The new Winchester 94?


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praharin
April 7, 2012, 12:38 PM
Please, no ranting about them being "overpriced." For one, I hate that phrase, as it's so often misused. If it's selling at the price, it's not overpriced and I'm not looking to hear a rant, I'd like some calm and balanced opinions from people who have owned one or handled a few or more examples. Preliminary thanks.


1200+ MSRP for a lever lever action that cost $400 before they went under? I don't get it.

Fit and finish wise, are they worth the investment? For a lot less I could get a used one from any number of places (like my dad, lol).

I really like the Trails End model for it's take down feature. But for $1400 (maybe 1200 actually) I could get a tricked out custom Marlin from Grizzly Custom and have money left over for ammo.

Has the new Winchester priced themselves into the collector market, or is the quality there above the competition?

Thanks

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rcmodel
April 7, 2012, 02:21 PM
The Japanese Winchester and Browning lever-guns are a cut above anything Winchester ever made. They are nice!!

However, I agree you don't need to spend that much money on a 94 to hunt with.

rc

toivo
April 7, 2012, 02:55 PM
This is just one man's ignorant speculation, but ...

I believe that Winchester was a victim of their own success. A company that's around so long starts to feel that their place in the market is secure. Then they start thinking about how much cash they can squeeze out of their reputation. They start cutting corners and speeding up production, and the quality of the product takes a downhill slide.

A standard Model 94 from the earlier part of the 20th century will show better fit and function than one from the early 21st century. In order to get the old quality from a new product, you have to go back to the slower, more careful production, but that comes with a price. And no company is going to sacrifice their profit margin to rebuild their reputation. Introducing the $1200 Model 94.

If you go only by inflation rates over the life cycle of the product, a Model 94 should still cost under $500. Obviously, there are other factors at work.

ApacheCoTodd
April 7, 2012, 03:18 PM
Another way to look at it if a critical evaluation of the current rifle is not available is: What does the same $1200 get you in a hunting grade pre-64 Winchester?

I don't have direct knowledge of the current Winchesters but can't imagine the 1200 bucks will get you a family legacy quality gun from the new company.

If the Cabella's anniversary model which is linked to the 94 page is an indication of an upgraded new 94 - then it's a resounding NO. The zoom feature shows no sign of this being a 1200 dollar rifle let alone 1400 for the limited Cabella's gun.

natman
April 7, 2012, 03:18 PM
The Winchester 1894 is dead, just as the 1885, 1892 and 1895 are dead.

You can buy very well made nostalgic reproductions of all of them from Miroku, but they are still dead as real working guns.

DMH
April 7, 2012, 03:35 PM
I would spend your money on a Winchester Model 94 made here in the USA. There is nothing wrong with the Japan Winchesters, but I like my ones made here better. Even the ones that are post 64. You can find some very nice used 94's. Or as you suggested even a custom job. $1200.00 can get one nice used gun, or two 94's in good hunting condition. I have a Japan made 1895 Winchester and I do not like the rebounding hammer (not good in below zero temperatures), the tang safety is ok, but really not needed. The Japan made model would be the first one I'd sell if I were to sell. The Japan models are excellent in looks, feel, function and fit.

David

DPris
April 7, 2012, 03:41 PM
When the Model 94 was being set-up for re-introduction I conversed with a project manager.
Condensing, the gist was that the higher-ups in the FN organization (there is no "Winchester" company) wanted to bring the gun back as a classic offering and in doing so looked at manufacturing options.

It was decided the gun would cost too much to build at FN's South Carolina plant. Setting up a new plant in the US was not feasible. They considered Chinese and European (Turkey) options, and decided the market would not buy a 94 from either source.

That left the Miroku plant in Japan, an operation that's already been building leverguns for FN and the US market for several years.
Quality was not an issue, the Mirokus are very well made.
The company already understood leverguns & it would not require setting up an entirely new factory, only converting the "old" 94 to current design specs decided on by the project team and integrating the gun into Miroku's existing levergun production.

Done the way the gun now is, it is an expensive product.
It is no longer intended to be the "workingman's rifle" that made it so popular during its decades of domestic production. It's now a niche gun, intended primarily for the nostalgia market.

Annual production is limited, like the other Winchester levergun models, because Miroku doesn't have the capacity to crank them out in large numbers.
If they did, chances are the price could come down slightly, but that'd be a gamble since too many people are turned off by the high pricing & the Japanese sourcing anyway.

All in all, QC was tanking at the old New Haven plant in 94s toward the end before it was closed, and no matter what could have been done to keep the old classic going, you would not today be buying a new 94 for $400.
Even if FN had decided to completely re-tool & re-equip New Haven, prices would have risen to pay off the major investment.
There is simply no way the 94 could be made to sell at $400 today with anywhere near the quality you'd demand from the Winchester brand.

And, the quality of the current leverguns Miroku is building far exceeds any Model 94 "Winchester" put out in New Haven in the past 25 years.

Buy or don't, I'm just addressing the thread opener with some background.

