fire a dirty black powder round and foul the workings with residue. The '03 cartridge is not interchangeable with any other cartridge , although the Remington Model 16 semi auto is very close and I believe you can fire one of them in the other rifle but can not recall which.


    Winchesters Mr Thomas Crossley Johnson designed the 03 rifle in-house. It is essentially a blowback action aided by a fairly heavy counterweight that rides under the 20" barrel and within the forend. The rifle is fed via a butt-stock mounted tube magazine , pull the inner tube back and feed the cartridges in via a stylish , teardrop shaped loading port in the right side of the stock. Cocking the rifle the first time requires a purposeful push back of the loading lever that extends beyond the front of the forend steel nose cap. Turning the loading lever through 90 degrees whilst pushed in locks the lever , and the action , open. No last-round-hold-open in those days.

    The cartridge is reasonable powerfull for the day - 45 grain projectile at approx 880 feet per second - rather like the .22 Long cartridge of the day. I can confirm that rabbits shot with this caliber are not bullet proof...... Ammo can be found at gunshows on occasion, usually expensive , or you might be jammy and pickup 600 rounds for a pittance amongst the very early lots in an auction because no one was looking ....

    The rifle action is a take-down - unscrew the knurled knob at the rear of the receiver , give the two halves a wiggle and twist and they seperate for transport of cleaning . Tis the work of a moment to reinstall the two halves and snug up the retaining bolt.

    The stock is made of walnut - Winchester used real wood back then on real rifles . Many of the early single shot boys rifles had gum wood stocks but the 03 Auto sold for $25 in 1911 , compared to the Model 1890 pump at $16.

    some pics

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    The top rifle is the 03 Auto. Second is the Win Mod 63 - which is the 03 chambered in 22 Long Rifle , made from 1933 to 1958. Third is the Remington Model 16 Auto Loader that we will discuss later , but there to give a comparison of styles at the time .

    My typing finger is tired , feel free to ask questions , I will try to answer them.
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  2. #2
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    Nice. Starting "top shelf"though, gonna make us wait long till you get to the really unusual boys rifles stuff I know you have ???

  3. #3
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    In truth - I had a bunch of super interesting Stevens Tip-up rifles , including the Hunters Pet with 20 inch octagonal barrel , and a .25 rimfire tip-up pistol , but in a moment of madness ( bought a dairy farm, needed money ) sold them......

    I do have a few obscure makers rifles that I will get to in due course though. Next one up is the Remington Mod 16 in the pics above - not today though.
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  4. #4
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    Nice collection and look to be in good condition. You can really get into collecting 22s, just so many variations of action, at one time I had 20 or more, from Visible loader, Lightning and all sorts. Good thing is still not too expensive either.

  5. #5
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    Best thing is you can take them out and shoot them all. Its cheap shooting fun , and with the variety of actions there is always something to learn when shooting these old guns
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  6. #6
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    So - The Model 63 Winchester

    Technically , the Mod 63 Winchester rifle was thirty years old when it was introduced to the market in 1933. It was based on the original Model '03 Auto , discussed earlier.
    As the '03 was designed to handle a smokeless .22 round , converting the gun to fire .22 Long Rifle "modern" ammunition was a relatively easy task. The rifle was specified to fire Winchesters "Super-X" and "Super-Speed" .22 Long Rifle ammo , and is marked accordingly on the receiver. The early rifles came with a 20" barrel , which many users thought was too short and gave an unbalanced feel to the rifle. In 1936 the rifle was available with a 23 inch barrel , which improved the balance somewhat.

    Cosmetically the rifle was very similar to the '03 before it , the buttstock was redesigned with a flatter butt plate rather than the crescent shape of the earlier model , and updated sights were fitted - Winchesters own Number 75 front post and Number 32B rear spring-leaf type with stepped elevator. From approx 1955 receivers were grooved for scope mounting.

    The model was discontinued in 1958 - it was simply too expensive to make . After a 25 year run , sales were dwindling - down to approx 7000 units a year in the last few years .

    Some Mod 63's will cycle standard velocity ammo , some wont . They are designed for regular LR ammo , and can be a bit picky on what it likes . Stovepipes on extraction are not uncommon but with ammo it likes they are very uncommon. One of mine - the one with the scope - shoots standard velocity ok - the other does not .. Mounting a modern , full sized scope on these older rifles just doesnt look right , but it makes life easier for those of us with aging eyes...

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzza View Post
    So - The Model 63 Winchester

    Technically , the Mod 63 Winchester rifle was thirty years old when it was introduced to the market in 1933. It was based on the original Model '03 Auto , discussed earlier.
    As the '03 was designed to handle a smokeless .22 round , converting the gun to fire .22 Long Rifle "modern" ammunition was a relatively easy task. The rifle was specified to fire Winchesters "Super-X" and "Super-Speed" .22 Long Rifle ammo , and is marked accordingly on the receiver. The early rifles came with a 20" barrel , which many users thought was too short and gave an unbalanced feel to the rifle. In 1936 the rifle was available with a 23 inch barrel , which improved the balance somewhat.

    Cosmetically the rifle was very similar to the '03 before it , the buttstock was redesigned with a flatter butt plate rather than the crescent shape of the earlier model , and updated sights were fitted - Winchesters own Number 75 front post and Number 32B rear spring-leaf type with stepped elevator. From approx 1955 receivers were grooved for scope mounting.

    The model was discontinued in 1958 - it was simply too expensive to make . After a 25 year run , sales were dwindling - down to approx 7000 units a year in the last few years .

    Some Mod 63's will cycle standard velocity ammo , some wont . They are designed for regular LR ammo , and can be a bit picky on what it likes . Stovepipes on extraction are not uncommon but with ammo it likes they are very uncommon. One of mine - the one with the scope - shoots standard velocity ok - the other does not .. Mounting a modern , full sized scope on these older rifles just doesnt look right , but it makes life easier for those of us with aging eyes...

    Attachment 181406

    Attachment 181407
    I've got a decent win 68 TDR, that may be looking for a nice new home.

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  8. #8
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    Your rifle is an early one - 1934-5 - with the finger grooves in the stock. They made these from 1934 till about 1944 . Effectively a Model 67 with better sights.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzza View Post
    Your rifle is an early one - 1934-5 - with the finger grooves in the stock. They made these from 1934 till about 1944 . Effectively a Model 67 with better sights.
    Thanks for the info mate, my gun safe is like going back in time at the minute, everything is old, from the .303's to the .22's.

  10. #10
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    real guns are made of blued steel and walnut
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  11. #11
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    Great stuff, guys! Keep them coming Muzza! You'll find this hard to believe but some .22 rifles were made before I was made!
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  12. #12
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    Many of them have fared better over the years too , John.

    My oldest is 1899 - so almost as old ....
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  13. #13
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    Nice write up. Dad had a model 63, that I learned to shoot with. At one stage it must have got some shit in the mechanism and before you could release the trigger you had fired a 3 shot burst. Was a ton of fun but the extra rounds didn't do a lot for accuracy.

 

 

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