Is Winchester’s Wildcat .22 The New Semi-Auto King?

Winchester’s new Wildcat .22 could be the perfect 21st century semi-auto.

Winchester’s new Wildcat .22 is a semi-auto rifle chambered for .22 LR. It joins a well-populated segment of the market, but it’s got such innovation that it will change the plinkster market forever. It has a radical new design and an incredibly low price. I’ve shot with extensively and spoken with some of the engineers involved in its design. This is a rifle worth your attention.

Another 10/22 Clone…?

Ruger’s 10/22 has enjoyed the spotlight for more than fifty years. It’s a reliable design, and it’s a good bet that you’ve shot one. If you don’t own one, I’d bet money the guy in the next stall at the range does. There are currently no fewer than 21 variations of this gun for sale on Ruger.com, and you’ll find many more on GunsAmerica.com and at pawn shops across the country, as well as millions of modifications from third parties. Not to mention all the Marlins, Remingtons, and just about every other manufacturer who has something very similar for sale.

So with all these guns out there, what makes the Wildcat any different? The answer is that it is an ideal reinvention of what all those guns should be in the 21st century. For more details, I spoke with Glenn Hatt, a product manager at Winchester.

“Winchester has been all about sporting arms, but we haven’t had any entry-level arms for some time,” Hatt said. This rifle has been in development for more than a decade. “We’ve had three main engineers work on this gun. We took the weaknesses of the 10/22 and improved it and we’ve made a powerful entry-level product.”

The Wildcat has an 18″ barrel, but it’s a heavy barrel and it not only feels good and looks great, but it also keeps on target shot after shot. It’s got a direct blowback action, just like most .22 rifles and pistols, and it’s striker-fired. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

Lower Receiver

The lower receiver is what really sets this gun apart from other auto-loaders. It comes completely out of the gun in one piece without using any tools. .22 ammo is notoriously dirty and most failures with .22’s happen because the gun is dirty. The ease of disassembly makes it simple to keep this gun clean even while shooting at the range or in the field, and it makes it easy and safe to clear a misfire.

The lower receiver comes out without tools for easy cleaning.

Glenn Hatt says that the simplicity of tearing this gun down, cleaning it, and troubleshooting it in the field is his favorite thing about this design. “I hunt so much with kids — I’ve got three sons and a daughter, and we do family reunions. When there is a problem it’s so easy to get the gun back to shooting safely. As a father, it’s really nice to have that simplicity.”

Just press this red button to remove the lower receiver.

With the lower removed, you can clean straight down the barrel from the action to the crown. The lower receiver’s serial number matches that stamped on the barrel.

The bolt comes off the receiver for easy cleaning. You can also access the trigger.

The lower includes tool storage for two Allen wrenches. The smaller is for windage adjustments to the rear sight and the larger removes the stock from the upper receiver.

On-board tool storage for the Allen keys needed to adjust the rear sight and remove the stock from the upper.

To Remove the Lower

  1. Verify the gun is empty and pointed in a safe direction
  2. Close the bolt
  3. Pull the trigger
  4. Press the red retention button at the back of the bolt
  5. The lower drops away toward the front
  6. Reinsert the lower with the catch in front of the trigger first and the charging handle positioned vertically
The lower drops out of the receiver so you can clean the action, bolt, and trigger all without tools.

Upper Receiver

The upper receiver is a black polymer and can be removed from the stock with a couple of screws using the Allen key included in the lower receiver. It has an integrated Picatinny rail which is 5.5″ long with 11 slots and open ends so any accessories can extend past the ends. The rear aperture sight mounts to the Picatinny rail.

The reciprocating charging handle is on the right side, and there’s a 5.5″ Picatinny rail molded in.

The charging handle is on the right. The red textured slides are the magazine release. The red button on the left side is the bolt release. the button in front of the trigger guard locks the bolt open. This is oriented as a right-handed weapon, but it really takes both hands to operate it well.

This red slider is the magazine release.
The Wildcat keeps the bolt open after the last shot fired from the included magazine. This red loop-shaped button is the bolt release.
Interestingly, the upper receiver is vented on the left side behind the chamber. The receiver is polymer.

