Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Winchester 94

I went to the range today at noon, the temperature a balmy 96F, with humidity at about 80%.  Breezes calm.  I was shooting my Savage 110 .30-06 with a Garand load, the load I'm going to use for hunting this year.  It pushes a 150 grain Federal Fusion bullet to about 2750 fps with 49.0 grains of IMR 4895.  It's a good load, and ought to whack our smallish whitetail deer just fine.

However, because I knew that sighting in the Savage wasn't going to take long, I also took along a rifle that I haven't shot in several years.  It's a Winchester 94, the old top eject model.  More particularly, it's called the Antique Model. 

This is a standard Winchester Model 94, a post 64.  Winchester built this model from 1964 to 1983 to appeal to customers who wanted an older-style rifle.  One wag described it as "Winchester's attempt to put a dress on a pig."  My particular rifle was made in 1965.  I shortened the stock a few inches, added a recoil pad and installed a Lyman FP receiver sight.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to shoot this little rifle.  I use the Lyman 311041, which is a flat nosed, gas checked design that weighs about 170 grains.  I double-lube them with liquid alox, size to 0.309 and load over a middling charge of IMR4895.  The little bullet leaves the muzzle at about 1850 fps and while that isn't sizzling by any means, it's nothing to sneeze at, either.  It's not a bench rifle at all, was never designed to be, but if my eyes were better I might be able to shoot the rifle more accurately than I do.  Sill, it's minute of deer accurate out to about 100 yards and it's still shooting into the front sight.

What does that mean?  Shooting into the front sight?  Simply, the front sight on my rifle is a standard Winchester bead, measuring 0.075" and the sight is 28 inches from my eye.  By doing just a little geometry, we learn that the little front sight covers more and more area the further away the target is.  In my case, it covers 4.8 inches at 50 yards and 9.6 inches at 100 yards.  I've got the sights set so that whatever I cover with that little bead gets smacked by a bullet, so it is shooting into the area covered by the front sight. 

I fired about 20 shots through it to verify the zero and to reacquaint myself with the rifle.  At  6 lbs, 4 oz, it's a dandy little carrying rifle in a serious caliber.  And, using cast bullets, it is very economical to shoot.  I recently figured my reloading costs for the little rifle and I'm feeding the little gun for under 10 cents a pop..  Very inexpensive shooting.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

I hadn't heard shooting into the sight in years :-) Great explanation, I'm going to steal that one! :-)

Can't go wrong with that one :-) And if you believe the 'lore', Winchester 94's have accounted for more game than any other single rifle!!!

We played golf this morning, it was 90 when we started at 0800, 99 when we quit, and the heat index was 106. Just a 'tad' warm is right...LOL