Displaying a 1894 Winchester safely


March 2, 2006, 01:58 PM
I've got a comemorative (but not collectable) 1894 lever action that I would love to hang on the wall, but I don't want to leave a firearm out for a burgler to scoop up. At least I don't want to leave a *functional* firearm out...

Any ideas on how to display the firearm and still be able to fire it every once in a while? (I thought to remove the fireing pin but that calls for some involved disassembly that doesn't appeal to me). Optimally I would like it to appear to be just resting in a nice display rack, but be hard to actually remove from the wall.

Tall order I know - but if there's a decent solution, someone around here will know of one.



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March 2, 2006, 02:11 PM
These are sad times, but I no longer consider it prudent to display firearms. I don't even talk about my firearms.

The best safe on earth is to keep one's mouth shut about one's collection.

No matter if you disable the Winchester, if someone wants it, they'll take it, anyway.

March 3, 2006, 12:33 PM
i've thought about doing this as well. with an 1894 also, coincidentally. the best idea i came up with was building a box out of 1" oak with a 1/2" thick Lexan window, inside hinges and built in lock, all bolted to the studs in the wall from inside the case. it would be quite a project and still wouldn't gaurantee against theft but it would be difficult to get into quickly. if i were to mount it on a wall, it would be directly over or under the outside window (if the room has one) so it couldn't be seen by looking in the window. i'm still leary of doing that though. i feel much better with it in the safe. if i ever move into a house with a room that i can dedicate to firearms with the appropriate metal door, deadbolt etc, i would display it inside there, but i think for now it's prudent for me to keep it locked up.


March 3, 2006, 12:47 PM
Sorry, but I have to agree with PinnedAndResessed on this one. Display is not a good idea for the long term- if you plan to keep the gun - IMO. Sad, really. If you decide to display anyway then go with something like Bobarino suggested, bet even then, someone with a crowbar could likely pry the box off the wall studs in a minute or so. Also, if you display in an "open" area of your home, be very careful of who you allow to visit, cause if the plumber or gas man, or paperboy sees your gun(s) then you might as well put an ad in the paper and advertise a firearms museum with no admissions charge:what:

I'd love to display most if not all of my guns, I even thought of building my bar with a see-through top (lexan) to show some revolvers below in a lighted case, sittin on velvet, etc., but then thought about how folks would say, " Hey, I was at this Christmas party- and you should see this guy's old guns....etc, etc." Forgot that idea. :(


March 3, 2006, 12:48 PM
I once read a gun column where the author said he displayed a revolver on the mantle over the fireplace in his home, with the firing pin removed.

He said the revolver was in line of sight from his front door, so whenever he came home, he would look to see if the revolver was still there before he even set foot in the house.

If he had been broken in to, the revolver would be gone, he reasoned - he was leaving "bait" for the burglars. If the revolver was gone, he would immediately leave the house and call 911, as he didn't know if the burglar(s) were still in the house or not.

He also said there were no windows that would allow the gun to be ssen from outside the house, so as not to tempt prospective burglars who had not broken in yet.

It sounds like a pretty slick plan to me.

Jim K
March 3, 2006, 12:56 PM
FWIW, removing the firing pin from a 94 is easy. There is a large screw on the top left side of the receiver, about 1 1/4" from the wood and 1/4" from the top of the receiver. Opposite it on the right side is a small hole.

Unscrew the screw, then look through the hole and line up the pin you see inside with the hole. Insert a punch or any round tool into the hole on the right side and push the pin out to the left.

Now pull the lever down a bit and pull the bolt back. The firing pin will almost drop out if you point the rifle upward. Then close the bolt by hand, pull up the lever, put the pin and screw back in, and you are done. Save the firing pin to put back later when you want to shoot the rifle.


Jim K
March 3, 2006, 01:01 PM
Speaking of bait, I knew a man who bought one of those sunken coffee tables, and put his revolver "collection" in it, on blue velvet and under glass.

The display was eye-catching and very pretty. Of course the guns were junk, deactivated, and chrome plated by the local bumper shop. He figured that any thief would go right for that "collection", ignoring his real collection, which was in a vault behind a concealed steel door.

Since he was never burglarized, he didn't know if his trick would have worked or not.


