Saturday, September 08, 2007

Winchester Model 62A and 06 (1906)

These guns have a lot in common. Both are developed from the Model 1890, Winchester's premiere pump action rimfire rifle. Both are chambered for the .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle rimfire ammunition. Both are operated exactly the same way. Both now have the same type of sights, notably the tang peep sight. Both came from grandfathers albeit different grandfathers. Both spent most of their service lives dealing with garden pests. Both are now mine and both will likely be passed to my grandchildren. That would be 5 generations of service for these guns.

The first which I became familiar was Grandpa P's M62A. Every summer we would trek up from West Virginia or Kentucky to visit him near Fly Creek, NY and I would be sure to get a shooting lesson and later to help keep the woodchuck/groundhog population down. We did a lot of shooting with .22 Shorts because there was a real economic advantage to using the little cartridges. However, Grandpa used LR hollowpoints on the groundhogs. What I can't say for certain now but I remember more of the H headstamp for Winchester ammo. Grandpa used that same ammo to keep the rabbits out of the garden but I think it was "Uncle" George who taught Aunt Gigi and Dad to shoot.

Dad taught me to shoot with this gun and that was the highlight of every summer trip, for me. I think for Dad as well as he only hunted woodcock and grouse a couple of times while I was growing up. It wasn't until I was 12 that we got a bird dog and Dad took the time to get a license or go hunting. He started me on coffee cans at about 20 yards and we moved up from the cheap .22 shorts to using the .22 LR on game. By the time I was 10 I was allowed to take Grandpa's gun out woodchuck hunting on my own. I killed many with that gun to Grandpa's delight. He hated woodchucks so much I've seen him swerve, near to running off the road, trying to hit them with his car.

Dad told me once that this was the only new gun that Grandpa ever bought and I believe he had the Lyman #2 tang sight on it from the beginning. It is a great combination and if you miss it is some problem other than the sights. The serial dates this gun to 1949 and I think that Grandpa was making good money on the farm at that time with all the kids gone and out of college so he had extra to spend.

The 1906, made in 1920 was Grandfather F's gun. I think that he most certainly bought it used and he spent no more on it than he needed to. I'm the one who mounted the Marble's tang peep. He didn't take care of the rifle either. Once upon a time he decided that the open sights weren't helping him kill the garden pests easily enough and he borrowed his veterinarian's scoped Mossberg rifle for that job. The 1906 was put away and never again brought out. My Grandmother F was a virulent anti-gun person and she banned the guns from the house proper. Grandfather put them all in the attic where they remained, apparently untouched, for nearly 40 years. Unfortunately, Grandfather wasn't as serious about house maintenance as he was about boat maintenance and the guns had various amounts of rust damage. The 1906 had quite a bit of rusting over all of the outside, apparently from condensation. I stripped it and had it fine bead blasted and reblued so the finish is not original but it won't deteriorate further.

So I've two of Winchester's pump guns and this has got me wanting an 1890, preferably in .22 WRF. But I'm glad for what I have. The 62A has not been rezeroed and I use Winchester PowerPoints in it and it does go squirrel hunting now and again. The 1906 is currently zeroed for the Aguila Colibris and it is used for light, no hearing protection plinking with Dad's old swinging metal target. Great fun, the both of them.

Winchester pump-action rimfire series began with the Browning designed 1890. The 1890 became the quintessential gallery rifle and many thousands were made for that purpose as well as for field use. The 1906 was an attempt to make a lower price-point firearm for the younger shooter. Stocks were shorter and the gun lighter. Perhaps most importantly, this is when the design of the lifter was changed so that the guns could operate with .22 shorts, longs and long rifle cartridges interchangeably. The Models 62 and later 62A were the result of slight alterations to facilitate manufacture and reduce production costs. Like the Marlin 39s, all these (except for some early solid frame guns) are "takedowns". This makes them convenient for transportation and storage. However, I don't think ours have ever been taken down except for cleaning. According to Schwing Winchester originally intended to chamber the rifles for .32 caliber cartridges and to make a lever action version. Although there wasn't the market demand to move Winchester to do that, Taurus has seen fit to produce the lever action version. It would be great if they followed up on Winchester's earlier vision and actually produced the .32 H&R version.


Tom Smith said...

I have an 1890 WRF. Loading tube is stiff and binding when I insert magazine tube into it. I have "bore" brushed the tube, and used emery paper to smooth the magazine surface, applied gun oil and it still is very difficult to insert and lock.

Any suggestions.

Thank you.

Tom Smith

Hobie said...

I would say that either the inner or outer tube are bent or perhaps the outer tube has a slight dent somewhere along the length. The sooner you run into resistance, the closer to the "mouth" of the outer tube or follower in the inner tube the fault is.