Rimfire

Un re-chambering a Winchester model 90

A bit of history;

This gun was, somewhat obviously, designed in 1890. For a while they were the model 1890, then they became the model 90. Originally chambered for .22L, .22Short and later the .22LR, and then .22 WRF.

They are THE original gallery guns, made famous in shooting galleries and fairs.

This one was made in 1932, and chambered in .22WRF

.22WRF was(is) a higher powered .22, more oomph than a .22 long or long rifle.

Later, the .22 WMR, know usually as .22 Mag was introduced. Very simply it is a WRF that’s been lengthened to hold more powder. Same as the way we got .357 Magnum from .38 Special.

Being bigger, it was more powerful. And popular. It in fact became so popular that the. 22 WRF became obsolete, after a while no longer chambered, and then ammunition stopped being made.

Around that time this gun was modified, to chamber, feed, and fire, the longer .22 WMR.

The only difference in all of these guns for different cartridges, is obviously the barrels chamber, and, as I found out, the carrier.

I had figured that since the shorter round would chamber, (like a 38 in a 357 chamber, the length difference is no problem at all) it would cycle the shorter rounds, and I could fire either round. Much the same as other .22 rifles that will cycle and fire .22 short, long and long rifle.

But “why?” I hear you ask, if the ammo isn’t made?

Well, actually Now, the ammo is made! Its been brought back, from popular demand, so that the older guns can be used!

And I’m glad for it! .22 WMR is a fine round for varmints, and predators. But I hunt neither, and its far too expensive for range/target use. Its too powerful for small game hunting, destroying far too much meat, in a messy fashion.

The .22 WRF on the other hand is light enough for small game hunting, but still a little more oomph than the common .22LR, for range, and bigger animals. Basically its a half step between .22LR and .22WMR.

Now, its not exactly cheap being a specialty ammo, but its about the same cost as most .22 WMR.

Still a little spendy for plinking wabbits, but then again, hunting with a 84 year old pump action is worth it!

Back to my problem;

The carrier is of a controlled feed design, meaning it fully controls the cartridge for its entire journey from magazine to chamber.

This is good, because it allows the gun to function in Any position. Even upside down! Try to do that with most bolt actions, or lever actions. 😉

This is also bad, in our case because it makes the carier a much more exact fir to thr round it carries.

To do so, the cartridge doesn’t just sit on top of the carrier as in a lot of designs, but sits surounded by it. Thus the carrier has to have a channel for the cartridge that is the exact length.

This is important, because, as I found out, how far the round goes into the carrier determines if the next round leaves the magazine. The tip of the round is the cartridge stop while the carrier is down. After if starts up, another part holds the next round.

Whoever converted this gun, deepened the chamber in the barrel, And deepened the channel in the carrier.

Here is a .22 WMR, in this guns carrier.

Here is what happens if you load it with the shorter .22 WRF;

With one round already inside the carrier, what you’r seeing is thd next round un line, partially into the carrier, partially inside the magazine.

And at that poing the gun jams, since that second round holds the carrier from lifting.

Here it is from another view;

Its not a big difference in length, but its enough to cause a jam. WMR on top, WRF below.

So, what we need, is either the cartridge to be longer, so it holds the next round out of the carrier, or the carrier channel to be shallower, providing the same effect.

Here is the shorter WRF inserted just far enough to sit its tip where a WMR tip would be, to hold the next round foreward.

So, our solution, is this part here;

Shown with its retaining set screw.

Like most firearms modifications or repairs, it’s a very small, very simple part, and (relatively) easy to make.

Just needing made to Exacting specifications, thus it’s a deceptively simple little chunk of brass.

It was simple to make, but it wasn’t exactly “easy”. Nor was it quick to make or fit.

Here it is installed, and with its set screw hole drilled and tapped in the carrier itself.

And here you can see its very simple function; It holds the cartridge foreward to where the tip needs to sit, where a WMR tip would be, to keep the next round from feeding, and causing our jam. Simple!

