Did Winchester give up the ghost too soon?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Grey54956, Sep 27, 2007.

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Should Winchester be making lever guns in significant quanitities again?

  1. Yes. Make lever guns a'plenty.

    75 vote(s)
    70.1%
  2. No. There's really no need.

    23 vote(s)
    21.5%
  3. Lever guns? Do those has "the switch"?

    9 vote(s)
    8.4%
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  1. Grey54956

    Grey54956 Member

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    Just a point of curiosity. Did Winchester give up the ghost on its lever actions too soon? With the advent of LEVERevolution ammunition, the tube fed magazine lever action rifle seems to be posed for a possible comeback. Why aren't Winchester 94 rifles coming back?
     
  2. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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  3. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    It is my understanding that Winchester was locked into a union contract that forced them to make specific firearms at a specific plant, with union labor. They were losing money, and couldn't get the union to change the contract. So they stopped producing those firearms, and when the contract expires they will be produced again -- probably in a southern state.
     
  4. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    I think Vern Nailed it....

    Production of model 1300 pump shotguns, model 94 levers & model 70 bolt guns were all locked up by contract with the union to be build in New Haven.

    My guess is that Browning will bring back all three (though be it under different names) when these legal restrictions expire.

    Lot's of people have posted bemoaning the quality of what's come out of the New Haven plant for years and I myself sent back a NIB 1300 with a cock-eyed vent rib (soldered on crooked).

    From the articles I've read, it sounds like Browning (owner of the Winchester name for firearms) spent a lot of money trying to keep the New Haven plant open and it all turned out to be good money flushed. They never turned a profit and closed the plant about 15 months ago.
     
  5. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Unions seem to have a great talent for killing the goose that laid the golden egg -- as well as supporting anti-gun politicians.
     
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    There's something intrinsically repulsive about a Miroku-built Winchester lever gun. Putting John Wayne's face on it is downright offensive.

    Now an American-made John Wayne Garand would be a different story. Here's the Duke, gettin' ready to shoot some more Japs.:p
    duke9.jpg

    The 94 is not known for feeding pistol calibers well. That makes sense, of course, since it was essentially the 1892 modified for use with the then-new .30-30.

    If Winchester had been serious about selling lever guns, they would have done well to bring back the 1892 for CAS, but instead, they left that to the Italians who are getting beaucoup bucks for replicas of all the historic Winchesters. Gorgeous replicas, sure, but the CAS American History vibe would have given Winchester an edge that would have won them market share.

    But yes, they did give up the ghost too soon, what with Hornady's new ammo. Of course, they would have had to make sure their rifles were up to the task. 300 yards exposes accuracy issues that are unimportant at 100.

    Marlin makes several different lines of lever guns to fit different classes of rounds, and they continue to sell quite well -- it's hard to even get some of them. Why not Winchester? Seems to me they weren't a serious company for a long time.

    I'd like one of their Select 101's, but if they called it a Browning or FN, I'd be fine with that, too. "Winchester" has no meaning outside the history books any more.:(
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The Model 1892 is a scaled-down version of the Model 1886, with its side-locking bolt. The Model 1894 is a new design, with a rear-locking bolt. It was originally brought out in .38-55 caliber, and the .30 WCF (.30-30) cartridge was introduced the next year, in 1895.
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Exploded views here: http://www.rarewinchesters.com/models.shtml

    Different yes, but with as much in common as a Marlin round-bolt and a Marlin square-bolt gun have.

    But no matter. To boost sales, Winchester should have resurrected the 1892 when CAS got big enough. Opportunity thrown away. Marlin, OTOH, jumped on it. Now if they'd only resurrect the 39M, or maybe the 39M Octagon as the 39 Cowboy... But that's just something I'd like to see. .22 is no good for CAS.

    The thing is, a Marlin 336 is a much better design for a scope than the 94, and a 250+ yard .30-30 does need a scope to reach its full potential.

    It doesn't seem like Winchester has had the ability to design new guns for a few decades now.