“Making the barrel and upper so easy to disassemble is intended to make it easy for third parties to customize,” Hatt said. “Fully machined steel uppers and lowers will be easy to make. Today’s customer expects to be able to customize and make a gun their own.”

Left side of the upper.

Stock

I know that many of you aren’t even reading these words because you clicked away as soon as you saw it has a synthetic stock. I fully agree that there is a special character that wood brings to a firearm, and I generally prefer wooden stocks, too. However, this is the 21st century, people. Synthetics aren’t the junk they were in the 1980s. They are stable, inexpensive to produce, and may be lighter. This is a good stock for this gun, and you need to shoot it before you dismiss it based on antiquated preconceptions.

Although the stock has a large cutaway, it is remarkably stiff and stable. The sling mount is integrated and snag-proof.

It’s not black, and that’s a conscious design choice. It’s a dark grey/charcoal and it looks great with black and red accents. The black parts and the barrel give it a two-tone look, and it just looks a lot less cheap with the grey. There is nothing flimsy about it. It won’t twist or deflect if you try to bend it around. The only flex is if you squeeze the forend up toward the barrel, which is free-floating.

Winchester took every opportunity to brand every facet of this gun.

It’s a slim stock. It fits in smaller hands well, but it still comes up in the right place on my larger frame and voluminous hands.

The buttstock has a noticeably large cutout. I don’t know that this makes the gun actually lighter, but it looks like a modern weapon. There’s a sling swivel molded into the stock (instead of a knob sticking out that gets caught everywhere as on wooden stocks).

The forend has a removable cover that reveals both the sling mount and a Picatinny rail for bipods or tripod mounts.

A removable cover reveals a Picatinny rail at the tip of the forend.

The pistol grip is notably more vertical than most .22 stocks. But you’ll find that it fits your hand really well and you can place your thumb on either side of the action. The whole stock has a lightly stippled texture and the forend and grip have deeper slots for a positive purchase.

The pistol grip is fairly vertical with texture.
The forend has a deeper texture for grip.

Length of pull is 13.5″ and the butt is not padded. It does have a removable textured butt plate. The drop from the barrel at the comb is 7/8″ and the drop at the heel is also 7/8″. For me, that drop is perfect with a scope mounted, but it’s a little low for the iron sights.

Two screws remove the stock from the upper receiver and the Allen key is nestled in the lower receiver.

Glenn Hatt said more options are already in development, and I’ve heard rumors that third parties are already making custom stocks, as well. Hatt says it’s all in the plan to have more options soon, including youth models, adjustable lengths of pull, adjustable combs, and wooden stocks. But as is, this first version is a very usable weapon.

Magazines

Winchester isn’t trying to completely reinvent the field of autoloading .22’s and that’s most apparent in their choice to make the Wildcat compatible with Ruger’s 10/22 magazines. You can easily buy more 10-round rotary mags, 20-round stick mags, or even 100-round drums making it easy to add another gun to your safe.

The Wildcat takes 10/22 rotary and aftermarket mags, but its own mag is much improved.

The Wildcat ships with one 10-round rotary magazine, but it’s not a standard 10/22 mag. “We took all the knowledge we already have [about magazines] and applied it to improving the 10/22 magazine,” Hatt told me. When you consider that Winchester firearms are now produced by Browning Arms Company and that Hatt was talking to me from their Morgan, Utah office, they’re a company that has a lot of experience with magazine development, and that’s apparent in this build.

This thumb assist wheel makes it much easier to load all ten rounds.

First, it has a built-in thumbwheel that makes it much easier to load because you can assist the drum rotation with your other hand as you load.

The magazine releases like other 10/22’s with the latch at the front of the mag, but the best experience comes using the sliding mag release on both sides of the stock. Just grip the red textured slide with fingers on one side and thumb on the other and slide it back. The mag pops out into your hand.

Slide the mag release back and the mag pops down into your hand. It’s intuitive to use.

The biggest difference between this and other magazines, though, is that it locks the bolt open when the mag is empty. The magazine has a metal tab that pops up and locks the bolt open. If there is no magazine, you can lock the bolt open with the red button at the front of the trigger guard. That’s a very cool safety feature so you know the gun is empty at a glance.

