Winchester 422: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Winchester 422
Winchester’s 422 is another lower-powered breakbarrel from the 1960s and ’70s.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • History
  • Description
  • Sights
  • Stock
  • Breech
  • The breech seal 
  • Trigger
  • Summary

With the El Gamo David on the sidelines for a few weeks, I had to dip into my other vintage air rifles and bring out one you have never seen in this blog. Today we begin looking at a Winchester model 422, which is a Diana model 22 sold by Winchester.

History

Winchester sold 10 models of Diana airguns under their name from 1969 through 1975. The one I am testing has a date stamp of January, 1969.

According to the Blue Book of Airguns they imported a total of 19,259 airguns of all models during that time. The models they sold were:

Winchester……..Diana
353………………………5
363………………………6
333……………………..65
416……………………..16
422……………………..22
423……………………..23
425……………………..25
427……………………..27
435……………………..35
450……………………..50

Description

Today’s Winchester 422 air rifle came just in .177 caliber. It looks remarkably similar to the Diana 23, and according to the Blue Book of Airguns, the next edition of which is due out very soon, it is of a similar size. 

This 422 is 35-5/8-inches long over all with a 14.25-inch barrel. It weighs 3.5 lbs. The Diana 23 I tested in June (marked as a Gecado model 23) was 36 inches long and weighed 3 lbs. 11 oz. So the model 22 I’m now testing is even smaller.

The pull is 13 inches, so the rifle can be used by adults. And yes, the barrel is rifled, as I believe all Winchester pellet rifles except the model 416 were. 

Sights

The rear sight is adjustable through a narrow range of elevation. The sight has no windage adjustment but it is dovetailed into the base block and can be drifted sideways a little.

Winchester 422 rear sight
The rear sight adjusts for elevation throughout a limited range.

The front sight is a simple post with no adjustment possible, except this one is bent to the rear, which lowers it a little. That will raise the strike of the pellet. And, looking through the rear sight notch, I can see that it’s also bent slightly to the left, which will move the strike of the round to the right.

Winchester 422 front sight
The front sight is just a tapered post. This one is bent back and to the side.

I think I can straighten the front sight, but I want to see where the rifle is shooting before I do.

Stock

The stock is beech and slabsided — just what you would expect in a budget air rifle stock. It lacks the finger grooves in the forearm that we saw on the Diana 23.

Breech

Like all Dianas of this era the 422 uses a ball-bearing detent to close the breech. But it also has something I have never before encountered in a Diana air rifle. The air transfer port is scooped out on the bottom to provide a starting ramp for the locking ball. When the barrel closes the spring-loaded ball is first pushed in slightly by that ramp and then passes over the pointed detent lock that pushes it all the way in before it snaps back on the other side to close the barrel tight. It appears to have been made this way because the rifle doesn’t show enough use to have worn away the metal.

Winchester 422 air transfer port
One side of the air transfer port has been machined into a ramp for the ball-bearing breech detent (arrow).

The breech seal 

The breech seal is in the spring tube rather than on the rear of the barrel. That’s like the Diana 23 and according to TW Chambers, the seals are leather and they are the same. Unfortunately they are no longer available, but since they are leather they should be possible to make.

Trigger

I just finished correcting the Blue Book of Airguns and now while writing this blog I find a shortcoming in the Diana section. The 422 trigger is listed as a double-pull type. A what??!! I think whoever wrote that section was trying to invent a name for a two-stage trigger, because that’s what both the 22 and 23 have. Stage one on this trigger is light and stage two is very heavy. And of course there is no possibility for adjustment.

I’m tempted to disassemble the rifle far enough to lubricate this trigger to lighten the pull. I can see the mainspring through the cocking slot and it’s dry as a bone, so getting inside would be a good thing — as long as I take care. I don’t want to replace parts. There are very few parts available for these airguns and I might have to turn one into a hangar queen to save another.

