winchester model 1905
Uncle Jim's heirloom Winchester.. Submitted

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Blasts From the Past is a weekly look at great old guns and underappreciated shooters from yesteryear. If you have photos of rare, interesting, or unusual firearms, send them to

This week’s Blast from the Past is a 1906 Winchester .22 rimfire pump. It’s a similar to the Model 90 designed by John Browning that ran a couple of weeks ago, with the addition of a more-modern round barrel and a flattened buttplate. It was a hugely successful rifle, with 700,000-some made from 1906 to 1932. What makes this one special is its owner, but that’s a story for its caretaker, Jason, to tell. I will only add that, in this case, it’s appropriate to paraphrase the Rifleman’s Creed: “This is Uncle Jim’s Model 1906. There are 729,000 like it, but this one was Jim’s.”

This is my Uncle Jim’s Winchester Model 1906 .22 pump. Notice I didn’t say “my” Winchester Model 1906. Uncle Jim was one of the few soldiers to land at Normandy on D-Day and survive to fight through to VE-Day. He then returned to his Wyoming home, where his .22 was waiting. It will always be his.

Uncle Jim passed away from the effects of the war a few years before I was born. Having no children, Jim’s brother passed the .22 along to me to be its caretaker shortly before his own death. I take it plinking often with my kids. It’s surprisingly accurate—deadly on cans and spinner targets. It handles nicely and has a great trigger. The smooth “snick-snick” of the action always brings a smile to my face. I own some modern .22s, but Uncle Jim’s 1906 is my favorite. And I hope it will remain a favorite for generations to come, and serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation, exemplified by Uncle Jim.

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