Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Featured Gun: The Winchester Model 250

The Winchester model 250 was an economically priced 22 rim fire rifle using a manually actuated lever to cycle the action. The rifle was part of a series of guns that included the 250 (as shown above), the 270 which used a pump/slide action and the 290 which was a semi-automatic action, see all three below:

The 200 series had brothers in the 100 series. The 100 series included a 150 model (lever action) and a 190 (semi-auto).
The model 150 was similar to the 250 except it had a straight grip stock and a barrel band. The serial numbers were shared between the two series (meaning that you could get consecutive serial numbers of different models). There were approx. 2.1 million units between the 100 and 200 series models.

the model 150:

There was also a model 255, which was the same as the model 250 only chambered in .22 Magnum. 

The gun was similar in appearance to it's bigger brother the model 88, which was introduced in 1955, some 8 years before the model 250 came along.

the Winchester model 88

The model 250 was produced from 1963 to 1973, with sales continuing into 1974 until supplies ran out.

Caliber: .22 rimfire, .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle
Action: Lever Action
Magazine: Tube, Under Barrel
Capacity: 21 Short, 17 Long, 15 Long Rifle
Length: 39"
Weight: 5 lbs
Rifling: 1 in 16" twist, Right Hand
LOP: 13 5/8"
Stock Material: Walnut (deluxe), Birch (standard)
Receiver material: Cast Aluminum

Winchester ad from Christmas 1963

A deluxe model was introduced in 1965 and was discontinued in 1971. The extra $23 or so got you the following extras:

  • A fancy walnut Monte Carlo stock with checkered panels 
  • Sling swivels 
  • Gold trigger and safety button
  • Jeweled bolt
  • A wood tones butt plate with white line spacer
Model 250 Deluxe
Model 250 standard, early (top) and late production (bottom)

Many parts between the 250, 270 and 290 were interchangeable. One part that differed on the 250 was the butt stock. The stock on the model 250 was squared off at the grip and had a different contour to allow the lever to close all the way, see the picture below, the 250 stock is on top, the 270/290 on bottom.

The early production models used a plastic front sight/magazine tube mount. In addition the rear sight was plastic and held the model number. I imagine this cut down on assembly costs as one barrel could be made and stamped for all four models (250,255,270 & 290).

The typical evolution of .22 rifles is that they start with metal parts and gradually switch out parts to plastic (the Ruger 10/22 comes to mind), but with the Winchester 200 series, the evolution was exactly the opposite. It is also the opposite direction of what Winchester did in 1964 with the models 94 and 70. Perhaps Winchester learned their lesson and went back to better materials.

Standard models used birch wood stocks, some of which had the white line spacer with pressed in checkering and flutes in the comb. The pictures above shows this, and my research suggests that the early models had plain stocks without the checkering and flutes.
Some standard models also had jeweled bolts. 

Early production rifles had a different lever that had an extra piece of metal that extended to the end of the pistol grip, they looked to be unfinished in my opinion.

The walnut stocked deluxe models had "basket weave" checkering that included oak leaves. The plastic butt plates were cast in a wood tone, rather than the standard black.

 wood toned plastic butt plate

Sears brand labeled the model 250 as the model 5

Winchester ad from Christmas 1968

The guns were made in the old New Haven plant. The barrels were Winchester Steel with the standard 1 in 16" right hand twist. The magazine tube was made of steel and came just short of the barrel's muzzle. The inner magazine tube, was also made of steel, rather then the more popular and superior brass.
The receivers and levers were made of cast aluminum which was anodized gloss black. The stocks were "walnut finished" hardwood, which was probably birch. On the deluxe models the guns were fitted with real walnut. 
The front and rear sights were originally plastic, they were switched to metal sometime in the mid-late '60's. I would guess pressure from Winchester purists dictated the change to the more expensive metal parts.

an early add showing the different lever and the plain stocks

An example of the boxes the guns were shipped in:

The model 250 was discontinued in 1973 along with its brothers. The demise of the model may have been hastened by the introduction of the model 9422 in 1972. The 9422, as you could have guessed was built to match the full size model 94 and more closely resembled the lever actions Winchester had been building for over 100 years

The Winchester model 9422

This is yet another dual purpose post. I purchased the model 250 below for $50. The price was low because it had been in a fire and suffered some damage. Another project!

It appears to be a standard model, late production. Unfortunately we cannot get the exact date of manufacture, but based on the serial number and the stock I would guess to be 1968-'73.

Stay tuned for a post kicking off the restoration of this gun, we'll call it the "Born Again Winchester"


  1. I've never seen this firearm before. Thank you, but dang it! DANG IT! I don't really have much of an interest in nor a hankering for rifles, but.... HOLY SHIRT that is one handsome long gun! I say dang it because my very limited want list might have just gotten longer!

    I would definitely only be interested in a lever action model, as it mimics the only long gun I previously coveted - the Winchester 94, of course. Chase... I know what you are saying about the early lever tail extension looking a little odd, but work with me here for a moment. The tail of that lever is a perfect extension of the base of the grip area of the stock, as it comes forward from the butt. It just makes perfect sense from the standpoint of line and flow and form. For that same reason, if you look at it right, the rounded later version looks like there is a piece (or at least an opportunity) missing! I suggest that a slight modification to the contour of the inside arc of the lever right at the end would make all the difference, and I can see it as clear as day in my mind's eye. Enough that it is driving me crazy. An opportunity missed by the designers at Winchester, but one now offered to someone looking to put a subtle personal stamp on their rifle.

    I'm going to have to find a less than perfect example, in need of resurrection, so I can show you what I mean, without offending the purists (including me)!

    Carry on.

  2. Most information I've found on these rifles. I own two of them, 255 mag. They seem to misfire, the pin seems to be hitting the casing rim but not firing. I have had the gun into the shop, and they had no idea. I'm trying to find a solution as I love these guns

    1. Check the firing pin closely. I have an all original 250 and had got some replacement parts thinking of restoration, measured both pins and found that the original was off slightly do too much use from 2 generations of use. Never fired myself 3rd generation owner.

  3. I've been looking for correct information on this rifle. Finding accurate data has been almost impossible. 2 different local gunsmiths both gave me wrong models. It apoears I have a standard 250 , not a 150, not a 190. Thank you for sharing