Old School: Winchester 94 Issue


July 29, 2013, 10:48 AM
I have a 1971 Winchester Model 94, caliber .44 Magnum. I am having an issue with this gun that I cannot figure out.

When I insert a cartridge in the loading gate and push the cartridge all the way in, when the gate closed the cartridge will slide back well past the front of the gate and then the gate cannot be opened to insert another cartridge. The only way to load multiple cartridges is to leave the end pf the previous cartridge out a bit so that it holds the gate open.

I know that a "finger" on the bottom edge of the lever is supposed to hold the cartridge in the correct position when it is inserted but this is not happening with my rifle. I have removed and inspected the lever and it shows no wear or anomalies that I can see from original specifications that would cause this problem.

Could this be caused by a problem with the magazine tube or some other misalignment that I am not aware of?

An inspection of the internal parts just does not indicate much wear at all. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cal in TX

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July 29, 2013, 11:33 AM
My Browning 92 in 44 Mag does the same thing. I think that is way it was designed to work. I got the rifle in a trade without an owner's manual, I may be wrong.

July 29, 2013, 12:02 PM
The cartridge is supposed to slide back under the loading gate when released.

But it should be pushed back forward when you push the loading gate back down to insert another round.

It's easier to leave the rim of one cartridge holding the gate open when inserting the next cartridge.

But if you don't, pushing in on the loading gate sould push the cartriges back in the mag so you can load another one.

Are you pushing??

See page 17-18 of the owners manual.


July 29, 2013, 12:31 PM
I have 1 older 1958 model in 30-30 that does the same thing. None others I've ever owned. It is possible to fully load the mag by leaving the previous round on the loading gate and only pushing the last round all the way in. Once loaded it is impossible to top off the magazine. For me, and the way I use my older gun, (occasional use only), it is an issue I can live with.

But there is a worn part that can be relpaced and correct the problem. On a gun I actually used a lot it would be worth fixing.

July 29, 2013, 02:17 PM
I understand that the cartridge is supposed to slide back a short distance under the loading gate and that the ramp on the inner side of the loading gate is supposed to work against the rim of the cartridge in order to force the cartridge forward when the loading gate is pushed inward. However, my cartridges are sliding much farther rearward than they are supposed to, to the degree that the cartridge rim is well past the ramp on the loading gate and the gate is pushing against the side if the cartridge.

Somewhere in the action there is a stop that is supposed to hold the cartridge in the correct position relative to the loading gate. That is not happening with my rifle.

Cal in TX

July 29, 2013, 03:17 PM
There's a little lip that keeps them in the magazine once loaded, so maybe that isn't engaging?

Vern Humphrey
July 29, 2013, 04:58 PM
I have 1 older 1958 model in 30-30 that does the same thing.
I have a Model 94 I bought in 1964 that has the same problem. I'm glad to see the problem isn't caused by the 1963 redesign.

Jim K
July 29, 2013, 09:04 PM
Are you guys sure you have the lever fully closed when loading the magazine? You can't load that rifle with the action open.


July 29, 2013, 11:21 PM
If you take a look at the attached illustration I think you can see what I am trying to explain.

As the action is closed the next cartridge in the magazine is released by the red finger on the front end of the link and it slides rearward until it comes to rest against the protrusion on the lever - as indicated in the red circle.

In my gun the cartridge is not coming to rest against the lever protrusion but is instead sliding beyond that point so that it is too far back for the loading gate to force forward when it is depressed.

I hope this helps illustrate the issue.

Cal in TX

July 30, 2013, 04:16 PM
Are the cartridge guides in place?

Jim K
July 30, 2013, 05:02 PM
Hi, Cal,

Yep, that is the way it should work. The lever holds the cartridge in that position until it is lowered, when the front of the lever tips up and the cartridge is free to come back onto the carrier. The only thing I can think of is that the lever is bent or the carrier is not right some way. Those parts look pretty sturdy, but they can be bent fairly easily. Did you buy the gun new? If not, a previous owner might have gotten things messed up, then traded the gun.


July 30, 2013, 09:24 PM

The Win 94 in .357 actually used a separate cartridge stop.

I don't know if the .44 Mag version did or not.

At any rate, problems crop up when a manufacture tries to make a pistol length Model 92 out of a 30-30 length 94 action.

If yours actually uses the end of the lever as the cartridge stop?

Look for a bent or worn lever.

The lever finger-loop should lay flat & parallel against the lower receiver tang when the action is closed.

If it doesn't, the lever is bent, which is preventing the other end from getting in front of the case rim to stop it.


July 30, 2013, 11:45 PM
It's been pretty well covered, the lever holds the cartridge in place with the action closed. What generally happens with the 30-30's is the loading gate has rough spots on it that hang up on the cartridge rim. When they work correctly, it isn't the slightest problem to load more rounds into the magazine. I never leave a rim hanging out while loading, there's no reason to when the gun functions correctly, and the shells can try to jump back out the gate when leaving them partly in. I've had it happen several times before I stopped doing it.

They can generally be polished on the back side of the loading gate and improve function. The beveled edge on the front end of the back, and the rib on the back are the areas of interest. They can be seen in the pic as the shiny places with the blue polished off. ( I mentioned polishing, not filing) I use a triangular ceramic stone, or 320 then 400 grit wet or dry paper wrapped around a rod can be used. Getting the rough spots off and edges rounded off gently is the idea, not doing a major remodel project on your gate.


Be careful reinstalling the gate, be sure you dont get the screw cross threaded.

If polishing the gate doesn't help, check your carrier(lifter). If it's stamped, it may be bent slightly, creating more clearance under the lever and allowing the round to move farther back when the lever should be holding the rim forward.

July 31, 2013, 11:30 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I think that I have determined that the lifter in my rifle is slightly bent and this is allowing the round to slip beneath the catch notch on the lever.

I have a new lifter on the way. I will post the results of the swap-out.

Thanks again to all for replying. This is a great forum for honest and useful advice and information.

Cal in TX

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