Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and all of the types of guns, ammo, and history you can imagine surrounding it! Last week we talked about the odd and often ill-remembered Intratec TEC-22 pistol. A lot of you shared that your own pistols tended not to work well and even confirmed the reports that the gun would often go full-auto occasionally! I always find it very interesting to hear from you guys when it comes to some of the more unsavory reports about rare or discontinued firearms. This week we’re talking about another firearm that has been discontinued, but one that usually brings back fond memories rather than sour ones. This week we’re talking about the discontinued and fondly remembered Winchester 250 22LR lever action rifle.

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The Rimfire Report: The Fondly Remembered Winchester 250 Lever Action

Produced for only a short 11 years between 1963 and 1974, the Winchester Model 250 was almost immediately overshadowed by the release of the Ruger 10/22 just a year later. While lever action rimfire rifles are still popular today, I believe at the time, the release of the 10/22 completely changed the course of the rimfire firearm market similar to how the first micro compact 9mm pistols changed the course of the CCW handgun world.

The Rimfire Report: The Fondly Remembered Winchester 250 Lever Action

The rifles featured walnut stocks, aluminum alloy receivers, and 20.5″ 1:16″ RH barrels, pretty standard at the time although the 10/22 would once again arguably change this with their 10/22 Carbine first featuring an 18.5″ barrel length. Although that’s a scant 2-inch barrel length difference, 22LR is still more than capable of taking advantage of the extra runway for velocity. The 250 featured windage and elevation adjustable sights, and a fairly simple trigger that broke right at around 4 lbs. Like other lever action rifles, the Winchester Model 250 was capable of feeding and shooting all types of standard .22 caliber rimfire ammunition like 22 Long Rifle, 22 Shorts, and 22 Longs. Owners of the rifle in several online forums often talk about using this firearm with 22 Colibri ammo or 22 rat shot as a great home pest elimination tool.

The Rimfire Report: The Fondly Remembered Winchester 250 Lever Action

For gun historians, the Model 250 was a turning point for the Winchester line of 22LR rifles as it was a massive shift in terms of materials, and manufacturing techniques to lower the cost of firearms and provide customers with useable yet more affordable rifles. This is evidenced by the inclusion of aluminum alloy receivers in lieu of the standard steel receivers, in addition to the typical cut checkering on the stock being replaced with impressed checkering. Despite the manufacturing and material changes, many living examples of this rifle can be found today with many people still trading them actively on auction sites like GunBroker.com.

There are some minor variations between the different Model 250 rifles (“Deluxe” models exist) with one of the most distinct features being the two different styles of lever loop. One design was more rounded while the other was a much sleeker teardrop design which I think is quite aesthetically pleasing and really sets apart the Model 250 from other rimfire lever action rifles.

A Trusty and Tradeable Plinker

Although the rifle has a pretty healthy fanbase, it’s not without its detractors. A lot of people often report that the rifle was incapable of feeding consistently in addition to being prone to early wear, particularly the magazine tube plunger which could wear out and hang up inside of the tube. This led some to believe the rifle was unsafe as rounds could still technically feed into the rifle’s lifter if the rifle was tilted at the correct angle. However, if the rifle’s magazine plunger happened to get hung up inside of the tube, this could potentially lead a novice or inattentive shooter to believe the rifle was empty when it still had ammunition in it.

However, others seem to have the polar opposite opinion of these rifles with them being one of the more reliable plinkers in their arsenal, requiring little maintenance, and feeding flawlessly with standard round lead nose ammunition. Modern plated ammunition is supposedly much more reliable in these older guns with the 22 Magnum variant (Model 255) of the rifle having even better reports in virtually every category. I can imagine that since this rifle came out just a hair bit before the 10/22, many young boys probably shot the 250 as their first rifle, and depending on when and how you encountered the rifle, your opinion on it may have varied. This was during a transitional time for Winchester and with the Model 250 being designed to be a more cost-effective option over previous rimfire lever actions, it’s not a stretch to assume there were some quality control issues that could have led to the mixed albeit generally favorable memories of the firearm.

An Attainable Collector

The Winchester 250, unlike a lot of the other rare and discontinued guns we’ve talked about on The Rimfire Report, is not an unattainable firearm. Typical pricing for a functioning Winchester Model 250 in decent condition ranges between about $300-$600. While that’s more than a lot of brand-new budget rimfire lever-action plinkers, in my opinion, it’s not too much to ask for a shootable piece of history.

Of course, I’d like to hear your opinions and thoughts on the Winchester Model 250 (or 255 if you’ve ever owned or shot one!). I’d especially like to hear how accurate these are because to the best of my knowledge, not too many people post groups with these neat 60s and 70s-era rimfire plinkers. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and as always thanks for stopping by to read the rimfire report. We’ll see you all again next week!

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