March 3, 2006, 01:03 PM
If you want to make it as hard as possible to steal but still be able to display the rifle build an inside the wall lighted display and display the rifle verticaly. Just build it between two studs. Then go to a glass supply store and buy some of the clear acrylic they use for bank windows and build a metal framed (just buy some aluminum channel to build the frame) locking door that sits flush with the wall and has hidden european hinges. This way it will not be easy to shatter or pry open. I built a similar display in my previous house to display a very valuable and sentimental item and it turned out almost impregible. :)

Here is a really cheesy, quick, mock-up to show what I am talking about if you cannot picture it. You could make it look a lot better in real life.

March 3, 2006, 01:48 PM
Now that we're talking about gun security, it's apropos to mention that, with few exceptions, your guns are safe.

Concerning the original question. My friend has a moderate gun collection which he keeps in his safe. He did display, however, a Thompson Center black powder rifle in his living room.

His son came home and discovered some Mexicans robbing the house. You guessed it. They took the display gun but left the safe.

But how safe is a safe?

If someone has enough time, like several hours, they can break into the vast majority of gun safes. All it takes is a circular saw and masonry blade.

Another friend, this one who sells guns and gun safes said that a gun safe is often nothing more than an expensive gun case. And in his experience, 99.9% of gun thefts were by friends and acquaintences of the gun owner.

What's this mean? The best security for your guns is to keep your mouth shut and let as few people as possible know you own guns.

Times are desperate. The BGs are everywhere. And guns are like gold.

March 3, 2006, 02:01 PM
I am of a different mindset on gun security than some on here. I do believe in keeping your guns locked up and as inaccessible as possible but I do not believe all this cloak and dagger "hide them from the light of day or the bad guys will get them" stuff. It is just to fatalistic and cospiricy minded for my tastes. If you are going to enjoy collecting I think it is only natural to use, show to friends , discuss, etc. If not then why are you collecting? If it is purely self defense and you feel you are in that much danger then build a bunker and hide your armory there. In fact why not live in it...that would be safer than a house. It is true that someone with a masonry blade and some time can get into most anything but what do you think the odds of that happening really are??? We might as well be worried about being hit by meteorites. Most intruders are going to grab what they can easily and quickly carry away. Not stand around using loud power tools that they hauled in through the window or found in your garage. If you are really worried get a dog. My partner used to work for Protection One home security and the studies show that the NUMBER ONE defense against theft is a dog, second is a well lighted perimeter. :)

Connecticut Yankee
March 3, 2006, 07:57 PM
I have read what I assume was the same article, but the firing pin on the Colt .38 was filed down enough (eight of an inch? bit more?) so that it wouldn't hit the primer. He left it loaded with dummy rounds (live primer, I think sand for weight, RN bullet) on a nail in the fireplace mantle hanging upside down. He also told his wife and kids that if they ever came home and the gun was gone to run like hell. The other part of the plan was that he had (IIRC) some distinctive marking on the muzzle or the crane (red paint? nail polish?) so that he could see it if the plan ever failed and a BG pointed it at him; he would know it was his inoperative Colt. The article was in Guns magazine in the late fifities (IIRC; it could have been G&A but I'm pretty sure it was Guns).

March 3, 2006, 09:02 PM
...the studies show that the NUMBER ONE defense against theft is a dog...

Even better, have a guard dog, but then get a "bait" mutt from the pound...

March 3, 2006, 09:08 PM
Even better, have a guard dog, but then get a "bait" mutt from the pound...
My aunt had a Chihuahua and a German Shepard that were raised together. the Chihuahua was definately the boss. The little Chihuahua would start trouble with anything knowing the Shepard had her back. I always though it as funny when Missy (the Chihuahua) would run to the fence and bark at kids. They would sometime mock her by barking back or smacking the fence and then Max (the Shepard), thinking Missy was in trouble, would rush the fence and kids would run away screaming and crying with wetter drawers. :)

March 3, 2006, 11:06 PM
>the NUMBER ONE defense against theft is a dog,
> second is a well lighted perimeter.

I'll go along with the dog, but not necessarilly the well lighted perimeter. Bad guys like light too. Well placed lights with motion detectors are much better.

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