Thursday, March 01, 2007

Winchester Model 320


This was the first gun I ever bought all on my own. A day or two after I turned 18 I hied myself down to Nichols department store in Harrisonburg (or actually just south of Harrisonburg before annexation) and bought this brand new Winchester Model 320 bolt-action .22 LR chambered rifle for $53 and change out the door. Back then even a just barely legal, pimply faced kid with the readies in his pocket and his driver's license could walk into the store, fill out the form(s) and walk out (unescorted) with his rifle or shotgun and a box of ammo. Oh, life was grand. My buddy Ron was also sucked into the joy of the moment and bought a Savage .22. You can tell what our priorities were because this was a FRIDAY night. $53 was a big chunk of change to me. I'm thinking it was a couple of weeks' earnings.

The next day we went out to a farm on which I had permission to shoot. I introduced Ron and we went to the back 40 to try out our new guns. Great fun for me. I sometimes wonder if Ron still has his rifle after a career in the Air Force and two marriages.

So, I've had this rifle for 34 years. For many of those years it was my only .22 LR. I used it to take groundhogs, squirrels and rabbits. It wore just the open sights for a while, then I got a cheap 4x for either birthday or Christmas and then sold that about 1981 or 1982 and got a Bushnell 3-7X rimfire scope. With Winchester Power Points I've made some fantastic shots, this is a good shooting gun. I used it to try to teach my brother to shoot. It was a bit long in the stock for him though and he sometimes had a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to get really good. We never thought that he would be taken so soon.

It is because of that connection to my brother, not because of my attachment to the gun, that it hasn't gone down the road in extreme times of financial stress. I have had a couple of "opportunities" which I've passed on selling this gun. I'd like to give this gun to my grand-son as a connection to his late great-uncle. I'm thinking that I'll give it to him on his 8th birthday. That's how old my brother was when he died.

I have 5 of the 5 round magazines but could never get myself to pop for the 10 rounders even when they could be had from Numrich/Gun Parts Corp. for a very modest amount. (Now they are an expensive item!) If someone would care to give me one of those 10 rounders that would be fine but I'm still not interested in buying one! 5 rounds is plenty with this gun. If you must have a 10-rounder you can buy a Triple K after-market magazine from AmmoClip.com or from Cheaper-Than-Dirt.

As you can see from this photo of the left side of the receiver, the gun is drilled and tapped for a receiver sight. I almost bought a Williams Foolproof (now that I regret) and would take one if I could find it. Unfortunately I haven't seen but one. I believe the Williams would be the FP-320. If you know where one is or have one to sell, feel free to contact me.

You can also see the strong, simple mount on the scope sight. It works well even though it hangs over the action opening. Ejection is not hampered as you might think it would be. I had to mount it that far forward for me, but it could be mounted a bit more to the rear of the action if that is what you want. There is a lot of flexibility here.

The Winchester 310 (single-shot) and 320 (clip fed) were made from 1971 to 1974 and about 27,000 were produced (about 13,544 of each). The MSRP was $44.95 and $57.50 respectively (so I got a pretty good deal!). Today a NIB 320 is asking $695! Most will trade hands for $200-350 depending on condition with the 310 getting something less. There supposedly is a 325 in .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire but I've never seen one. The guns are supposedly very similar to the Kimber Model 82 rifles as the actions were made by the folks who later started Kimber, Omark (Sportco) in Australia. The action was originally designed and built by Jack Warne who sold out to Omark and then moved to the USA to start up Kimber Arms. I used to hear these describe as a poor man's Kimber (which sold for over $500 new or 10 times the cost of the 320). They share the same magazines with those for the 320 being with plastic rather than the aluminum followers.



7 comments:

Russell Williams said...

may i purchase one of the 5round clips from you for the Winchester Model 320 magazine fed bolt-action .22 rifle ?

Hobie said...

The magazines are not for sale.

Terry62 said...

My son has 3 ten rd mags but cant get a 5 rd mag do u no were they are for sale thanks

Terry62 said...

Do u no were to get 5 rd mags

Hobie said...

I have no idea as to where one could buy magazines for this rifle EXCEPT the usual places such as GunPartsCorp.com.

Tim said...

The actions were made in my home town, Adelaide. I have one too, handed down from my late father who used it to knock over bunnies in the Adelaide Hills.

Anonymous said...

My first rifle was a 320. Dad gave it to me in 1971 and said it was better than the 9422 I really wanted. Well, I don't know about that, but I will say it's the best shooting rifle I have, although that's probably since I've been shooting it since I was 13!It's pretty too....looks just like a baby Model 70!