$15.00 Fall 2022 Winter 3 MODEL 64 UPDATE winchestercollector.org
16 | WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG • Winter 2023 TheWINCHESTER Model 64 An Updated History and Analysis by Bert Hartman #6571L he Model 64 was introduced in January of 1933 specifically as a replacement to the Model 55. As it was originally cataloged, it was available in the same 25-35 W.C.F., 30 W.C.F. and 32 W.S. cartridges as the Model 55. Like the Model 55 rifle, the Model 64 rifle was never officially cataloged in either the 32-40 or 3855 cartridge (though they were briefly mentioned in the 1938 Salesman catalog). My ongoing research survey has documented and verified that a very small number of each of those cartridges were indeed manufactured up through the year 1937. The 32-40 and 38-55 calibers are very rarely encountered and on a cautionary note, a good number of them that have surfaced in the market today are fakes. Both variations of the Model 64 rifle were solid frame only (no factory takedowns were produced), with the primary difference between the two variations being the stock configuration. The Deer Rifle was manufactured with a slightly higher quality of American black walnut, finelycut checkering, a capped pistol grip and QD sling bases and swivels. The images at the top of the next page were scanned from the 1934 Winchester catalog and describe the two variations that were initially offered. T Model 64 219 Zipper Deluxe Carbine s/n 1241780. Image courtesy of the Drew Bloss collection.
Winter 2023 • WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG | 17 There were just two Model 64 variations initially offered, as shown in the 1934 catalog: the standard Sporting Rifle and the Deer Rifle. Model 64 standard Sporting Rifle Model 64 Deer Rifle
18 | WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG • Winter 2023 Unlike previous lever-action models, there were no cataloged special-order options listed for the Model 64. That stated, Winchester would entertain a customer’s request. One such special-order Model 64 is a 30 W.C.F. Deer Rifle that has a checkered trigger, and it is also one of the very small number of non 219 Zipper rifles with a No. 98A bolt peep sight. That trigger is detailed at right. Production of the Model 64 actually began in late 1932. As was the case with the late production Model 55 rifles, the Model 64 rifles were serial numbered entirely within the Model 94 serial number sequence. Serial number 1085230 (July 5, 1932) is very close to where the Model 64 production began, though I have found a small number of slightly earlier serial numbers that appear to be a case of Winchester using up older Model 94 receivers. Production of the Model 64 is found widely interspersed throughout the Model 94 serial number range from the approximate serial numbers of 1085230 to 2189618. Unlike any of the preceding Winchester lever-action models, the Model 64 was factory equipped with a pistolgrip butt stock as a standard feature. The butt stock also featured the same Whelen-style fluted comb that was used on the Model 55. Just like the Model 55, and its close cousin the Model 53, the Model 64 also had a cousin model … the Model 65, that was also introduced in January of 1933 (The Winchester Collector Winter 2016). As originally introduced, the forends on the Model 64 Sporting Rifles were dimensionally identical to those on the Model 94 Sporting Rifles, but just a few years into the production run, a new style semi-beavertail (fatter crosssection) forearm stock was introduced. During the course of the production run, at least three different sizes/shapes of forend stocks were used and will be encountered. The earliest production rifles are found with a 22H open (barrel mounted) rear sight only, but by August of 1933, Winchester began drilling and tapping the left upper rear side of the receiver frame for a receiver peep sight as a standard item. Oddly enough, the upper tang was also drilled and tapped for a tang peep sight until July of 1942 (circa s/n 1341646). This gave the discriminating shooter several different choices for his sighting equipment. Throughout the entire production run, the vast number of the Model 64 rifles will be found with a drilled and tapped receiver. The Lyman No. 56 receiver sight was listed as an optional sight through the 1953 catalog. Later production Model 64 rifles can be found with a factory installed Lyman No. 66A receiver sight. Because the factory did drill and tap the receiver frame on the majority of the Model 64 rifles, one should never discount or turn away from one that is found with a Lyman, Redfield, King or Williams receiver sight installed. The 1946 catalog shows that a Lyman No. 56 receiver sight option cost the discerning buyer an extra $12.95! Checkered trigger detail, image courtesy of Mark Wiprud. Model 64 Deer Rifle with Lyman No. 56 Receiver Sight