Summary

That’s what we are starting to look at. I expect the velocity to be in the low 400s with a lightweight pellet. The Diana 23 I tested in June of this year shot JSB Exact RS pellets at an average 452 f.p.s., so this little rifle could shoot faster than my prediction. We shall see!

82 thoughts on “Winchester 422: Part 1


  1. BB,

    Those front and rear sights sure do look rough. It will be interesting to see if that is where the front post needs to be.

    It can’t hurt to pull it out of the stock and do what you can. As for the air transfer port picture, it looks to have a glob of clear-ish grease on top of it, making it very hard to even tell what we are looking at. Maybe it is just me. I am on my 3rd cup of coffee,.. so no excuses there. 😉

    Chris


  2. B.B.

    Better late than never!

    Boy is that the ugliest stock I have ever seen.
    I think a 12 year old in wood shop class(if they still have that) could do a better job. JMHO.

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      Are you kidding?,……. a kid could get hurt, or even worse,… fashion some crude, rudimentary weapon. 😉

      I am not sure if they still have shop class anymore either. I know I enjoyed it when I was in school. That was in the main high school too. Of course they had a vocational school for Juniors and Seniors of which I took the auto mechanics program, but that was in another city all together and a dedicated building/complex. All kinds of specific/specialized career options offered there.

      Chris

      I imagine that you learned to chip flint and make spears to hunt down woolly mammoths? 😉


      • Our rural school district does have a shop program at the local level. It is a rarity. Ohio’s new schools program requires the local district to fund 1/4 of the construction cost. The state makes up the rest. This is for a basic facility. Things like shop areas, vo-ag, home-ec, auditoriums, extra athletic practice areas, etc. are funded at the local level. Many districts, faced with old and deteriorating facilities, opt for the new, but are unable to fund the extras. Our young people pay the price.


        • Paco,

          Thanks for the insight. Not every kid is cut out to be a scholar,.. so some hands on alternative opportunities at the Freshman and Sophomore level would/might prove useful. My high school was rural too. The local (small town) elementary schools (K-8) fed into the one high school. Things are much more centralized now as you know, which I suppose cuts cost and reduces tax burden/demand. Graduated in 1980.

          Chris


          • Chris,

            The education establishment has so oversold a college education as the only path to success. Agree that the scholarly pursuits are not for everyone. However it does not follow that the intelligence level is less.

            A friend, sadly no longer with us, dropped out of school in the eighth grade. He worked for others and finally started his own welding and fabricating business. He invented and patented 7 machines and built a company of 120 employees manufacturing them. He had a superior intellect, just not in the area that is rated by the letters after one’s name, MA. PhD. Similar story from my wife’s family. Grandfather was a machinist. Bought an end mill and began doing small jobs. Built a company that is going strong today. His sons were mechanical engineers but Frank never attended college.

            Dan


            • Dan,

              I know similar people and similar stories.

              Not to mention what is being “taught”. Still, I think one is better off with a degree than not,… not that there is not other routes to making the same money over time. Getting paid for using your head and not your back is also a factor,… which people do not often realize until the start feeling the wear and tear of labor/life.

              I have 2 nieces and what they had to go through to get into college was insane and extremely competitive. It is not enough now to just have excellent grades,… now you have to be into another half dozen things at the same time.

              Thanks for the insight,……… Chris


            • Dan,

              “The education establishment has so oversold a college education as the only path to success.” I completely agree, and I am a retired college professor with two Masters degrees at that. Ten or so years ago the greatest labor need in the U.S. was heavy machine repair, with the number one labor need being elevator repair.

              I taught in a very large community college with many vocational-technical programs, so we were part of a solution and not a part of the problem. Still, at various meetings and functions I tried to convince our president and board members to explore elevator repair as a future program to no avail. I recall at the time there was one qualified elevator repairman for every 80 or so openings nationwide!

              Michael


      • Chris,

        At the High School I attended we had a very well equipped Metal Shop and a Wood Shop; the course was divided 50/50. There was also a Drafting classroom, Biology Lab, Chemistry Lab and Home EC.

