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Model 69A info
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November 22, 2013 - 4:13 pm
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Winchester’s model 69A was always a classy rifle and never cheap. While researching my 69A Match rifles (I have two) using my Shooter’s Bibles from 1949 thru 1952, I noticed clarification on front sights and pricing. In 1949, the Match rifle came with the Winchester 101 front sight; 1950 and later came with the Winchester blade front sight. Both my Match rifles have the 101 front and thus must have been made in 1949 or earlier. As far as pricing is concerned, the 1949 Match cost $35.80 rising to $42.95 by 1952. While these prices appear inexpensive to us today, you must realize that the average weekly pay in 1952 was less than $60. When we by a 69 today for between $350 and $600 we may think we are paying a lot but in reality, using inflated dollars, we are paying less than the gun sold for 60 some years ago.

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November 23, 2013 - 10:59 am
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Model 69s (clip fed) and Model 72s (tube fed) are great little rifles. I’ve used a M72 for years. Despite a variable, high humidity climate it has never changed its zero. I’ve done nothing to accurize it yet it shoots very small groups out to 50 yards. The truth is, it shoots almost as well as my Model 52B Sporter. The only complaint I have is that the trigger on the M72 is not the best.

The older Winchester low-end guns were still "good guns" of high quality unlike the low-end guns made today. I’d much rather have an older Winchester than anything similar made today.

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November 24, 2013 - 7:19 am
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Yes, I have a mint clip-fed one and love it! Beautiful wood and very accurate! the seller gave this to me with it, credited to ‘John’:

"Winchester Model 69A Rifles"

I just finished a rather detailed reply to a question in another thread regarding Winchester 69A rifles. I thought I’d copy it into a thread of its own for those of you who might have one of these fine rifles from yesteryear. Here’s as much information as I have:

The original 69 bolt action rifle was announced Jan. 1, 1935. It was to be chambered for .22 LR, Long and Short rimfire cartridges interchangeably. First shipments began on March 15, 1935. It had a cocking knob much like the 1903 Springfield on the rear of the bolt, and cocked on closing. The cocking knob doubled as a safety by twisting it. The rifle was designed at the factory to be an intermediate-cost rifle suitable for sport and target work. A rebounding lock was incorporated in August of 1935 to make the rifle suitable for export to Canada in compliance with Canadian regulations. In October of 1937, the takedown screw was made flush with the stock instead of projecting somewhat, and the walnut stock was re-designed a bit with a semi-beavertail forearm and a more pronounced pistol grip. All stocks had a composition buttplate with the Winchester logo molded in.

The rifle was redesigned and then modified around December of 1937 to cock on opening, eliminating the cocking knob. The new bolt gave a very fast lock time, one of the best for rifles of that era, or any era for that matter. A safety lever was added alongside the bolt on the right side. The standard barrel was 25" long, somewhat heavier than that of the original 69. Weight was about 5 pounds. The gun remained essentially unchanged until it was discontinued in 1963. This was the Model 69A. None were serial numbered throughout production. Total production of 69s and 69As was 355,363.

Several different versions were offered. The standard grade had an open rear sight and a simple bead front sight. My father and I bought one of these in 1950; it cost us $24, and we split the cost. I was 11 years old at the time, and it was my very first gun.

The Target model was authorized on Dec. 26, 1940, and had a Winchester 80A stamped peep sight and a ramp front sight which utilized a stamped sheet metal ramp which was removable. The left rear of the receiver was flat, and was drilled and tapped specially for this rear sight.

The Match model, introduced at the same time in 1940, was drilled and tapped for, and used commercial target micrometer sights and a front sight with removable inserts for target work. There was no provision for an open sight on the barrel (no dovetail cut there). It had sling swivels and a leather sling, as well. Sling swivels could be special ordered or installed on other models as well. The first sling swivels were for 1-inch slings; this changed in 1947 to swivels for 1 1/4" slings; wider leather slings were then provided. Some match models were stamped with a "W" and some numbers in the wood on the pistol grip.

All match models were chambered for .22 LR only, and so marked on the barrel. A six-pointed star stamped on the muzzle crown would indicate a six-groove barrel.

In 1937, as an option, the 69s and later the 69As could be ordered with either 2 3/4-power or 5-power scopes. The scope bases were affixed to the gun, but the scope was not mounted from the factory. It came dismounted in the same packing box as the rifle. The scoped rifles were discontinued in 1941.