    The 94 really shines when you want a sleek, light gun for heavy brush. For that, a 92 beefed up to .44 Magnum (or .454 -- if Rossi can do it, surely Winchester could) would have been a wonderful thing!
     
  9. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    I can see them building more rifles whent he Union contract expires- and more than likely higher quality ones. If I were in the market for a lever rifle, I would prefer a Marlin anyhow. I had an older win 94, and got rid of it- wasn't all that impressed with it.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Not quite. Take a look at the bolts and locking lugs, parts 26 and 40i n the M92. The M94 has a new locking system, with a single rear locking lug.
     
  11. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

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    Around 1964, Winchester managed to ruin everything good it had going for it. They basically got rid of the Model 12 (though it remained kind of a "custom shop" gun for several years afterward), they "cheapened" the Model 70 (the Remington 700 BDL came out around 1962 and promptly took away a good part of Winchesters bolt action biz), and frankly, the Marlin 336 was always a better/stronger gun than the Model 94 (bring on the flames!) and the "cheapening" of this model turned the 336/94 war in Marlin's favor.

    Also consider that Winchester never really had a successful competitor against the Remington 1100 (the Super X1 was a good gun but never came close to the 1100 in sales), and the fact people who should have been buying Model 12's started buying Rem 870's (and people started buying Mossberg 500's rather than spending an extra $50-$100 for a Win 1300).

    Add an expensive union contract and poor marketing and guess what happens???

    Japanese labor is not any cheaper than American labor these days (if you factor out greedy unions). There's a reason why many Japanese auto companies are making cars in the US these days (notably in Southern "right to work" states). I don't begrudge a guy making a good living, but some of the labor unions have gotten completely out of hand when it comes to their demands.

    I think Winchester could easily make a go of it here in the US if they moved manufacturing to a Southern state (or perhaps Utah/Montana). They need to concentrate less on the 94 and more on the 92 (the 92 appeals more to the shooter/collector crowd who are willing to spend more than the 94's "hunter" crowd). Consider re-re-introducing the Model 12 (if Browning can make a gun as nice as the BPS and sell it for less than $500, there's no reason why a Model 12 coudn't sell for less than $700-$800). As for the Model 70, I liked the looks and features of the last ones they were making. They had beautiful walnut and controlled feed and largely made up for the mistakes of the ones they made in the 60's/70's/80's.
     
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Winchester died a long time ago, when USRAC took over in the early 80's. I never cared much for their products. Some of the worst lemons I've ever owned were made by them. Their entire line had become a mix of shoddy "fun gunz" based on the '94 platform and overpriced fancy editions. The simple, sturdy '92's and '94's that made the company were nowhere to be found. Though I wish someone would revive them, even under a different company name. The Puma '92's are OK, and could be great with a little tweaking. The '94 is now apparently an orphan.
     
  13. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    If my experience with them is any indication there is no need for Anybody to produce firearms under the Winchester name again.
    The only Winchester's worth anything were made before 1964 and no amount of wishing will change that. If I want to pay the price to find a pre 64 winnie I will do so. but then I am not willing to spend that kind of money on a product that is really only a Nostalgia Piece anyway. I buy guns to use and with the price of pre 64 Winchesters I would have to make it a safe queen.
    FWIW I agree the Marlin Levers are superior in many ways to the Winchester Levers and see no need to buy a Winnie or for them to produce a gun I know is inferior to the other options available.
     
  14. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    AFAIK Browning doesn't make the BPS, or anything else.

    Miroku makes most "Brownings."

    I noticed that, too. But they disappeared before I could buy one. I wanted to buy a Featherweight, right around the time that they folded and sent prices into the silly realm for a gun I'd take into the dirt. Bummer.

    Vern, I'm not saying the locking system isn't different. There's more to the design as a whole than the locking system, and both guns could easily have been produced, just as Marlin produces four lines of lever guns now, with some similarities and some differences, some shared parts and some unshared.:) My point is just that Marlin has been serious about making and selling lever guns, and they do quite well; Winchester's failure was not due to there being no market for the things.
     
