Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!
I’ve been thinking more lately about the great old Winchester 100. For some time now I’ve been toying with the idea of finding a decent pre-64 Model 100, just because I think it’s a great platform: Short, relatively light, easy to handle and powerful in the .308 chambering. But of late I’ve given some thought to making a Model 100 a little more useful at the upper end of the North American game size spectrum.
See, the semi-auto Model 100 had a counterpart, that being the lever-action Model 88. The two guns were very similar, sharing most of their design; both had full-length stocks, both took the same kind of four-shot detachable box magazine, and both were chambered in .243 Winchester, .284 Winchester and .308 Winchester.
But the Model 88 was also chambered in the .358 Winchester.
The .358 is probably one of the best woods rounds ever designed. It’s pretty much just the .308 case necked up to take a heavier .358 bullet, making it a hard-hitting round inside of 200 yards or so – perfect for big, tough, toothy critters in the woods. (Refer to my recent Glibertarians article on the thirty-fives for more on this round.)
And the Model 88 came in that round, while the Model 100 (save for one prototype) did not. That set me to wondering how hard it would be to re-bore and re-chamber a Model 100 for the .358. I’ve done a little elementary digging and found evidence of one gun that appears to be an undocumented Winchester prototype and at least one custom gun in that caliber.
So, it would appear to be possible. Now, I just have to find the right (pre-64) rifle and someone who will do the work. And, since it’s going to be a custom job, maybe a matte blue finish (or maybe Cerakote) and a nice oil finish on the stock is in order. Top it with a peep sight and you’ve got one hell of a fine piece for tracking moose or bear through an Alaskan alder or willow thicket.