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  1. #1
    .22 Special Black Ops BangBang's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Lake Pan, Florida
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    My new Grail Gun! Merry Christmas to me!

    As I am sure I have stated in the past, I have a very large collection of 22 caliber firearms. I thought that I was done buying firearms for 2019. About a week ago I'd learned of a gun that I had to have. It is a very rare, unique, and valuable 22 caliber rifle.

    In the late 1800s and early 1900s a certain type of 22 rifle became very popular. These rifles were called boy's rifle and they were meant for youngsters to use in hunting rabbits, squirrels and anything else they could bring home to add to the cook pot. Boys rifles were shorter than a standard rifle, bolt action, and single shot 22 caliber rifles. Just about any company that made 22 caliber rifles offered a boy's model or two and competition between these companies was high.

    Winchester manufactured a model 1902 boys rifle. In 1903 in an attempt to cut manufacturing cost of the rifle and increase sales they redesigned the Model 1902. They removed the trigger and the trigger guard so the stock was smooth underneath and they placed a thumb trigger at the rear of the bolt on the top of the grip. While the cost of the rifle was substantially lowered by doing this Winchester advertised the gun as having greater accuracy, especially for new shooters, because there was no pressure from the trigger finger pulling the trigger left or right. The shooter simply pushed down with his thumb to fire the rifle. This new design was simply called the Winchester thumb trigger rifle. These rifles were advertised to shoot 22 short, long, and extra long cartridges. The extra long cartridge was longer than a 22 long rifle and was a black powder load. It became obsolete in the middle 1920s. About 1907 Winchester changed the name to the model 99. Roughly 75000 of these rifles were produced.

    As luck would have it the rifles were never popular in the United States. However, they became very popular in Australia and the vast percentage of the guns produced were exported to that country. Between the fact that the guns went to Australia and in modern times Australia confiscated most of the fire arms in that country and destroyed them one can get an understanding of why this little rifle is so rare and collectible.

    As usual, depending on condition, it is not out of the ordinary to see these little rifles bring upwards of $2000 at auction. I believe that in time the guns will continue to appreciate. I negotiated with the seller of my new rifle until finally we came to a price that we could both live with. Mine is considered to be in good shape especially for a rifle that is 120 years old!

    Click on the thumbnails to see a larger picture....




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    I collect Rimfire Firearms (.17 HMR, 5 mm Magnum, 5 mm Craig , 6 mm Flobert, .22 LR, and .22 Magnum), especially Mossberg's. I look for old, different, unique, or rare rifles and handguns in any rimfire caliber as well as parts. If you have anything in this category you want to sell or trade please e-mail me at or PM me here on the forum.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JimmyA's Avatar
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    Sep 2014
    Orange County FL
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    Wow - very cool Don. That's unusual to say the least!

    Let's get together at Dade City range - I'll bring the Model 90 .22 WRF!
    “The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail… the answer to criminal aggression is retaliation.”
    -- Jeff Cooper

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