Pre-64 Winchesters


Father Knows Best
December 4, 2006, 03:36 PM
A good friend of mine expressed an interest in getting a pre-64 Winchester model 94 in 30-30, for use as a general purpose woods gun here in Minnesota. I owe him a lot for reasons I won't get into here, and it occurred to me that I should look into buying him that 94 as a gift. And as luck would have it, there's a gun show this weekend. The problem is that I don't know much about pre-64 Winchesters.

Is there a particular serial number range that denotes the pre-64 Winchester 94's? If not, is there some other characteristic that will help me distinguish them? What should I look at in evaluating one, besides the obvious stuff like bore condition, finish wear, etc.?


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December 4, 2006, 03:42 PM
Post '64 rifles began with #2,700,000, according to:

So look for something under that number.

I don't know much about the pre-64 30-30's, except for the fact that ALL Winchester prices are going through the roof right now with the plant closure. Pre-64's always commanded a premium, and even more so now. Be prepared to spend. The ones I've seen in my area are going for $500+, with that being the low end beaters. Good luck.

Art Eatman
December 4, 2006, 03:46 PM
2,586,000 is the last of the pre-64 Model 94s. (Fjestad's Blue Book of Gun Values.)

The smaller the number, the higher the price.

Beginning around 1,082,000, in 1930 or so, there were some changes to the front and rear sights and the front barrel band. (I'm no expert on these, so my understanding is rudimentary.)

From a using/repairing standpoint, I'd suggest going with the second version.


December 4, 2006, 04:03 PM
The lever is held in by a bolt with a screw head on pre-64s, on a post 64 it's a pin. Also, pre's will have the steel buttplate.

Probably not the best signifiers, use the serial number range.

December 4, 2006, 04:11 PM
Keep in mind that the pre/post '64 distinction matters much less with '94's than it does with Model 70s. The 70 was totally changed, while the '94 remained about the same. They started using MIM steel for some of it, which at the time was seen as a horrible thing. But now it's pretty common practice. And I don't know of any post-64 receivers blowing up from .30-30 loads :D They also started using plastic buttplates on the non-collectors edition ones and changed some parts. But the biggest changes to the '94 platform came after USRAC took over in the early 80's and introduced the ugly and stupid external safety and the angle ejection system. I've had '94's produced by Winchester prior to the USRAC takeover and they're just as good as the pre-64's.

Ironically, the prices on USRAC "legacy" rifles is outrageously high, but you can get amazingly good deals on '94's from the 70's and early 80's. Yet in contrast, many of the collector's edition '94's that Winchester turned out after '64 also can be had for a very reasonable price. I fooled around with a Canadian Centennial earlier this year and really liked it.

Father Knows Best
December 4, 2006, 05:36 PM
Thanks. While we're on the subject of pre-/post-64 Winchesters, what's a fair price for a pre-64 Model 70 in very good condition these days? A local shop has a half dozen of them, mostly in .30-06 but with a few other calibers, too. I think asking prices were all in the $700-$1200 range, which seemed pretty reasonable given the high praise that the pre-64 model 70 usually receives.

Old Fuff
December 4, 2006, 06:07 PM
The post-64 model 94's were made a of steel alloy that didn't blue well. So they iron plated the receiver and then blued that. The finish tended to look flat, and they used to say if one needed to be refinished it was best to send it back to the factory...

Except now there isn't any factory. :mad:

In addition, some internal parts that had been made of machined bar stock or forgings were replaced with punch-press stampings.

Look into the chamber. Hunters that remembered to clean the bore often forgot about the chamber.

December 4, 2006, 07:55 PM
Old Fuff you are right on the money when it comes to neglecting the chamber. The chamber is one of the most neglected areas ever on a rifle. A oversized bore mop lightly sprayed with a good solvent works along with a good brushing. Neglected chambers tend to cause brass cartridges to swell into the rust pits. A good polish can save you if you catch it in time and a rebarrel if you don't.

December 5, 2006, 02:45 PM
While we're on the subject of pre-/post-64 Winchesters, what's a fair price for a pre-64 Model 70 in very good condition these days? It all depends on caliber. .30-06 and .270 are the most common, so those are still fairly reasonable. I've seen "shooters" go for $500-600. But get into some of the magnum or lower calibers in original condition, prices can go WAY up.

Kali Endgame
December 5, 2006, 03:47 PM
I bought a Model 94 in 30-30 last year for $175 at the Cow Palace in Ca. The serial # is in the low 900,000's. I'd say the bluing is around 60% and the previos owner(s) carved the kills into the stock. Pretty cool to me. I hope this helped.

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