Denis

jmr40
April 7, 2012, 09:06 PM
I don't have direct knowledge of the current Winchesters but can't imagine the 1200 bucks will get you a family legacy quality gun from the new company.



A new Winchester 70 Featherweight will set you back around $800 and is far better than anything ever made by Winchester in the past. Including the pre-64's.

The Japanese guns are more for collectors than shooters, and I have doubts as to how collectable they will be and how well they will hold their value.

The Winchester 1894 is dead, just as the 1885, 1892 and 1895 are dead.

You can buy very well made nostalgic reproductions of all of them from Miroku, but they are still dead as real working guns.

This pretty well sums it up.


You can make an argument that the new model 70's are not the same gun. But at least they are very close to the original and are still a working gun selling at a price comparable to other guns of the same quality.

praharin
April 8, 2012, 12:13 AM
Thanks everyone. It's about what I expected, and I appreciate your input.

It's just... I like the way the Winchester looks. The Marlin doesn't seem as sleek to me because of the side eject. Purely an aesthetic issue.

Agsalaska
April 8, 2012, 01:09 AM
Excellent post Dpris. Exactly why I visit this board.



And the 94 may be dead. But it kills deer on our family land in Texas every single year. I dont see that going anywhere. I have cousins that are young guys that have shot two rifles in their lives, .22's and 30-30's. It may be dead but it will continue to live for 100 more years.

dubya450
April 8, 2012, 03:58 AM
I'm not sure about the new 94's that are made in japan, but if the quality is anything like the new model 70, I'd have to vouch for the FN made Winchester rifles. I have 3 new FN made model 70's had each one is more accurate than any other rifle I've owned and very well built. But they are made in South Carolina vs japan. Then again I recently looked into buying a Browning x-bolt which are made in the same Japanese factory as the 94 and have heard and read nothing but excellent reviews of the rifles coming out of that shop. I also read that the shop doesn't have enough room to mass produce them in as high volume as other rifles which may be (one) reason why the retail price is more than expected. Who knows though. I really liked the x-bolt but just couldn't get past the fact that it had the "made in Japan" stamp on the barrel, so i passed, and bought my third model 70 lol. Good luck.

DPris
April 8, 2012, 02:18 PM
I have the Model 94 .30-30 my father gave to his father in 1951.
I have a later USRAC angle eject Model 94.
Quality is notably better on Grandpa's Winchester & it'd be pretty much the last of my guns to go if any ever had to go.

I've worked with two Miroku 86s, a Miroku/Browning BL22, and one Miroku 92.
Quality has been excellent on all.

I have a large loop Miroku 92 here now, have not been able to fire it yet, but it'll be staying on. I also have a large loop Rossi 92 that I do like, but quality is not the same between the two.

At SHOT earlier this year I looked at the new 94s. Can't say how they shoot, but they look very well made.

While I would prefer a Made In USA barrel stamp, the Miroku 92 here now offers the quality & the package that I want, and the Made In Japan I can overlook to get both. :)
Denis

Carl N. Brown
April 8, 2012, 02:28 PM
A Winchester 94 listed in the 1897 Sears & Roebuck catalog for $13. Adjusted for inflation, that $363. That is for a working class .30 WCF 1894 rifle. That $1200 94 had better be a real humdinger of presentation piece.

bhk
April 8, 2012, 03:27 PM
Some consider the lever action dead, but they live fine at my place. I love my scoped bolt guns for sitting on my butt in my deer stand and shooting deer at long distances, but nothing beat a peep-sighted lever action for carrying through the woods. Your hand wraps around the receiver with no scope interference, and the handling is superb! My 1894 is a pre-64 and I really enjoy the gun. I also have a Browning made copy of the Winchester 53 in 32-20 (made by Miroku) that is better made than my pre-64 94. I enjoy shooting that 32-20 more than any other firearm I own.

If levers were truly dead, you would not see the new Winchesters introduced, as well as levers made by Rossi, Henry, Marlin, Mossberg, and a zillion Italian clones being made. They wouldn't make them if they weren't selling.

BTW, in my opinion, if you scope a lever gun you might as well get a bolt gun because by doing so you immediately loose the one-hand carry advantage (with thumb over the receiver).

rocklock
April 8, 2012, 03:55 PM
I work at a gun shop that is a stocking Browning dealer, and we always have a few new 94s in stock. They are very well made to my eye, but we only sell one or two a year because of the price. I haven't heard how well they shoot, but the old ones were never meant to be a target rifle, but more as a hunter, like minute of deer accuracy. My personal preference is for the older guns, because no matter how well the new ones are made, that tang safety on a classic design like this is an abomination, and does turn off some potential buyers who want a 94 just like grandad's. Just my 2 cents.

praharin
April 8, 2012, 07:56 PM
If levers were truly dead, you would not see the new Winchesters introduced, as well as levers made by Rossi, Henry, Marlin, Mossberg, and a zillion Italian clones being made. They wouldn't make them if they weren't selling.

No one said that. Simply that the the Winchester 94, as we fondly remember it, is dead. What's in its place now is a collectors item for the nostalgic firearms enthusiast.

Nothing wrong with that, but it's not for me

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