This little tab allows the bolt to hold open when the magazine is empty. Standard 10/22 mags lack this innovation.

It’s remarkable that Winchester could make a simple innovation to an existing design that significantly improves the user’s experience.

That red button in front of the trigger is the bolt catch to hold the bolt open when the Wildcat magazine isn’t being used.

The bolt won’t lock open with other mags, and I don’t know if this magazine fits in Ruger 10/22’s.

Barrel

The barrel is 18″ long and it’s not contoured, which gives it a semi-heavy look and weight. The gun could be lighter with a standard tapered barrel, but this one leaves nothing wanting. Hatt says that the barrel shape is also deliberate. “Not contouring the barrel keeps it as heavy and as accurate as possible and at the same time keeps costs down to pass the savings on to customers.” The straight barrel profile is one more thing keeping the price of this gun down.

The 18″ barrel is not tapered, which keeps costs down and gives you a heavy-ish barrel.

18″ is just the right length for toting around the woods and plains and keeps it on target at the range. Hatt says future development will include threaded barrels.

The barrel is free-floating. It’s got a matt blued finish so you won’t spook game with the shine and it wears nicely.

Manufacturing

We learn from the barrel that this gun is manufactured in Turkey by Istanbul Silah (Istanbul Arms) and is imported by BACO, Inc (Browning Arms Company), which produces and sells Winchester firearms.

The gun is manufactured in Turkey, but it’s Winchester’s own design.

Speaking about the manufacturing, Hatt a lot of good things to say about Istanbul Arms. Winchester has worked closely with them to produce other shotguns, like the Super X Pump, and once they were able to build rifles it became clear that their facility is the perfect place to produce the Wildcat. You should know, though, that this isn’t just another Turkish import.

“A lot of our in-house facilities couldn’t build an entry-level product at the price point we needed. When our factory in Turkey was able to start doing rifled arms, we took this design to them. We helped them refine their process and facility. Do I wish it was all built in the USA? Absolutely.,” Hatt said. “We still buy parts from the US, and our R&D is all here. They are building our design. We don’t put our name on others’ products — we don’t do that, that’s not what we’re about.”

Suppressors

Although the barrel is not threaded, a gunsmith can make that change for you. Maughan tested the Wildcat with suppressors during development. He says there’s a misconception that using a suppressor on a semi-automatic .22 may cause it to have more failures cycling ammo. “We measured to see if the slide velocity changes with a suppressor, but there is no effect.” The gun will become dirty much faster than without a suppressor, and that could affect performance, but the suppressor itself won’t be a problem.

Maughan says he keeps a suppressor on his Wildcat.

Trigger

The trigger is nothing to write home about, but it’s not terrible for a stock trigger. It’s got 3/32″ of take-up, then it creeps another 3/32″ before it fires, during which the pressure stacks up, and then another 2/32″ before it hits the back wall. The total travel is about a 1/8″.

The trigger isn’t incredibly good, but it’s not bad.

The safety is right behind the trigger and there is no play in the trigger when the safety is engaged.

You can access the trigger by dropping the lower receiver.

The trigger itself is polymer, as is the trigger guard. The guard has a modern rounded square cut with room for thin gloves and lightening cuts.

Action & Ammo

The Wildcat uses a direct blowback action like most .22 guns. I spoke with Robert Maughan, the last engineer at Winchester to work on this gun, about the intricacies of it’s shooting performance. For a seemingly common gun at a low price, they’ve put a lot of thought into making this gun perform well with all kinds of ammo and magazines.

The action comes completely apart without tools.

The bolt is a lighter than the bolts used in Ruger’s 10/22. The lighter weight allows it to cycle faster and more reliably with all kinds of ammo. They’ve engineered a feature into the slide that delays its closing to ensure that heavier loads and bigger magazines have time to cycle. More mass in a magazine takes more time to move the next round into battery. Whether the mass comes from a heavier bullet or from a long 25-round magazine with lots of bullets, this delayed slide action helps the weapon cycle reliably.

The bolt face.