Somewhere about 1954, the receivers were grooved for tip-off scope mounts. These command a premium today on the used gun market. About this time, some of the standard guns were drilled and tapped for commercial micrometer sights. There was no cutout in the stock for such sights; the owner would have to modify the stock if these micrometer sights were to be used. This was easy enough to do. About the same time, the bolt handle was swept to the rear and the trigger was grooved. Chromed firing pin spring caps and then chromed bolts were introduced in 1957, and chromed trigger guards and magazine dash plates were used in the early ’60s.

Several different styles of stock were used over the years, differing in the width and length of the fore-end. Earlier ones (before approximately 1954) were tapered forward at the nose (these were a bit shorter than the others). Later, some were thin and rounded at the nose, and some were very thick and squarish-rounded, like those seen on most target guns. All of the Winchester 80A peep sights required a relief cut in the stock on the left. The receivers designed for this sight were flat in the left rear of the receiver.

An outgrowth of the Model 69A was the Model 75 target rifle and Model 75 Sporter. Both have the same action as the Model 69A; the bolts are identical. I have a Model 75 sporter made in 1956 and it’s the most accurate .22 I own. The barrel is 23", shorter than the 25-inch barrel found on the 69A. Also, the barrel is marked only for .22LR, not for the 69A’s .22 S, L, & LR. I assume that this meant that the chambering and rifling were designed for maximum accuracy using the .22 LR round only. The standard 69As may therefore use compromise chambering and rifling. In spite of this, the accuracy difference is small between the two rifles. The Model 75 targets and sporters were discontinued in 1958; all were serial numbered, unlike the 69As.

There was also a Model 72, which was essentially a Model 69A with an underbarrel tube feed. The bolts on these are a bit different to accommodate the different feed system. The Model 72A had some re-designed parts, notably a solid lifter; the previous one was split. Model 72s had no pull-weight adjustment screw as is found on the 69As.

There were several types of magazines. The standard mag fed five .22 LR, .22 long, and .22 shorts interchangeably. There was a five-shot .22 short mag also, which had an internal spacer insert at the front of the mag to accommodate the shorter cartridge. The single shot mag (actually a scooped-out flexible platform at the top of what appeared as a standard mag) was principally used for the Model 52 and Model 75 target rifles, but it would also work in the 69A and the Model 75 sporter. This was called the "single loading adapter." A 10-shot curved magazine which projected below the stock was also made, and took all lengths of cartridges. Magazines with an underlined "W" on the base are modern non-Winchester reproductions. Genuine Winchester mags will have the company stamp on the base plate.

I have what may be the one and only Model 69A Deluxe. It was specially ordered by an old gentleman who lived near the Winchester factory in New Haven, CT. It has a pistol grip topped by a black plastic cap with the Winchester name on it, and has checkering on the forestock and the pistol grip. The finish on the stock is superb. It has a straight bolt handle, a grooved trigger, and is grooved for scope mounts. There is no serial number except a couple of hash marks stamped on the right receiver opening rail, and one on the receiver itself. I have never heard of another, although some might exist. A collector bought the rifle from the old man’s estate, and I bought it from him. It appears unfired. Its estimated date of manufacture is 1954. It has the standard open sights. It’s sure not a "gunsmith project" but appears factory done in all respects.

The only problem I find with the 69A is the lack of an overtravel adjustment. The letoff is crisp, but there’s a lot of overtravel. A trigger shoe with a limiting screw can solve that problem. Weight of pull is adjustable to some degree; there is a screw cap over the trigger spring that can be moved up and down to alter the pull weight. To get an even nicer pull in the 2-3 lb. range is possible with some gunsmithing, which I have done, but will not describe here, as the potential for a dangerous pull is there.

As mentioned, about 1954, the bolt handle was changed from straight to swept back, somewhat like that on the Model 70 rifle. It looked nicer, but as the bolt handle was two-piece, the rotational leverage exerted on the bolt knob tended to loosen the joint at the root of the bolt handle with use. This made the bolt handle wobbly. It can be fixed with staking or soldering.

A small item is that the pin which retains the firing pin spring cap tended to work loose, and had to be tapped back in place as one saw it project from the rear of the bolt. Winchester replaced that pin in later production with one which had a reduced-diameter section in the middle. The spring fit into that section and secured the pin from walking.

Most 69As in decent shape can be had for $300-$400 today if you can find one. Most desirable are those with scope grooves.

These were and are fine rifles, suitable for adults as well as children. They are very accurate, simple to disassemble and clean, and quite rugged. I’ve had one since 1950 and it will still shoot rings around modern rifles of any make. The quality of the 69As has only recently begun to be appreciated, and they are sought-after classic .22 rifles.

