Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm getting a lot of hits, but no interaction.

If you've got something to add, feel free to post a comment, 
or drop me a line and I'll put pics and your comments up for you. 
So long as it's about Winchester rifles, it'll go in.
It seems like the model 69 draws the most hits here, 
(with good reason, it's a wonderful old gun.) 
There's a lot of people looking for info on the 69a.
The 9422M comes in second, the 1897 third. 
I'm headed up to Kittery at the end of the month to check out a used .50 cal Winchester Apex Magnum Muzzleloader, I know it's not REALLY a Winchester (I think they're made in Spain) but it's all that's in the budget right now, and sooner or later the D.E.M. is going to bust me for deer hunting with the 30'06, 
so I feel the need to get something legit.
Maybe I'll get lucky and find a 54 or a 61 or an M1 carbine that needs some TLC, you never know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Winchester model 70 in 30'06 Springfield.

This is the last piece in my current collection, a model 70 chambered in 30'06 Springfield. (Also called 30'06 Government.)
This is a fairly new rifle, made in 2004, so it's pre Olin. 
(i.e. still made by Winchester in Hartford Ct.) 
It's a Controlled Round Push Feed, which is looked down on by the hard-core Winchester purists, but this one's had more then 500 rounds run thru it and it's never failed to load, fire or eject a round, so you can make what you'd like of their opinion.
It's topped with a Simmons Aetec scope on Weaver mounts. 
I'm going to do a whole posts on mounts 'scopes and "length of pull". 
For now I'll only say that I tried a few setups before I went with this.

This rifle and I started off on the wrong foot. I bought the gun new from a chain store I won't name. The one I picked out had a 26" barrel and a gray composite stock. When I went back to pick it up after my 5 day waiting period, they couldn't find the bolt for it. 
They offered me a different rifle and after having to wait for 5 friggin days to take delivery, I said sure. 
It wasn't until I got home that I noticed this one had a 24" barrel, it was back to the store.
They still couldn't find the bolt for that 26", they wouldn't swap rifles and they wouldn't swap bolts because they number them. it was take the 24" or get my money back. 
I took the 24".

I hated the composite stock from the very first round. 
I'm used to heavy recoil, but this was way more then it should have been and there was the weird 'klack' noise that came up thru the stock and cheek piece. 
The scope wasn't impressive either, but I knew this was a good rifle, the gun became a project (read as: mission)
I bought a semi-inleted walnut stock and cut it down to a 13' pull with a Pachmyer White Line recoil pad.  I glass-bedded the action with home made brass posts and floated the barrel. The composite stock had a blind magazine and a plastic trigger guard and the only floor plate assembly I could find was stainless steel, but the two-tone finish didn't bother me so I went with it.
My $300 rifle ended up running me just under $600, 
but it was worth every penny. 
It fits like a glove and will consistently hit a 4" target at 200 yds.
Don't shy away from a post '64 model 70. They'll do everything the pre '64's will, and they're price is competitive.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Winchester model 9422m Xtra Classic in .22 WMR

I know, I know, that's waaaaaaay too much scope for that rifle, but I couldn't resist. You have GOT to shoot one of these.

I'd never thought much of the .22 magnum round as a target load, and it's either too powerful or too light a slug for real hunting. 
I was hoping to find one of those late 1950's era model 61's with a 28" barrel, thinking the longer barrel would give the bullet enough extra spin and muzzle velocity to do something with a round that should be a lot more accurate then it seems to be in practice, 
but a $1500 model 61 is going to be a pitted out piece of junk that looks like it's going to explode the first time you fire it. 
So that one's out until I hit the lottery. 
My brother loaned me this rifle, and the first time I fired it I was in love.
This gun, with open sights, was twice as accurate as my scoped Remington 597M bull barrel, so I had to scope this gun! 
The only scope I had hanging around was this pimped out Bushnell I'd pulled off the Remington. 
(Turns out the scope was fine, it was the Remington that was crap.)
The grooved receiver limited my mounting options. I was going to try mounting a Weaver rail on the grooves and tie it into the dovetail, but I couldn't do that without having to have something fabricated, and it would have put the scope higher then I like.
I ended up setting 2 rings  behind the adjusting turrets and epoxying the front bell to a cut-down blade sight I installed in rear dovetail. 
It ain't pretty, but with Remington Vmax rounds, it will put up 1/4" groups  at 80 yards from a bench and sand bags   ...but I digress.
This is a Model 9422m Xtra classic, made in the mid 70's.
The "m" denotes the chambering in Winchester Magnum Rifle (WMR) So far as I know, all  "Classic" means is "High comb pistol grip". 
It has a 22" barrel and the magazine loads thru a port at the front of the tube. It has exactly the same fit and feel of the '94s in the heavier calibers. The action is tight and the trigger is crisp.
The furniture was marked up, but the figuring wasn't that great to begin with, so it was no great loss.

