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Old December 10, 2004, 11:22 AM   #1
kjm
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Pre '64 Winchester 94, What's the difference?

OK- I'm wanting a model 94 winchester. I've just about decided on 30-30, and so now I want to know what are the differences between a pre-64 and a post-64 since I will more than likely be buying used and can pick from both.
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Old December 10, 2004, 03:11 PM   #2
Tom2
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PRice

The dealers or sellers will be asking alot more for the pre 64, for one. I guess they used more machined parts and hand fitting in pre 64 guns. And some post 94 parts are stamped or the like. I had a prewar 94 for awhile. Beautiful workmanship on the outside finish and details, but the insides looked like it had been made with worn tooling-sharp burr edges, deep machine marks, etc. I have had post 64 guns and despite the shortcuts, do not recall seeing such rough interiors on them. But that might be the depression, even older guns or postwar guns might be different. I think they had problems with the finish of the receivers on some early post 64 guns. Look kinda crappy in some cases or even plated with "blackchrome". But recent samples seem fine to me. Wish I had kept my 70's super sharp version instead of getting the prewar gun now. Was in better shape and did not have that pushbutton safety and ugly angle eject cutout. Most accurate gun I had in a 94 was a 60's semi-commemorative with a 20" octagonal barrel. Had gaudy gold load gate and trigger. Took those off and it looked a bit better. But had the blackchrome receiver with cheesy "engraving". It was called the Western classic or something. Sure shot good though.
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Old December 10, 2004, 05:00 PM   #3
LIEBERT
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angle eject vs. top.

tom seems to know a bit more than ido on tis model but since i recently purchased a 94 in 30-30 i thought i would post. mine is definatley post 64, dealer checked serial number ab said he could not date exactly, but was within last 20 years. as for the angle eject cut out.. i like that. it gives you the option of a top mounting scope rather than the side mount. i hunted with my father's 1958 model 94 in 32win. it was and still is a great gun, but open sights in deer hunting was sometimes a problem. this model has a top eject which makes a top mount scope impossible. my brother has inherited this gun and he had a side mounted scope put on... hideous thing. ruined a beautiful weapon. so.. if you plan to ever possibly want a scope on it i would lean toward the newer one, but if that is not in the plan any will do. it is a classic rifle and a great brush gun. the newest models have a trigger safety i think. not sure. hope this helps
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Old December 11, 2004, 09:34 PM   #4
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KJM,

I've got my Grandfather's prewar 94. Great rifle but shows lots of use from three generations of use. Just be careful and check out the one you buy. They had a "safety" with the hammer back one click. Most of the old ones I have seen could be fired from that with a hard trigger pull.

I guess to show my age, and the amount of these rifles that use to be in use, the "worn sear" safety I mentioned above was featured at every gun safety course I was in as a kid.

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Old December 11, 2004, 11:37 PM   #5
gordo b.
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best ones are made 1951-1961 !
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Old December 12, 2004, 09:53 AM   #6
Unkel Gilbey
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Another thing you'll likely find on the pre-64's is that the receiver is already drilled and tapped for a receiver sight. I find this to be pretty damned handy, since I just can't get myself to mount a scope in a lever gun.

The first deer rifle I ever hunted with was my father's pre-64 with a Lyman peep sight mounted on the side of the receiver. I found that I couldn't reliably view the front sight in the deer woods, so I unscrewed the peep aperture, and was able to make things happen looking through the ap. mounting hole. Talk about a big aperture!

I thought that maybe by doing this, my cone of fire would widen to the point where I couldn't hit where I wanted, but was still able to hold a paper plate (one of the smaller, dessert sized ones) at 75 yards. This was good enough for me, and the groups didn't really get that much bigger that with the aperture and I was able to harvest my deer with it - no problems! Forerunner of the ghost sight maybe?

I've always wanted to try a tang sight, but don't have much faith in their ability to adjust for windage. Being a target shooter at heart, I need the ability to adjust for wind - so give me the receiver sight any day!

