Winchester Model 55 (.22 rim-fire rifle)


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Old 05-23-10, 10:55 AM
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Winchester Model 55 (.22 rim-fire rifle)

The Model 55 was manufactured between 1957-1961, and only 45,100 were made. It is a very basic, single-shot rifle firing .22 LR, L, S, & CB cap ammunition. This rifle sold new for about $15 in the 50ís, but now a collectorís item (not collector grade, however) selling from $150-$450 in good to excellent condition. This link has pictures of one for sale although not mine Winchester Model 55 22 short or Long NICE! : Semi-auto at GunBroker.com.

I use this rifle for hunting armadillos, or in rare cases, a severely injured or diseased small critter such as a raccoon, squirrel, etc. Since armadillos are mainly night feeding creatures, that presents a problem when riding my ATV as they spook easier than when Iím on foot. While a headlamp works fairly well to illuminate the critter, it does not sufficiently illuminate the sights on the rifle (distance is usually 15-25 feet).

Iíve searched the net several times trying to find a dot sight (a/k/a red-dot sight), not a red laser scope. In other gun forums, some posters make a distinction between a red laser and red dot pointing out that the latter may not be produced by laser optics. Iím not particularly concerned with the technology so long as the device achieves the objective of sighting to the critter. I feel it might take longer to sight-in a scope for night use and be more costly, but remain open-minded.

This is the only one Iíve found that I hoped might work: BSA Red Laser Sight with .22 Weaver Style Mounts Matte - Natchez Shooters Supplies. In speaking with Natchez, the information supplied by Weaver did not list a Winchester Model 55 as being compatible for this device but felt they might make an adapter allowing its use. Failing that, he felt a gunsmith could cut grooves in the barrel to make this work. I sent an Email to Weaverís ďAsk the ExpertĒ, and his response was:

ďSorry, I do not offer an adapter for such as sight system. I offer a side mount 3A #48403 and high bracket and rings #49350. See attached photos.Ē
His ďphotosĒ:
.

Can anyone decipher this drawing to determine if the BSA Red Laser Sight can be easily installed on this rifle w/o needing precision machine cutting tools?

If the only workable solution is having a gunsmith modify the barrel, Iím thinking of buying another .22 rifle suitable for this purpose. Iíve looked at Marlin 60, Marlin 795, Marlin 995ss, Ruger 10/22, & Mossberg models. Any helpful suggestions are appreciated.
 
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Old 05-23-10, 11:17 AM
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I know you could do all that other stuff and maybe it would work out...but I have to say my preference would be that you buy one of the other rifles and just mount what you need. Any gun that was made in small quantities is worth keeping original as possible.

I like Rugers, mainly cause they are so compact, and mine is very accurate...but I also have a Marlin 60 that my Dad had, and its also just fine.

You should check pawn and gun shops for older used guns. You'll find them at up to 50% off new. Also things like Trading Post or whatever you have in your area is a good source.

Have you considered a pistol? A Ruger is easily fitted with the type of sights you say you want. Maybe a Buckmark? Also easier to carry than a rifle. Probably just as accurate (if you are) to 25 yds or so.
 
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Old 05-23-10, 02:17 PM
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Hello GunGuy,

Thank you for your insights.

Any gun that was made in small quantities is worth keeping original as possible.
I have the same thought, and reason why I donít want to go the gunsmith route.

You should check pawn and gun shops for older used guns.
I made a feeble attempt about 6 months ago by stopping at two pawn shops. They didnít have anything suitable. I need to make a serious effort by calling a number of them to see what they may have in-stock, and asking if there is some way to get on a list when one comes in.

At one pawn shop who specializes in guns, I had a friendly conversation about the checks they do to determine if a gun has been stolen. The guy, who was very nice, is a cop who owns an interest in the business and is a part timer. At first, he talked me through the checks, but after some questioning, he said theyíre somewhat worthless. That is because a stolen gun almost never makes it into the database by the time it reaches a pawn shop (if it did, most would not buy it). He went on by saying itís not something to worry about since the chance of a law enforcement check is slim unless the gun is found at the time of a crime or if involved in a self-defense shooting. So long as I had a receipt, worse case is the gun would be confiscated if later found to be stolen and the person would not be charged with trafficking in stolen merchandise. Does this sound right to you?

My hesitancy is whether there is anyway to know if it can be outfitted with what I want. Perhaps I should first go to a gun shop who has the expertise to determine which model would be a suitable choice (maybe get lucky if they have a used one), and which red-dot scope/adapters would work. After finding a used one, then go back to the gun shop and buy the red-dot sight.

Have you considered a pistol? A Ruger is easily fitted with the type of sights you say you want. Maybe a Buckmark? Also easier to carry than a rifle. Probably just as accurate (if you are) to 25 yds or so.
It crossed my mind but hadnít seriously considered it. I was thinking it might not be accurate enough. On reflection, you offer a very good idea, and one Iím going to pursue. Iím familiar with Ruger but not Buckmark. Iíll go to a gun shop to get better educated.

I have two, maybe three independently owed gun shops within a 25 or so mile radius that carry a sizeable inventory. I stopped by Gander Mountain awhile back, and browsed their gun dept. Do you see any advantages about buying from Gander Mountain vs. an independent, or just buy on lowest price?

