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Old 11-26-2010, 21:08   #1
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Model-94 Win. experts

If anyone's knowlegeable on '94 Winny's I'd appreciate some help with a rifle I just found in the local ads. The serial number dates to 1897 for year of mfr (under 99,000) and the metal looks more like it's from the 40's or 50's, with some normal wear from use.

Somebody along the way cut the buttstock and added a lengthening piece with lighter walnut, so it must have been for a big guy and also drilled the right side of the receiver for a scope mount (for lefty's). The original part of the butt wood is dark and dinged-up a little like you see on old guns that are original and not refinished. The adder looks like somebody was careful with it too.

The rear sight has been bubba-modified a long time ago where it broke at the rear end. I brushed and cleaned the bore and it's shiny like new. The tang's marked "Model 1894 - Winchester - Pat. Aug 21, 1894". The barrel's marked "Made in New Haven, Conn. U.S. of America" with "Winchester Proof Steel" under that line. It has the Winchester logo writing, and then "-Model 94 -30 WCF-".

The stock also had a homemade leather butt pad that wrapped around and laced at the bottom with heavy twine. It had a 1/4" foam rubber pad at the back that was fastened into the wood with two nails and was stitched around the edges to the leather part. I removed those two things to see what it was, and it looks like the leather could have been from a boot shaft. The twine looked like the stuff we used in the Navy in the 60's, so I think it was newer and it wasn't dirty and worn like the leather.

I was thinking about replacing the buttstock with a new one but with the dating and all, this thing just reeks of "cowboy" or something like that to me. I'd hate to mess-up something that could be worth a lot more than I paid for it. The plan was to do the wood thing and plug the scope holes in the receiver, then clean it up and replace the rear sight with one like the original.

I don't honestly see how all the rustic stuff could be worth anything extra unless there was provenance of somebody famous. The guy I bought it from said it was his father's (Korea vet) but he didn't know who he got it from.

I'll be grateful for advice on this.

Thanks.

P.S........a hole about 3/4" was bored into the bottom side of the stock and a snap-lid metal tube about 2-1/2" long inserted, which has a brass cleaning jag attached to a small fishing sinker with some of that old woven cloth fishing line like my dad used in the 40's. There are also small homemade patches made from what looks like an old T-shirt. All that was stuffed into the tube as a cleaning kit. The bored hole wasn't done by an expert because it's off-center enough that they had to patch the stock where it came through one side just a little.

Last edited by hoplophile; 11-26-2010 at 21:24.
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:57   #2
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I suspect your getting your date by referencing Geo Mattis, as that's the fastest way to get the manufacture date wrong. Yours is more likely from 1900 (not saying that's a bad thing)
Below is a list compiled from the warehouse records held by the Cody Musium (poster is a researcher there).
GunBroker.com Message Forums - Winchester Model 1894 facts (updated 1/18/10)
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:41   #3
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Thanks for that bit of info T.G.

I wondered how Winchester could have put-out almost 100K of those rifles in just 3 years back in those days. The serial number is in the very low 98's but that still puts it into 1900. Either way, when I think of what it would be worth if bubba hadn't done his magic it makes me a little queasy.

On the other hand, he was probably just some poor guy with a big family or ranch to keep up and wanted (maybe NEEDED) to hunt and for what ever reason for functionality and affordability, he did what would make it work for him. Other owners down the line might have done the same. It's pretty well cared for when you consider the age.

I went ahead and plugged the holes made for scope and sight mounts (8 total...including the tang and receiver holes on both sides). I'll try to replace the stock with a used one if I can find it. I'll also order another rear sight assembly. These fixes should make it a nice shooter since the bore is almost unbelievably new-looking. The internals are quite nice as well, with only one small spot of rust inside the bottom locking arm that engages and disengages the breech block when the lever's operated.

A bit of oil/dirt residue on the operating parts and receiver rails, etc too. It's all cleaned-up, lightly oiled and back together now and works smoothely and has a tight action and crisp trigger.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:47   #4
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By the way.........the source where I got that 1897 date was on oldguns.net.
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:12   #5
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And in turn, old guns got it, directly or indirectly, from the G.Mathis book
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:52   #6
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Good thing to know. I'll have to check the numbers of two others I looked-up there and see what your list shows.

Thanks again.