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Old December 12, 2004, 01:54 PM   #7
Tom2
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apertures

If you are gonna put on an aperture sight, I would look for one of the vintage steel models, if you want a receiver mount, instead of tang mount. I tried one of the new ones that are made of aluminum. I don't think they are very sturdy. My 94 was leaning up, and fell over onto a carpeted floor. The result was that the aluminum rec. sight was bent all out of whack and was unrepairable. The tang sights I see marketed now are all steel, as they would not survive a good bump if alum.
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Old December 13, 2004, 05:30 AM   #8
Unkel Gilbey
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More about receiver sights

Tom,

I agree with you about the steel receiver sights, they are the only way to go. A friend of mine had a Lyman peep installed on his M 1894 and I was dismayed at the how this sight looked and how it operated. I would definitely take the time to research and get a good quality steel sight for a lever gun.

On the side of the tang sight, I believe that a reason why they aren't as popular as the receiver sight is that they are too easy to 'clean' off the weapon - even if made of steel. Especially in the hunting woods.

Tang sights look cool, and in the proper setting are very useful (visions of Quigley down under come to mind), but I think they are more fragile than a good receiver sight. When it comes down to it, my money goes for a receiver sight - hands down.

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Old March 5, 2005, 02:18 AM   #9
gak
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Aside from the milled interior pieces, all pre 64s had a screw in the bottom of the receiver/lever assembly area (like new ones do...they started doing this again several years ago...so sometimes seeing one on the rack at the store you have to check more closely to see if it's a recent one or Pre-64. Of the pre angle-eject (AE) era, the ones built just before the angle eject (AE) and still pre-safety seem to be fine guns with the same (or near) quality as the Pre 64s. Agree..the best ones were 51-61, though I own a prewar SRC and it's great...built c. 1917.
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Old January 30, 2006, 04:58 PM   #10
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Why are the 1951-1961 the best? What is the difference between those years and the rest of the "pre-64s".

Also, is there any difference between a "1894" and a "Model 94" or was it just a name change?

Thanks,

Blondie ("a few steps back")

Last edited by Blondie; January 31, 2006 at 07:31 PM.
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Old January 30, 2006, 06:58 PM   #11
Pointer
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Quote:
Pre '64 Winchester 94, What's the difference?
Pre 64 was forged and milled breech metal...

Post 64 was stamped...

That's the nutshell of it...
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Old January 30, 2006, 07:11 PM   #12
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There was a period of time with the early post 64's that had a graphetic steel receiver. They will not blue. The factory plated iron onto the receiver and then blued them. The iron wears off and so the bluing is gone, forever. Most folks then paint them with baked on laquer.

Some of the post 64's did not have balanced action springs. My deceased father in law was a gunsmith and spent many hours 'tuning' the springs. Apparently there are three springs that need to be in sync. I have an early post 64 that needs to have the lever sqeezed to the stock before it will fire. Unfortunately he passed before we aquired this gun.

To the best of my knowledge these issues do not exist in the pre 64's.
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Old January 30, 2006, 08:37 PM   #13
GTSteve03
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Quote:
I have an early post 64 that needs to have the lever sqeezed to the stock before it will fire.
I also have a post-64, from around '73 I think, that has this same issue.

However, I thought that was a safety feature designed to make it less likely to negligently discharge?
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Old January 30, 2006, 08:50 PM   #14
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They had a "safety" with the hammer back one click. Most of the old ones I have seen could be fired from that with a hard trigger pull.
That's because that notch is not really a safety. It is just there to "catch" the hammer if it slips off your thumb while cocking. You are NOT supposed to load a W94, put the hammer on half-cock, and then head off into the woods.

Quote:
However, I thought that was a safety feature designed to make it less likely to negligently discharge?
There is a small pin that protrudes from the bottom of the stock. That pin has to be depressed by the rear of the lever before it will fire. Different guns require different amounts of force.
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