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'92 Winchester Ammo Tube

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MI2600, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Years ago, I picked up a '92 that had been rebarreled to .256 Win Mag. I don't know what the original caliber was. I never fired it, although I reload .256 for my Marlin 62. Recently, I took it out to clean and check its status.

    When I removed the plug on the end of the cartridge tube and the inner spring, another tube, smaller in diameter than the outer tube, also slid out. I don't remember any inner tubes on any of the other '92s. (Been a while.)

    Did Winchester put these inner tubes in the smaller 25 and 32 WCFs and use a "standard size" outer tube on all their rifles? Or, is this the invention of whoever changed the barrel?
     
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  2. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    No one knows about '92 Winchesters?
     
  3. forward observer

    forward observer Member

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    I had a much longer answer originally, but I re-edited it to make it much simpler.

    edited version

    First of all to the best of my knowledge, Winchester never used tube inserts for smaller calibers.

    According to the volume on the models 1886/1892 out of "For Collectors Only" series on Winchester lever guns by Arthur Pirkle, Winchester only used two diameters of magazine tubes for the Model 1892. A large tube with a OD of 41/64 in and ID of 37/64 in., which was used for both the 44-40 and 38-40 and a smaller tube with O/D of 17/32 in. and an ID of 15/32 in. used for the 32-20 and 25-20. These tubes were made from 1/32 in thick flat sheet steel and formed around a mandrel. Thus--all the older Winchester tube magazines have a seam that is always oriented up so it is hidden by the barrel. Modern replacement tubes are extruded and have no seam, which makes them stronger and less prone to dents or damage from hard knocks.

    However some people try to find old undamaged seamed tubes for replacement to keep them authentic. If your exterior tube has no seam then it is a modern replacement.

    Your .257 mag cartridge brass is about 3/100 of an inch larger in diameter than the 25-20, so it should have worked in the smaller diameter tube, but as you said you don't know what the original caliber was.

    Regardless, I have heard of inserts used to make smaller diameter ammo stay straight in the tubes to improve feeding. Additionally, if your rifle originally used the larger of the two size tubes, the person doing the conversion most likely would have kept the larger tube and added the insert to make it work. Changing the mag tube out to a smaller diameter would create more issues in that now one would also have to change out the front magazine hanger ring, the fitted forearm cap and possibly even the forearm to fit the new size mag tube.

    I hope that's clear enough and helps a bit
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 11:53 PM
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  4. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Excellent!! Thank you for the wealth of information. My '92 is a carbine. Tomorrow, I have some measuring to do.
     
  5. forward observer

    forward observer Member

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    I should have asked if it was a rifle or carbine because there is an odd difference between how the two large calibers and the two smaller calibers were handled that only applies to the carbines.

    If the original carbine was one of the two larger calibers then using the original tube with an insert also solves the issues with the barrel bands on the carbines. The forestock on a carbine is drilled for the mag tube to fit snugly so there is no rattle and they only made one size forward carbine band to fit the larger tube. One of the oddities of the early Winchester pistol caliber carbine lever guns is that on their two largest caliber versions,i.e., the 44 and 38 WCF, they used both a forward and rear carbine style bands while on the smaller calibers--32 and 25 WCF they instead substituted the rifle style mag hanger for the front attachment while retaining the rear carbine style band. In other words, they only used rifle style front magazine hangers on the M92 carbines for the two smallest calibers. Winchester also did this weird rifle/carbine hanger combo on the 32 WCF for the model 1873. The M73 was never offered in 25 WCF, but was only introduced with the M92.

    I think that I read a reason for this exception at some point and I seem to remember it had something to do with the fact that they felt the rifle style mag hanger contributed to better barrel accuracy, but that when used in conjunction with the carbine rear band, would be susceptible to come loose with the more powerful larger calibers. Don't quote me on that because I have been unable to find what I read that in. The Pirkle book mentions this rifle/carbine anomaly, but it does not give a reason.

    Basically, most of what I originally described for the magazine diameters holds true whether the gun is a rifle or carbine configuration.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 3:09 AM
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  6. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Forward, thanks again.
     
  7. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Update. I don't know what condition the rifle was in before the barrel change, but the original rifle was built in 1892 per the serial #. I just hope the gunsmith had a really good reason for the change.
     
  8. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    The outer tube is definitely from a large 38/44 WCF caliber rifle. The inner tube measures to be from a small caliber. Both tubes are seamless, so neither are from the original rifle.
     
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