P.S.........
Just noticed another interesting item:

While I was cleaning up the bench after working on the rifle and wood parts I picked-up that old piece of leather and noticed somebody had written "1897" on the left side. Looks like it's been there a long time and was done with a small rounded-tip object because the leather's not torn where the writing is. Also, the adder piece now looks like maple or something because it's very blonde-colored and seems like it's softer than the walnut. It had been darkened with water-based stain.

P.P.S.................

Sorry to drag this thing on (in case anybody's interested I will), but after looking at the rear sight, I noticed it had been "modified" with a small piece of steel and lead soldered to the bottom rear of the sight assembly (presumably to raise it). The sight is an express multiple leaf-type and works OK after I pulled the solder thing off with my fingers.

Last edited by hoplophile; 11-27-2010 at 15:59.
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Old 12-08-2010, 15:20   #7
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You discribed you rifle well. Interesting old gun, BUT I doubt that it has any collector value. Too many things not correct. Tailgunner is correct on the DOM. I have another issue, when you said the barrel is marked "Proof Steel" the red flag went up. Barrels were not so marked until the late 30's so that indicates a replacement. Look at the top of the barrel just ahead of the reciever and see if there is a proof mark, or maybe two proof marks. There should be the WP in the oval and an additional proof mark which is the P (no W) in an oval. Then remove the fore end stock and magazine read the date stamp on the underside of the barrel. I should be two numbers such as 37,39 or what ever that indicates the year the BARREL was made. Check it out.

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Old 12-08-2010, 18:26   #8
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Originally Posted by JBledsoe View Post
.

You discribed you rifle well. Interesting old gun, BUT I doubt that it has any collector value. Too many things not correct. Tailgunner is correct on the DOM. I have another issue, when you said the barrel is marked "Proof Steel" the red flag went up. Barrels were not so marked until the late 30's so that indicates a replacement. Look at the top of the barrel just ahead of the reciever and see if there is a proof mark, or maybe two proof marks. There should be the WP in the oval and an additional proof mark which is the P (no W) in an oval. Then remove the fore end stock and magazine read the date stamp on the underside of the barrel. I should be two numbers such as 37,39 or what ever that indicates the year the BARREL was made. Check it out.

.
That could explain why the barrel's in such great shape. No matter though. it's a shooter as far as I'm concerned and a new barrel makes it more so.

I'll look at it a bit closer and let you know. Thanks for that bit of data J.B.
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Old 12-08-2010, 18:50   #9
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OK J.B.

I looked at the top of the barrel and it has two ovals: One that runs with the barrel and looks like it has a W with a P in it. The other oval is closest to the receiver and runs across the barrel with either an F or a P in it. The underside of the barrel is marked .30 WCF - 45.

Should I assume the barrel was made in 1945 or just installed in that year?
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Old 12-08-2010, 19:08   #10
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Originally Posted by hoplophile View Post
OK J.B.

I looked at the top of the barrel and it has two ovals: One that runs with the barrel and looks like it has a W with a P in it. The other oval is closest to the receiver and runs across the barrel with either an F or a P in it. The underside of the barrel is marked .30 WCF - 45.

Should I assume the barrel was made in 1945 or just installed in that year?
Yes 45 would be the year that the barrel was made. The guns were not proof marked until somewhere around serial number 250,000. So if the barrel is proof marked that is the second indication of a barrel change. Third is the "P" inside the oval on the barrel. That mark was applied to any barrel ordered and shipped out to an independent gunsmith for installation on a customers gun.
It's a shooter and a good one at that. With the newer "proof steel" barrel you can safely shoot any factory ammo or good handload, assuming that the action is in good condition.

Enjoy your rifle, it may not be a collector's piece but they are great fun to shoot.

JB

Last edited by JBledsoe; 06-03-2011 at 21:09.
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Old 12-08-2010, 19:36   #11
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Great info, J.B.

I haven't shot it yet (was waiting for the replacement stock, which I fitted and finished last week) but I have cycled rounds through the action and it seems smooth and tight with nary a jam-up.

I'm hoping the weather will improve one of these weekends to where i can give her a firing run.

Thanks again for the pointers and clarification.

By the way........welcome to Perfect Union. You'll be a nice addition to the knowlegeable members here, especially under this line of expertise.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:10   #12
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Legendary Frontiersman & Dodge Commerative

Hey there guys, I just joined yesterday, so glad I found you all. This is the first forum that I have joined even though I have been in the gun business for many years, anyway i was talking with a buddy last night about the winchesters mentioned, he is thinking about selling them, is there a certain area on this forum to list guns or what is the protocol there?
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Old 06-03-2011, 21:11   #13
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You need to contact the Moderator for the answer to your question.