Maughan tested the gun with many different 25-round magazines, which are favorites of the 10/22 crowd. He didn’t test the big 100-round drums, but he’s pretty sure they will work well, too. The gun was tested for 20,000 rounds with many different kinds of ammo, too, from subsonics to super-high-speed rounds.

The action is direct blowback but has a stall engineered into it so that heavy loads and big magazines have time to cycle.

Maughan said that lightest and quietest rounds have a little trouble, like CCI’s Quiet, a 40grain bullet shooting at 710fps. The bullets shoot fine, but they may not cycle the next round automatically. Maughan said that if you want to use quiet bullets, heavier bullets are better because their greater mass still pushes the action well.

.22 ammo is dirty, so it’s a good thing this gun disassembles so easily.

For my part, I shot three magazines-worth of the CCI Quiet without any failures to feed. I also shot CCI’s Stingers without any trouble. Maughan says there’s no upper limit on the gun — there’s no factory ammo that is too hot to shoot safely.

Sights

The Wildcat comes standard with a bladed from sight and an aperture rear sight. There’s a 5.5″ Picatinny rail on the upper receiver with 11 slots. I mounted my Vanguard 1-4 x 24mm scope which weighs about 18 oz, and although the rail is made of polymer, it has kept true for hundreds of rounds.

The aperture rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation and attaches behind the Picatinny rail. It adjusts with the included Allen key.
The front blade sight is removable.
Scopes mount well and stay true on the polymer upper. This is a 1-4 x 24mm.

Shootability

The trouble with an autoloader, of course, is that you can just keep on shooting. Ten rounds go by really quickly but the assist wheel on the magazine makes it easy to load more. This gun comes up to your shoulder well, and the front Picatinny rail allows you to mount a bipod or tripod mount. The whole gun weighs just four pounds so you don’t get fatigued shooting offhand.

At the Range

The 18″ bull-ish barrel shoots well. Recoil is used to drive the straight blowback action and is negligible for the user. The hard butt plate is just fine.

I shot 9 different makes and had no trouble with any of them. My favorite to shoot and hunt with was Winchester’s affordable Wildcat .22.

I shot 9 different factory loads and had a great variety in the groupings. Robert Maughan, the engineer, said it does better with heavy rounds, and that seemed true for me, too. He said low-velocity rounds may not feed, but I had no trouble, though they didn’t group well. High-velocity CCI Stingers also didn’t shoot very consistently. My best groups came from CCI’s Standard Mini Mags and Winchester’s recently re-released Wildcat .22 ammo, which comes in a bulk box.

A 5-round group at 50 yards with CCI Mini-Mag, 40 grain 1235 fps.
A 5-round group at 50 yards with Winchester Wildcat, 40 grain, 1255 fps.

I’ll not be entering any silhouette competitions with it, but the Wildcat is accurate enough for plinking and small game hunting.

In the Field

As a hunting rifle, the Wildcat excels. Its lightweight makes it effortless to carry — at 4 pounds, it’s about a pound lighter than a base model 10/22. It comes up to your shoulder smoothly and, although the trigger is nothing great, it fires reliably and predictably and is more than accurate enough for small game within fifty yards. The short 18″ barrel makes acquiring targets easier than with longer guns.

Quick target acquisition, fast follow-up shots, and lightweight make the Wildcat an ideal small game rifle. More about hunting Marmots here.

Those are the same things Robert Maughan likes about this gun. “I carry it for hunting rabbits and I can just carry it at my side without dragging on the ground. The Wildcat takes all the good things from other autoloaders but shoots all kinds of ammo and is really accurate.”

Personally, the iron sights sit a bit low for my neck/face/shoulder combination, but a scope with low rings is the perfect height. Although the stock is polymer, it comes up to your cheek as solid as a rock and it shoots consistently.

I’ve killed several marmots and rabbits with the Wildcat. Although I love to hunt with my bolt action Winchester Model 69A that was built in the 1930s, the Wildcat is quickly becoming my go-to .22 for hunting. It’s lightweight and it’s short and it’s easy to grab and go.

The 13.5″ length of pull is too long for my daughter to carry, but upcoming versions will include youth sizes.

Availability & Affordability

The Wildcat is ready to buy right now. The MSRP is $249. Incredibly, when I mention the price to people, they always say, “Well, I’ll just get a 10/22 for a lot less!”

