View Full Version : Winchester 94 w/no serial

October 2, 2007, 03:17 PM
Hi. I am trying to find out the value of this gun. It is a Winchester 94 30-30, but has no serial number. On the barrel it is marked Winchester 94 30-30 WIN
Made in New Haven Conn U.S.A. Winchester Proof Steel. any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

October 2, 2007, 03:40 PM
What are those marks where the serial number should be?


October 2, 2007, 03:47 PM
It doesn't look like they were filed off. It just looks worn.

October 2, 2007, 04:46 PM
I would question the legality of even owning it without a serial number.

October 2, 2007, 06:15 PM
I have owned several firearms without serial numbers. They were not required until 1968 and many cheaper firearms didn't have them. I can't say whether or not the Winchester 94 was ever made without a serial number, but plenty of shotguns and other firearms didn't have them.


October 2, 2007, 06:51 PM
You're right, serial numbers were not required on long arms until 1968. But if a weapon had a serial number and it has been removed, then that is illegal, in fact the law frowns on even owning such a firearm. And Winchester used serial numbers on their firearms. If you have a Winchester Model 94 with no serial number then it has been removed. I understand a new serial number can be assigned, I'm not up to date on the procedure but a call to the local ATF boys is in order. Now the bad news, no serial number, even if as old as it looks, it's really nothing more than a good hunting gun. Because nothing can be verified on it as to age or previous ownership it has very little collectors value. To be honest, since I'm also a very cautious fellow, I wouldn't have touched it with a ten foot pole. Sorry about that. :(

October 2, 2007, 08:25 PM
I can tell you a little about the rifle. It is a post-1964 Winchester 94. It should have serial numbers, as all centerfire Winchester production was serialized. It would make me suspicious that a late 1960s-early 1970s Winchester (that's about the timeframe when that gun was made) has no serial number, since at the time of sale the gun transfer is logged based on its serial number.

October 2, 2007, 08:26 PM
Are you SURE that the serial number isn't there anymore? Depending on when it was made, you can see the number on either the top or bottom of the tang at the rear of the receiver, at the bottom front of the receiver, along the bottom of the receiver, or even possibly on one side of the receiver.

James K
October 2, 2007, 09:30 PM
In the U.S., removing a serial number or possessing a firearm from which the serial number has been removed is a federal felony. This is true even if the gun has "hidden" serial numbers somewhere else on the gun.

If you don't own the gun, I strongly recommend you avoid it. If you own it, you can try to find out if BATFE will allow it to be renumbered, something they did at one time, but may not allow any more. Be advised that contacting them about this will not place you in danger of arrest, but it MAY lead to a "polite request" that you surrender the gun.


Wolf Lies Down
October 3, 2007, 12:46 AM
-I have a similar problem with a "C" series Winchester Model 1897 shotgun that I purchased recently. The S/N is worn off except for the "C" designator and the last digit of the S/N (a "3")

Someone came along at some point and punched in a new three-digit S/N below the old S/N. This new number is the one which the dealer I purchased the shotgun from used on the purchase documents.

Do I worry about whether there's a S/N or not? Ab-so-effing-lute-ly NOT. Those giddy-a$$ed bureaucratic butt-sniffers can pound sand when it comes to getting excited over a 100 year old shotgun or a 40 or 50 year old lever gun. As the saying goes, "don't ask, don't tell".

NOW, HOWEVER, let's have some fun with this rifle and my shotgun!!!

Get some 0000 (quadruple-ought) steel wool and some acetone or alcohol.

Gently polish the area where the S/N used to be with the steel wool soaked in the solvent. DO NOT use any power buffing equipment!!!! Clean the area with a soft cloth and some solvent after buffing.

Build a dam around where the S/N is/was using electrical tape or some adhesive-backed foam carpet tape or whatever works good.

