We were already able to shoot the Wildcat – which does not quite hide its relationship to the successful Ruger 10/22 rifle – at the Industry Day one day before the fair began, and we were simply thrilled. The sleek, all-new polymer-stocked rimfire rifle combines a blowback action with an 18 in / 457 mm precision button-rifled chrome-molybdenum steel barrel. The twist rate is 1:16" / 406 mm.
What makes the new Winchester Wildcat so special?
The really special and unique thing about the compact, lightweight Winchester Wildcat rifle is that you can easily remove the lower receiver assembly, consisting of the action and the trigger group, from the upper receiver. This considerably simplifies, for example, gun cleaning because you can insert the cleaning rod through the rear access port to brush out the bore and chamber from the breech end.
Controls, such as the magazine release, are designed for ambidextrous operation, as well as being easy to handle thanks to their practical design and positioning. The rotary magazine is reminiscent of the Ruger 10/22 one, so it is not surprising that Ruger 10/22 aftermarket magazines with different capacity by third-party manufacturers can be also used. Shooters will be happy.
Features of the Winchester Wildcat: "Light, accurate and super-reliable"
The .22 autoloader rifle is shipped with a typical 10-round flush magazine. The Winchester Wildcat rifle uses a striker-fired design, which should ensure a better and lighter trigger pull compared to a conventional hammer-fired design. In any case, the test weapon shot by us was quite satisfactory. The upper receiver sports an integral Picatinny rail on the top, so nothing stands in the way of easy, quick installation of a red dot sight or telescopic sight.
The rifle is factory-equipped with iron sights, consisting of an adjustable “ghost ring" rear sight and a ramped post front sight. Among the other features: a pair of Allen wrenches – one for adjusting the rear sight and the other for removing the stock – are stored in the lower receiver assembly, while front and rear sling eyelets are molded into the polymer stock. On the underside of the forearm is a short Picatinny rail section. An included rail cover protects your hand from the rail’s edges and corners.
Winchester Wildcat .22 LR: technical data
|Manufacturer:||Winchester Repeating Arms|
|Barrel length:||18 in / 457 mm|
|Overall length:||36.2 in / 921 mm|
|Weight:||63.5 oz / 1.8 kg|
|Magazine capacity:||10 rounds|
|Price:||249.99 USD (approx. 220 euro)|
And the best comes for last: the price in the US is only 249.99 USD. Whether and when this model will find its way to Europe is currently – as so often happens at the SHOT Show – not yet known. But we'll stay on the ball and inform you when there is something new. Because Winchester Wildcat really got us thrilled again.