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Old 08-31-2011, 21:24   #14
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Well fellers, I'm still getting that old 94 fixed-up to be a shooter. The sights had to be replaced and I fitted a new buttstock too. Still a problem with the front sight base being too high because it shoots way low. Another 10 or 20 bucks oughta do it, which will put me about 375 into it. I guess i should have passed on buying it, but even a cobbled-together shooter may be worth it to a family member some day.

On a brighter note, I found another pre-64 locally for 250. Bore's shiny and there's light surface rust in the usual places from not being taken care of properly. Other than those things, a rusty buttplate and finish wear on the wood from age it's in very nice mechanical shape. I think the guy had it laying around somewhere for years, which would answer for the condition.

Year of mfr is 1962 (thanks again for the previous dating info).
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:30   #15
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I think that your investment in the 1900 mfg. gun is in line and should be much fun to shoot. It is a batter shooter with a proof steel barrel.

Surface rust on the 1962 gun can often be cleaned with lemon juice and a bit of work. Regardless, it will still shoot.

regards,
Jim
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Old 09-01-2011, 19:27   #16
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Thanks for the comments JB. These 94's really grow on you if you let 'em. They're not quite as scarce as I thought either, but the nice pre-64's sure bring a steep price.

Lemo juice, eh? Hafta give that one a try! Got any remedies for neutralizing cold blue stink from guns? That 94 I posted about in the OP reeks of it and it stays on your hands forever.

Thanks much for the tips and remarks.
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Old 09-01-2011, 20:11   #17
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Originally Posted by hoplophile View Post
Thanks for the comments JB. These 94's really grow on you if you let 'em. They're not quite as scarce as I thought either, but the nice pre-64's sure bring a steep price.

Lemo juice, eh? Hafta give that one a try! Got any remedies for neutralizing cold blue stink from guns? That 94 I posted about in the OP reeks of it and it stays on your hands forever.

Thanks much for the tips and remarks.

To be more specific, I use Lemon Pledge and fine (0000) steel wool to remove rust. Cold blue? I have used a good glass cleaner with Ammonia, the ammonia will neutralize and residual acid. Test it first on parts not seen because the ammonia will remove some blues if the solution is too strong.

Proceed carefully.
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Old 09-02-2011, 18:03   #18
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I was thinking about using some of the wife's lemon juice she keeps in the fridge. It will probably be OK if diluted. I never heard of that ammonia solution. I have an old rifle or two laying around that I'll use as guinea pigs.

Great info JB. Thanks again and have a good holiday weekend!
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:33   #19
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Let us know how that ammonia works out for you.Start with a very diluted mix like a teaspoon per pint of water.

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Old 09-04-2011, 21:09   #20
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Originally Posted by JBledsoe View Post
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Let us know how that ammonia works out for you.Start with a very diluted mix like a teaspoon per pint of water.

.
10-4. I tried the off-brand window cleaner I have but the rifle still stinks. Guess I'll go with a bottle of ammonia and dilute, per your recommendation, JB.
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Old 09-09-2011, 23:46   #21
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JB, it still stinks buddy. I even used the ammonia full-strength out of the bottle with a paint brush and then very fine steel wool. Not giving up yet though. The air's very dry here and that makes the nose more sensitive.......at least in my experience. I may just have to get used to that cold blue smell if it doesn't work.
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Old 10-14-2011, 23:32   #22
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I bought the front and rear site set from Midway and mounted them. The rifle now shoots like it should and the action is nice. It's finally the shooter it should be, even though it still stinks.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:26   #23
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win 94

i have a winchester 94 serial 3857052 can anyone give me date of manufacture
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Old 03-03-2012, 19:42   #24
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Originally Posted by tholifield13 View Post
i have a winchester 94 serial 3857052 can anyone give me date of manufacture
According to the likely inaccurate date listed by the Maddis book, it shows that serial number falls into the 1973 era. This will let you know at least an approximate D.O.M. so as not to be led to believe it's something it isn't.

(Credits to Tailgunner for the heads up on the DOM errors).

Welcome to the forum by the way tholifield.
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Old 03-04-2012, 00:02   #25
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thanks
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