American Hunter - October 2019 - 67

Photos: Forrest MacCormack

a top rail for
mounting optics.
The stock is also equipped with
molded polymer sling eyelets and a Picatinny rail section with a removable cover.
Lightweight composites help to keep the
Wildcat's weight to just 4 pounds. The rifle
has an overall length of just over 3 feet,
and length of pull is 13½ inches. Despite
its small size, the Wildcat packs a ton of
innovative, user-friendly features into a
lightweight package.
What makes the Wildcat a standout
in the .22 rimfire market is the number of
intelligent features that have been engineered into it. First, the lower receiver
assembly quite literally falls into your
hand with the touch of a button. With the
rifle unloaded and the magazine removed,
simply press the red button at the rear of
the upper assembly and the inner workings
of the receiver drop free. This allows for
thorough cleaning (from breech to barrel)
and unmatched ease of maintenance. And
don't fret if you've forgotten your tools-
there are Allen wrenches stored on the
lower assembly that allow you to adjust the
sights or remove the barreled action from
the stock. To replace the lower assembly,
simply rotate the bolt handle up and reinsert until it locks in place.
The Wildcat's molded polymer stock
features modern styling with all the associated lines and angles, but it's well-designed.
There's a finger groove on the flat-bottom
forearm and the comb of the stock rises
front to back. The pistol grip is rather
narrow and steeply angled, and recesses
molded into the junction between the grip
and the stock form a natural resting point
for the ball of the shooter's hand. The rear
of the receiver is also angled, perhaps a nod
to the original Model 63 design. Controls
are well-thought-out and user-friendly:
there's a crossbolt safety behind the trigger guard, and in front of the guard there's
a red slide lock button that allows you
to manually lock the slide open. Nestled
against the right side of the receiver is a red
recessed slide release button. The rotary

magazine fits snugly into the rifle
and can be released in two ways: if
you're a traditionalist, you can drop
the mag by pulling back on a red release
tab at the front of the magazine well, but
I much prefer using the red side-mounted
rails that are located just above the magazine. Simply pull back on the rail and the
mag drops into the hand.
Winchester's rear peep sight is easy to
adjust (especially since you always have an
Allen wrench available), but I'd imagine
most shooters will opt for an optic or red
dot to wring maximum accuracy from this
rifle. Atop my test rifle was a lightweight
and durable red-dot optic that's perfectly
suited for the Wildcat. I tested five different .22 loads at 50 yards, and at that range
the Winchester was capable of producing
groups as small as .73-inch. Likewise, I
tested ammunition with a wide range of

Accuracy Results*

velocities. At the low end of the velocity
range was Lapua's Midas+ target ammo,
which didn't have any issues with cycling
whatsoever. I also tested CCI's fast MiniMag SHP load, which is ideal for small
game with a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps.
Throughout the testing there were no
issues with feeding, extraction or ejection. The trigger had minimal take-up and
broke at 4½ pounds, and after shooting the
rifle for a short time I grew accustomed to
the controls. The crossbolt safety is wellpositioned, and it's possible to operate
the safety quietly so as not to spook game
when hunting.
Thanks to my caffeine addiction, there
was a soda can in the console of my pickup
truck which provided a perfect plinking
target. Using Winchester's Wildcat ammo,
I punched a few dozen holes in the aluminum can. The Wildcat is a lot of fun to
shoot, and it provides cheap thrills-with
an MSRP of $249.99 you can expect to see
these guns available around $200, which is
a small price to pay for such an appealing
little rimfire rifle. ah

Winchester Wildcat

.22 LR

Weight

Velocity

Load

(grs.)

(fps)

Smallest

Aguila Super Extra Copper Plated Solid
CCI Mini-Mag SHP
Federal AutoMatch
Lapua Midas+
Winchester Wildcat Dynapoint

40
40
40
40
40

1192
1220
1199
1015
1168

1.28
.96
1.19
.73
1.05

americanhunter.org [

* Outdoors | Sandbags | 50 Yards | 5-Shot Group

67 [ october 2019

Group Size (inches)
Average Largest

1.56
1.13
1.30
.89
1.20

1.91
1.27
1.48
1.10
1.44


http://www.americanhunter.org

American Hunter - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - October 2019

Contents
American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover1
American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover2
American Hunter - October 2019 - 1
American Hunter - October 2019 - Contents
American Hunter - October 2019 - 3
American Hunter - October 2019 - 4
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American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover3
American Hunter - October 2019 - Cover4
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