But, you can’t get a new 10/22 for less. Ruger lists the cheapest 10/22 at $350, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get one under $200 used. Those who think they can buy one for a lot less are those who bought them a long time ago or inherited them. I’ve already seen the Wildcat for $219 at retailers. The fact is, your money will go farther with a new Wildcat than a new 10/22.

Is The Wildcat For You?

10/22’s have been the incumbent rulers of the .22 market for 60 years. They have loads of aftermarket customization available right now, and dozens of variations. But I think the Wildcat is worth your consideration. It’s lightweight, it’s affordable, it’s easy to shoot and maintain, and it includes many innovations that bring the semi-auto .22 up-to-date. At less than $249 on the street, I think it’s a good way to go and it looks like it will last at least the next 60 years.

Specs

Caliber: 22 LRBarrel Length: 18″
Overall Length: 36 1/4″Length of Pull: 13 1/2″
Drop at Comb: 7/8″Drop at Heel: 7/8″
Weight: 4 lbs 0 ozMagazine Capacity: 10
Twist Rate: 16″Barrel Finish: Matte Blued
Stock Finish: GrayReceiver Finish: Matte Black
Barrel Material: SteelBarrel Contour: Sporter
Stock Material: CompositeRecoil Pad: Plastic Butt Plate
Pistol Grip Cap: Matte PolymerCheckering: Textured Grip
Sling Swivel Studs: IntegratedReceiver Material: Composite
Trigger Finish: Matte BlackBolt Slide Finish: Matte Black
Magazine Type: DetachableTrigger Material: Polymer
Trigger Guard: CompositeTrigger Guard Engraving: None
Scope: 5.5″ Picatinny Rail-–MSRP $249.99

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About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Steve Plunkett June 22, 2020, 3:10 am

    I purchased the Wildcat at Cabela’s for just under 200.00 dollars. I have been collecting. 22 rimfire rifles and pistols for 40 years. Needless to say my experience with rimfire’s is extensive to the extreme. The new Wildcat is the perfect survival hunting rifle for truck, SUV, ATV, R V
    Boat, back pack etc… it is everything mentioned in the above article. Just stash it away and forget about it until needed. Utterly reliable with deadly small game accuracy. My particular model is capable of 5 shot 1/2 inch groups from the bench at 50 yards when scoped. 3/4 to 1 inch groups with iron sights. My particular example is the most accurate with CCI 38 grain HP ammo. CCI 40 grain standard velocity is even more accurate than the mini mags. Don’t bad mouth this model until you try it yourself. Believe me, eventhough the rear of the stock looks somewhat bizarre, you will love the gun overall.

  • Lukeum January 7, 2020, 3:53 am

    OK listen up people i am the KING and don’t never forget it….thank you…..thank you very much

  • Jeff January 7, 2020, 1:23 am

    The statement about the price of 10/22s is flat out false. I live in the NW and Bi Mart still sell these for $200. You can find one for $180 or $190 at Sportsmans or other stores at times.

  • Todd Titus January 6, 2020, 12:23 pm

    All that is well and good , but it is one of the ugliest guns I’ve ever seen . Will not be replacing my Ruger with that !!!!

  • Chastran January 6, 2020, 7:50 am

    Red plastic is a real turnoff totally destroying the gun’s visual appeal…

  • Tom January 6, 2020, 6:52 am

    I sure wish that I still had my Browning 22 bottom ejecting 22 LR, bought it a Coast to Coast store in Cut Bank MT in 1963 for $99.00. Gave it to BIL went I went to the Azores in ’77. In ’63-64, Pacific Hide & Fur was buying jack rabbits for $2.00 ea as long as they were too shot up (no shot guns). Sure made money back then.
    Yes I’m a wood stock-steel barrel purist, but I have more than several plastic stocked & rough steel barrel wonders

  • FRANK C. MCLEAN, JR. September 12, 2019, 10:11 pm

    I have a Winchester 74, semi 22 short onlys (1955) and a Remington Nylon Apache. Both are fun to shoot, but are too long for young shooters. My Ruger 10/22 was fine but I added a bull-pup stock. Somehow the new stock allowed the 10/22 to shoot even faster, almost sounds like a fully-auto. I want to get a short stock, lightweight 22 for my grandkids. The bullpup might work but I want something new for them. I wish the wildcat had an adjustable stock – easy to handle for an 8-year old first-time shooter.

