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One clue might be if the receiver is grooved for scope mounts. I'm not sure when this was started, maybe early 50's? And you're right about 22mags being a lot pricier. I've always wondered why since they're basically the same gun. Maybe it's just cause there wouldn't be as many old ones out there.
 

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I used to think they shortened the barrel to save money. But I read somewhere that 22" is the optimum length for .22LR. Interesting.
 
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