GunGuy, thanks again!
 
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Old 05-23-10, 02:36 PM
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Ok..in no particular order...
I wouldn't worry about a stolen .22 rifle or pistol..I agree with the guy you spoke with. From a private party is a different matter of course.

I think you can find better prices at places like Gunbroker.com or Gunauction.com(?), or even WalMart or Big5 sporting goods (just examples) than you ever will at Gander. Pawn and gun shops you can also negotiate on anything. I will always support buying from a local independent store...but I won't spend 20% more to do it....sorry.

I have 2 Rugers, a Gov Model Target and a .22/45, that will easily shoot to 1" @25 yds from a manual rest, and probably better if I ever checked. Brand name (S&W, Ruger, Browning, etc) .22 auto pistols have to be pretty bad to NOT be able to shoot that well. Again..this will depend quite a bit on you, of course. What kind of range are you talking about? Anything over that..esp in low light or at night just isn't a good practice.

Of course one thing about auto's is they almost all require .22 LR...if thats what you use, no prob. I knew guys who trapped and they all used .22 shorts (when they were cheap, now you prob would have to hunt a lot to find them).
 
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Old 05-24-10, 04:32 AM
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. . . or even WalMart or Big5 sporting goods (just examples) than you ever will at Gander. Pawn and gun shops you can also negotiate on anything. I will always support buying from a local independent store...but I won't spend 20% more to do it....sorry.
The closest WalMart stopped selling guns a few years ago. We share a similar view on supporting independents up to a point.

What kind of range are you talking about? Anything over that..esp in low light or at night just isn't a good practice.
If on foot at night, I sometimes get within 5 or so feet so that is not a problem (Iíve even killed them w/ a shovel until I learned they can bite when one clung to my boot). From an ATV at night, most shots are around 20 feet w/ an occasional max. at say 40 ft. They usually start to get edgy if trying to get closer making them harder to hit caused by their quirky movement. With the single shot, Model 55, sometimes I hit one but donít get a quick kill if slightly off target. In that situation, theyíll spring upward a few feet high, sometimes repeatedly, and then start running wildly. Sometimes they collapse shortly thereafter while other times the chase is on. I hate to wound an animal, so Iíll try tracking it down although sometimes lose the trail at night if they make it to a heavily treed berm or through a fence line.

During the wet season (June 15-Sept.15), I sometimes spot them during early morning hours w/ good light. These can be longer shots usually 50 ft. or so, but as long as 125 ft. (i.e. 40 yds.). These are not a problem per se as Iím able to line up the sights during daylight hours whereas unable to do so in darkness. Iíll have an occasional miss as the distance lengthens out but those are my fault. My property is 12 acres, and two sides are heavily forested, vacant land, and one of those sides is a state park spanning two counties and only separated by a fence (some armadillos come in from that side under a fence separating our properties). Both sides have endangered gopher tortoises, and armadillos raid their borrows for eggs which threatens this native species even further. While park staff make limited attempts to control the armadillo population, theyíre highly under resourced relative to the land mass involved. The other two sides have 3 neighboring homes about 200 or so ft. from edge of my property line. Iíll only take longer shots if aim is toward forested parcels, and any shots toward neighboring homes have to be very short with aim toward ground (i.e., standing up on my non-moving ATV). If on foot, I just maneuver around until facing the right direction.

At night, Iíve tried holding a small flashlight w/ my left hand while trying to steady the rifle w/ only one hand in order to cast some light on the sights. However, this is very awkward, and Iím not hitting the target any better than just trying to roughly sight in the barrel in darkness. Full moon nights help a bit as it provides dim light. Iíve noticed some red-dot sights are equipped w/ a miniature flashlight at side of red-dot device. Since Iíve not used a red-dot sight, Iím unsure if the side light (or my headlamp) will wash out the red-dot when cast upon the target. Iím thinking your pistol idea might minimize some of the challenges as it could be held out from the shooter thereby possibly capturing enough illumination from the headlamp vs. the rear sight on a rifle being in darkness.

Of course one thing about auto's is they almost all require .22 LR...if thats what you use, no prob. I knew guys who trapped and they all used .22 shorts (when they were cheap, now you prob would have to hunt a lot to find them).
One reason I like my Model 55 is its versatility. The noise level of a .22 LR is usually not a concern where I now live, and in past situations where it might be, I would use a CB cap which produces a sound much like an air rifle. Most of my night hunting is late at night or several hours before dawn depending on the movement of armadillos which tend to exhibit repetitious feeding patterns. In most cases, neighbors are sleeping in homes with closed windows, and A/C running. Occasionally, during periods of extreme drought, Iíll hear a high powered rifle as some neighbors shoot wild hogs when damaging their property. I have hog traps, and move them elsewhere when they become a nuisance which is infrequent. Iíve also trapped armadillos using Kishelís Armadillo Bait http://kishelscents.com/COMERSUS/sto...idProduct=3292. Iíve had mixed success as I end up releasing more small critters like coons and possums than catching armadillos.

GunGuy, thanks again for your thoughts as youíve been a big help. Iím going to pursue your .22 pistol idea for night use, and continue using the Model 55 for longer, day shots.
 
 

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