.219 Zipper

Somewhere there a good natured ammo collector is dying to tell me the story of .219 Zipper. I am a fertile audience since I know close to nothing about it. You have my undivided attention. Thanks.


The story of the Zipper is not complicated and is more the story of the rifle that was first chambered for it.

The Winchester Model 94 was the most popular offered by the big W at the beginning of the 20th Century. The rifle version could be bought or special ordered in just about any configuration the shooter desired. But in 1924 Winchester management, in their infinite wisdom, decided to replace the M94 Rifle with a more modern version which became the Model 55 Rifle. They continued the M94 as a carbine only. Then in 1933 they decided to introduce an even better rifle, the Model 64. The M55 and M64 rifles were really nothing but the old M94, without the special features that were offered on the original, and they never did sell very well. In 1937 they decided to cash in on the 22 caliber high velocity varmint rifle craze that was underway so they simply took the 25-35 case and necked it down to 22 caliber and added it to the M64 line. But, lever action rifles and accuracy never did go hand in hand and it never really sold as expected.

But the 219 Zipper became THE preferred case of several wildcatters and when chambered in single shot or bolt action rifles those wildcats became what Winchester had hoped for the M64. The most well known wildcat is the 219 Wasp in many different variations. Others include different 22 cal Improved Zippers and several in 6mm. The Improved Zipper was resurrected in 1964 as the 225 Winchester but W struck out again since the 225 is now obsolete also.

And the M94 Carbine has outlived them all.


Unfortunately, the great Model 1894 (94) Winchester is now gone. It was discontinued in 2006, even though the Winchester Rifles and Shotguns, BACO, Inc. catalog for 2006 showed an astonishing 16 variations of the Model 94 as being available, including a “new” take-down version. Wonder if they actually made any of those? (The new ones I mean - they made plenty of take-downs in days gone by). The equally great Model 70 bolt action went the way of the wind at the same time, again even though new versions were in the 2006 catalog. This decision was made even before most dealers got their catalogs at the 2006 SHOT Show. The only rifles offered by this company, the former U.S. Repeating Arms Co., in their 2007 catalog are a semi-auto of rather ungainly appearance (to my eye, at least), and two variations of a very European-looking .22 bolt-action rifle. Despite being a clich

It sure would be nice if someone could save the Winchester name before it is completely run into the ground, if it hasn’t been already.

Regarding Winchester rifle production, I should have mentioned that the two rifles currently in production are mentioned in the 2007 catalog, while no other rifle is. I will try to edit my posting to reflect that.