Winter 2023 • WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG | 19 Like the Model 55, there was just one style of butt plate available. The Model 64 used a checkeredsteel shotgun butt plate with a smooth, diamond-shaped surface surrounding the screw holes and an inletted widow’s peak at the top. This exact same style of butt plate was first used on the Model 1887 lever-action shotguns and the Model 1897 slide-action shotguns. In later years, it was adopted for use on the late production Model 54 bolt-action rifles, the Model 65 and Model 71 lever-action rifles, and the Model 70 bolt-action rifles. I do not know if the butt plates are interchangeable between any of the models mentioned, but I suspect that to some degree, they are. Beginning in August of 1933, a 20-inch barrel was offered for both the standard Sporting Rifle and Deer Rifle variations. It did not take long before the shooting public began referring to them as “Carbines,” though Winchester never officially did so. The 20inch barreled Sporting Rifle and Deer Rifle variants are much less frequently encountered than the standard 24-inch barreled Sporting and Deer Rifles, and accordingly, they typically sell for a substantial premium price when found today. For the remainder of this article, I will colloquially refer to them as a “Carbine” or a “Deluxe Carbine.” As shown in the 1946 catalog at right, the 20-inch barreled rifle variations were priced exactly the same as the 24-inch barreled rifles. The Winchester checkered-steel butt plate as used on the Model 64
20 | WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG • Winter 2023 I will discuss the estimated production numbers for each variant in greater detail later in this article. The year 1937 saw the introduction of an entirely new cartridge and concept for a lever-action rifle. The 219 Zipper cartridge was introduced by Winchester as a hi-speed varmint cartridge for specific use in a leveraction rifle. In order to maximize the cartridge efficiency, Winchester increased the standard barrel length from 24-inches to 26-inches for the 219 Zipper chambered rifles only. It is listed in the 1938 Sales Manual as shown below. A very fine example of a 219 Zipper Deer Rifle is shown at the bottom of this page. Note that this rifle has a 22H open sporting rear sight versus a No. 98A bolt-peep. In the time interval between when I wrote the original Model 64 article (The Winchester Collector Fall 2012) and this updated (revised) article, I have discovered that Winchester also manufactured a very small number of Carbines in the 219 Zipper cartridge…but with a 22-inch The introduction of the 219 Zipper for the Model 64 as shown in the 1938 Winchester Sales Manual Model 64 219 Zipper Deer Rifle with 22H Sporting Rear Sight Model 64 Deluxe Carbine with 20-inch barrel and Lyman No.56 Receiver Sight Model 64 Carbine with 20-inch barrel and Lyman No.56 Receiver Sight
Winter 2023 • WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG | 21 A standard 219 Zipper Sporting Rifle (top) and 219 Zipper Carbine (bottom) with bolt peep and no rear sight dovetail, as detailed in the text. Image courtesy of the Drew Bloss collection. barrel! Thus far I have documented just eight of them, of which seven are the “Deluxe” Deer Rifle variation. All of the 219 Zipper Carbines found thus far are pre-WWII production. The interesting feature (in addition to the 22-inch barrel length), is that Winchester purposefully omitted the milled dovetail cut in the barrel for a 22-series rear sight. All eight of the 22-inch 219 Zipper rifles that have been verified thus far have a No. 98A bolt peep sight, and were also drilled and tapped for a side mount receiver sight (Lyman No. 56). Shown above is a standard Model 64 219 Zipper Sporting Rifle and a 22-inch 219 Zipper Carbine…with no rear sight dovetail! The images below show a comparison between a rare 22-inch 219 Zipper Deluxe (Deer) Carbine and a 26-inch 219 Zipper Deer Rifle. Just like the standard 24-inch rifle and its 20-inch variation, the front ramp sight base is shorter on the 22-inch barrel. Of further proof that the 22-inch barrel was a factory option, when I measured the muzzle diameter of the 22-inch barrel, it was noticeably larger than the 26-inch barrel at its 22-inch length mark. This means that Winchester intentionally used a unique barrel taper for the 22-inch 219 Zipper barrels! A 219 Zipper Deluxe Carbine with a 22-inch barrel (top) and a 219 Zipper Deer Rifle with a 26-inch barrel below it. Images courtesy of the Drew Bloss collection. Detail of the shorter front sight ramp on the 219 Zipper with a 22-inch barrel (top) compared to the front sight ramp on the 219 Zipper with standard 26-inch barrel. Image courtesy of the Drew Bloss collection.
