Winchester Wildcat 22 – SHOT Show 2019

Winchester’s Wildcat 22 disassembles completely with a single button.

I’m currently in love with an old Winchester Model 69A .22 and maybe that’s given me a soft spot for Winchester plinksters. Nevertheless, of all the guns I saw at SHOT show, the new Wildcat 22 is probably the one that I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on. It’s lightweight, it’s got useful new features and modern styling and the price is approachable for anyone willing to step into a plasma bank.

It’s a good looking gun ready for modern accessories. Photo from Winchesterguns.com.

Drop Away Action

The standout feature of the Wildcat is that the lower receiver assembly drops away with the press of a button. .22 long rifle ammo is notoriously dirty–I’d be embarrassed to have you look at the feed ramp on my model 63–but this feature makes it easy to keep your gun clean and cycling smoothly. Or, if you have trouble at the range, you could take care of it quickly and safely.

Just press that red button in front of the trigger and the whole action comes out.

Onboard Tools

You also won’t have to worry about forgetting the right tool when you go to shoot because the necessary wrenches to disassemble the stock, sights, and barrel are housed right inside the action group. This is a smart design.

Wrenches for the barrel and stock are housed inside the action so you’ll never be caught short in the field.

10/22 Compatible Mags

Any 10/22 mags will fit this gun, including the big bananas. It comes with one ten-round rotary magazine with a new easy feed wheel. The magazine also releases from the well much quicker than most other guns and makes quick changes possible.

The Wildcat takes 10/22 compatible mags and its new mag has a steel top for long life and a quick-load assist wheel.

It’s peep sights have a much bigger aperture than my old 63A (match version) which should make acquiring moving targets much easier. The trigger sits between 4 and 5 pounds and is surprisingly crisp. The 13.5″ length of pull makes it suitable for youths as well as smaller statured adults, but even tall adults will appreciate that it weighs only 4 pounds. Lastly, it’s got standard Picatinny rails on the top and on the forend under the barrel.

The Wildcat will be available in the Spring of 2019 and its full MSRP will be $249. It’s a serious plinkster and I expect to be pleased with its accuracy out of the box. When I get to review it, I’ll put it through its paces and let you know. Best of all, I’m excited about it because as I spoke with one of the engineers who developed this gun, his own passion was contagious. I could see that he had made a terrific tool and that he was excited to see how people would put it to work. It makes an impact when people and companies put heart into their work, and I expect to fall in love with Winchester’s new Wildcat 22 as much as I love my classic Model 69A.

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About the author: Levi Sim hunts every chance he gets. He’s interested in eating just about everything and doesn’t put any stock in hearsay about what’s good and what’s not. He’s perfecting a rockchuck recipe and enjoys making tasty dishes with ingredients normal people have at home. He makes a living as a professional photographer and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Cold Warrior April 23, 2019, 3:24 pm

    I am excited about this rifle! Yes, I love my old rifles with wooden stocks, but –
    Respectfully submitted, this is going to make an excellent beginner’s rifle or student loaner. I currently have Marlin 795s, Ruger 10/22s, an old Glenfield, and old Remington, and a new Tippman (AR-like) .22LR. I am typically on the line, every month, with an avg of 15-20 students, many of which will be using a loaner. During the marksmanship clinic, students may fire up to 500 rounds… Rimfires get dirty!
    This rifle has an easily removed action for cleaning, rear-access for running a rod down the barrel (without damaging crown), sling attachment points for teaching proper three-position shooting, rear-aperture (peep sights), interchangeability with 10/22 mags, and easy/fast mag changes. The only thing that would make it better IMHO is an adjustable length-of-pull.
    Brilliant!

    So…WHERE CAN I BUY ONE?

  • Alec v Andrus March 9, 2019, 11:59 am

    I enjoy most any 22 rifle and have for 65 years since I got my hands of my own 69A. I have loved back to life many brands and model. I also like polymer in my pistols and other weapons since Viet Nam. I will buy one of these neat little machines and hope that an aftermarket laminate stock will soon be available.

  • Chris Baker January 29, 2019, 1:01 am

    It’s an interesting concept. That it uses Ruger compatible magazines is funny in my mind. But I have a 10/22 that I bought about 1980 or thereabouts. Stainless with a laminated stock and it shoots so very nicely for things that need the 22 LR. I also have a Browning Lever action 22 and a Beretta 22 lever that were my parent’s guns. I usually load them with 22 shorts. Sometimes with CB Caps. They feed just fine and are great for shooting things that don’t need the 22 LR. I just don’t need another 22 rifle. Those 2 tube fed rifles are just so flexible in what you load them up with and all three seem to be quite accurate with most any ammunition. I hit a golf ball at 65 yards with my 10/22 in a fun match. If it will do that, I might just buy one for my granddaughter.

  • Mark Potter January 28, 2019, 8:17 pm

    Hell is cooling down rapidly. A Winny that takes Ruger magazines. If you can’t beat ’em (or design your own) join ’em!

