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Old December 8, 2012, 09:26 PM   #1
johnm1
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Winchester 94 - Trouble Chambering a Round

Picked up a 1956 made Winchester 94 in .32 Special last weekend at an estate sale. When finally closing the bolt the last 3/4" of lever travel is very hard/stiff and closes with a 'snap'. I can isolate the issue to the extractor riding over the rim of the cartridge as the bolt finally closes. I tested by chambering a round and then slowly operating the lever back and forth. Once the extractor is over the rim, the issue doesn't present itself. The firearm is in nearly new condition and if it has been fired, it certainly hasn't been fired much.

I have checked the following:

Extractor cut out in the breech of the barrel is not obstructed
Extractor springs with a bit more pressure then my finger tip can stand (but not much more)

Does the Winchester 94 work on a controlled feed system? Is the cartridge supposed to 'catch' under the extractor before it is chambered? Or is the cartridge pushed into the chamber and the extractor rides over the top upon closing?

I have not disassembled the firearm yet but have cleaned (no signs of powder residue) and lubricated where I think it should be lubricated.

I'm a little stumped on this one and it has been 30 years since I have owned a 94 lever gun and don't remember how the round is chambered. I'm open to any suggestions what the issue might be.

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Old December 9, 2012, 03:46 AM   #2
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Pushed into the chamber and then the extractor snaps over the rim if you do it slowly. When you operate it fast, it all happens pretty quickly.

Sounds normal, go ahead and either shoot it or clean it and put it away.
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:45 AM   #3
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Thanks Scorch,

I just couldn't remember. By watching the action in slow motion, it didn't appear that the cartridge had a chance to slip under the extractor until it was chambered.

I'm going to shoot it this morning and see if it loosens up a bit. I'm pretty sure the amount of force needed to ride the extractor over the rim is more than normal. But a clean patch down the bore removed only a little bit of grease and no powder residue. Either someone was really good at cleaning or it hasn't been fired. It does have some damage to the blue on the receiver from hand oil. In the right light and covered in a light layer of oil, you can hardly notice it. Other than that it some very minor handling dings in the wood.

A lever gun wasn't high on my list of rifles to get but the wife found this one by asking the lady who ran the estate sale if they had any guns. Turns out that person doesn't like to display the firearms. She had it priced by someone she knows and had a standing offer of $350. I offered $380 and walked away with it.

And just so I don't get the "without pictures it didn't happen" I tried to post some photos, but have to reduce the size of them. Give me a few minutes and I'll post some pictures.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:36 AM   #4
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Some photos of the Winchester 94 .32 Special:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Win 94 32 Special 1956 Manufactue (640x480).jpg (57.8 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1003 (640x480).jpg (146.4 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1004 (640x480).jpg (152.0 KB, 44 views)
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:12 AM   #5
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I find I don't take good photos and I'm even worse editing them. One thing I did find out was that I can make the rifle look as good or bad as I want by editing the photograph.

Marking on the side of the barrel:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Win 94 Barrel Markings small.jpg (180.9 KB, 38 views)
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:31 AM   #6
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Is 32WS ammo readily available there in AZ? I have a 1952 '94 in 32WS and have to look pretty hard to find any.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:36 AM   #7
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I haven't tried to find it commercially yet. The wife found 3 1/2 boxes of it at good prices this past weekend at a gun show. All Factory. I seem to remember that both Cabellas and Sportsmans Warehouse both had it from time to time. I don't remember the pricing though. I'll let you know what I find in the stores.

In my case the expense will be the reloading dies. I found 80 new cases at the show as well. We will shoot the factory stuff this morning as I haven't picked up the dies yet.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:45 AM   #8
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I know you can resize 30-30 brass to 32WS, but I am very hesitant to use that brass...as I have a 30-30 as well. When I am able, I want to stick with properly marked 32 brass for my reloads.
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Old December 9, 2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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Surprisingly 32 is not uncommon. I know Hornaday has the Leverevolution ammo for it which tells me that there is still a somewhat healthy demand for the 32. Any real gun shop will more than likely have it in stock. You can either buy cartridges, and reload when fired, or buy bulk brass.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:15 PM   #10
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That is one nice looking 94. I have one made in 58. 30/30
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Old December 9, 2012, 02:47 PM   #11
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Well she shot very well. Put around 40 rounds through it today. Just shooting in the desert at one of those metal flip targets and one of the self sealing balls. The action didn't loosen up. I'll take it to the range next time and put a few more through it. I need to get some reloading dies. This may become my javelina rifle this February.

Despite the wear on the blue on the receiver I don't think the carbine had ever been shot before this morning. There is now the outline of the primer on the bolt face that wasn't there before we shot it this morning.

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Mesa, AZ
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Old December 9, 2012, 03:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
I know you can resize 30-30 brass to 32WS, but I am very hesitant to use that brass...as I have a 30-30 as well. When I am able, I want to stick with properly marked 32 brass for my reloads.
One way to avoid trouble is to use two separate head stamps. One for 30-30 and the other for .32SPL. You'll never chamber a .32SPL into your 30-30, but the other way around will send a bullet down the bore like a golf ball through a rain gutter--rattling the whole way. 30-30 brass is a whole lot easier to come by and cheaper. For the exact same brass at twice the price just for a different head stamp, I could never justify the .32SPL brass.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:23 PM   #13
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I see both sides of the mis-marked brass question. I don't figure the .32 Special will be a high round count firearm and the 120 pieces of brass should work for me. I too have a concern about using a mis-marked round in the wrong firearm. Though I do currently load 8x50R in both 8x56R and 7.62x54R cases. Necessity being what it is in the world of 8x50R.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:12 AM   #14
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Well here is the 94 apart for cleaning. For a firearm that hasn't been shot a lot since it was manufactured in 1956, it sure was cruddy. I wish the previous owner had been as meticulous about oiling the outside as they were about oiling the inside.
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File Type: jpg Win 94 Apart.jpg (74.0 KB, 29 views)
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Old December 12, 2012, 07:31 AM   #15
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A complete disassembly and cleaning had no impact on how 'stiff' the bolt is to close. It is definitely related to the extractor riding over the rim of the cartridge. Under high magnification the extractor isn't perfect. But I don't think it is a burr on the extractor itself. I did not take the bolt apart. I soaked it overnight and it appears to function as intended.

I'm open for suggestions on why it is so hard to close the bolt. I may need to take it to my smith at this point.
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Last edited by johnm1; December 12, 2012 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Corrected spelling. Because spelling does count
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Old December 12, 2012, 04:18 PM   #16
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Take it to your smith. He will probably polish the extractor and check out all of the functions.
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Old December 14, 2012, 01:42 AM   #17
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Check the screws holding the bolt guides inside the receiver. I have a 1894 and had trouble cycling and found a loose screw. And it was one that required an offfset screwdriver, of course.
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Old December 15, 2012, 08:21 AM   #18
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Thanks Gbro. That I never would have thought of.
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