22 | WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG • Winter 2023 Also with the introduction of the 219 Zipper, Winchester began offering a new style of rear sight for the Model 64. A No. 98A boltmounted peep sight (originally introduced for the Model 71) was added to the Model 64 as an optional sight. Based on what I have observed thus far, it was very frequently ordered on the rifles chambered for the 219 Zipper cartridge, and when present, the drilled and tapped holes for a receiver mounted peep sight were sometimes (but not always) omitted. In the October 1, 1946, Retail Price List of Winchester Arms and Accessories, the Winchester No. 98Apeep rear sight is depicted as the standard sight for the Model 64 219 Zipper rifles (order no. G6419C) with a Winchester No. 22H open sporting rear sight as an option. Of the 280 Model 64 219 Zippers rifles I have surveyed thus far, 190 of them have been verified to be factory equipped with the No. 98A bolt-peep. Of interest, I have also found three Model 64 rifles in other calibers with a factory installed No. 98A bolt-peep sight. Winchester continued production of the Model 64 through World War II (though none were manufactured in the year 1943) but sales were very slow. In January of 1946, production was significantly ramped back up and a substantial number of Model 64 rifles were manufactured through the year 1953. Sales apparently slowed down again in the mid-1950s, causing Winchester to eventually pull the plug on production of the Model 64 rifle in January 1957. Even though regular Factory installed No. 98A bolt peep sight, receiver not drilled and tapped for a No. 56 sight The 219 Zipper rifle as shown in the October 1st, 1946, Retail Price List of Winchester Arms and Accessories production was halted in January 1957, a few hundred parts clean-up rifles were assembled into the early 1960s. Thus far I have documented (surveyed) six parts-cleanup Model 64 rifles that were manufactured in the years 1957–1961. In January of 1948, and in concert with the physical change made to the shape and dimension of the Model 94 receiver frame, the Model 64 receiver frame also changed shape. To the observant eye, the contour of the transition from the upper tang to the rear of the receiver frame was altered to make it a much sharper radius. This machined alteration required a corresponding change to the butt stock that precludes someone from readily swapping butt stocks from a pre-1948 to a post-1947 production Model 64 rifle. Early in the year 1950, and in unison with the exact same change made to the Model 94, the caliber designation stamps were changed from 30 W.C.F., 32 W.S. and 2335 W.C.F. to 30-30 WIN., 32 WIN. SPL. and 23-35 WIN. respectively. These changes began very near serial number 1688000. The following images show the early and later caliber markings used by Winchester (sorry, I do not currently have a photo showing a late 25-35 WIN. marking).
