I recently picked up a Winchester that I have wanted ever since I was a kid. The shape of the Winchester Model 63 has always appealed to me. It’s like a lever gun, without the lever, chambered in .22, as a semiautomatic. The receiver is solid and sleek. In fact, the whole gun is a hefty little piece that feels good in your hand as well as at the shoulder. I do not regularly visit pawn shops, but there is one close to home that advertises “GUNS” on its sign out front. So, on a whim, I pulled in to have a look around. Needless to say, I was shocked when I saw this old 63 standing in the rack! It is not in the best shape; but not the worst shape either. I took these “before” pictures to compare to the pictures I will post when I finish cleaning it up. Based on the serial number, this rifle was made in 1938. That’s 76 years ago.
A little history on the Winchester Model 63:
Winchester’s first semiautomatic rifle was the Model 1903, which was made in (you guessed it); 1903. In the 1930s, Winchester renamed it the “Model 03”. These rifles fired a proprietary Winchester round; the .22 Winchester Automatic Cartridge. After a little redesigning in the 1930s, the rifle was renamed again; to the “Model 63” which fired the more commercially available and standard .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Winchester produced the 63s from 1936 until 1958, churning out roughly 175,000 rifles, the last 10,000 of which featured grooved receivers for the mounting of scopes.
One thing that I think is neat about the 63 is that it is a takedown rifle. By simply turning the takedown screw at the rear of the receiver, the internal mechanisms release and the gun simply parts in two pieces.
The 63 uses a tubular magazine in the butt stock, which holds ten cartridges. To load it, you simply give the tube a half-turn and pull the magazine aft until port in the side of the stock opens. You then load your cartridges in through a slot in the right side of the butt stock.