  • Casca September 11, 2019, 8:51 pm

    No thanks. Give me an old Remington of walnut and polished steel that shoots .22 shorts. longs. long rifles, or an older Winchester too.
    Plastic and more plastic and metal grit blasted barrel is totally unappealing. I want the feel, the look and warmth of walnut and steel.

    • Mark H. January 6, 2020, 5:13 pm

      All well and good, but good luck finding one. It’s been the equivalent of a unicorn at all of my local stores big and small since introduced at the SHOT show last year.

  • J.B. Clark September 5, 2019, 7:03 pm

    The pictures and article refer to a 10 shot magazine. Is there an aftermarket magazine in more than 10 rounds? Thanking you in advance… J.B. Clark

    • gary holfstra September 13, 2019, 7:38 am

      Dude-it takes 10/22 mags, how many variations of magazines do you want? More choices than fleas on a hounds rump.

      • JC April 30, 2020, 10:34 am

        Yeah but the 10/22 mags won’t have the bolt hold open option.

  • Mikey September 3, 2019, 5:36 pm

    I appreciate the informative review, and am not gonna spew some of the silliness others have posted here. However, I am taking the time to post in order to point out the one fatal flaw that this gun has for me – it is not made in the USA. I don’t fault others for their buying decisions, but the one thing that is absolute for me is that I will not buy any gun that is not made in the USA.

  • Trumpeter September 2, 2019, 11:58 pm

    Sorry, you lost me at “close the bolt and pull the trigger” for disassembly.

  • boats September 2, 2019, 9:57 pm

    I bought a Browning auto .22 about 1960 and I have always liked it and still have it.
    In 1964 I bought the first 10/22 I ever saw, I still have, I love it. I put a k3 weaver scope
    and a sling, the only other things I’ve added was half dozen Mags and bricks of .22 LR.
    Absolutely the best simi auto 22 on earth, take the action out of the stock once a year
    for a good cleaning and you will never need to break it down in the field. Cannot speak
    for current 10/22 s but I’ll put my 55 year old 10/22 against any thing out there.

  • Jim. Burden September 2, 2019, 8:35 pm

    I thought it was great article. Answered all my questions and then some. I like Winchester 22’s. Got the 190, 290, a model 72. All been extensively used. I like a short truck gun. Even though I love my ol 10-22, (no warning printed on barrel), new toys are such a rush. Think I’ll get one. Heaven knows I’ve got plenty a Ruger magazines. Hope they work as well in the wildcat .

  • Jamie in North Dakota September 2, 2019, 8:12 pm

    Good grief what but a bunch of whining babies commenting on here. If you want a wood stock go buy a .22 that has one, you don’t have to come on here and bitch about it. Most people I know like synthetic stocks but then we’re not a bunch of old cranky Fudds!

    • John L January 6, 2020, 12:38 pm

      As a cranky old Fudd I resemble that remark! LOL. Truth is my last three rifle purchases were synthetic stocks. And yes I do like them.

  • MikeRoss September 2, 2019, 2:51 pm

    The scope attaches to a polymer upper? What does the barrel screw into, polymer? Did I miss that (twice) or did the author leave that bit of vital information out?

  • Norm Fishler September 2, 2019, 2:47 pm

    As much as I would like to wish Winchester the best of luck on this offering, there is m=no way to foretell whether this little rifle will be a success or not. As I recall, W-W has not has much good fortune with their .22 auto loaders over the past 40-50 years. Models, 74, 77, 100, 190, 290, 490 are all in the rear view mirror and not without good reason.

    • W Radford September 2, 2019, 5:22 pm

      While I wish them well, I don’t see a lot of success with this offering. For comparison, we bought a Thompson Center T/CR22 the other day. It came with a case, sling, and a darn nice little Red Dot Sight. It has a bolt hold open magazine, AND will run with any Ruger 10/22 style magazine to boot. It is compatible wit virtually ALL 10/22 aftermarket parts and accessories. It has a nice fiber optic front sight and a very useful peep rear sight. And it has a picatinny rail integral to the receiver.

