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.


Tom said...

I have a Model 74, serial number 151012.
I know nothing about this gun or the history of it, it was my Fathers. He traded a shot gun for it as I remember.
I would like to fire the gun. Do you have any do's and don'ts for a person who is not terribly knowledgeable about guns.

bretttcc said...

What scope would you recommend for this gun? Thank you.

Joe Virden said...

I need bolt handle part for the model
74 winchester. where would I look?

Donna said...

I have a rather beat up version of this gun as well. I recently tried to get the bolt out but had a heck of a time. Any suggestions would be appreciated...

@Tom: take it out and shoot it. Though be careful. I had a problem for a bit of having 3 rounds jump out the barrel when I pulled the trigger. Listen for this: because if the ATF hears it you'll be busted for sure...

Pastor Greg said...

Haha! My wife was on my computer...not Donna, ExAgoradzo...or just Greg.

John Lillig said...

John here: I recently bought a 74, serial 58445 any idea when it was made, It's in very good condition! by the way thanks for the advice about dry firing!!