        I always assumed that those sort of facilities were standard at all High Schools. It is really sad that they are not.

        I always believed that instead of classes like History being mandatory that the education system should teach “life skills” where all students (male and female) were taught the basics like first aid, cooking and handling money (banking and budgeting). Think that everybody should know a at least a little bit about electricity, chemicals and typical household tools for their own safety.

        Oh, BTW, flint knapping is a very interesting hobby – even if there are no Wooly Mammoths around 🙂

        Hank


        • Hank,

          Yes it is very interesting. I have seen several people try it with mediocre results, but results. Some of the intricate work of flint artifacts is stunning. I know a farmer with a lot of land and he could spot them from his tractor. He had well over 1000 specimens along with stone tools, not to mention broken pieces by the buckets full. Pretty much central Ohio.

          I agree with the rest of your statement as well.

          Chris


        • Hank,

          We had auto, metal, drafting, wood, and electrical shops. I did not take the electric shop, I have wished I did since high school. Took an electricity class in college but it was not real helpful in wiring a house. I have since found that the wiring I learned from my Dad was from the post and tube days. Not sure why our house and barn never burned down.

          I remember a few damaged appendages in auto, metal, and wood shop. I learned quite a bit watching the results of people doing things without thinking it through. I think that is why I am still around, or maybe just lucky.

          Don


          • Don,

            Now that you mention it, we had Auto but not Electrical shops. Being a PCB designer by trade I have had a lot of exposure to circuits and stuff – know enough about code and requirements that I could “help” the electrician with the extra wiring I wanted done when he was wiring my (current) house. He inspected my work and commented that all was up to snuff.

            Yeah, easy enough to get cuts and scrapes if you are not careful and don’t focus on what you are doing. All tools have the potential to do damage – some of them seriously so! Doing some yard work today clearing brush – chainsaws and wood chippers definitely fall into the “dangerous” category!

            Think that household chemicals are a big potential hazard. If you know about them, the average house has enough chemicals to blow the house right off it’s foundation …if you don’t know about them, the same is true!

            My sister made a (potential) bomb by putting a 5 pound plastic bag of pool chlorine (a violent oxidizer) in a box with a 5 pound bag of garden fertilizer (ammonium nitrate) to send to my parents (by bush plane) when they were working for the Inuit school board up above Hudson’s Bay. My father flipped out when he open the box! She didn’t know any better.

            Agree, sometimes luck is important. 🙂

            Hank


            • Yep, spent the morning cutting and splitting wood for the in laws. Had to clean out the carburetor on the wood splitter after he put some bad and dirty gas in it before I could use it.

              The inspector went nuts when I put a new panel on my house and moved the overhead wires to underground. The guy from the electric company did not see a problem said it looked fine and saved him some work. I have worked with enough electricians to get by. When the same inspector came by for the final he said I should be an electrician, go figure.

              Don


      • Chris and all

        The only reason I went to school was because of the shop classes.

        If it wasn’t for that I bet I would of been a drop out if anybody remembers what that was about.


        • GF1,

          Back then, you could skip school (parents not called), cut class, leave at lunch and come back (or not) among a (whole host) of other things,.. back then.

          Of course,… I would know nothing about such mischief,…… 😉

          Now I hear they have snipers on the roof (sleeping darts) and Rottweilers around the perimeter. 😉

          Chris



  3. BB,

    That ramping will make for an interesting breech seal, will it not? My guess is you will have to fit it and then cut out the ramp.

    P.S. Looking at the picture of the front sight, I would say it was bent accidently. We shall see, I guess.


  4. BB-

    Errata-
    Section- Breech, last sentence-
    ‘…. enough use to have warn (worn) away the metal.’
    Section- Trigger, last sentence-
    ‘…. I might have to turn one into a hangar (hanger) queen….’



      • BB,

        Looking up “hangar”, it says ” a repair shed or shelter for aircraft”. So I take it that you are using it in the shop/shed/storage/closet sense?

        I too took it in the sense of hanging it on a wall, whether it be functional or not.