It’s brass because its a low to zero wear part, and it’s an easy material to fit/work with. I could have used steel and heat treated it for wear, but its just not necessary, in my opinion.

It has a “C” shape, to allow a channel for the extractor to pass through, which is what pushes the cartridge forward for chambering. Matching the channel in the carrier itself.

And it works flawlessly! The gun now chambers and fires WRF ammunition again. The only thing I lost was the abillity to Also use WMR ammo. Its still a single cartridge gun. Snall loss, as I’ve explained, I have no real use for WMR.

Overall this was one of my simplest gun fixes. It was interesting to figure out, and tedious to make/fit the part, but was really rather simple, and very fun. Some fixes similar to this have required several days of welding up new steel onto a carrier or bolt, and grinding/filing/refitting it down to size, repeatedly, until it works.

Categories: 22 ammunition, 22 guns, A.I.O., Brass, Customized, Fabrication, Field gear, Guns, Gunsmithing, Hunting, Modifications, old tools, Repairs, Rifles, Rimfire, Shooting, Winchesters | Leave a comment

Guns, woods, birds, bunnies.

Just a little set of pictures from a day out this week.

Remnants of a light snow we had meaning the grouse would be easier to see, and 45F degree weather, promted me to got hunting for a little while.

Lots of bunny sign, tracks, and trails. Lots of fox tracks, and I’d guess what was a lynx track too.

Saw one bunny, too late, as he bounded ouf of range into deep thick cover.

Later I saw one grouse too, and had a couple good shots open but by that time it was getting late, and I was on my way home, my heart wasnt really in it then.

I completed the stalk to where I could have taken it, but decided not to. At that poing the opportunity was enough. 🙂

Overall unproductive, but it was a grwat couplr hours out and about anyway!

Categories: 22 guns, Adventures, Alaska-Life, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Good Times, Guns, Hunting, Just Plain Fun, Life-Philosophy, Outdoors, Rimfire, weather and seasons, Wildlife | 1 Comment

Do take heed of low velocity warnings!

So… when you read or hear warnings about low power ammo and long barrels… Heed them!

Been playing around with some .22 Aguila Super Colibri, which are a 20 grain bullet over no powder; primer only. Supposedly a 550 fps muzzle velocity… Out of what I’m not sure. I’ve read they’re designed for use in pistols(revolvers, it would never cycle a semiautomatic) only.

I like them because they’re so quiet. Even out of my 4″ Bearcat the report is a mild pop, barely a sharp crack to it. No hearing protection needed, and you’ll never annoy a neighbor with them.

Figured what the hell I’d try them in my 1953 Marlin 39A (only non semi auto .22LR rifle I have). Bonus is they are shorter than the length of a standard 22LR; I can get 22 of them in the gun!

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Left to right; Standard Federal LR, Remington Shorts, and Aguila Super Colibri.

Down side is that this rifle is old school, and has a full 24″ barrel.

Every inch counts when your building velocity, I was betting they’d be faster than 550 out of a rifle length. But every inch is against you on low power rounds.

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That’s the tip of the bullet that’s stuck in the tip of the barrel!

That was the first round I fired. Popped it out with a cleaning rod.

Then I reloaded. 🙂 :D

The next 21 rounds all fired and cleared the barrel fine. The first one was the lower one in standard velocity spreads? Bore fouling? Weak primer? A fluke? Who knows.

They’re accurate and fun at backyard range, but you better be damn sure you can see or hear them hit something! There is no recoil and basically no report, the hammer fall click is louder!

If I get some time to get it out I’ll fire a few over the chronograph.

And yes, in case your wondering, these are “Super” Colibri… There is a standard non super version, same bullet, at a little over 100 fps slower! If I get any of those, I definitely Won’t be trying them in long barrels!

Categories: 22 ammunition, 22 guns, GetOutdoors, Guns, Hunting, Marlin, Outdoors, Rifles, Rimfire, Shooting

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