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Need Model 94 education

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by djgaloot, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. djgaloot

    djgaloot Oregon City Member

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    I am considering a Winchester Model 94 in 30-30 as my first lever action. I have been doing some reading and just wanted some more input. My desire for this particular rifle is more to have a fun, classic rifle to shoot for fun and enjoyment. I may go deer hunting in the future but I have a nice bolt action rifle for that. I would primarily use it under 100 yards in the woods and the gravel pit/range. My thought is to look for a high quality, pre-64 carbine; one that is lighter and quick to target. Do any of you more experienced Winchester guys have any advice on which years, features, etc and what to look for or stay away from? I want a quality rifle that has been well cared for but also used. I have seen prices from $400 to $1000+ but it seems $500-600 can buy a nice one. Is this a reasonable current price? Is it anything other than condition that drives the price to $1000 and north?
    Thanks for any insights.
    Dave
     
  2. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Howdy DJ,

    I commend you for your preliminary research. At $500-600, you can get probably a near-perfect pre-64 carbine if you look around for awhile. If you do your looking at the gun shows, expand your search to include those priced a bit higher, then show your cash when you find the one you like. More likely than not, your cash will leave your hand, and you'll have a fine gun. Hint: 1958 or later had the receiver drilled on the left side for a peep sight. If you like accuracy, a nice Williams FP or 5D (of the period) will make your '94 shoot better, and come to sight picture faster than the buckhorns (that you will carefully store away).

    Another option would be to look for a '94 rifle (not carbine) that shows more exterior wear (thus, not thirsted after by a collector so much), but has a good bore. You might realize a bit more accuracy. 5-600 dollars may or may not get you a good shooter in the rifle version (rarer than the carbine).

    You seem set on the Winchester '94, and a good pre-64 will almost certainly always be worth what you paid for it if you shop. However, if I were looking for my first lever .30-30, for the purposes of shooting (and shooting accurately), I much prefer the Marlin 336. Much more economical to find a really nice one made in the 50's or 60's (but you better hurry--the old Marlin plant was recently shut down--collectors are circling like sharks). They also, in my experience, ALWAYS shoot more accurately than a '94. And if you ever feel the urge, it is a much better gun for a scope. They are also almost without exception drilled for a receiver peep.

    The Winchester for the "old west classic" feel, and increasing investment value. The Marlin for the "eastern woods deer rifle classic" feel, accurate shooting, ease of sight equipment improvement (and a near-mint old 336 will very soon be skyrocketing in value, if not already). Yes, the standard 336 is heavier than the '94 carbine, but versions like the "Texan", etc. are right there with the Winchester for weight.

    I'm not trying to sway you to the Marlin. Again, you have done your homework and seem set on the '94, and for your purposes it may be the very best choice. Good luck on your search! (No, my '94's and the ol' 1950 336 are not for sale: the 336 outshoots some fat-barreled varmint guns I own.)
     
  3. djgaloot

    djgaloot Oregon City Member

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    Spitpatch.
    Thank you for your comments. This is just the sort of expert insight I was looking for. I am not necessarily stuck on a '94 and will certainly give the 336 a look. My eyes are at that stage where I "should" wear glasses for both near and far and scopes seem to be easier for me to use than sights. I wanted to try and get good at using sights though.
     
  4. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    Let me start out by saying, I'm a big fan of the 30-30 lever guns. I have a couple pre 64 Winchester 94s, a few post 64 Winchester 94s, a couple of Marlin 39s, a Glenfield 30A, & a Marlin 336. I love all of them, but for different reasons. My pre & post 64 Winchesters are for my collection, & the Marlins/Glenfields are for Killing.

    I took my newly acquired 336 to the range for the first time yesterday. I can honestly say, it will out shoot my other 30-30s (the ones I have fired).

    If you have your heart set on a pre 64, I can't blame you! I just "HAD TO" have a couple my self, just don't overlook the "underrated" Marlins.
     
  5. djgaloot

    djgaloot Oregon City Member

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    Thanks Izzy. That is +2 for Marlins. I will definitely check them out. Maybe I need one of each :)
     
  6. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    Now your talking!:thumbup:
     
  7. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well I grew up hunting with a Winchester model 94 30-30 c(1956ish) and a model 71 .348 And when it came time to buy a hunting rifle for the wife we got her a really nice Marlin 336C with the microgroove barrel and the ability to mount a simple 4X scope. The advantage of the Marlin is that the more modern ones are just as good as the older ones. Not that a post 1964 Winchester model 94 isn't a good rifle. They are. In fact I want a 1966 Winchester Centenial Rifle really bad,
     
  8. SheepDog223

    SheepDog223 Salem Well-Known Member

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    There are the rossi lever guns too. If your just short plinking you might want to save on ammo and shoot the Rossi .38/357. It looks just like a 30-30. They make a cool mares leg lever gun too but it's a "pistol".