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Winchester Model 94 sloppy rough action question

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Phillyfan, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So I have a pair of commemorative Winchester 94's. One is a Centennial '66, the other a Teddy Roosevelt 1967. Unfired, have the boxes, all the collector BS, but realistically they are never going to be worth much. I think I have just decided to make really cool deer guns out of them. Problem is that the action on both have always felt sloppy and knuckle buster rough to me, not smooth at all. I was going to take them in and have some work done to smooth them out, but after reading a few articles it seems that this is kind of the way they were made and that the only thing that really works is to shoot them and through use they smooth out over time. I have never owned a 94 and was wondering if that has been the experience that some of you have had. I have owned other guns that were that way, Kahr PM40 to name one. That thing was not a great gun until I put a few hundred rounds through it and then it was great. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    They do smooth out over time, but a long time and allot of shooting. Its pretty easy to go in and smooth things out and slick up the action to work smoooth. I swear the commenorative ones are the roughest feeling, I think because they figured most people were just going to look at them.

    Quit a few things inside and can been honed a little and polished.
     
  3. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Rough to one feller just might be smooth as silk to another. The Model 94 was sloppy from birth. Huge tolerances is what makes them always work. Also, the years of your guns are considered the worst ever made. I wont echo that, as any of that era that I've ever shot worked exactly like they were supposed to.

    So again, it's difficult over the internet to diagnose if your guns are okay or not. We live pretty close. Do you want me to take a little peek at them?

    See ya.

    WAYNO.
     
  4. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You know, I have always wondered about that. The fact that as they were being made the guys figured they were trophies more than anything and would never be shot so they didn't pay as much attention to the parts that don't show. I mean the triggers just dangle loosely, the levers have a little play side to side, I just don't know if that is how they normally were or if that is how the commemoratives came out.

    I have always been a huge fan of the marlin levers, and when I work those actions it is a completely different feel. Smooth with little wiggle. Had a couple Browning BL-22's also and their action was way smoother and tighter.

    Just don't know if these just suck, or if that is how they are supposed to be until you work them in.
     
  5. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Might have to hit you up on that, Wayno. Need some perspective before I shell out the cash.
     
  6. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    So the 94 is the AK of the 30/30 world? That would make sense. The people who needed them needed something rugged and tough. Something that would always go bang when they needed it to, regardless of the harsh environment and handling.
     
  7. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Lived through those years and witnessed the decline in quality of the post-64 Winchesters. Yes the levers made after '64 were a bit looser from side to side and the triggers had more of a dangle to em as opposed to the more solid feel of the pre-64 rifles. It was all very depressing in the day to see the decline in quality of the levers and of the bolt actions as well. That being said, the post-64 levers still carry and shoot fine. I had heard horror stories about how they were going to fall apart because they were made cheaper, but we never saw it. We did see the blue/black finish flake off easily and we did think that they were a bit more noisy to handle. But in experienced hands they killed deer. I bought my yet unborn son a pre-64 back in the day and presented it to him on his 10th birthday. He still has it today and is thankful to have an earlier one. If you appreciate a quality rifle, then I wouldn't hunt your rifles but would sell em and pick up a pre-64 in nice condition. I smile every time I carry mine.
     
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  8. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I own a 1925 Saddle ring Carbine. Arguably one of the best quality model 94's it has been used over the years but is still in outstanding mechanical condition (It was refinished in the 60's and looks like a 20 year old gun that was babied)

    I own a 1967 Buffalo Bill Commemorative Rifle supposedly one of the lessor made model 94's

    The difference between the two's action and feel is not worth mentioning. Both have slightly loose actions both have slightly droopy levers (they are supposed to droop) And both shoot excellent.

    As to your Centennial '66 value you don't mention rifle or carbine but checking auctions on Gun Broker they run about $700-800 if truly as NIB

    The Teddy Roosevelt runs a little less $600-700 if truly as NIB

    I have seen the box and paper work from the 66 go for $150-200.00 on auction if in super nice condition.
     
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  9. stavros4570

    stavros4570 eugene,or. Member

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    Here's what I did with my 94 trapper in 45 colt. Applied slick50 grease to all moving parts. Sat in front of the tv screen and watched a couple of movies, while working the lever. After 3000 plus cycles of the lever she was as smooth as a baby's butt!! Removed the grease, then light gun oil, done! Hope this helps.
     
  10. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Were you pulling the trigger each time or just working the action back and forth?
     
  11. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Interesting. Just found this Chuck Hawks article that says the receiver and forend cap were plated with 24 carat gold inside and out so that the action would look pretty open or closed. I always assumed it was brass or something else. The buttplate is brass, and I was planning on having it redone because it is tarnished. The whole point of the gold and brass was to recreate the look of the original "yellow boy" for the 100th anniversary of the companies existence. Never knew that. Wonder what firing a gun with an interior plated with gold will look like after a while. Could be ugly.

    Of the two, I think I like the Centennial for a shooter because of the extra round capacity (8 rounds). It is heavy, though. Has the heavy octagonal barrel. Weighs 8lbs. I think that 26 inch barrel coupled with some leverevolution ammo could be a really great deer gun. Scoping options kind of suck though. It's either go with an offset scope mount, because of the top eject action, or go scout with it. Probably will go scout. I've bounced around the idea for quite a while and even posted getting opinions a while back.

    Rifle Review: Winchester Centennial '66 (Win. '66)
     
  12. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My 26" Buffalo Bill has a MVA combination front sight, A MVA bubble level in the rear dovetail, and a Williams FP-94/36 TK peep sight on the receiver. With the 29" sight radius it is amazingly accurate.

    Also keep in mind you can use any bullet in a tube magazine 30-30 if you load one round into the chamber then another into the magazine. A 2 shot if you will.