      All this for $280 out the door. Proven design (10/22 clone) with all the benefits of aftermarket support already in place, and made in America……………….

  • Edward M Pate September 2, 2019, 2:08 pm

    Don’t forget the good old Marlin 795! I love mine!

  • Just1Spark September 2, 2019, 1:14 pm

    the aftermarket will be flush with actual metal parts to replace all the easily broken ones on this new wildcat. No doubt with anodized color options.

    • Big Al September 2, 2019, 4:39 pm

      Oh look, anothyer polymer ‘poo-poo’er’, even though the material is well proven in firearms, military, and space.
      Some guys just keep it up there for the warmth, I guess.

  • Troy September 2, 2019, 1:07 pm

    I ordered one of these a few months ago. Apparently there is issue with importing them into the USA aside from the few that reviewers get to use and brag them up. I am confused why some can be imported and not all. The real question here is whether it will be a good gun for the 22nd century as it appears they can advertise them but not sell them as they are not available unless you are a special person. I may just buy from competitor before I get a chance to see one myself as the competitors have availability. Too bad because while I do not see it as a high end gun by any means, it looks like a nice enough entry level that would be fun to shoot. I’d even pre-order a youth version but would be too small by time is delivered and child is an adult.

  • S.Rich September 2, 2019, 12:48 pm

    Plastic is for tooth brushes, hairbrushes, combs, water bottles, and bags, not firearms

    • Chief September 2, 2019, 2:21 pm

      Some people, for no reason other than to hear themselves talk (type), say stupid things. You are obviously one of them. No one is entertained by your stupidity, believe me.

    • Blasted Cap September 3, 2019, 1:32 pm

      Bet he bought a wooden stock for his AR.

      • mike January 6, 2020, 2:38 pm

        I’ve never seen a wooden stock on an AR………..but the Mini 14 has some nice wood stocks and fires 5.56NATO

  • Shane Moscatelli September 2, 2019, 12:46 pm

    Seem that I’m not the only one disinterested in the toysrus pistol and rifle club.

  • Shane Moscatelli September 2, 2019, 12:39 pm

    I have had enough of the plastic guns ! I own several , I appreciate them for their lighter weight, durability ,price and friendly to carry ergonomics but, I wish to behold a blue steel , American walnut well put together fit and finish rifle that may cost more than the nylon counterpart but, have the enduring quality of a family heirloom that tells stories just by looking at it ! That’s all !!

    • Big Al September 2, 2019, 4:43 pm

      And there are how many of those out there??????? It’s not like you’re being left out there bunky.
      That’s all. ?!?

  • Will Drider September 2, 2019, 12:07 pm

    The innovations are great but the end result doesn’t impress me enough to consider buying one. The HB (but firearm in total) accuracy was mediocre, why pack the weight with no benefit? Red trim reminds me of pimp sneakers. If they wanted a little contrast: GRAY stands out and blends.

  • Charlie September 2, 2019, 12:03 pm

    Levi,

    You have written a very interesting article on this remarkable new 21st century rifle. Obviously Winchester put a great deal of thought into making the Wildcat address many of the end users’ problems with just about all of the owners of competitor rifles.
    But PLEASE have someone review your future articles to avoid using the word “weapon” in describing an entry-level rifle that can be used to introduce kids to the fun of shooting. The word “weapon” plays directly into the opposition’s camp.
    It is a rifle.

  • Jocularity September 2, 2019, 11:40 am

    No, not even close to being the “new semi-auto king”. For chrissakes, I hate clickbait titles and hyperbolic statements (“…it will change the plinkster market forever”). I thought I was going to read about some paradigm-shifting development in the world of firearms.Instead, an overly long, gushing article about a cheap plastic with plastic parts. As far as I’m concerned, the only things going for it are the low price and the improvements on the Roger magazine. But really, there are plenty of solid, inexpensive.22 rifles on the market (by the way, you can find new 10/22s all over for close to $200), and neither the lack of last round hold open or loading the rotary mags has ever bothered me.A new “king”? Pffft.

