A Plinker from the days where aesthetics– and commonality– mattered

Winchester’s Model 1903 was introduced while Teddy Roosevelt was President. Chambered in then-newly-introduced .22 Win Auto, the “03” was designed by noted firearm engineer T.C. Johnson and was fed by a 10-shot tubular magazine inserted through the buttstock. A simple blow-back action, the rifle could be quickly taken down into two parts for storage.

Although it remained in production through 1932, the .22 Win Auto cartridge never caught on and wasn’t used by any other firearms on the market, thus handicapping the rifle’s popularity. With that, Winchester redesigned the rifle to accept the common UMC-designed .22LR, which has been around in one form or another since 1884. Further, the walnut stock was restyled from a typical straight stock found on the Model 1903 to one with a pistol grip.

With that, the Model 63 was born:

Entering the market in 1933 at a price of about $34– which adjusts to around $700 in today’s dollars– the new Winchester 63 was billed as, “the easiest handling, cleaning, and handiest shooting .22 caliber automatic,” available. In early marketing material, the new rimfire rifle was dubbed “The Speed King.”

More in my column at Guns.com.

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