Friday, July 28, 2006

Winchester 94

They aren't making these anymore. Sometime earlier this year, the New Haven plant shut down as part of Winchester's cost-saving measures.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a lever action fan. If you do much shooting with me, you'll learn that the old .30-30 cartridge is every bit as useful today as it was when it debuted at the end of the 1800s. It created a lot of stir then as a hunting round, and it still generates campfire conversation today.

I bought another one today. It isn't new. In fact, it is older than my children. The reference website over at Arms Collectors shows this one was made in 1970. I was a junior in High School when this Winchester came out the factory. It has all the stuff I am looking for. It has no safety. It has a half-cock notch. It is tapped for a reciever sight, and it throws the empty brass straight up. It is not designed for scope mounting.

And, it is all beat to hell. This rifle was used, although the bore light tells me the rifling is in good shape. Cycling the empty action shows a little roughness in closing and this weekend I'll take it down and see what the problem is. The wood to metal fit is poor. It looks like someone tried to refinish the stock and failed. The wrist is poorly fitted to the reciever and the steel butt plate shows signs of being poorly refit. It is a beater rifle, yet Winchester ain't making these anymore.

Oh, it is a pickup rifle all right. That wear on the blueing looks like it has been slid in and out of a scabbard hundreds of times. It still sports the original semi-buckhorn sight which I intend to promptly replace with a reciever sight.

If I know Winchesters, this one has probably never been taken apart. There is very little information around on how to properly detail strip a Mod 94. While it isn't difficult, it will leave you scratching your head. Proper screwdrivers are important, as are the proper directions. One of the best I've found so far was written by my buddy, Junior, over at Castbullet. I'm betting that it has never been detailed for a thorough cleaning and that three decades of gunk and grit are hiding in the innards. We'll see soon.

What's something like this worth? The market is weird right now, because no one is making a Model 94. The Winchester plant recently closed and no one else has bought the licensing to produce them. We don't know if the Model 94 will ever again be produced and the market reflects the uncertainty. I'm not sure what it is worth even in the battered condition I found it. Similar rifles on Guns America are going for three times more than I paid for this one, yet these rifles will continue to show up in the pawn shop racks for the forseeable future. We'll have to let the market decide what they are worth.

Just for the record, if you guessed that I paid $200.00 for it, you'd be really high in your estimate.

2 comments: said...

It doesn't matter how hold it is, it's like us, still a sweet piece!

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