Winchester’s 9422 XTR: A Little Lever In .22LR

Winchester has been a household name for over a hundred years and is well known among the gun community. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Winchester Model 9422 XTR. The 9422 was introduced in 1972 and produced until 2005.

It closely resembles the Winchester Model 94 and was produced as an economical look-alike to its big brother. During its 33-year run, it was one of the most popular rifles in the Winchester lineup.

Technical Specifications

Let’s take a look at the 9422 and see what it brings to the table.

There is a forged receiver and a straight-grip walnut stock. Atop the 20 1/2-inch long barrel are perched a semi-buckhorn rear sight and a front sight with a bead on top of a post. And the overall length is 37.4 inches.

The little rifle weighs six pounds, which is about a half-pound lighter than a Model 94.

Feeding is via a tube magazine mounted underneath the barrel, which holds 15 rounds of .22LR, 17 rounds of .22 Long, or 21 rounds of .22 Short. Since there is no loading gate on the receiver, the .22 rounds are loaded directly into the tube through an opening underneath the tube.

Winchester 9422 rifle.
Winchester’s lever action 9422 XTR is a handsome rifle. The quality is evident as soon as you pick it up. Photo: Jim Davis.

The rifle we evaluated was the XTR model, which was made from 1978 until 1989. What sets the XTR apart from the standard models is the fact that the bluing is highly polished, and the fancy walnut stocks exhibit checkering. I have to say, the checkering on the stock is very well done, in that it’s sharp and gives a superb purchase on the stock.

The hammer features the popular half-cock position.

Other versions of this rifle were made in other calibers, including .22 WMR and .17 HMR. Other models featured a pistol grip stock and large loop, and some even had synthetic stocks. 1996 even saw a 16.5-inch barreled Trapper carbine (they’re among the most sought-after iterations of this rifle).

It is estimated that approximately 850,000 model 9422 rifles were made.

First Impressions

The moment we got this rifle into our hands, it was evident that top-notch components were used. No corners were cut in the making of this rifle, which is amazingly refreshing in this day and age when that’s a rarity. Certainly, no stamped parts were put into this rifle. If you happen to find a rifle put together like this today, you are going to pay huge money.

Walnut stock of the Winchester 9422.
The walnut furniture that Winchester used is gorgeous in appearance and finish. Photo: Jim Davis.

What am I talking about? Even for a .22LR, this rifle feels solid when you hold it. Working the action is silky-smooth and just seems to glide as it is worked. Beyond that, you just have to experience it yourself. It’s hard to describe adequately with words.

The other thing I noticed is the exquisite walnut wood that comprises the furniture of this rifle. The furniture is fitted to perfection, with no gaps, and the finish is gorgeous.

Take Down

It wasn’t until I was doing research for this article that I realized all these rifles are take-down rifles. Removing the large screw on the left rear of the receiver permits the rifle to be separated into the front and rear half, which is a very handy feature. It could be broken down into a backpack for hiking. This also makes it easier to stow in vehicles. Heck, it could be easily transported in a small bush plane in this manner.

Receiver

The receiver is very solid, especially for a .22 rifle. It has grooves on the top for attaching a scope mount. The rifle we reviewed did have a scope mounted – it was a Weaver fixed 4x scope that had a post and horizontal stadia wire.

Receiver and scope on the 9422.
With a grooved receiver, a scope can be mounted on the 9422 (in this case, a Weaver 4x scope). Photo: Jim Davis.

The 9422 has a side eject feature, unlike the Model 94’s top ejection, which makes it easier to use a scope.

Sights

As mentioned, the rear sight is a semi-buckhorn, which is adjustable vertically via a stepped elevator on its leaf spring base. I’ve said before that Buckhorn-type sights aren’t my favorite, but these seem to be well done. Since this particular rifle wore a scope, I didn’t get to use the iron sights anyway, so it was a non-issue. The beady-type front sight is protected by a removable hood.

Loading

Loading isn’t difficult. Fill the magazine tube with cartridges (we used .22LR, so 15 rounds went in). As the lever is worked forward, the bolt moves to the rear, and the hammer is cocked. Closing the lever activates the lifter, which moves a loaded cartridge into the chamber as the bolt moves forward and closes. The rifle is now ready to fire.

Loading slot in the tube magazine.
Rounds are loaded into the tube via a loading slot in the tubular magazine. The rifle holds a whopping 15 rounds. Photo: Jim Davis.

At The Range

As this rifle belongs to a friend of mine, we retired to his backyard range for a shooting session with the 9422 XTR. We fired the rifle out to 50 yards and found it very easy to ring the small steel targets. Accuracy was excellent for a rimfire rifle.

Feeding was also smooth, and reliability was 100%. For this particular session, we used Aguila 40-grain .22 Long Rifle ammunition. This ammo has worked great in a number of my other .22 firearms, and this one was no exception. It’s reliable and accurate.

As we ran the rifle through its paces, one of the huge advantages of the .22 LR became apparent once again: it is very quiet. The lack of recoil and muzzle blast were abundantly welcome. Another massive advantage was glaringly present – we shot for about an hour and didn’t have to spend much money because .22 ammo is so cheap.

The 9422 at the range.
Our shooting session went well, with the rifle feeding smoothly and reliably. Accuracy was excellent against steel targets. Photo: Author’s collection.

Had we been headed to the field, we’d have each stuffed a couple hundred rounds into our coat pockets, which brings me to another of the .22’s advantages – its light weight and compact size allow a lot of ammunition to be carried around easily. Such are the wonderful aspects of the .22 round.

Final Thoughts

Winchester was incredibly wise to chamber this model in the .22 Long Rifle for all the reasons mentioned above. Both novice and experienced shooters love it because there’s not much noise or recoil.

We found the capacity quite amusing; it seemed to keep on firing for a long time. It’s probably because we’re used to lever guns that fire six rounds. This one fires 15, and the difference is evident.

Overall, the experience with the Winchester 9422 was outstanding, and it was a true pleasure to shoot. Having one in a shooter’s battery guarantees many years of inexpensive, accurate shooting. As a survival rifle, it would be a good choice, given the ability to transport a large amount of ammunition on one’s person.

Given their top-notch materials and execution, Winchester knocked this one out of the park. If you ever run across one and have the opportunity to pick one up, I highly recommend doing so. You won’t regret it.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

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