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How are the early '80s Winchester 94s?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by .455_Hunter, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    A LGS has a 1981 production 94 SRC in .30-30 for $395. The gun looks unfired, but is missing the saddle ring (no biggie, I dislike them too).

    How are these guns for shooters?

    Are the receivers still the post-64 weird sintered iron in this era?

    Would you buy it?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Yeah, if I didn't already have one, I would. Although I don't know for sure, I think mine is probably an 1982 model. Because I wanted a "top eject" Model 94, I bought mine new the year Winchester changed to the "angle eject," which was in 1983, I think. It was the last new,"top eject" Model 94 the dealer had.
    Anyway, it's a good gun - reliable, 3" or so groups at 100 yards (which is about as good as I can do with open sights) and I've taken a couple of mule deer with it.
    Mine's a 30-30, but my wife has a real nice Model 94, 32 Special. Other than the fact she had the stock shortened, her Model 94 looks identical to mine, It shoots just as well too, and it's just as reliable.:)
     
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    That was about the time when Winchester was bought out by "United States Repeating Arms Company. If it has that or USRAC stamped on the receiver or barrel quality is much improved over older verisions. If not, I wouldn't pay that much. Sometimes that logo is on the buttplate.
     
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  4. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    Yes. They are good by USRAC. I have a 30-30 M94 AE Trapper w/ saddle ring from '87. Beautiful little carbine.
     
  5. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

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    I have a 94 born on 1984. It is an AE . I love it.
     
  6. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Thanks for your responses!

    I will be heading back for a third visit soon.

    The gun is definitely not an AE, but except for the port window, the receiver looks identical to later CNC guns, with the same tooling marks on the rails.

    I am not sure on the markings- will check.
     
  7. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    In some people's estimations, the "bad" Model 94s were the historic and infamous "Pre-64/Post-64, Third Model" rifles, made for about nineteen years (from 1964 to 1983).
     
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  8. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO Member

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    The tooling was wearing, they were doing a lot of Commemorative models to shift volume, and QC was not what it had been. For $395, I would take the risk though.
     
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  9. forward observer

    forward observer Member

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    Here's a link to an on-line blog by a gunsmith who did a long article about the changes to the model 94. He starts with the changes made in 64
    and goes up through the 90's when all the lawyer stuff began to appear. It was 1982 before USRA got rid of the cast sintered steel receivers and went back to the time honored method of using forged and machined receivers due to the advent of CNC machining

    At the end he gives a recap of the serial number ranges and what to look for under the management of USRA.

    http://tincanbandit.blogspot.com/2014/02/winchester-model-94-rifles.html

    I have an XTR model made about 1984 that is as nice as they come. High polish deep blued receiver and premium checkered walnut. The action is very slick for a model 94. It does have a rebounding hammer, but that's it, there no other safety.

    Here it is setting below a regular carbine born in 1915. Of course the 104 year old model shows some wear to the finish and was a standard SRC, but IMHO the USRA model is pretty close to its equal in fit, finish, or quality--not to mention that the USRA has the angle eject features. Thus one can add optics or still go old school with a tang aperture

    b6uuAa2.jpg
     
  10. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    I had a couple of 94 Trappers in 44 mag back in the mid 80's. They were both angle eject. The guns were pretty good overall, accurate and reliable.

    You brought up the sintered iron receivers and while Im not sure just what they made them out of, I did run into an issue there.

    I broke the front sight on one of the rifles and the repair ended up needing a reblue. The front sights were silver soldered on, and the gunsmith didnt think the bluing would match the receiver, and the receiver would not take the bluing, because it was some sort of alloy. Apparently, Winchester used some sort of special finish that allowed the barrels and receivers to match.

    I ended up having the gun parkerized, which really wasnt a bad thing either. That gun ended up being my favorite of the two, even if the other one was the prettiest.
     
  11. Thomas Mayberry

    Thomas Mayberry Member

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    I would be leery of those angle eject models that have the rebounding hammer. A close friend had one that had a high rate of misfires from light firing pin strikes. Mine had the same problem but not as frequently. He took his to two different gunsmiths who were unable to correct it. Research online revealed that this is a fairly frequent though not a universal problem for the models with rebounding hammers.
     
  12. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    I have an angle eject 1894 .30~30 with rebounding hammer that I've never had a problem with ... goes "bang" every time.
     
  13. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    I have one from the 1970s which most feel is the low point in terms of quality. But the gun looks great and functions fine. So I think if it was one of the bad ones any problem would have surfaced by now. If it has gone 45 years without defects appearing I think I am safe at this point.
     
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  14. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I can't imagine why a rebounding hammer would ever be the cause of misfires. There must be other shortcomings (weak mainspring; dirty chamber; defective ammunition, etc.) in play, I would think.
     
  15. Thomas Mayberry

    Thomas Mayberry Member

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    I'm no expert, only going by my experience and research online. As I understand it, as the hammer reaches it's forward travel the spring that serves to create the rebound effect begins to dampen the forward movement of the hammer. As I said this affected both mine and a friends 94 with the rebounding hammer. Guns were in otherwise very good condition.

    If you take the time to do a google search "winchester 94 rebounding hammer misfires", there's plenty of accounts out there.
     
  16. shooter1niner

    shooter1niner Member

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    The sintered steel receivers were tin plated and the tin blued. If you disassembled the rifle and just sent the receiver they would plate and blue for $25.00
     
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