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.

Anonymous 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!!

Germaine said...

I have a Win. 74. It is a good shooter. I have read that the bolt can be damaged if fired on an empty chamber. Since I have several grand daughters and great nephews that enjoy shooting when they come to visit, I am concerned they will pull the trigger on an empty chamber and damage the firing pin. Is there any indication the magazine is empty, or do you simply need to count?
I have though of making some dummy rounds and loading one in as the last round down the tube.
What do you think?

RayRay1462 said...

I got this rifle when my grandfather died. For years it was a great shooting gun but had it leaning on my bedroom wall when Katrina floodwaters hit. 2 1/2 feet of water it stood in for 2 weeks. I let the barrel sit in transmission fluid for awhile after then cleaned the heck out of it. It all seems to work as always but I haven't fired it since. After reading stories about dry firing, I must have dry fired dozens of times since. Guess the only way to see if there's damage is to take it out and shoot it. I seem to remember firing 22 shorts long ago but had to eject the shells by hand. Anyway, if it still works, I'd like to get a cheap scope for it since my eyes aren't what they use to be. Can't really see how a scope could be attached. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Baydo Khan said...

I have this Gun in the family since 30 years been used by my uncles and dad for hunting from time to time, now its in my possession. First of all its a very very accurate rifle and is not too loud either, can shoot the button of a shirt from 50 yards on plain Iron Sights. Does have ejection issues once in a blue moon, i use S&B High velocity bullets for it and has not ejected a shell every 50 rounds. cleaning it is is very easy and its a very balanced rifle.
the only issue I am facing right now is mounting a scope on it. I already have its original mount but it can only fit slim scopes. Its a side mount. the scopes i have have a thicker barrel.
Any suggestions what i can do with the mount?

Sean said...

You can release the pressure off the firing spring without pulling the trigger by removing the bolt carrier group, pushing the bolt stop forward til it's touching the bolt, depressing the back of the sear and slowly moving the bolt stop back to it's resting position.