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
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • Not doing well
  • RWS Superpoints
  • Good news
  • Discussion
  • Fish
  • Summary

Today’s report will be interesting. It confirms what we all thought and it absolutely ASTOUNDS in one surprising area! Grab your coffee and let’s get started.

The test

Today is accuracy day — or what will be the first accuracy day for the Winchester 422 pellet rifle. I’ll explain as we go. I shot the rifle off a rest at 10 meters from the target. I used the artillery hold for most of the test, and I’ll tell you when I switched to letting the rifle rest directly on the sandbag. I shot ten-shot groups at 10-meter air rifle targets, and I shot with the open sights on the rifle. Remember — that front sight is bent down and to the left, so we will learn whether that was intentional or it just slipped and banged into something.

A reader, Breeze, is sending me a replacement front sight. If I have to, I will replace the bent one with that new one that’s straight and test the accuracy again.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet tested was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. The first shot hit the target about 2.7 inches above the aim point and a little to the right. But it was on paper so I decided to finish the group without adjusting the elevation.

The remainder of the shots were lower and more to the right, resulting in a group that measures 1.796-inches between centers. From this first group I learned that the rear sight was adjusted too high and also that the front sight bend was accidental. I figured it had to be because this rifle does not look like it has been cared for over its life.

422 Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobby pellets scattered into this 1.796-inch group at 10 meters. The aim point was the base of the lower bullseye.

After shooting the first group I adjusted the rear sight down as low as it would go.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The second pellet I tried was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. The first two shots hit below the bull I was aiming for, so I adjusted the rear sight up a little. The remaining eight shots were about right for elevation but they also hit to the right of the aim point. This 422 definitely needs its front sight straightened.

The group measures 2.15-inches between centers, with the last 8 shots in 1.958-inches at 10 meters.

4212 Meisterkugeln Rifle
The Winchester 422 threw 10 RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets into 2.15-inches between centers, with the final 8 after the sight adjustment in 1.958-inches.

Not doing well

We’re not doing so well, are we? These results are anything but encouraging. Cheer up, though. There is good news coming.

I’m sticking with RWS pellets because I know Diana pellet rifles like them. 

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RWS Superpoints

The next pellet I tried was the RWS Superpoint. They went high again and as always they landed to the right of the aim point. Ten Superpoints went into 1.632-inches at 10 meters.

422 Superpoint group
Then RWS Superpoint pellets went high and right, in a 1.632-inch group.

Isn’t there ANY pellet that this 422/Diana 22 wants to shoot? Well, yes there is. In fact, I can’t tell if two of the three pellets we just tested are not superb in this pellet rifle.

HUH?

BB — are you calling two-inch groups at 10 meters superb?

No, I’m not. But what I am about to show you is going to turn this test inside-out.

Good news

They say the test of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and hoping for a different result. I “invented” the artillery hold decades ago when I tried holding my air rifle differently from what I read in the Beeman catalog — just to see how bad it could get. Instead of the tight grip that they advised (what I call a deer hunter grip) I held my Beeman C1 carbine as loosely as possible. And behold — the groups shrank to nothing! All I had to do then was give that hold a name. And, for those who haven’t gotten it — when you see quotes around a word, it means that is NOT what the writer really means — it’s a joke. I didn’t invent the artillery hold. I just gave it a name.

So, what’s the good news? The good news is that for the next pellet — the RWS Superdome — I rested the 422 directly on the sandbag. The artillery hold clearly wasn’t getting me anywhere. What would this hold do? Well the first shot hit the bottom of the bull below the aim point. The next 9 pellets went into a group that measures 0.264 inches between centers! The 10-shot group measures 1.099-inches between centers.

422 Superdome group
Ten shots in 1.099-inches at 10 meters, with nine in 0.264-inches. Wow!

Discussion

What have we learned? First we learned that the front sight was bent by accident. Then we learned that the rifle wants to be rested directly on a sandbag, for the best possible groups. What does that mean? Are we supposed to carry a sandbag around when we plink? No. What this test tells us is the accuracy POTENTIAL of the rifle. My advice is to hold it like you hold any other pellet rifle and do your best.

Also — when the new sight that’s coming is on the rifle I need to try it with Superdomes, Superpoints and Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets again. I don’t think Hobbys will be that good, but what the heck — I may as well test them again, too.

Fish

Reader Fish asked me to take a picture of a Diana 27, Diana 23 and the Winchester 422 together. I assume he wants it for perspective. Here it is.

422 27 23
The Diana 27 (Hy Score 807) on top, Diana 23 (Geco 23) in the center and the Winchester 422 (Diana 22) on the bottom.

Summary

What a dramatic accuracy difference, just from changing the hold! Today’s test results set us up for another test, once the front sight has been replaced. This was a day when I got the bear!