My question -- can they be converted to .22 LR by installing a 1963 barrel.
They can be converted. Not as simple as screwing in a new barrel, I'm afraid. Since the 22 Winchester Auto uses an outside lubricated bullet, the case and rim are larger in diameter than a 22 LR. Here is what we did
1- Reline bore
2- Modify cartridge stop
3- Modify cartridge guide
The rifle functions and cycles flawlessly.
Cost for the conversion is about $500.