  15. JesseL

    JesseL Member

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    It seems like Winchester went teats up right when people were really starting to itch for a few products they could have made.

    Who wouldn't love to see affordable leverguns in 460 & 500 S&W Magnum? How about a little 32 H&R Mag for the CAS crowd? I was also seeing a building interest in the Model 70 'classic' line, especially if they could do it cheaper than Kimber.
     
  16. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

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    Yes, Miroku makes the BPS. But not only does Miroku make a profit on them, Browning makes a profit on them, too. (I don't know if Browning/Herstal owns Miroku or not, if not then they are acting as an importer/middleman.) If this is the case (Browning/FN Herstal does not own Miroku), then that makes the BPS seem like even more of a deal, seeing as how two comapnies, rather than one, are making a profit. Either way, the BPS is a very nice gun (no, I don't own one)with great fit/finish/materials for the money. I realize that Browning doesn't actually "make" anything. Their Buckmarks are made by some other company in Utah, Miroku makes some of their other guns, and numerous models are made over in Europe by FN and others. I hope Winchester will actually "make" guns again, and not just be a name that gets stamped on guns that Herstal decides to import.
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    My point is that the Model 94 was designed as a new rifle, not a scaled-up Model 92 or a scaled down Model 86.
     
  18. rr2241tx

    rr2241tx Member

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    Basically Winchester never really made money on their rifles with the possible exception of the WWI production of the P14 & Model 1917. A succession of owners all tried and failed to run the business profitably. John Browning's genius couldn't save them from themselves. I have two Model 70s that are among the best hunting rifles I've ever owned. They are definitely the exceptions. The lever actions I've had over the years in .30WCF, 38-55, 45 Colt, 357 Mag were all basically noisemakers with a 50 yard practical range. Whether the union broke the camel's back or not, it was price out of relation to quality that really was the issue over the years. There were some good years though and those guns are as good as any ever made for the popular market. rr2241tx
     
  19. kludge

    kludge Member

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    Isn't it ironic that Browning now makes Winchesters?
     
  20. littlegator

    littlegator Member

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    Mine is a Winchester 94-32 in .32 w.s. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2007
  21. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The .30 WCF (the .30-30) was the very first smokeless powder sporting cartridge. The .32 Winchester Special was brought out a bit later to provide an alternative cartridge that could be reloaded with black powder -- since the smokeless powder of the day was considered a bit too much for the average reloader to figure out.
     
  22. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    I've never been a fan of the model 94, but I would like to see them reintroduce the 92 in .44mag. That's the slickest lever I've ever handled, bar none.
     
  23. KaceCoyote

    KaceCoyote Member

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    I miss the 16" .357 carbine
     
  24. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    I'm pretty sure Miroku is a CM (contract manufacturer) for Browning.

    This implies that Browning designs the firearms, specifies all the manufacturing parameters and tolerances (often a collaborative process) and probably owns the unique tooling.

    Browning wanted quality and they went to one of the best places possible to get it.

    Japan is not the source of cheap labor, loosey goosey industry regulation with an exploited "serf" class and corrupt government that will scratch the industry bosses backs for a price.

    That's China. And Indonesia, and Malaysia, and the Philippines, and Bangladesh, and India, etc....

    MacArthur invited Walter Deming to help re-build Japanese industry and he went, because no one would listen to him in the post-war U.S. Hence the birth of statistical process control, which the Japanese seized upon with incredible zeal.

    Funny that the highest quality award in Japan is named after an American.
     
  25. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    I voted no on the poll.

    Here's the deal according to me: Winchester had their day. They earned a place in history. They made good products at one time, and that attracted the catalysts that came along and ruined their good name. Let Winchester rest in peace.

    Marlin makes a good levergun, and so do others.

    Look around and find what a modern day winchester counterpart would be. Buy that company's product and help them stay in business.

    I respect what Winchester was. And, now the company that was is resting in peace. Anything made now with the name would be a sham.
     
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