    The rifles are drilled for the peep sight by the factory (the two screws about 1/2" apart on the back rear of the left side of the receiver)


    BuffaloBillsideleftsideview_zps3fa8dc5d.jpg BuffaloBillfrontsiteview_zpse2e493e7.jpg BuffaloBillbubbleview_zpsef15b1e3.jpg BuffaloBillpeepsiteview_zps68a117d1.jpg
     
  13. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The Post-64 '94's were certainly not the best of the run, but let us not forget, Gentlemen, that Winchester had a genuine quality overhaul in 1972. The '94 was strengthened and tightened, and lockup floorplate re-machined. GOOD GUNS! If you want a true and tight accurate quality '94 of modern vintage that is where to look.

    They sadly, did not stay that way.
     
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  14. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well, as some of you advised, I just took that Centennial with me to the couch, told the family to turn up the tv if it bothered them and slowly worked that action back and forth for a while. Couple things started to happen. One, I don't know if the action smoothed, or I just got used to it. The second is more important. I originally bought these as a half baked investment when I first started getting into guns. Didn't take long for me to discover that this was not a great investment (clue to new comers, stay away from commemoratives). But the more I handled that gun that was never supposed to be handled, I noticed that it kind of felt, right. Before I started "playing" with it, it always felt awkward to me. Grips to skinny (again I love Marlins), so much play, sloppy started to turn to quirky, as quirky started to turn to comfy. I got to being able to tell where each click would come, and began to find out what each click meant in the order of operations of the mechanism of the action (I'm an engineer and former Air Force Crew Chief so you can imagine how this plucked at my heart strings).

    And so as I started to work this gun that was probably never meant to be worked, I started to really understand the love for the model (my only real appreciation before was history and value). The more I played with it, the more I got it. The thing points naturally, and quick. It is skinny, but that makes it easier to carry. And once I started walking around with it I noticed how easily it fits when held just in front of the receiver.

    Crazy. I am a gun fan. I've always loved the 94 for it's historical value, but only now, after having the thing in my safe for three years, have I begun to really get why the damned thing was so great.

    Humbling.
     
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  15. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The 94 is a rifle that I'd never be without. Relatively compact, easy to operate, and with most of the modern chamberings, very respectable in power. They can also be very accurate.

    WAYNO.
     
  16. TwinStick

    TwinStick In the wind Active Member

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    I bought my Centennial '66 a few years ago, unfired in original box, but without the collectors cardboard wrap around the box (you know the one with the art on it). I also noticed the action was rough when it was new to me. I have now fired a few hundred rounds through it and even used it for deer this year. The action is smooth now and it's really accurate for such an old design and such a disliked era of Win 94's. I love the gold plating, it makes it really easy to clean. All lin all, great rifle, not worth collecting but fun to use!
     
  17. Backfire

    Backfire Tualatin, OR Active Member

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    The Winchester Model 1894 action can be smoothed by polishing the metal-to-metal contact surfaces, and this was not expensive in the past…but I seem to be in a state of chronic "sticker shock" whenever I bring my rifles in for service these days. I'm on my second M94, and mine looks a bit battered but I seem to reach for it regularly and enjoy shooting and handloading for it. A friend's Model 94 is very slick and I asked him about it; he replied that it was "nothin' a little valve-grinding compound couldn't fix." Mine was manufactured in 1979 and, over time, cycling the action seems to have smoothed mine noticeably, and I'll probably turn it over to my son when I am too old to cut the mustard…but that'll be a while. I have a 20-inch barrel, a Williams aperture sight and a blade front sight on it, a combination that serves me well, but Mark W's rifle (above) is a handsome piece of equipment and I may have to consider a 24-inch octagon barrel with a front sight like that!
     
  18. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Ok, so now I love the damned thing. What I am thinking now is peep sight set up on in the original holes drilled for it, and a scout scope set up with see through mounts so I can still use the open sights. Or just one or the other. Keep going back and forth on it.

    How far out are peeps really good for? For targets, I'll play as far out as I can see, but I don't mess around when shooting at an animal. Cannot stand the thought of causing more suffering than is necessary. That in mind maybe I need to really decide what this gun will be used for. I already have a proven hunting rifle that shoots sub-moa. Is it ethical to take this out just because it's cool and I want to take an animal with it? Even if I question accuracy?

    Fun side says go with the peeps, the good guy on my shoulder says get a scope.
     
  19. Backfire

    Backfire Tualatin, OR Active Member

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    My shooting with the Winchester Model 94 and my Marlin 1894 lever actions (both equipped with aperture or peep sights) is normally conducted from 25 to 75 yards due to the terrain and vegetation where I use them (dense sagebrush). In terrain like that, the prone and sitting positions are out of the question, so the firearm of choice has to carry easily and point naturally.
    I've taken shots with my .30-30 at 100+ yards, primarily to discourage or eliminate pests, and I rely on other (scoped) rifles for small game and precision shooting. My lever actions are utility carbines, and they serve well. I will tell you, my win M94 groups gratifyingly well. I won't scope it because it would affect handling; I like it just the way it is!

    I should add, I also use a receiver sight on one of my .30-'06 rifles and that one groups well at 200 and 300 yards. A receiver sight will definitely deliver if your sight alignment/sight picture is consistent. You can "adjust" the speed of sight acquisition by using smaller or larger diameter holes in the sight disk, and a variety of diameters are available.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  20. mattg521

    mattg521 portland.,or Member

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    Go peep. As Backfire says the scope will affect the handling. If you need to reach out while hunting then use your proven scoped gun. Use this one for brush hunting and utility carry. I really enjoy carrying my 94 even without any intent to hunt. Seems to me that hunting will be a different experience if you feel compelled to take all shots from inside 100 yards. More hunting less shooting.