Winter 2023 • WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG | 23 Above: Early barrel address and caliber stamping examples Above: Later barrel address examples showing the caliber stamping changes that took place in early 1950
24 | WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG • Winter 2023 One final, minor production change occurred beginning in late 1952. Specifically, the grip cap on the pistol grip of the Deer Rifles was changed from a black hard-rubber piece (with the Winchester logo embossed on it) to a plain blued-steel grip cap. Serial number 1909414 is the earliest Model 64 with a bluedsteel cap that I have documented thus far. When this production change was made, it was not a universal change, as Winchester was still using their on-hand supply of the older style hardrubber grip caps as late as 1956 (very near the end of production). I have documented factory-original Deer Rifles with the hard-rubber grip cap as late as serial number 2189551. This same production change to the grip caps was also made at the same time to other Winchester models, namely the Model 43 and Model 71. Finally, the alleged production count for the Model 64 is listed in several reference documents as 66,783 total guns. However, and based on the current information that I have compiled within the research survey, there is considerable doubt about the accuracy of the 66,783 production number. At the current time, the statistical data contained in the research survey suggests that the actual production number for the Model 64 could have exceeded 150,000. The information contained in the following tables was derived from the ongoing research survey that I am conducting. The production numbers and percentages that I present are merely extrapolations based on those observed (surveyed) thus far, and those numbers and percentages should not be used as a definitive source for determining the rarity or Above: Examples of the ultra-rare 38-55 and 32-40 barrel stamps Above: Hard-rubber grip cap and blued-steel grip cap examples as detailed in the text
Winter 2023 • WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG | 25 actual production numbers. Undoubtedly as I continue to add new information to the research survey, the extrapolated statistical numbers will change a bit. Based on the 3,312 specimens I have documented thus far, one can reasonably extrapolate a relatively close approximation of what the statistical production numbers might look, as shown in the tables at right. The Observed Cartridge Chambering Totals and Ratios table lists each of the verified calibers computed to a percentage of the total number of guns observed in the survey. Of the 3,312 serial numbers documented in the survey, there were a small number where the specific caliber was not provided. Consequently the caliber total is slightly lower than the total number of Model 64s documented. The Observed Variation Type Totals and Ratios table lists each of the variation types computed to a percentage of the total number of guns observed in the survey. When I first started this survey back in 2005, I unfortunately did not record this information for many of specimens I looked at, and as a result, I have 227 entries with no variation type listed and 15 entries that are known altered or faked specimens. The Extrapolated Cartridge and Variation Type Totals table is a forecast of the possible 30 W.C.F 25-35 W.C.F. 32 W.S. 219 ZIPPER 32-40 38-55 Total 1,905 152 869 283 4 9 3,222 59.12% 4.72% 26.97% 8.78% 0.12% 0.28% 66,783 Observed Cartridge Chambering Totals and Ratios Observed Variation Type Totals and Ratios Sporting Rifles Deer Rifles Carbines Deluxe Carbines Total 1,837 795 280 158 3,070 59.84% 25.90% 9.12% 5.15% 66,783 number of each caliber and variation type using the percentage numbers derived from the survey. In summary, the Model 64 was the last effort that Winchester made to offer a higher grade lever-action rifle based on the original John M. Browning designed Model 1894. When it was discontinued in the late 1950s, the shooting public was left with just two choices…the venerable old, standard Model 94 Carbine, or the entirely new and modern Model 88 lever-action rifle. For those who are interested in my continuing quest to document and research the Model 64 production and would like to participate in the research survey, please contact me at [email protected] or (360) 881-0272 (evenings, Pacific Standard Time). I welcome any and all information received, whether you have just one Model 64 rifle or a whole collection of them! Happy hunting and collecting to all, Bert Hartman Caliber Totals % 30 W.C.F. 39,485 59.12% 32 W.S. 18,012 26.97% 219 ZIPPER 5,866 8.78% 25-35 W.C.F. 3,151 4.72% 32-40 83 0.12% 38-55 187 0.28% 66,783 100% Extrapolated Caliber and Variation Type Totals Variations Totals % Sporting Rifles 39,961 59.84% Deer Rifles 17,294 25.90% Total Rifles 57,255 85.73% Carbines 6,091 9.12% Deluxe Carbines 3,437 5.15% Total Carbines 9,528 14.27% 66,783 100%