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Thread: Info Needed on a Rare Rifle

  1. #1

    Default Info Needed on a Rare Rifle

    At least I think it is a rare rifle. I can't find any info online on a CC Johnson chambered in a 219 Zipper. I found that Johnson was a smith somewhere in the midwest in the 40's & 50's.
    The rifle is a heavy barreled single shot lever action. My Grandfather gave me this gun recently and unfortunately I could not get that much history from him due to his age and ailing health. It is obviously a varmint/target gun and he used to hunt woodchucks with it in western Newyork. The blueing is excellent and the stock is nearly flawless. With it came about 50 handloads and a load of brass along with some dies.
    I have never heard of this rifle or caliber so any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    At least I think it is a rare rifle. I can't find any info online on a CC Johnson chambered in a 219 Zipper. I found that Johnson was a smith somewhere in the midwest in the 40's & 50's.
    The rifle is a heavy barreled single shot lever action. My Grandfather gave me this gun recently and unfortunately I could not get that much history from him due to his age and ailing health. It is obviously a varmint/target gun and he used to hunt woodchucks with it in western Newyork. The blueing is excellent and the stock is nearly flawless. With it came about 50 handloads and a load of brass along with some dies.
    I have never heard of this rifle or caliber so any info would be greatly appreciated.
    A picture would be good but your rifle is most likely a Winchester Highwall (model 1885). The caliber was a brought out by Winchester in 1937 in their model 64 lever gun. This was a modernized version of their '94 but never hit it off. The caliber has merit in an accurate single shot and is pretty peppy by 1940 standards, 45 grain bullets reached over 3600 fps. It is simply the 25-35 case necked down to accept 22 caliber bullets. The 25-35 is an outcropping of the 30-30 Winchester, both introduced in 1895 for the model 94. In spite of its name it use .224" bullets. I think new brass can be found and loading is pretty much straight forward. It ballistically is equal to the 223 Remington. The caliber was discontinued in 1961 but lived on as a single shot varminter for some time. My dad had one in a Marlin lever and I loaded for it back in the late 1970's.

    The maker of your rifle is not familiar to me but many good smiths made rifles on the Highwall action. The action could also be a Martini from England.
    Last edited by Murphy; 10-16-2008 at 07:58. Reason: .224" bullets
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  3. #3

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    Thanks Murphy,
    I am waiting to make shipping arrangements with my FFL in Anchorage so I probably won't be posting any pictures for a couple weeks. My grandfather also had a set of dies, .224 jacketed bullets and a whole stack of loading manuals dating back to the mid 1940's. There was some data for the zipper in the older manuals but I did not recognize any of the powders.
    Is this a gun that should stay in the safe as an heirloom or is it safe to loads some moderate rounds for tarket practice? It seems to be a pretty worthless caliber for Alaska so hunting is probably out of the question.

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    I'm sure it's quite shootable given good mechanical condition. No reason not to shoot it.

    I meant to say 224" for the bullets, all 22 caliber center fire are except the Hornet (.223") and the 222 Savage Hi-Power at .228". It will load with the same powders as the 223 Rem and in fact you could use that data for starters. The brass is not as strong as the 223 however but it is larger so the data works well.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I recall reading an article on the 219 zipper in either handloader or rifle magazine. I don't recall the issue, but within the past 10 years. I believe there was some data with modern powders.

    I can't recomend the approach but the way I would tackle loading a round with little to no data with modern powder is to look at chamberings with similar case capacity with the same bore. The 225 winchester has a similar case size, but runs at high pressure so work up carefully!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    There was some data for the zipper in the older manuals but I did not recognize any of the powders.
    There's lots of data for the Zipper in the old 1973 Hornady reloading manual, as well as in the current 6th edition.

    Good chambering in a good rifle. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot it, but I'd work to keep it in the fine shape it's in now.

  7. #7

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    Just to add to the initial post, I also inherited an old model 98 chambered in 257 Roberts. This rifle is in just as good of shape as he Zipper and they both have old Weaver scopes on them. I assume the scopes are from when they were decent and made in the US. Any idea if they were made waterproof and fogproof back then?
    I really can't wait to get them up here and tinker with some loads. I doubt I would take them off the bench but that 257 might be a good rifle for my son to shoot after he gets used to the 22LR.

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    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default Yer scopes...

    Could be any of a number of different Weaver models. Most likely the one on the Zipper is one of the longer tubed models intended for varminting, the Roberts most likely one of the 330/440 series or one of the ancient K4's. He may also have updated the glass with anything available clear through the end of their production, ya just don't know.
    Most of the older Weavers, while better than a lot of other scopes in the day, weren't tolerant of extreme weather conditions. You wouldn't want to invest in a big hunt and depend on that vintage glass to perform with even budget glass from Wally World, especially as far as keeping moisture out.
    Most of the rings available back then required that the scope be at least partially disassembled to slide one or both of the rings on, and even the factories back then didn't fill the scopes with nitrogen or much care about sealing them, at least until the Lyman Alaskans came along.
    Depending on what exactly the scopes are, and condition, they may be worth quite a bit more than you imagine. Fellas who're trying to finish or duplicate a 1903A4 snipers rifle from WWII are paying a LOT of money for the 330 models that used to be ignored at gunshows and yard sales....
    Not a good idea to let the Roberts sit around waiting for the boy to use. First time you pull the trigger on one, you'll likely be 'hooked' on one of what has been called 'the most useful cartridges' ever devised!

