by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

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

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Preparation
  • Air Arms Falcon pellets
  • RWS Hobby
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Heavy
  • Something else
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the power of the Winchester 422 I’m reviewing. The 422 is in the same power class as the Diana 23, so I’m hoping to see some lightweight pellets in the 400 f.p.s. range.


We have looked at several vintage breakbarrel springers in this blog in recent times. You readers are now reminding me of things to do before shooting one of them. 

First, check the breech seal. That’s what lead to the El Gamo David report being stopped until I can replace the seal. When I examined this Winchester 422 seal it looked to be in good condition. Breech seals in the Diana 22 and 23 are located on the end of the spring tube and not at the rear of the barrel. I believe that’s because of the small size of the airgun. There isn’t room for a substantial seal on the end of the barrel.

The second thing to do is oil the piston seal. I believe reader Yogi reminded me to do that. So I dropped 5 drops of Crosman Pellgunoil down the muzzle of the barrel with the rifle standing on its butt. As I begin today’s test the piston seal and breech seal have been oiled for three days.

Air Arms Falcon pellets

Normally I would start testing with RWS Hobbys, but in recent tests the
Air Arms Falcon pellet has been faster. So I will start with them. I will show the first 10 shots to discuss them with you.


I seated the first pellet deep with a ballpoint pen. The Falcon fit the breech loose, so I didn’t deep-seat shot two.


After seeing the velocity of shot two I decided to just seat the remaining pellets flush with the breech.


I didn’t average this string because it seemed like the rifle was “waking up.” So I shot a second string of the same Falcon pellets and they averaged 416 f.p.s. The low was 411 and the high was 424 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 13 f.p.s. At the average velocity this 7.33-grain pellet generated 2.82 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. It seems clear that the rifle is now performing at its best.

RWS Hobby

Now it’s time to look at RWS Hobbys and see what they do. From what we have just seen, I’m thinking they will average even faster than the Falcons, because their wider skirts give the resistance this Diana seems to want.

Ten Hobbys averaged 449 f.p.s. The low was 443 and the high was 455 f.p.s., so the spread was 12 f.p.s. I guess I should have remembered that Dianas like RWS pellets! At the average muzzle velocity the muzzle energy was 3.13 foot-pounds.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

Now it’s time to try a heavier pellet. I stayed with RWS and shot the 8.2-grain Meisterkugeln Rifle. Ten of them averaged 417 f.p.s., which is faster than the Falcons! The low was 413 and the high was 421, so the spread was just 8 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 3.17 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

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Something else

I could see that the mainspring was dry, so I removed the barreled action from the stock and oiled the spring, as well as the base block that holds the barrel. I used something called Snake Oil, but it no longer seems to be available. Someone is selling oil under the same name, but the product has changed. Any good bicycle chain oil would work just as well. It just needs to be a little thinner than general-purpose household oil.

After oiling, RWS Hobbys averaged 450 f.p.s. with an 11 f.p.s. spread from 445 to 456 f.p.s. So, not much difference. But the rifle did cock much quieter and smoother.

Cocking effort

I measured the cocking effort after oiling the mainspring and the base block. It took 10 pounds of force to cock the 422. That makes this a kid’s airgun for sure!

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger takes 1 lb. 9 oz. for stage one and 5 lbs. 14 oz. for stage two. As light as the rifle is, stage two feels heavier than the number indicates. It does break cleanly and we should bear in mind that this is a simple direct-sear trigger. The rifle is shooting so well that I am reluctant to take it apart — not for fear of messing it up but for fear I will find parts that need replacing. If it ain’t broke…


This little Winchester 422 is performing very well, indeed. Better than I had hoped. I sure hope it’s somewhat accurate, to boot!

Reader Breeze is sending me a replacement front sight that isn’t bent. I plan to first test the rifle with the bent sight to see if the bend was intentional. I don’t think it was, but you never know. Then I’ll install the new one and see how well it works.