        Chris



          • B.B.,

            To add to the General Knowledge base: The process of “…stripped of its parts to repair others like it.” is refered to as Cannibalization! Having flow quite a few Hangar Queens that had been hangared too long and been declared SPINTAC (SPecial INterest AirCraft) on PMCF (Post Maintenance Check Flights) they are the scourge of Maintenance Departments.
            For the pilots and flight engineers Hangar Queens are known potential death traps! I had one PMCF that started with all four motors running, two shut down before landing a third catching fire on short final and the last shut down on the runway with the mechanical E Handle since all electrical power had failed…including the battery. I used my PRC-90 (Personal Survival Radio) to call the tower to ask for more fire suppression vehicles.

            Moral of he story: Don’t let your airguns sit in the gun vault/rack they will turn into very ugly queens!

            shootski


          • BB
            What we called a trailer queen or hangar queen was something that just got showed but you never drove or flew it. It might run but the people that owned it never used it. They just showed it. And to add it was very capable of driving or flying. The owner just chose not too.

            In my opinion what a waste on thier part of some cool machinery.




  5. Not knowing what not to do with a collectable air gun, I would take it out of the stock and clean this one within an inch of it’s life. My rust OCD is spiking right now. Where did I put that can of Ballistol?


    • Rk,

      Guess that “collecting” is OK but I’m with you – must be my OCD showing through as well because removing rust and refinishing a stock is just something that I “have to do” 🙂

      Hank


      • Hank

        Do I ever resemble that! There was a time when I refinished stocks on military surplus rifles; Enfields, Carcanos, 03’s, Krags, an 1891 Mauser and more. Not supposed to do that but I had many hours of fun. Even put a Poly choke on a shotgun perish the thought.

        Deck


        • Deck,

          I’ve done a ton of military rifles. Back then (70’s) our first centerfire rifles were all military surplus and many of my friends brought me theirs to be over-hauled and cleaned up. That probably has a lot to do with my attitude of fixing up old guns.

          LOL, yeah, added a poly-choke to my shotgun as well 🙂

          Hank


  6. B.B.

    You have some really nice airguns in your collection – I particularly like the “traditional” ones (like the 442) that are made out of metal and wood (plastic “Star Wars” designs never appealed to me).

    As I mentioned to Rk, I like to see things set right and would have to do a strip-down, inspect and re-lub maintenance at the bare minimum. Hope that you go inside and share some pictures.

    Hank


  7. B.B.,

    In your list showing which Diana models that were rebadged and sold as Winchesters, The Diana 6 was rebadged as a Winchester 363 (not 316) and the Winchester 333 was a rebadged Diana 66 (not 60). To my knowledge the only company that rebadged the Diana 60 was Hy-Score and they sold it as a Hy-Score 810M.

    John Knibbs/Airgun Spares sells parts for the Diana 22/Hy-Score 806/Winchester 422 including the breech seal:

    https://www.airgunspares.com/1367ljuniorbreechsealleather.html



      • B.B.,

        Saw that you changed your list to reflect that the Diana 6 was also sold as a Winchester 363. Hate to be a pest but since many airgunners use your written word as gospel…..your list needs to also be edited to reflect that the Winchester 333 was a rebadged Diana 66 not a Diana 60. Hope you’re well.



      • B.B.,

        If you don’t have time or are not in the mood for esoteric minutia that only you would likely appreciate quit reading now.

        Technically, we both are right. The Winchester 333 could be a Diana 65 or Diana 66.
        I’ve owned a Winchester 333, a Diana 65 and a Diana 60.

        The Diana 60 was the predecessor to the 65 & 66 and although it was a giss system it was a smaller version of the 65 & 66. Think of it as a “junior” version.

        The 65 & 66 actions are absolutely identical except for the model number stamping. The model 66 was mostly intended to update the appearance of the older gun while the model 75 was being developed. And in the mid-70’s, “update” meant a rather angular stock with a deep fore end, in place of the old “Olympia” style curvy wood. Tyrolean stocks were an option on the 65 & 66 and for a time you could buy a tyrolean stock by itself.