  9. #9

    Default yup

    What Darreld said.

    You just jumped the conversation to one of my all time favorite calibers, senecanation. The Roberts is such a good caliber, hitting the notch between 243/6mm class of calibers and 270 class of calibers really nice- just like the 6.5x55 and its relatives. It's not all that much different than the 243/6mm with 100 grain and lighter bullets, compeating well with them varmint shooting. But use a 115/120 grain bullet for deer and such, and it leaves them behind while compeating well with the 6.5x55.

    I think it would be worthwhile to replace the scope and probably the rings on that sweet Roberts, but I'd sure put it back to work. You won't be sorry.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    What Darreld said.

    You just jumped the conversation to one of my all time favorite calibers, senecanation. The Roberts is such a good caliber, hitting the notch between 243/6mm class of calibers and 270 class of calibers really nice- just like the 6.5x55 and its relatives. It's not all that much different than the 243/6mm with 100 grain and lighter bullets, compeating well with them varmint shooting. But use a 115/120 grain bullet for deer and such, and it leaves them behind while compeating well with the 6.5x55.

    I think it would be worthwhile to replace the scope and probably the rings on that sweet Roberts, but I'd sure put it back to work. You won't be sorry.
    Would it be worth it or even possible to upgrade the scopes ie; Glass & nitrogen or would it be best to just store them for safe keeping?

    Also what would the Roberts be useful for in Alaska other than target shooting? I think I mentioned earlier that these rifles were very well taken care of. I know my Grandfather would want me to use them but I would feel bad if I dinged them up on a rough Alaskan hunt. Would the value of the rifles be compromised with normal wear and tear?

    My M77 is 7Mag my go to hunting rifle and I don't mind thrashing it through the bush and know what to expect from it for the most part. I've never owned an older rifle like this so I don't really know what to expect in term of reliability/Durability.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by senecanation View Post
    Would it be worth it or even possible to upgrade the scopes ie; Glass & nitrogen or would it be best to just store them for safe keeping?

    Also what would the Roberts be useful for in Alaska other than target shooting? I think I mentioned earlier that these rifles were very well taken care of. I know my Grandfather would want me to use them but I would feel bad if I dinged them up on a rough Alaskan hunt. Would the value of the rifles be compromised with normal wear and tear?

    My M77 is 7Mag my go to hunting rifle and I don't mind thrashing it through the bush and know what to expect from it for the most part. I've never owned an older rifle like this so I don't really know what to expect in term of reliability/Durability.
    I don't know if it would be possible to add nitro to the scopes, but I'd be more inclined to set them aside for later and replace them with modern scopes.

    I've been using the Roberts up here for over 30 years. Deer, caribou, fox mostly, though I use it in the off season with lead bullets for ptarmigan and snowshoe hare. I've whacked elk with a 257 in the lower 48, but that's an exception. I certainly wouldn't go out looking for elk or moose up here with a 257, but I bet I could do the job if that's what I happened to have in my hands when I saw one.

    I'm kind of a rebel on the issue of normal wear. I don't think it's honest to our hunting heritage to hoard hunting rifles in safes and keep them out of the field. To me "collectors" are nothing more than hoarders if they don't take the guns out and use them. Normal wear and tear is a collection of hunting stories, and that does more for our sport than a spotless rifle hidden in a safe. Put them in a museum if they're really rare or put them to work. Rust and mistreatment are no-no's, but wear is honorable.

    If the rifle is well made, there should be no qualms at all about reliability. Judging by your description and the High Wall in the same household, I'm betting it's very well made.

    In a nutshell, yeah. There's lots of uses for it. Best of all, you'll be honoring your granddad every single time you use it.

  12. #12

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    Sounds like you are in for some fun.
    For reloading information try the powder makers sites first. If they don't have the information just keep hunting the reloading sites. You would be suprised what you can find on them.
    Have fun and good luck.

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    With Modern bullets the 257 roberts could be used for all AK game, though I'd personally want something a bit bigger for moose and bears. But for caribou, sheep, goats and black tails its a fine round.

    There is not reason not to use a fine old gun, it was built to be used hunting, sitting a safe just doesn't seem like the proper use for a good gun. Just take the barreled action out and apply a few coats of wax to keep the metal from rusting.

    I would upgrade the optics. Modern scopes are a vast improvement over the older wares. Optically superior, more reliable and more durable.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    With Modern bullets the 257 roberts could be used for all AK game, though I'd personally want something a bit bigger for moose and bears. But for caribou, sheep, goats and black tails its a fine round.
    I had forgotten all about goats and sheep Paul, but right you are. If I was heading out for sheep today, I'd bring my 257. It's very light and accurate, yet packs quite a wallop with 115 grain Noslers. Lots of sentiment tied up in that particular 257 (built by RCBS over 30 years ago- Rem 700LH, Shilen barrel, McMillan stock), and a great sheep hunt would be an important addition to its long career.

    I'd be planning a sheep hunt with yours for the same reasons senecanation, even at the cost of a few extra dings. That would be honorable wear and I'd be proud of every single mark, as I bet your granddad would be.

    Here's a thought for you:

    I'm betting your granddad wanted you to have the guns to hunt with, rather than hide in a safe for all time.

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