Metallic Silhouette Rifle is a fun and popular shooting sport in Arizona. Lever Action Silhouette is the most recent version, and Winchester’s Model 94 is a natural choice for this competition. Its fast, sleek, strong design is accurate and reliable. 

I borrowed this beautiful Model 9422M chambered in .22 Winchester Magnum rimfire for review. What a gorgeous gun! Today, I will show its reliability, accuracy, and knockdown power in Area 51 near Tucson.
 

Table of Contents

Video Review
History
My Winchester
Specifications
Range Time
Pros & Cons
Conclusion

VIDEO REVIEW

 

 

HISTORY

 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle buttstock
John Browning's original 1894 design was the great-grandaddy of the 94 I use today to shoot Metallic Silhouette competitions. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Designed by John Browning in 1894, the carbine was chambered in .32-40 and .38-55, both black powder rounds. Smokeless chamberings followed, and the Winchester 94 became legendary as the most popular lever gun ever made, topping 600,000 by 1991. 

Winchester came out with this lightweight .22 Magnum model in 1972. Primarily chambered in .22 LR, the WMR-chambered guns were a bit rarer. All Winchester 94 production ceased in 2006, although Browning imports a close copy of it from Japan today. 
 

Related: Classic Big-Bore Lever Rifle – Winchester 1894 .375 Win Review
 

MY WINCHESTER

 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
My Winchester 94 in .22 WMR not only looks great, it feels good in the hand, too. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Every cowboy needs a lever gun, and I own a few. But this one is unique. When I pick it up, I notice how light and well-balanced it is. It fits me naturally and points well. 
 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
I mounted a Lyman 17A front sight ... (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)
Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
... and a Marbles adjustable-tang peep sight to the rear of my rifle, which helps keep my aim accurate in competition at 100 yards. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


I have added a Marbles adjustable-tang peep sight and a Lyman 17A front sight to the rifle. This enables me to aim precisely for 100 yards in competition. Although the rifle receiver is slotted for optical sight, scopes are not allowed in lever gun silhouette competition. 
 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
That wood grain glows in the Arizona desert sun. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


This well-preserved and somewhat collectible Model 94 features beautiful wood grain not common in modern rifles. Metal surfaces are a bit worn, but the gun is mechanically sound. The action is smooth and seamlessly inserts a cartridge into the chamber from the magazine each time. No detachable magazine here, and no jams! 
 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
It may show some surface wear, but this gun functions flawlessly. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


I have left the barrel-mounted midrange sight on the gun for close-range quick shooting but rarely need it. This is a competition rifle. The .22 WMR cartridge is flat-shooting and has little recoil.

Lever Action Metallic Silhouette involves shooting steel shaped like chickens, pigs, turkeys, and rams from 40 to 100 yards. My Winchester 94 .22M shoots so flat that I can engage all distances without adjusting my elevation. I once hit 15 steel pig targets in a row with no misses at 50 yards at a national championship. Now, that is accurate shooting!
 

Related: Own a .22 Magnum? This Is the WMR Ammo You Need
    

SPECIFICATIONS

 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
Handling the Winchester 94, I'm reminded once again that they don't make 'em like they used to! (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)
  • Overall Length: 37.5 inches            
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds      
  • Length of pull: 14 inches
  • Barrel: 20 inches, blued steel          
  • Stock: Figured walnut   
  • Chambering: .22 WMR
  • Sight Radius: 25 inches with peep sight      
  • Magazine: Tubular 11-round capacity 
  • Trigger: Single stage; 3 pounds, 11 ounces     
  • Production: 1972 to 2006
     

RANGE TIME

 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
The steel action runs smooth as butter. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Wow – there are many targets of opportunity here in Area 51 today! This will give me a chance to show the .22 WMR off to advantage. Loading is simple. I am sure that the action is open and rest the buttstock on my foot as I pull open the magazine tube. Drop in 11 rounds. 

Notice that .22 WMR are jacketed rounds and therefore do not lead the barrel and produce higher velocity and flat shooting. Cycle the action twice, and a round is loaded precisely in the chamber. The steel receiver action is smooth as butter. They really do not make them like this anymore. 
 

Winchester 94 .22 WMR Lever Action Rifle
No jams here – that steel magazine loads without hesitation every time. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Silhouette shooting is fired standing offhand, and I use my left arm braced at my ribcage to support the rifle. Notice the tight group on the paper target. Hitting steel is easy, and even a headshot on the steel plate is no sweat. The rifle is light and must be held firmly while squeezing the trigger. Its solid steel construction gives me much confidence to hit my mark. 

Now it is time for some soda bottle blasting, and those 2-liter bottles don’t stand a chance. The high velocity (1,875 feet per second) bullets explode the jugs and spray everything around them with soda. Even the pop cans come apart, leaving only a shell of the can behind. 

This round would be great for varmint hunting. One pop can is out at 30 yards but when hit, still explodes. I finish by putting a few more rounds on paper with confidence. This is a tack-driver!
 

Related: Go West – Lever-Action Rimfires for Cowboy Plinksters
 

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • High-quality 
  • Excellent design           
  • .22 WMR cartridge is flat-shooting
  • Accurate and reliable   
  • Fast, smooth action           
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile: sport shooting, competition, hunting

Cons:

  • Out of production
  • .22 WMR is a bit pricey compared to .22 LR
     

CONCLUSION


I love this Winchester 94 .22 Magnum! I wish they still made them like this. If you find one in either .22 LR or .22 WMR, I recommend you buy it. Lightweight, dependable, accurate, and smooth, it will easily fill any rimfire need from competition to hunting. Whether scope-mounted, peep sights, or the original buckhorn sights are used, it is a winner.

revolver barrel loading graphic

Loading