Hope those of you who have one or more will find this of interest.

John"

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November 24, 2013 - 9:31 am
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WOW! Great information. Thanks.

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November 25, 2013 - 3:22 am
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John, very good and concise information about a great little rifle. I have 5 and they all shoot superbly. I personally think the 69 is more attractive than the 69A, but both are very neat guns. Somewhere along my 50 years of collecting .22s, I came up with a NIB late model 69A that has never been assembled. Supringly, that gun came with both clips, 5 and 10 shot. It’s a late model as it has the chromed parts and is grooved for scope. One last comment or question–does anyone have or have seen a 10 shot short clip that is only the front to back length of the short cartridge? Rather than being an inch plus front to back, it is only about 3/4", the lenght of the short. It has no markings and it snaps in place on the 69 and feeds shorts perfectly. I got it from a person with a ton of Winchester stuff, 30 years ago. Thanks again.

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December 2, 2015 - 3:43 am
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I own a Winchester 69A and all I know about it is that it’s great shooting little gun.  I just thought I would do a little research and I found this page.  I noticed that the ones shown on the auction pages have rather traditional stocks.  Mine has a Schnabel forearm.  Was this offered on this gun or did someone restock the gun at some time in it’s life?

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December 2, 2015 - 1:54 pm
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It was not a factory issue for that model. Perhaps creative crafting of a standard stock. Pics would help to determine the appx year your rifle was made. 

 

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December 2, 2015 - 5:00 pm
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Thanks.  I’ll take some pictures tonight.  Do I have to import pictures from photobucket, or can I do it directly from my camera?

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December 2, 2015 - 6:44 pm
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Bill Z,

Since your 22 short magazine has no markings it is not from Winchester. I have never seen a 22 short magazine that was not the same outside dimension as 22lr mag. I can’t imagine how a mag, like you described, could possibility be secure when inserted. A photo would be great.
My 69, a very early one, was handled down to me with its lr – long -and short magazines. I’ve seen the magazines go for more than the rifle itself.

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December 2, 2015 - 7:00 pm
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Jeff S said

Thanks.  I’ll take some pictures tonight.  Do I have to import pictures from photobucket, or can I do it directly from my camera?

You have to be a member in order to post photos. You can direct email to individual of course.

Vince
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 “There is but one answer to be made to the dynamite bomb and that can best be made by the Winchester rifle.”

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December 3, 2015 - 12:36 am
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Vince, it sounds like you are giving a stranger a little friendly advice.  I have several pictures of this very nice model 69-A stored in Photobucket.  Can you suggest a “member” that I can email a few pictures to?  Jeff

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December 9, 2015 - 3:35 am
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Jeff S said

Vince, it sounds like you are giving a stranger a little friendly advice.  I have several pictures of this very nice model 69-A stored in Photobucket.  Can you suggest a “member” that I can email a few pictures to?  Jeff

Email me. [email protected]

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December 9, 2015 - 5:45 pm
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Jeff S said

I own a Winchester 69A and all I know about it is that it’s great shooting little gun.  I just thought I would do a little research and I found this page.  I noticed that the ones shown on the auction pages have rather traditional stocks.  Mine has a Schnabel forearm.  Was this offered on this gun or did someone restock the gun at some time in it’s life?

Bill zachow said

John, very good and concise information about a great little rifle. I have 5 and they all shoot superbly. I personally think the 69 is more attractive than the 69A, but both are very neat guns. Somewhere along my 50 years of collecting .22s, I came up with a NIB late model 69A that has never been assembled. Supringly, that gun came with both clips, 5 and 10 shot. It’s a late model as it has the chromed parts and is grooved for scope. One last comment or question–does anyone have or have seen a 10 shot short clip that is only the front to back length of the short cartridge? Rather than being an inch plus front to back, it is only about 3/4″, the lenght of the short. It has no markings and it snaps in place on the 69 and feeds shorts perfectly. I got it from a person with a ton of Winchester stuff, 30 years ago. Thanks again.

Bill, I would like to know if your 10 rd. magazine has two or three ribs? I have never seen a three rib 10 rd. magazine. Thanks, Big LarrySmileSmile

 

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February 16, 2016 - 12:34 am
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I have both a 69A and a 75 target. Winchester magazines have “Winchester” on the bottom. Wisner magazines “Block W” are available from Brownells. I got some 10 round mags from Gunmag.com and believe it or not I now have a couple of 15 round mags. They came from Numrich gun parts. Numrich part number is 1432840c for $29.70ea plus shipping. Have fun. Norm

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March 11, 2016 - 3:52 pm
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Hi All,

Yesterday I collected a rifle from the local gun shop that my mother had sent me.  She knew nothing of it other than it was “old” and it came from a friend of hers.  Her friend had received the rifle from his father when he was 12, so the newest the gun could have been was 1962 or 1963.

