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Old June 1, 2009, 07:39 PM   #1
rcupka
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Pre 1964 Winchester 94 versus later years?

I have an opportunity to pick up a 1951 Winchester 94 in 30-30. I have heard much of the "Pre1964" discussion in terms of quality, but do not know what is different about the earlier rifles.

What is the difference between 1964 and earlier guns?
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Old June 1, 2009, 07:47 PM   #2
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The pre-64 Model 94s arnt that much differant then post 64s,

Not like the Model 70s.
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Old June 1, 2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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The biggest difference would be the alloy of the receiver. Post 64's were iron plated to accept bluing. They are hard to make look right after the finish wears. I agree with Kraigwy the differences are not as profound as model 70's.
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Old June 1, 2009, 09:34 PM   #4
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Never heard anything about the alloy of the recievers. But what was commonly known was that unlike the changes made to the model 70 rifle, there were no mechanical changes to the model 94. The changes were in the metal forming process used for certain parts.

Specifically, the lifter/carrier was changed to a stamped, rather than a forged part, and there were a few other changes to cut production costs.

According to urban legends, the stamped parts "weren't as good", and Winchester did have some QC problems with the guns made in the first couple years after the change.

I can't speak to this directly, but it was what "everybody" was saying in those days.

Now, while the Model 70 was actually a different rifle after 1964, the model 94 was not. However, the idea that pre-64s should command premium prices bled over (in a lot of minds) from the model 70 to the 94. I never felt that way, about the 94. A 1951 model 94 in good shape is an honest gun, as good as they ever were. Now what you have to pay for one in todays market? That may not be what I consider an "honest" price.
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Old June 1, 2009, 10:20 PM   #5
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The receivers on the late 60's/early 70's were crap. Also in the late 70's they introduced the rebounding hammer and got rid of the half cock hammer. Trigger pull suffers greatly. But they had fixed the receivers by then. At some point they added the tang mounted safety and then later switched to the cross bolt safety. Both suck. I'm not sure of exact years of changes.
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Old June 5, 2009, 07:00 PM   #6
Peter M. Eick
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All of my 94's are pre-64 but I have handled post-64 versions. Side by side I think the bluing looks better on the older guns then the newer. The newer ones are more black and less polished then the older ones.

I have a 1950 version that has never been fired and is nearly ANIB. It is exceptionally nice. If I had the need and a 1951 popped up I would buy it, but right now I am sort of full up of shooter 30/30's.

Look at it pragmatically, why NOT get the pre-64 if the opportunity presents itself?
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Old June 5, 2009, 07:41 PM   #7
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Pre 64's are better guns than post 64 plain and simple. Better fit and finish. All the parts were machined from bar stock on pre 64's. Steel receiver that held bluing better. The differences are there you just have to know what to look for. Pre 64's have more screws on the receiver and in different locations.
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Old June 6, 2009, 10:20 AM   #8
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I have a post-64 Winchester 94 30-30 made in the late 60's or right around 1970. I have the typical spots/pitting that occurs on most of these post-64 receivers. Let me put it this way - the gun shoots fine, but it's the gun I choose to keep on top of some cabinets in a cabin in the N. Georgia mountains. I don't care if the finish gets more crapped up than it alread is, if or even if it gets stolen for that matter. It's a beater and will always be a beater because there isn't anything you can do that's worth doing to make it look pretty.

I would never treat a pre-64 (if I had one) the way I treat my post-64. Sometimes, I think "boy I sure would like to have a pre-64 Winchester...", but then I remember how nice it is to have at least one rifle that you can bang around with where more pitting and dings on the stock just add charicter to it.

Last edited by Skans; June 6, 2009 at 10:26 AM.
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Old June 6, 2009, 01:46 PM   #9
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Skans - I'm with you on all of that...however, the pre 64s are still abundant enough, the purchase especially of a Pre that isn't so pristine to begin with makes it so it's easier to "knock around" with--and still a lot more "fondleable" (pride of ownership) when not being shot - than the crappy early Post's. Otherwise, a lot of the earlier Post 64 problems (late 60s, early 70s) seemed to be solved - or at least reduced - (improved receiver finish, lifter construction, overall fit and finish, etc.) by the late 70s, that one of those makes a very nice compromise.
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Old June 8, 2009, 08:03 AM   #10
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gak, don't get me wrong, I still have a longing for a pre-64 Winchester. I probably will get one some day, but no matter what it's condition, I won't be able to be as care free about it as I am with my post-64 Winchester.

FWIW, a buddy of mine needed $250 at one time and didn't want a Norinco SKS rifle and the Winchester post-64 that he had and offered to sell them to me for $250. I would never consider buying either of these rifles, as they just aren't my thing. I sold the Norinco SKS (which was a late 1950's make) at a gun show and got my $250 back. I kept the Winchester 30-30 because I needed something like that to keep at a cabin I've got in the woods. It serves its purpose and I've got no money in it.
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Old June 8, 2009, 10:33 AM   #11
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My post-64 Winchester 94 has a very plain stock, rather like the low priced version of a Marlin. "Hardwood" rather than "walnut."
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Old June 8, 2009, 10:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
My post-64 Winchester 94 has a very plain stock, rather like the low priced version of a Marlin. "Hardwood" rather than "walnut."
Interesting that you mentioned that. I was going to try and sand down the stock on mine to put an oil finish on it. The stock had a cheap stain on it and was fairly light colored - don't know what kind of wood it is. I dropped the project and simply put a coat of satin urathane on it. I figured it was a waste of time trying to make that gun pretty after that.
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Old June 8, 2009, 10:02 PM   #13
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I own and shoot several different pre-64's and post 64's. The pre-64 are better made, they even handle better. You can blindfold me and hand me a pre-64 or not, and I will tell you the difference.
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Old June 9, 2009, 07:18 PM   #14
rcupka
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Thanks Guys, The 1951 Model 94 in 30-30 is $300. I plan to buy it along with a 1941 Remington 241 SpeedmasterTakedown for $200.

