The Winchester M72 & M72A are a tubular magazine versions of the M69 & M69A: (both cocked on opening)
.22LR cal., bolt action, 25" round tapered barrel, open or aperature sights, not serialized, later production [> ~1955] were grooved, Mfg'd. 1938 to 1959 (~161,000 rifles).
Some typical values: ["Blue Book of Gun Values", 20th Ed.]
100% = $375.
_98% = $340.
_95% = $325.
_90% = $250.
_80% = $115. [ note the big drop in value...! ! ]
_70% = $100.
_60% = $_85.
Any comments that would apply to the M69 & M69A would also apply to the M72 & M72A rifles, with the exception of "magazines". The table of values shows that it is prized more as a "collectors" gun than as a shooter.
cody if you did a search for Winchester 67/69/72 you'd probably find a lot of info. Mine is of indeterminate age, surely not as recent as 1959, the last year of mfr.; and is one of those '80%' guns...not worth anything to a collector, but of great value as a shooter. Blue Book values reflect almost exclusively the 'rarity' and 'originality' factors in guns, disregarding the utility of them. That means that a lot of POS guns have high dollar values even though no one would think of using them to actually SHOOT. On a scale of one to 10 among all .22 rifles, the Winchesters of this type, single shot 67, clip-fed 69, or tubular magazine 72, would rank well in the high 8's. Not the equal of some of the legendary target grade guns, but darn close. Mine has the factory peep sight, no dovetail, and no scope grooves, and I'll never drill and tap it for a 'scope. It shoots well enough as-is; an excellent hunting and plinking rifle of great durability and quality. If you can get one like mine for less than $200, you'll have a rifle that makes all modern rifles in that price range look pretty raggedy.
Someone at the local range told me about a couple of Winchester .22's that were for
sale. Not knowing much about the model 75 and model 72, the internet was scoured
(didn't even try the local library) with minimal results. A parts supplier forum moderated
by employees said "buy if you have a chance!" Other than this forum, the focus has
been mostly romanian 1969, Mossberg 44's(144), Remington 54x, and W 52's.
This thread was a treat to find! I had the cash to buy the 72 with the hope to have
enough when CMP starts selling .22's again. For $128.out the door, I picked up the
72 after the 10 days. Last evening was spent cleaning it up with only some wear in
the bore -shiny still- and some steel wool on the wood/barrel rust lines. The stock is
very good, only a handful of minute dents. The worst off was the leather sling.
The excitement was so high that I went out to the range and spent an hour and
half shooting at 50yards. Talk about shredding the paper. I have to get new glasses
to shoot better! The factory rear peep sight is much nicer than blades. I think this
72 can shoot inside the rings of my scoped 10/22'shots all day long.
I don't know how much less than 5square mm's of blueing being polished off makes
with the "value" but my plans to upgrade the 10/22 ($150-$200) with a heavy barrel
and oversized stock has been indefinely delayed. A tube fed bolt .22 like the 72 is
very nice. I'll use it as a single shot when my kids graduate from air rifles. (If I'm not
hogging it up)
As per Roger Rule's "The Rifleman's Rifle" (book on Win. pre-64 M70's), Winchester cut-rifled their barrels until c.1954. I have had outstanding accuracy from a number of Winchesters, both rimfire and centerfire, in the cut-rifled barrel era. My dad's Win 74, an inexpensive semi-auto with a barrel date of 1939, averaged 1.25" at 100 yards with a good lot of Eley Standard (scoped) for six consecutive 5-shot groups.
The lack of a serial number makes it harder to date your prospective 72. I don't know if they were dating the barrels on guns they didn't serial number or not, but as far as I know, they probably did date the barrels -- when they quit cut rifling them c. 1955, they quit dating them. The date is 2 digits, stamped on the underside of the barrel. If the gun is in otherwise good shape, and especially if the owner will let you take the barrelled action out of the stock and you spot a barrel date, I'd buy that sucker. Chances are excellent it will shoot far better than most .22's being built today unless they cost an arm, a leg and at least one or two other appendages!!
I'll repeat part of a post I made some time back since the search function is still disabled.
My uncle has an early Model 72 he refinished that shoots pretty well - considering he only shoots Rem Golden Bullets in it.
I had a late production 72A with a peep sight that shot really, really, really well. When I bought it in the mid-80s it had been sitting in a closet since it was won in a golf match in the 50s. The man who had inherited it shot it twice to be sure it worked and sold it to me. I'm sorry I traded it off. Oh well, I'm certain some collector is happy.
I've had the 72 for 3 months now and I have to say that I REALLY like it. I wasn't
sure about the tube feed but it's easy to get use to - just had to use some orange
The rifle is accurate enough for me with the peep sights. I was able to get a 5
shot string at 50 yards with a few touching each other. Not bad considering that
the front sight looks larger than the black on the target. Using Remington HP's with
the brass coat ($10/550) I'm able to use the alternate "driving range."
The golf balls were a bit tough at 100yards but 50 yards was NO problem. It's also
handy that the 72 eats up the ftf's of from my 10/22
The 72 makes me feel better that I didn't have the money for the CMP 52D's last
I finally shot mine this past weekend. 72A with a vintage Marlin 4X scope mounted to it. I'm not even sure if the rifle has been fired before me, it's in such perfect shape, only one small minor ding in the stock and some little marks in the buttpad probably from a safe with no carpet. There's even a heavy preservative still caked in the end of the bolt! No usual rimfire crud anywhere in the action and no screwdriver marks on any of the screws. Actually, it mustv'e been since the scope was right on at 50 yds. I was scootin a little rock around shooting off hand. I'll check for true accuracy next month.
I love this thing! I just wish the trigger was a little better. Has anyone worked on their trigger on one of these little gems? Or should I just leave it alone and be happy?!
The trigger on mine is pretty good. Since it's over 50 years old, the parts are well worn-in and pull is light: about three lbs. A good cleaning and lube with Moly made a big difference in it, without messing with spring replacement or parts polishing. Backlash was fixed by cementing a small square of hard black rubber the width of the trigger guard behind the trigger, to act as a stop; it's sliced just thick enough to allow the bolt to be removed. The modification is unobtrusive and reversible, as the passage of time makes even this 80-percent example more valuable.
What amazes me continually is the quality of the barrel on what was designed and sold as a utility rifle. It's not a target rifle, but it's plenty accurate enough for general plinking and hunting. There are few .22 rifles today that are better, and many that are lots worse.
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