So as I’m filling out the paperwork, the behind the counter pulls out this little .22 rifle.  Seeing as I’m on this forum, you’ve no doubt guessed what it is.  Winchester 69A S. L. & LR.  It has been fitted with the Lyman sights that I believe look similar to the Match rifle, but owing to the short and long stamp and evidence of where the rear sight was, I do not believe it to be a match rifle.  It also has an old leather sling.  The bolt looks to be swept back.  The stock is well used.

We’re moving next week, but I look forward to cleaning her up, checking her out, and shooting her out back when we get there.

Thanks for the very informative posts above, I though you guys might like the story.

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March 13, 2016 - 6:22 am
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Shrek,

The rifle you describe could be a Model 69A “Junior Target Shooters Special”, catalog number G6903R. The JTSS came with a Lyman 57E rear sight, had a swept back bolt, was chambered in S, L & LR and came with a front sling swivel. It was offered from about 1959-1963. Another defining characteristic of the JTSS is it came with a Winchester 93B front sight which resembles a shark fin. I suspect that is the model you have. It is an accurate and hard to find variation of the Model 69A.

Here is a 1960 ad depicting the JTSS –

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Regards,

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March 13, 2016 - 9:37 pm
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JWA,

Thanks!

The front sight has a hood over it and a ring that looks to hand screw out, I’m guessing it was an after-market modification.  The sling is of the shooter’s variety not the carrying type; i.e. set up for a loop sling as opposed to throwing it over one’s shoulder.  I can’t wait to take her out, because regardless of whether this thing was bought brilliant, or made brilliant, it should be wonderful to shoot.

The funny thing about getting this rifle is that just over a month ago I bought a bolt action Marlin .22 new from Dick’s Sporting Goods, as it was the closest thing to a rifle like a 69A that I could find at an entry level price point. (Savage had a similar priced rifle, but I preferred the Marlin).  I went to a gun show and called / shopped around local gun stores for a decent, used, bolt action .22.  I want to avoid semi-auto’s and tube fed rifles and I am vey conservative about ammunition and weapons safety.  (Although proven, I don’t like the idea of my kid putting his hand so close to the muzzle then reloading.)

I’m now in the rather fortuitous position of moving to a property with significant acreage, and having a new in the box Marlin and this 69A.  Truth be told, if the Winchester is functioning properly and shoots well, I’ll likely trade the new Marlin in on a shotgun or something.

What a wonderful “problem” to have!

Thanks All!

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March 14, 2016 - 4:50 am
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Hi Shrek,

Not a bad problem to have, acreage and a redundancy in rifles Laugh

Within the realm of .22’s you will probably find the Marlin to be nearly as accurate as the Winchester 69A however you will quickly notice the quality of the older Winchester that is lacking in the newer rifles of today.  It is hard to describe exactly what the feeling is but it includes a solid heft, a warmth of walnut, rich sheen of Dulite bluing and a solid crispness of action that will set the Winchester 69A apart from the Marlin (and most other modern bolt action .22’s).

Congrats on your acquisition and keep us posted on how it shoots.

Regards,

 

PS, Consider joining the Winchester Arms Collector Association for additional Winchester information, a fantastic quarterly magazine and to network with other Winchester aficionados.

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March 15, 2016 - 3:31 am
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Gentlemen, I have really enjoyed reading and learning about the first gun I ever bought as a 15 year old teenager around 1978. I was working at a grocery store and talked to my manager about squirrel hunting and guns and outdoors everyday at lunch. One day he told me his neighbor passed away and his wife was selling his firearms to help finances. He brought in this beautiful 22 rifle and said she was asking 50 dollars for it and I said heck yes.  I brought it home and my father was upset that a 15 year old was sold a rifle and put it in his closet and was only allowed to use it under his supervision.  (I respected that by the way).  I have since enjoyed collecting, but always had a passion for my first rifle. The info you provided made me pull my 69a out of the safe and just hold it thinking of the day I bought it.  It is priceless to me and now that I read about its history and age I even appreciate it even more.  It is in great condition and I always looked at it as a 50 dollar rifle, but it makes me feel good that it’s value has risen due to others liking them also.  Thank you very much. Dave K.  Akron, ohio

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April 2, 2016 - 2:39 pm
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Thanks JWA.  I’ll be sure to let you know.

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