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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 email@example.com.
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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