The bottom line is this. The only thing a .22 mag round is good for is making an example out of varmints. You'll put up tighter groups and/or waste a lot less meat with a .22 long rifle 
...but if you're really into watching stuff/critters explode, this is the ONLY .22 mag you want. Use the Remington Vmax for targets and the  Winchester JHP's for varmints.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Winchester 74 semi-auto

This is a Winchester model 74, a semi-automatic with a 24" barrel, chambered for .22 short, long, and long rifle. It was made in the mid 1950's and wasn't one of Winchesters best designs. 
If you run across one of these DO NOT DRY FIRE IT. 
The firing pin is this 3 piece unit that's easily damaged and replacements are impossible to find.
The tube magazine loads thru a hole in the stock. The set-up is a little clumsy and like as not, you'll end up getting at least one round facing the wrong way every other time you reload. 
This particular gun is prone to stovepipe type jams. I haven't figured out why yet. When I do I'll edit it into this post.
From the condition of the finish on the metal, it looks like it had a hard life, but the stock is is very good condition, so my guess is the bluing wasn't that great to begin with. 
The 'scope and mounts came with the gun and will be replaced as soon as I can scrape up the $.
On the plus side, it shoots like a dream. The action is quick, 
it's comfortable to hold with excellent balance and it's a very accurate rifle. 
It's also a very easy gun to clean. There's a cross bolt at the back of the receiver. Press that in and the whole action slides right out. 
When you're cleaning the bolt, let the pressure off the hammer slowly. If the hammer snaps forward, there's a stop on the firing pin that gets knocked loose.
There's no way to lock the breech open, so the action is always cocked. I manually feed an empty shell casing into the chamber so I can drop the hammer before I put it away.
I don't like leaving the springs under tension.

The Winchester model of 1894

The grammar sounds a little clumsy, but that's what they call it, 
and as it's probably the finest hunting rifle for deep woods ever made, who am I to argue.
This one was made right after WWII. The metal is in excellent condition, but the stock looked like it had been refinished with a belt sander, so I didn't feel guilty about adding the recoil pad. 
The furniture still needs a couple more coats of tung oil before it will shine, but it shoots just fine.
It's a carbine (which means it has a 20"barrel) chambered in 32 Winchester Special. A hard hitting round that can also be loaded with black powder 
(should you happen to like big puffs of smoke with your bang.) 
The rifle came with a set of Williams iron sights that I switched for a set of "Fire sights" wich work very well in low light.
If you happen to have a buckhorn marked "32 Winchester Special" kicking around, drop me a line. I'd love to return it to the original.

This thing had the sloppiest trigger I ever saw when I found it. There was a 1/4" of play side to side and the trigger pull was in double digits. I ended up drilling it out the trigger, frame and sear and bushing everything. I also stoned the sear as the faces weren't a great match (and I already had it apart). 
It shoots like a dream now. 

This is probably my favorite piece in the collection.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Winchester Model 1897

That picture up in the header is a military version of the Winchester 1897,  known as the "Trench Gun" during World War I.
It saw service right on into the '60s.

Pictured here is a civilian model from 1909. It has a 30" full choke barrel and fires 2 3/4 inch 12 gage shells. I know everybody's big on those 3 + inch magnum loads of "double ought" buck ...but you put a load of #4 turkey shot down a full choke barrel into anything and then tell me it won't get the job done.

You need to be extraordinarily careful around the '97. The only safety is a half cock position on the hammer and the firing pin is heavy enough to set off a primer if the gun gets a good jolt.

There's also no disconnect for the firing pin, so if you're on the trigger when you rack the slide, the gun goes off when the bolt goes home.

This is impressive if you're the type that likes to fan off a few rounds from the hip, but out in the real world it's a serious safety issue. This particular gun isn't a good choice for a novice, but it's a big hit with the "Cowboy Action" set. 
Thank god for competent range officers

This one is a "Take-down" model, the barrel and magazine separate from the action and shoulder stock. 

In deference to the guns age, (and my torn rotator cuff) I rarely fire it. But it will be featured in an upcoming YouTube vid on shooting and and accuracy, so check back.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Winchester Model 69

I always loved 22s. They make just enough noise to be interesting and they're accurate as hell. 
Plus you can shoot all afternoon for cheap.
I'd just moved out to the woods and had a little spare cash in my pocket, so I decided to buy a "meat and potatoes" 22. I hadn't set out specifically looking for a Winchester, I just wanted a long barreled target rifle.  This one was a little more then I wanted to spend, but exactly what I was looking for. It was in nice shape and I liked the lines of it and the light stock gave it a nice balance.
It didn't have a serial number, in those days they only serialized high end rifles. The model 69, (which cocks on the close stroke of the bolt) came out in 1935. Winchester came out with the model 69A (heavier stock and cocks on the open stroke) in 1937, so that narrowed the date of manufacture down pretty close.  
It had the original 5 shot box magazine, but the stamped steel factory peep site was gone. It had been replaced with this odd ladder type site that looked like it came off an Enfield.
I replaced that with a Lyman micrometer peep site with a large globe up front. The bolt handle hit the windage knob when I worked the action (grrrrrr). A taller front site would have solved the problem, but I was already worried about having something that big out there on the nose and I figured anything bigger was sure to get knocked loose, so I ended up cutting the knob down. 
It wasn't pretty but it turned the old girl into a tack driver.

This is 15 .22LR rounds in pistol target, shot a 40 yards.
Not bad for an 80 year old gun.