  • JOHN MARSHALL September 2, 2019, 11:35 am

    This may be a great firearm but they can’t get away from the polymer magazine. These things don’t last if you are an active shooter. It is the first (and probably the only) thing that always fails on these rifles.

  • Don Tros September 2, 2019, 11:35 am

    I like how they have a big buff guy shooting this little young person’s 22-:)

  • Guttman September 2, 2019, 11:29 am

    I want a semi-auto WMR there are already too many 22 Semis.

  • joseph meier September 2, 2019, 11:11 am

    want to purchase this weapon ONLY if you can send with 2 — 20 round mags–your reply–please

    • jackkade January 6, 2020, 11:39 am

      NO

    • Dave January 7, 2020, 10:25 am

      Stop your grippin’
      When the Gestopo shows up with their metal detectors you’ll wish you had one

  • Frank S. September 2, 2019, 11:03 am

    “Ruger lists the cheapest 10/22 at $350, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get one under $200 used. Those who think they can buy one for a lot less are those who bought them a long time ago or inherited them. I’ve already seen the Wildcat for $219 at retailers. The fact is, your money will go farther with a new Wildcat than a new 10/22.”

    I bet Ruger drops the price on the 10/22 (at least the entry level model) after this goes on the market — especially if it does well. Competition is almost always a good thing for the consumer! As long as the two companies can make money on them at around $200 it’s good for everyone!! Now I want to see a good $200 .22LR US made pistol. Browning Buckmarks and Ruger Mark IVs are around $400. You can get a GSG Firefly or a Chiappa M9-22 or 1911-22 for just over $200, and I’ve been thinking about one of those, but I would prefer something more like a Mark IV with tapered barrel. If they can make a rifle for close to $200, they should be able to do that with a pistol as well. I know the sales numbers aren’t as high in pistols, and they want to keep profits up while not having to produce a lot, but wouldn’t you think a good low cost .22 pistol would bring more shooters out? I have a Heritage .22 single action revolver. Those are pretty cheap from Classic Firearms at $103-$140 — $148-$161 with a .22WMR cylinder to boot! But I want a semi-auto for practice….

  • George September 2, 2019, 9:03 am

    Nice that the photo of your daughter shooting includes eye and ear pro but the adult is shown with a dufus hat backwards, no eye or ear pro. I’m sure Winchester did their homework but this should have been released with a threaded barrel and adjustable stock from the get go. Different stock modules like the Ruger American. 22 would have been smarter.

  • Elmojo September 2, 2019, 8:51 am

    Great article, very well written!
    Makes me want a Wildcat, if only for product development.
    I currently make tensioned Carbon Fiber threaded barrels for 10/22s, so maybe the Wildcat would be an easy product to add?
    Couple things I noticed, though…

    1) There already is a Winchester Wildcat. It’s a bolt action 22LR rifle. This won’t cause confusion at all….
    2) They could drop a bunch of the space cadet cosmetic features and have a fairly handsome rifle here. What’s with all the angular red features. Stick with black and gray low profile controls and keep it classy.
    3) All that talk about the trigger, and no mention of the actual pull effort? Is it 6lbs or 16lbs? Kinda makes a difference.

  • Joseph P Gallagher September 2, 2019, 7:44 am

    I thought that Levi did a fairly through review of the new Winchester. My thoughts – it’s a plastic gun (cheapo), easy to manufacture with a very low price point ($249.99). There a far better offerings available than the new plastic gun from Winchester.

  • John September 2, 2019, 7:29 am

    Back in early 2000 the NRA picked a .22 for gun of the year…it was a real wi nner. I think this .22 will be just as big or bigger .

  • KCsmith September 2, 2019, 7:02 am

    Not threaded = not interested

  • Chunk September 2, 2019, 1:53 am

    Looks like they accidentally used some metal in the barrel.

    • Ransom September 2, 2019, 6:47 am

      Yeah, it Looks Like they Lined the barrel with metal since the dirt it’s made of won’t hold the rifling. Oh, and for a gun kids will be using I’d have recessed that crown a bit more than a papers width.

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