The Winchester self loading rifle part 1

I happen to enjoy all types of firearms. From single shot to machine gun. From civilian to military and caliber does not matter. Generally I like to chat about projects we are working on or building small arms, but this series of posts are going to be about the Winchester self loading rifle. The first post will deal with the Model 1903 self loader and its successors the Winchester model 63 and the Taurus copy of the model 63.

When the Winchester model 1903 first came out 22lr ammunition was not of the same quality as 22 ammo is today. In fact a large portion of it still used black powder as its propellant. Therefore to insure a rifle that would work properly and not  gum up due to the residue that black powder leaves behind a new cartridge was developed. This cartridge was the 22 Winchester automatic. This round fired a 45 grain lubricated lead bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1055 fps and a muzzle energy of 111 ft-lbs.


The picture above shows the difference between the two cartridges.

This rifle used a tubular magazine. The clip as we know today was not developed unit 1919. Loading ammunition while shooting all three of the rifles was easily accomplished, but care had to be taken to insure that the round were dropped in properly.



The production of the model 1903 rifle ended in 1932 with Winchester making a little over 120,00 units.


DSC_5218csThe curve of the butt stock was more along the lines of a lever action and not a semi-auto rifle.



DSC_5214csBy 1932  22 ammunition improved in quality enough that the rifle was re-design for this caliber and the model designation was changer to model 63. All together approximately 175,000 were made and sold.


DSC_5185csStill using the rear tubular magazine and not magazine fed.

DSC_5187csThe front nose cap remained the same.


However, now the butt stock was more into the design of a semi-auto rifle and checkered.

DSC_5192csThe third rifle is not a Winchester but a Taurus copy, also called the model 63.

DSC_5204csYou can see that changes were made to the feed slot for the tubular magazine. The slot is longer and at a much more gradual taper.


DSC_5199csThe same basic nose cap was kept.

DSC_5206sThe butt stock and plate were once again changed.


4 comments to The Winchester self loading rifle part 1

  • Jim Sturges

    Interesting series. There were several center fire rifles to follow.
    I have a Mod 1905 in caliber .32 WSL. It can be considered the “grand father of the M1 Carbine”. The fire control groups are similar.
    Later was chambered in .35WSL (Mod 1907) and .401 (Mod 1910). Unfortunately all were Blowback and the cartridges were weak and the guns (and Operation rod) got heavier as the calibers went up.
    They stuck around until the 30’s. The long recoil Remington 8 & 81 could handle more powerful cartridges and lead to eventual decline of the Winchester center fires.
    Semi-autos were new in the early 1900’s, There were no rules were all the controls should go. The charging handle at the end of the forearm was quite convenient.

  • Mark

    Worth a look, if you haven’t seen the original 1901 patent for what became the Win. 1903.

    Good drawings.

    Google Patents search: 681481

  • Larry Dyess

    I was given a model 63 22 cal. Simi-auto, load thur the rear. An old man I worked for gave it to me. It is smooth stock the bolt was broken. The tooth that catches firing pin was broke off. Took bolt to a machinist/gun Smith, sad to say I never seen him or the gun bolt again. Now 30 years later I want it fixed. Where would I purchase a bolt for it? Or do they make parts for it any more?’

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