    • Jake January 31, 2019, 9:59 am

      The last thing I need is one more magazine. I think going with what works and many already have keeps costs down and keep things simple. Great idea!

    • JD February 11, 2019, 11:01 am

      Now if Glock will finally take the suggestion that I gave them 25 years ago to make a 45acp pistol that takes 1911 mags, we’ll really be talking…

  • randy eilers January 28, 2019, 3:57 pm

    I will probably pick one up. Would like to see a threaded barrel, only thing from making it a for sure purchase.

  • MattKcc January 28, 2019, 3:50 pm

    I would like a carbine version, the barrel is to long for me.

  • alex January 28, 2019, 2:32 pm

    what a piece of plastic junk.

    • chuck culnane January 31, 2019, 2:07 pm

      My thoughts exactly !

    • MidwestPatriot February 25, 2019, 5:06 pm

      My thought exactly

  • wiscogunner January 28, 2019, 1:06 pm

    To each his own…as the saying goes. I welcome any new, thoughtfully-designed gun. Yes, the plastic/poly guns are here to stay because it makes it cheaper to produce and cheaper for the consumer to buy. If it is accurate, you won’t be complaining about the weight or dinging up a stock like you do with wood. I have both wood stock and poly stock 22’s including my Dad’s old tube-fed Marlin Glenfield with the Squirrel etched into the stock…the nicest hardwood stock out there from the good old days. 22lr is dirty…requiring the longest cleaning time of any gun by far so I can appreciate what Winchester did with the push-button action release for easier cleaning…it’s a great a feature on par with the newer Ruger MK IV push button barrel release.

    The market will always determine the longevity of a new design. I wouldn’t be surprised if other 22lr manufacturers copy this action-release feature. Rather than bad-mouth the gun, just ignore it and go with what you do like…that’s the American way…and luxury – with so many choices out there.

  • Bob B January 28, 2019, 12:10 pm

    I like that it’s all plastic so it can be tossed around without undue damage, that it breaks down easily for cleaning, and will take the 10-22 mags of which I have tons. They should have made it a take-down version though.

  • Tom January 28, 2019, 11:53 am

    I would also like to know where it`s made. China? Mexico? Japan? If by some miracle it`s made in America, I`ll buy one.

  • Jack Hammer January 28, 2019, 10:03 am

    Really Guys? Nothing positive to say about this new Win? I’m 64, old school, and still don’t own a 10/22. My go-to 22 is still a Winchester 03′ and my backup is a Browning auto or Rem 66′.
    This new Winchester looks like a gang of fun and for the price point, a heck of a lot of gun. Any 12 year old would be drooling for it… or at least I would have been.
    Closed minds are a sad thing, there’s a big world of fun out there!

    • AJ January 28, 2019, 2:19 pm

      I have an Apache 77 from Kmart that my dad left for me. It was the Kmart version of the nylon 77 with the Seneca green stock. Fun little gun aside from the mag’s being absolute shit. Runs like a dream though.

      I also have a little pump action .22 varmint rifle with a hexagonal barrel. Also my father’s. It’ll be buried with me.

      I will probably never own any of these new school pieces. I love old school .22’s too much.

  • Lee January 28, 2019, 9:48 am

    Interesting. Looks like a neat setup for a 22. As someone that really enjoys plinking with my 22s I may just have to add one of these to my fun gun rack. Like the price too.

  • WinchesterMan January 28, 2019, 9:20 am

    I’m sick to the point of throwing up at all these new plastic garbage guns. Why don’t companies bring back real guns like the 69A, 63, 61, 67, Remington 41, Remington 121, etc. these are the rifles that brought them to their prominence in the first place. Craftsmanship and walnut with blue steel would sell again, just look at the current prices of the oldies!

  • Luke Chiavelli January 28, 2019, 9:10 am

    Talk to me when it has a wood stock.

  • Cyrus January 28, 2019, 7:34 am

    Who cares – there is only one 22 and that’s the Ruger 10/22!

    • Don January 28, 2019, 10:49 am

      Cyrus, I’d almost agree with you, being someone who’s owned several 10/22s over the years. I’ve shot probably fifteen different brands of 22s and the Ruger is still my favorite. That being said, I really have a problem with Ruger never designing it so the bolt locks back after the last round. Combine that with the fact that they even added a loading assist wheel to the mag and I’d seriously take a look at this rifle for my next .22, especially for the price, for such an easy to clean/disassemble rifle.
      Wonder if they’ll offer shorter barrel options as well, plus maybe a take-down version? And, yes, I’d prefer it in a wood stock, too, WinchesterMan.

  • Mark Hood January 28, 2019, 6:55 am

    Where is Clay!

  • Dr Motown January 28, 2019, 6:06 am

    Nice concept, but I wonder how many folks will accidentally sweep that action release button…

    • Robert March 24, 2019, 12:59 pm

      There is a mistake in the article. The button in front of the trigger as pictured, is the bolt release. The takedown button is set onto the stock behind the bolt making it hard to accidentally release the action

  • Alex Zermeno January 28, 2019, 4:15 am

    WHERE IS IT MADE?

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