Winchester Wildcat II Varmint .22 first Impressions (Toz-78)

I have always like heavy bolt action .22s for accurate plinking. I have a Russian Biathlon basic and found it to be an excellent accuracy bargain so when I heard that Winchester was selling a TOZ rebranded as a Winchester I hoped that there was another bargain form the land of Borscht and the Bolshoi. AS it happens, there were two versions of the rifle, an the one I was interested in was the heavy barrel, heavy stock varmint version. I tried to order one form my regular vendors but for some reason last year the supply dried up, I heard rumors there were no more being imported. While browsing at a large chain gun store I did manage to spot the tell-tale trigger guard assembly of the Winnie branded Toz all the way in the back of the rack of rimfires and took it home.

The Winchester Wildcat II is in fact a TOZ-78 manufactured by the Tula firearms factory in Russia. WInchester has their logo on it but the Tula stampings can be found on the right side of the rifle as well. Out of the box it comes well equipped. One 5 round magazine and three ten round mags are plenty. This version also comes with a trigger adjustment tool.

The barrel crown is very recessed, like the Biathlon Basic.

Two front sling mounts and a substantial front stock.

The trigger adjustment screw is easily accessible just forward of the trigger. Out of the box it came at about 4 pounds pull but was able to adjust it to about 2.7 lbs. The magazine release is just ahead of the magazine and releases easy with an intuitive rear pull.

Examining the bolt, it appears finely made with only the slightest hints of rough work on some of the corners. The rear of the bolt assembly does ride a rough spot against the rifle but I will get that fixed. The action is smooth with a little bit of roughness where the bolt handle base rides against the receiver. I will be fixing this.

There is also a high spot on the inside of my receiver as shown… that will have to be fixed as well.

The rifle is tapped for a scope rail and also has receiver grooves to mount rings directly. I had some rings and wanted to use the cuts but my spare set of 3/8 rings did not tighten on the receiver correctly. The grooves seem to be a little thin to call them 3/8. Some wally world rings worked fine and the wally world scope mounted right up.

Made sure to position the rings as not to interfere with the bolt action.

The comb is about 3/4 low for me to get perfect eye to scope alignment, so I might fashion a riser for the stock to get it lined up where I want it.

The only other negatives I can find in addition to the ones already mentioned are with the checkering not quite making it to the edge of the checker area. However, overall it seems to be worth the money paid. Once I get the action rough spots worked out it should be a joy to operate and others have reported very accurate groups with it. I have 9-10 different types of ammo to try with it from walmart bulk packs to several match types so I’ll post its groups with various ammos at different ranges next.

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