Winchester Model 1903/63, .22LR, 23″ barrel, SN: 90508 date the rifle to 1950.
All original condition! Bluing on the receiver rates 75%, barrel bluing rates at 90%. The original stock and fore end finish is at 75%, some occasional finish thinning and handling marks. The bore is absolutely outstanding! It is shiny and crisp. The action and parts all function as designed. The top of the receiver has a mount and Scope.
In 1891, Winchester began an R&D program to develop a semiautomatic sporting rifle. For more than a decade, company engineers William Mason and Thomas C. Johnson examined various operating systems. Johnson developed an operating system in which a relatively light bolt was attached to a counterweight that balanced it during recoil. Later termed a “blowback” operating system, when a cartridge was fired, the rearward forces of the powder gas had to first overcome the inertia of the bolt, counterweight, and recoil spring, which kept the action closed until pressures had dropped to the point where it was safe to extract the spent cartridge case.
Johnson located the counterweight under the barrel where it reciprocated inside the hollow wooden forearm. As the bolt reached the limit of its rearward travel, it impacted against a spring-loaded buffer in the butt stock that prevented undue stress to the receiver and also provided forward impetus to the bolt, thereby ensuring proper functioning. Winchester introduced Johnson’s design as the Model 1903 Self-Loading Rifle, in 1933, Model 63 was the first semi auto rifle offered by Winchester chambered for the standard .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The Model 63 featured an exposed, square receiver, with an uncheckered, walnut forearm and pistol-grip butt stock. In 1934 the 23-inch barrel was introduced.
A 10-round, tubular magazine located in the butt stock is loaded by rotating the magazine end cap–located in a cutout in the butt plate–and withdrawing the inner magazine tube until it stopped. Rounds were then inserted nose-first into the magazine through a teardrop-shaped opening in the right side of the butt stock. Pushing the inner tube back into the butt stock compressed a spring-loaded follower, applied pressure to the cartridges, and fed them into the receiver where the bolt picked them up. Another feature common to the earlier Winchester semi auto rifles was that to chamber a round, one pressed on the knurled end of a rod–called the operating sleeve–that extended from the front of the forearm; this retracted the bolt to charge the rifle or extract an unfired cartridge. Pressing in the operating sleeve and rotating it 90 degrees locked the bolt in the open position.
Unscrewing a knurled bolt at the rear of the receiver allows the butt/trigger unit assembly to be separated from the barrel/forearm assembly. This makes it easier to clean and allows the rifle to be taken down into a shorter package for ease of storage.
The Model 63 last saw the light of day in Winchester’s 1958 catalog. A total of 174,692 units had rolled off the assembly line in New Haven. The self-loading feature of the Model 1903/Model 63 was accomplished by use of a simple blow-back operated mechanism. This mechanism featured a balanced breech bolt, meaning that the breech bolt contained a quantity of metal proportioned to the weight and velocity of the bullet. This balances the recoil forces so that the breech bolt does not move rearward until the bullet has left the muzzle of the barrel, and therefore allows the bullet to be fired with no loss of energy. This self-loading mechanism required Winchester’s redesign for the Model 63 to allow it to fire the .22 Long Rifle cartridges, which by then had become much more popular.