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Old December 30, 2012, 11:25 AM   #1
ffs1942
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Questions about my "New" Winchester 94 "assault rifle".

Ok with the Obamalypse looming over us. I sought to get a suitable rifle for hunting and defense. I chose a used 1981 Winchester 94. I loathe the AK47, the SKS and Mini 30 seem a bit pointless to my desires and anything in 5.56 is very limited to me in utility. I also had 20 yrs of black guns with a previous employer.

I've ALWAYS wanted a Winchester though!

Hey, its's the last rifle the communists will come after and in 1894, it WAS the assault rifle of its day.

By the SN, it was made in 81 or 82. Once I got it home, I noticed it was a bit crude in some aspects, even military crude. Not with the fine fit and finish of my 9422 or Colt New Frontier of the same time. Wood/metal fit is not seamless, the back of the receiver shows factory grinding marks. The overall finish seems intentionally dull. Sights are crap, but can be easily improved by just removing the hood and reticle.

1. Is this what's known as a "Ranger" model? I heard that was an economy model.

2. What BR groups can I expect, with what ammo and to what range?

3. Is it always that hard to load? Will it get better? My fingers often split in the cold and its certainly not as easy to load as my Mossberg 500.

4. There are 2 small screws at the left top rear of the receiver. Is it predrilled/tapped for a Williams peep?

5. What's the best way to adjust windage? At the rear or front?

6. I'm going to remove that constricting rear reticle and use the deep, wide V remaining. Does that stepped wedge(quoin?) offer fine enough adjustments for elevation?
This will be be a deer gun, homeland defender or plinker at unknown ranges.

TIA

Brian
Iowa
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:12 PM   #2
BerdanSS
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I'm not sure if there was a '94 ranger, but if it's a ranger model is should say on the left side of the barrel.

Post 1964 Winchester firearms typically are not know for flawless fit and finish quality. Most Winchester 94's are meant to be a rugged accurate firearm rather than a show piece. That being said, my buddy has a 100 year anniversary no frills model 94 saddle rifle in 30-30 that is just work of art beautiful. Superb wood to metal fit, deep rich bluing and the action is just as, if not more slick than my 1980s marlin.

Accuracy on his '94 is minuet of golf ball at 75 yards with 150gr Winchester power points. seriously though he shoots 2-3" groups at 100 yards with it off a bean bag with 150 gr wally world Winchester or Remington. His does not seem to do well with heavier weight bullets.

They do load pretty stiff, even my 26 year old marlin still loads stiff and the loading gate pretty much will bite you on any make rifle that has one.

don't know what to tell you about the screws.

Main windage is normally done at the rear sight, and the last bit of fine tuning adjustment with the front. (typically)

Don't assume they won't come after it...The DC commies want to grab anything with a capacity over five rounds, last I checked the '94 is a 6+1 in 30-30. That and after they castrate anything semi auto...the lever action will be the next "hi capacity rapid fire spewing hose of death....they won't be happy till they get them all.

Last edited by BerdanSS; December 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:30 PM   #3
PawPaw
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Quote:
2. What BR groups can I expect, with what ammo and to what range?
It's probablly got a 1-12 twist, as most Win94s do. Mine shoots 150s and 170s really well, and I have gotten 1 minute groups at 50 yards with cheap green box Remington ammo. It's not a 1 minute rifle by any means, but groups of 2-3 inches are common at 100yards.

Quote:
4. There are 2 small screws at the left top rear of the receiver. Is it predrilled/tapped for a Williams peep?
Yep, those holes are for a Williams or Lyman receiver sight. Both of my Win94s have those holes, and they both wear Williams peep sights. Look for the FP 94/36 Reciever sight, Brownell's number 962-200-036WB.

Enjoy your Winchester.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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You either have the last of the "Winchesters" or the first of the "US Repeating Arms" (USRAC) after take-over. What's it say on the buttplate? In any event, I'm surprised at the finish. By the late 70's, Winchester had finally exorcised many of the Post 64 demons to the extent that most examples of 78 (?)-79-80+ I've seen have been pretty nice with better wood, etc, more worthy of ownership pride again, with some even approaching the vaunted Pre 64s - at least cosmetically, but also some mechnical bits.. They'd improved the plating (?) on the receivers to either accept blueing or maybe more accurately a different treatment or alloy mix (?) - to take on a much better "blue like" finish than they'd had for a decade or so. They'd also changed the flat stamped cartridge lifter/carrier to a contoured/cast unit, resembling the Pre 64's, along with other improved bits.
Regardless of the above, if it's a pre-safety, pre AE gun of that early 80's vintage, even with the disappointments the OP mentions, I say it's a keeper!

Last edited by gak; December 30, 2012 at 01:07 PM.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:46 PM   #5
PetahW
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First - Leverguns are hunting, and not target, rifles. Wanting is one thing, but benchrest groups from one is IMHO an unreasonable expectation.
Bench one if you will for zeroing, but they're best shot for practice, etc, as they will be in the field - handled only.


Second - When loading, only push a given cartirdge 3/4ths into the loading gat, then use the nose of the "next" cartridge to push the earlier cartridge all the way "in" while that one is also pushed in only 3/4ths the way.

Etc, etc, etc - So you'll only have to push the last cartridge loaded all the way "in" with the fingers.



Third - The .30-30 can be efective on deer out to about 200yds, depending upon the rifle & the shooter's eyesight.
In factory loads, both 150gr & 170gr JSP's are about equally effective, but most .30-30 users (I'm one) prefer one over the other, for "druthers", if nothing else.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

IDK what you mean by "reticle", since AFAIK only optical sights use/have reticles.

