Winchester Unveils New WildCat 22
Winchester’s Wildcat is set to challenge the 10/22’s decades-long stranglehold on the auto-loading rimfire market. For as long as most can remember, the question, “What is the first gun I should buy?” Was met with the same response – a Ruger 10/22. Winchester seeks to change all that.
The new Winchester Wildcat is a direct blow back, magazine-fed carbine chambered in .22lr. Designed to dethrone the 10/22, it feeds from 10-round rotary magazines that are identical in outer-dimensions to Ruger mags. Meaning, the new Wildcat can share magazines with the ubiquitous carbine.
This is great news for shooters living in ban state that still have a grandfather clause for so-called “high-capacity” magazines. Since offerings from Butler Creek still exist in the wild. That said, the new Wildcat will have to do more than use common magazines if it is to have any hope of dethroning the most popular rimfire weapon of all time. Thankfully, Winchester’s latest offering isn’t simply an alternative to the Ruger, but in many ways an upgrade.
Whereas the Ruger requires shooters to drive out pins (which loosen with time) and remove a barrel band to fully disassemble their rimfire carbine, the new Winchester is much simpler. The WildCat can be broken down for cleaning by removing the magazine, clearing the action, pulling the trigger and pushing a button. That sequence frees the entire assembly from the receiver.
This means that the WildCat’s trigger group and bolt group is one single piece that can be easily removed for cleaning. In addition, the hole where the takedown button resides, doubles as a cleaning port. Allowing shooters to clean from the breech end effortlessly.
Also, the two allen keys required to completely strip the gun are stored inside the receiver. Meaning, shooters will always be able to maintain their gun even in the field. Other desirable features include an integral optics rail, and built-in, adjustable aperture sights.
Plus, the new rimfire carbine includes a railed forearm for mounting lights, lasers or Picatinny bipods. This really eases the burden for shooters who prefer modern attachments, but don’t want to transform their plinker into a mall ninja’s dream gun.
Basically, the WildCat fixes every major concern shooters have about the 10/22, for only $249. Wow. For more information, visit http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/rifles/Wildcat-22/Wildcat-22-Current-Products/wildcat-22.html
Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.