Both look to be shot very little. I don't "need" them, but I wan't them. My only other Lever gun is a Winchester 9422M, and I don't feel complete without a 30-30.

Anything to be wary of?

Dick
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Old June 9, 2009, 08:27 PM   #15
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Sounds like a great price for both.....assuming they are in "shot very little" condition.
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Old June 9, 2009, 09:27 PM   #16
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I just picked up a very nice 94 that was made in 1956 it is chambered in .32 Win. Special. Bluing is beautiful, locks up tight wood is nearly perfect except for a hole that was filled for a sling.Rifle was shot little or cast bullets were used.Very nice trigger,don't know if it's been worked or they were all like this.I hope to shoot it here in the next few days when my bullet mold will be here.Hornady has the Leverevolution for the .32 Win. Spec. hope they shoot as the 30-30 stuff does.
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Old June 9, 2009, 10:40 PM   #17
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I sold a 1951 Model 94 for $300.00 and regretted it for a while. The guy said it filled a niche for him, and I used the money to get a nice Browning A-5 shotgun...
I've still got a 1969 that I'm glad I kept.
Step-Dad and Father's rifles, respectively.

Glad to see I didn't ask to much or lose out too much, either way, on my Step-Dad's rifle.
It WAS in excellent condition, though.
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Old July 19, 2010, 04:54 PM   #18
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Thinking of buying this one.

A friend of mine has a 72' model 94 30-30 that he bought new for what he says was $75.00. He has kept it in mint shape.. He want's to sell it and Blue book says its worth up to $425.00. I know from the way he cares for his arms that this is a good gun to own. Should I offer $400?
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Old July 20, 2010, 07:19 AM   #19
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The difference is that there was a big step down in quality on the model 70's starting in 1964. The 94's decline was gradual.

I wouldn't have a problem with a mid to late 60's model 94, but by the 70's up to the day they stopped making them in 2006 quality was spotty at best. I've seen and handled a few good ones. Most I wouldn't touch.
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Old July 20, 2010, 08:53 PM   #20
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A 72 model 94 for $400?? really
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Old July 31, 2010, 06:24 PM   #21
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bought it for 400 bucks

The Win 94 is now mine, I bought it for 4 beans, and its beautiful. It only had 5 rounds thru it! I put ten! and its sweet..not a nick on it 100% mint.. The reason I bought it is so I can shoot it, not collect it. I wont have to worry as much about this vs. a pre-64.
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Old August 2, 2010, 10:19 AM   #22
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Without derailing the thread, was there any similiar decline in the quality of Marlin lever actions?
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Old August 2, 2010, 03:44 PM   #23
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The Marlins have been very consistent in quality in my experience. They have made some changes to stock designs over the years. They offered some budget versions with cheaper wood and sights, but the top of the line 336C has always been well made. Even the budget models are well made, just using cheaper wood and less polish on the metal.

I have heard some grumblings about some very recent guns not being quite as good, but have not experienced any issues personally.

To me the 1970's Marlins are the nicest looking. Current guns have a fat foreend that just does not look right to me. Many from the 60's and earlier are even fatter than current production guns. During the 70's the foreend was smaller and trimmer, much like the Winchester 94. That was also before the lawyers made them put a safety on the receiver.
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Old August 2, 2010, 06:13 PM   #24
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Marlins/Remington?

Aren't Marlins produced under the umbrella of Remington?
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Old August 3, 2010, 06:03 AM   #25
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I don't know who makes what anymore, only a Winchester is a Winchester no matter who makes it. I know they aren't made in China but what's the difference between something made in a factory in China or by someone from China working in a factory in Seattle. Well, frankly, it isn't that simple. There are still differences (in the product, I mean).

I've only owned one Marlin and six Winchester lever actions. The Winchesters were very nicely sized carbines but I swear you could make the screws loosen just by staring at them hard. None ever fell out, though. And the levers were all looser than it seemed like they should have been. The Trapper model was the handiest and I should have kept it. One was a Model 95 that was the second longest rifle I ever had, which surprised me when I realized it. Very, very nice rifle but I found it hard to load. I didn't care for the sights on any of them, however, and for that matter, on none of the other rifles I've owned except for a No. 4 and a No. 5 Lee-Enfield.

I'm no expert but it's hard to generalize. The older ones that I've examined but didn't own had much nicer wood-to-metal fit. Never having seen a brand new old one, I'm not sure about the other aspects but some of the newer ones had pretty nice wood and the finish usually seemed more practical (not an oil finish). Same with the Marlin.

Why did they have to quit making them anyway?
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