        Back in the day we had lengthy discussions on the Vintage Forum about which model was rebadged a Winchester 333. Some on the Vintage Forum, that I greatly respect, claimed that “99% of Winchester 333’s were Diana 65’s, but a few late ones were probably model 66’s.” During this period I contacted Winchester and they said they believed their model number “333” was chosen to correlate directly with Diana’s model “66” because it was the latest iteration of the Diana Giss system models (again, actions of the 65 & 66 are identical but Winchester wanted Diana’s latest model number reflected in Winchester’s model number. Makes sense). Winchester also confirmed that they sold the 66 stock as a replacement part. Undoubtedly many (most?) Winchester model 333’s were rebadged Diana model 65’s but without any doubt many Winchester model 333’s were Diana 66’s. Years ago Richard Schmidt brought one of those aftermarket Diana 66 stocks to Roanoke in NOS Winchester packaging.

        I have a 1978 Diana catalog which shows the models 60, 65, 66, and 75 all being available at the same time, including Tyrolean stocks for the first two.

        Respectfully submitted,

        kevin


  8. BB, this one looks like a Ford pick up of the same vintage, with as many years of use! Piece of wire, piece board, put ’em together, ya’ got a Ford. The economy can never boom without the modern electric equivalent.It’s great we can still get parts for this old springer, and this style of manufacture means it can be repaired, something I love about old stuff. And if you are lucky enough to have a machine tool program at your community college for older, returning students, you could probably make the parts yourself, but the equipment you will learn on will almost certainly be out of date. Community colleges have been getting short shrift for years.
    God speed SpaceX.
    Keep up the great work,
    Rob


  9. Gosh. Vocational education and shop class. That brought back memories – Mr. Bovsun’s woodworking class, Zeke Radims’ electrical class, Mr. Gangi’s ceramics class – didn’t get into the metal working class but did take Home Ec for cooking. With the exception of Mr. Gangi, everyone was a WW II vet and seemed most content to be teaching and not hauling around a Garand in Europe. Can’t remember the name of my home ec teacher.

    I think one reason the public schools no longer have shop classes is our litigious society. Back then, if you planed a layer of skin off your hand, the teacher put a bandaid on and yelled at you to watch what you’re doing. Hell, he even showed us how to properly cut a piece of wood on a table saw and a band saw. Ah, the good, ole’ days.

    Fred formerly of the Democratic Peoples Republic of NJ now happily in GA



      • Something about dealing with “fake news” keeps putting me off. As Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Never argue with fools. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”. Was never a politician. Couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I’m much better these days. Age has mellowed me.

        Fred etc, etc.


  10. Here is something that you don’t see every day. One of those moments that makes you stop and question if you need to stop drinking.
    Yesterday’s storm. Trampoline attacks a mostly dead and rotted box elder tree. The tree got the best end of the deal.


    • TT
      I got the kids trampoline out of a tree in the tree line in our front yard about 12 foot up in the tree the first year we moved to where we live now.

      Over the weekend we had some crazy wind.


      • GF

        Right now, the wind is still pushing the trampoline into the tree. Not much else really holding it up there, other than a limb that speared the center of the trampoline . The rest is just small brush.
        A little wind from the east should blow it right back out.
        Might try a rope hooked onto the lawn mower in a couple days when the wind is supposed to die down.

        tt


        • TT
          We got ours down with a tow strap and a 4 wheeler.

          Watch out which way the wind is blowing or you might end up with a giant kite you know what I mean even if the wind is low. Those trampolines catch wind pretty easy.



  11. Chris U,

    I finally put the Red Ryder spring in my 499. I had it at the cabin for a rainy day project but never seemed to have time up there. With the first shot it buzzed and flopped like a fish in a bucket of hornets. I did not like that at all, so I took it apart and covered the spring with red and tacky grease. That tamed it down a lot. I haven’t tested it yet but can tell the velocity is up significantly. I figure the grease reduced the velocity a fair amount. I will let you know when I do some testing. I want to do the same test I did with the Red Ryder and aluminum can out to 25 yards.