Iron sights utilize a front sight blade with or w/o a bead, and a rear barrel sight with variously-shaped sighting notches ( "U", "V", squared, etc).

If you mount a receiver peep sight in the two side prep holes (the 2 small headless screws are only temporary plugs), it's best practice to also remove the rear barrel sight (it drifts out towards the loading port side) & replace it with a commercial slot filler blank (or file one out of the dovetail portion of an old longleaf rear barrel sight), for a clear/clean sight picture through the peep sight (which, BTW, should be looked THROUGH, and not "at").



.

.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:59 PM   #6
Tom Matiska
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My economy Ranger didn't come with a hooded front ramp(necessary for rear peep). Budget finish makes it easier to carry than my fancy XTR model. Williams Catalog has tons of choices for you that are no drill. Firesight/peep combo on page 6 if the the front is ramped. Your choice of FP or 5D peeps on pages 11/12.... open blade on page 10 if you don't like the peeps .... basic Sidemount 94 on page 22 or SM71 if you want sidemount and receiver sights...

I make all adjustments at the rear. A short wooden dowel about the size of a round helps me load in extreme cold. 30-30 is ok for a dual purpose rifle but I favor my 10 shot 44 mag for the second purpose. Pistol caliber carbines were the hi cap "assault rifles" of the day



http://www.williamsgunsight.com/guns...12_Catalog.pdf
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Old December 30, 2012, 01:22 PM   #7
Jerry45
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I've got your "assault lever-gun" for you.



Oh well! Looks like they deleted the picture.
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Old December 30, 2012, 04:44 PM   #8
Guv
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I'd put an USRAC rifle up against any other similar make of rifle, even a pre 64.
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Old December 30, 2012, 08:14 PM   #9
shurshot
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I Have a post 64 Winchester, a 30 30 Lever action made for Sears in the 70s, a Ted Williams model 100, and the fit, finish and action are superior to any pre 64 I have ever seen. THat being said, I Have seen some pretty roughly made post 64s, so I know what you mean. But the I would also prefer a Winchester 94 lever action, pre or post 64, to any AK 47 available. Much more practicle IMHO.
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Old December 30, 2012, 08:15 PM   #10
DPris
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I wouldn't.
Had an early USRAC 94, not too bad.
Saw one at a gunshow in the late 80s, unfirable new outa the box.
One I have from the 90s has daylight showing between the stock & receiver join.
Another I sold a couple years back was OK, but not pre-64 quality.

They were OK for the most part, declining a bit toward the end, nowhere near the same quality on my 51 "real" Winchester.
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Old December 30, 2012, 10:38 PM   #11
PetahW
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BTW - A front sight hood isn't necessary for peep sight use.

In fact, I find a hood detrimental, since it detracts from the available illumination on the front sight's bead/face.

I have a scrounge box in my workshop, filled with sight hoods, some dating back to the first rifles I acquired with them, in the late 1950's. .

I re-install them on rifles I sell - just to satisfy those folks who can't seem to be satisfied w/o one. .


.
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Old December 30, 2012, 11:19 PM   #12
Tom Matiska
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Quote:
BTW - A front sight hood isn't necessary for peep sight use.
What I meant to say was the higher ramp is necessary. My Ranger's front bead directly in the barrel dovetail isn't tall enough for a receiver peep. 5D Williams peep worked OK on my pre 64 factory ramp with 150-170's, but 110 plinkers ran out of vertical adjustment. A taller bead on the pre 64 put the 110's in play, but was off center high in the hood.

Now that my eyes are older, I'm thinking about giving up on the 110's and going back to the the original bead, centered in the hood. The concentric hood fills the gap between the big peep and little bead nicely.
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Old December 31, 2012, 02:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Second - When loading, only push a given cartirdge 3/4ths into the loading gat, then use the nose of the "next" cartridge to push the earlier cartridge all the way "in" while that one is also pushed in only 3/4ths the way.

Etc, etc, etc - So you'll only have to push the last cartridge loaded all the way "in" with the fingers.
Actually, no, you don't. Just use another cartridge to push the last one all the way in. Then return that cartridge to the box, belt carrier, pocket, or whatever. That keeps our wee fingers from getting bitten. After many a painful pinch between the frame and loading gate in my youth, I finally figured out using another cartridge just works better for me.


and now, a pet peeve;
I know and get the joke, about it being "the assault rifle of its day" (although the Win 94 never saw any large scale military service, anywhere), lots of people don't understand the proper use of the term, and that went a long way to getting us where we are today.

I'm just a bit pendantic about this, because of the way we use English, and the impressions it creates. When we jokingly call something an assault rifle because somewhere, sometime, somebody assaulted someone with it, we simply play into the gun banner's hands. ALL firearms become "assault weapons", which are "bad things", and so must be restricted/banned...etc...
(rant off)

The Win 94 is built to give "minute of deer" accuracy. How well it groups on the bench is immaterial to the intended function and use of the rifle. Many will do much better than MOD, but that is serendipity.

The classic Adirondak standard is a paper plate. Hit first, & second shot somewhere close to the center of the plate (at any range you choose), that, at that range, you are good enough to humanely take deer. If you can do it at 75yds, but not 100, fine. Shoot at deer at 75, and don't shoot at them at 100. Generations of boys grew up learning and doing just that, and it still works just fine.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:06 PM   #14
Ralph Allen
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ffs1942,
No one else has mentioned this, so I feel the need to warn you. Welcome to levergun mania! I think leverguns are kind of like Lays potato chips. You can't have just one. Tons of fun and they definately grow on you. Get into reloading if you're not already, and those old obsolete cartridges that are doggone expensive, and hard to find, become you're favorite shooter. I went out yesterday in below zero temps to send some 32-20 downrange. Welcome.
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