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Old January 2, 2015, 05:04 PM   #1
4V50 Gary
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Win 94 woes

Today I finished reassembling a Win 1894 that was assembled 1897-98. It's a five digit serial # (93***) firearm in .38-55. It probably hadn't been disassembled and cleaned since it was assembled by Winchester. The interior was well preserved thanks to the abundance of grease/oil that built up over the years. Hours were spent scrubbing it out. It would have been easier if I had an ultrasonic cleaner but I don't. So it was the old fashion scrub with patches and Q-tips for endless hours.

Lacking a vise at home, I could not disassemble the bolt fully nor could I remove the magazine tube and forearm. I also didn't have the offset screwdriver (I could make it if I was at school) with which to remove/install the left and right cartridge guide.

Reassembly was a bear. I was following the old Win 94 instructions that were reprinted in Brownell's Firearms Assembly and Disassembly Manual (Vol 1). Somebody let me know if a Vol. 2 ever appears. I bought my copy in the late '80s and have yet to see a Vol. 2. Anyway, per the instructions, you install the carrier which is secured by a screw on both sides. Each screw has a pivot point that goes into the carrier. The trouble with it is once the carrier is in, you can't install the bolt; which is the next step.

So, the carrier was removed, the bolt installed and then the carrier after that. It was a bear to line up the holes in the carrier for those two pins. Much unprintable things were thought before it was finally assembled. The locking block came next and that was easy enough.

It took a while to figure out how to put in the finger lever and the link. The link must lock into the trunnion and so everything had to be lowered (open) so as to allow clearance. Once that was in, then it was a simple matter of driving in the link pin and then securing it with the link pin screw (that goes into the bottom of the link). The other miserable part was the finger lever pin. You have to line it up so I got a punch and jiggled it around until I figured the finger lever pin would drop in. It did. Lucky me. Then that was secured with its screw.

Everything else was easy including hooking up the trigger spring to the stirrup.

BTW, most parts were treated with liquid Frog Lube and a nickel. This allows rust to be removed (there was only light surface rust on the exterior surfaces) and afterward with Renaissance Wax. This job was at least eleven hours and would have been longer had I been able to disassemble it further.

In short, if I had to work on lever actions, make mine Marlin. They're much easier.

I'm watching a YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJY9iIxA_4U and noticed some engineering changes:

1) Cartridge guide screws are now on the outside of the frame instead of the inside. That makes them easier to remove and reinstall.
2) Carrier now has one screw that goes all the way through instead of one on each side. No more alignment issues like I had.
3) He had no trouble sliding in the bolt after the carrier was mounted. I had to dismount mine and insert the bolt first.
4) He also preassembled the lower tang to the hammer. That made installation easier. I noticed that he had a coil spring for the hammer. Mine was a flat spring.
5) Gate was installed almost last. The gate was one of the first things I installed.
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Old January 2, 2015, 11:01 PM   #2
Slopemeno
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Old January 12, 2015, 04:03 PM   #3
Peter M. Eick
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Gary,

How does that 38/55 shoot?

I have always wanted one (a 38/55 that is) just to play with so I am very envious of yours!

Lets us know how it works out.
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Old January 12, 2015, 05:23 PM   #4
AKexpat
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When I lived in Alaska, a good friend had a '94 in 38-55. I was always envious at that .40 cal rifle as my 1894 was in .25-35 w/ 24" octagon barrel and full-length magazine (my grandfather won it in a punch card game way back: it was manufactured about 1919). It was very accurate but I always thought it was a very anemic caliber. I reloaded for it because ammo was very hard to obtain. Sold it in 2007 for a very nice price.

Good luck with your re-assembly. I always liked Marlins better, too!
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Old January 13, 2015, 08:15 PM   #5
4V50 Gary
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Peter. The 94 belongs to Francisco's Fort Museum. I didn't have permission to shoot it.
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Old January 14, 2015, 02:07 PM   #6
Peter M. Eick
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Bummer...

I keep thinking I should buy a 94 38/55 just for the fun of it. While I consider a 375 Big Bore, I would prefer a classic old 94 rifle in the caliber. It would have been fun to hear how it shot and handled.

Thanks for cleaning that one up and taking care of it for them.
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Old January 14, 2015, 02:57 PM   #7
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I have an old 94 and a newer "cowboy" Marlin in 38/55 and the cartridge is a fun one. I load them with lead and jacketed but while fun and accurate, they are not too impressive as a hunting round. I think the speed of the bullet might be part of the problem as they are pretty anemic compared to more modern calibers. I shot a pretty nice buck this year with the Marlin, using a Hornady jacketed 225 gr. bullet, and hit it right where I like to get them in the neck. I ended up having to give it another round through the body to stop it completely. I love shooting the caliber but it sure doesn't seem to do much damage to a deer.
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