Plinker From Yesteryear: The Elegant Winchester Model 63
By Chris Eger
Produced from 1933 through 1958, the trim Winchester Model 63 was at first known as “The Speed King.” (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)
For 25 years, Winchester made a terrific self-loading takedown .22LR rifle, the Model 63, and it still remains a hit with collectors today.
To understand the Model 63, one first needs to make a pit stop and consider Winchester’s Model 1903, introduced while Teddy Roosevelt was President. Chambered in then-newly-introduced .22 Win Auto, the “03” was designed by noted firearm engineer T.C. Johnson and was fed by a 10-shot tubular magazine inserted through the buttstock. A simple blow-back action, the rifle could be quickly taken down into two parts for storage.
Although it remained in production through 1932, the .22 Win Auto cartridge never caught on and wasn’t used by any other firearms on the market, thus handicapping the rifle’s popularity. With that, Winchester redesigned the rifle to accept the common UMC-designed .22LR, which has been around in one form or another since 1884. Further, the walnut stock was restyled from a typical straight stock found on the Model 1903 to one with a pistol grip.
With that, the Model 63 was born.
The Model 63 stemmed from the earlier Model 1903 but was