    Don


    • Don,

      Well good for you! 🙂 I did nothing to the spring (and in hind sight should have, as it could not have hurt any) and did not notice any extra “buzz” other than the obvious extra power jolt. The cocking effort went to 10#, from 5# and the trigger weight did not increase,…. as best I recall.

      Keep us posted. I think you will like the change. I have no regrets with doing mine.

      No issue with the safety spring?

      Chris


      • Chris U,

        Not sure what you mean with the safety spring. In hind sight I gave it a tweek in the direction of more pressure on the safety. It worked both ways but seemed floppy, wrong word but can’t think of a better one.


        • Don,

          As I recall, the spring had to be held in an (up) position during assy.,…. as the safety insert is one of the last steps. That one arm of the V spring sits on the safety and provides the “click/detent”. As I remember, I took a bread twist tie and stripped it down to just wire. I got the spring held where I wanted it, did the assy., put in the safety and then pulled the wire out at the end.

          Chris

          Edit: I may have did the wire bit (after) assy.. I do not remember now for sure. I would have to see again, but in hind sight I seem to recall thinking that I could have just left the spring and safety bolt out. I do not recall the spring having any other function.



      • Deck,

        Zero drop in accuracy,.. if not better at 24′. At 42′, it raised POI 2″ and packed way more punch.

        I would even dare to say,… very chipmunk worthy. Zero chance of a miss at 24′.

        Chris



          • Deck
            If they can get minute of aluminum can at 25 yards I’ll be getting me one.

            I would like a 499 and if it was modded with a spring and could hit a can ar 25 yards I would be happy.


          • Deck,

            I have never tried it outside. At 42′, I got 10/10 in 1 13/16, 8/10 in 7/8″. Prior to RR spring was 2 1/8″ and 8/8 in 1″. 25 yards might pushing it, you will just have to try. Being more powerful, you will have less chance of running out of sight.

            Chris


      • Deck,

        It is suppose to rain tomorrow but I think I can get the test in. I am guessing I had a holdover between 1 and 2 feet with the Red Ryder at 25 yards. I will try to check it out.if the 499 has more velocity it should show a significantly better score especially if more accurate. With my age and some days better than others I will try to give it a fair chance and admit if I am off my game. With the Red Ryder at 25 yards I really locked in so this will be interesting.

        Don


      • Deck,

        I have seen some accurate smoothbore black powder guns at 50 yards. I bet at 25 they would be very accurate. At one hundred yards they opened up. If the symmetry is perfect then rifling has no impact on a round ball. Symmetry is never perfect.

        That said I think the 499 will beat the Red Ryder at 25 yes if I can do my part.

        Don



    • Chris USA,

      The Cascade Effect works the other way too!
      It washes brains! It causes malaise! It makes people throw up their hands even when they think for themselves! January 6, 2021 is coming like a Steamroller!
      It will NOT be pretty.

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        That would be nice,…. just throw up my hands and stick my head in the sand. Typical mud slinging is enough to make most people throw up their hands or just plain turn it off and tune out. No opposition at that point and now you have a bunch of well behaved sheep. Check that box off.

        I could go on, but no. You know what the score is.

        Chris


      • Shootski,

        Well, for the moment our Constitutional Republic is still in place and next week we may pause to give thanks for all we have.

        As for the steamroller, I recommend some Mannheim Steamroller as the Christmas time comes near. It is unfortunate that they have cancelled their live tour but still you can load your CD’s or stream from utube and enjoy the tunes.

        By Christmas this may be decided but whatever goes down I must agree with your statement on the lack of prettiness.

        I can only hope we are both wrong about the ugly.

        Mike


  12. IIRC the principal difference between the 22 and 23 is that the latter has better sights. For some reason while the quoted dimensions are the same, the 23 is also listed as heavier.


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