Get a few milliliters (an eyedropper full) of weak hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid to you swimming pool buffs). and drip it onto the bare, polished metal inside the tape dam where the S/N should be. Be sure to wear safety glasses and don't get any on you. Don't freak if you do, just wash it off. Keep a bowl of water handy to flood off any acid splashes.

Hook a 12 volt battery or another 12-volt source, such as a transformer for some small appliance, a battery charger, etc. up to the gun and wait for a few minutes. Keep an eye on things; don't walk off and leave it. The process may also blue, brown or otherwise discolor the gun metal, so be prepared for that, too.

This is what I am going to do with my gun and I'm not your momma. Do this at your own physical, mental and material risk! Don't be stupid here! Don't stick your whiffle tree in an electrical socket because I or someone else told you to. Don't bring a whole gallon of acid inside your home or apartment. Just bring in a teeny, tiny container with a secure lid. This is a common sense thing and these are NOT explicit directions. Use your head! Pay attention! We don't want to arc big, ugly notches into the gun, and we don't want to get electrocuted. That's why we are using a battery or a small transformer. Using 110VAC house current or direct-connecting your car battery to the gun frame is not appropriate here folks. We simply are trying to get a WEAK, repeat WEAK, repeat WEAK electrical flow going in the gun metal to activate the acid to react with the hardness variation caused by the impact of the original factory S/N punch into the metal gun frame. Actually, the process might work with the acid bath alone. Don't walk off and leave this setup! Watch everything closely the whole time. The "whole time" translates to mean two or three minutes max! But, if things go south on you, shut down immediately, put your toys away and do something else!!!-------

I think this process should raise the number, if it was not purposely ground off real deep. After the first pass of a few minutes, blot the acid up with a paper towel (don't get any on you, please) and get a magnifying glass and see if the S/N is developing. Repeat the acid or the acid/electrical process if necessary. If this process does not work, you're not out anything unless you pee on the electric fence or something stupid like that.

A while back I purchased a small, universal AC/DC multi-volt adaptor from an import tool house by the name of Harbor Freight Tools. I think it was $4.95 on sale. I figured I'd use it with some non-critical gadgets somewhere along the line. I think it will work well as a weak, low voltage DC power source for this purpose. You just set the device to 12VDC output, hook a set of wire leads with alligator clips on both ends up to the 9VDC battery clip adaptor on the ouput side of the gadget and hook the leads up to the gun frame. Maybe even a lesser voltage DC output will work as well, but who knows?

Gee whiz! In no time at all you'll be employed by the FBI or be on CSI Las Vegas, you forensic investigator, you! Either that, or there'll be a mushroom cloud where your house used to be.

Wolf Lies Down

October 3, 2007, 07:26 AM
Heh, heh, heh, a nice post.

I would avoid the rifle, personally, as being a pst 64 model 94 it's not a big collector's rifle or anything. Seems like a whole lot of liability for a rifle that will never have a lot of value.


James K
October 3, 2007, 03:13 PM
I doubt that BATFE cares about a missing serial number on an old shotgun; they might care more about a modern rifle, though, depending on who removed it and why.

But I think I can say that if one does meet a BATFE agent, calling him a "giddy-a$$ed bureaucratic butt-sniffer" probably won't make a friend.


October 3, 2007, 07:12 PM
The ATF don't care how old it is or who did it or why. If you have it and get caught with it it's your butt. Course unless you're a total moron and tell everybody you know you have it then the chances of getting caught with it are pretty slim. Your call.

James K
October 3, 2007, 10:29 PM
True, Hawg, but even BATFE has priorities. I really can't see the boss telling one of his agents, "Drop that investigation on the attempted bombing of the White House and check on a rumor of an antique shotgun without a serial number! Hop to it!"


October 4, 2007, 03:17 PM
Thanks for all the info. If I sell it to a dealer, would they buy it? What would they do with it? Thanks.

October 4, 2007, 03:29 PM
It looks like the pics of this gun are from inside a pawn shop.
If it is how does a pawn shop buy or sell a gun with no serial #

October 4, 2007, 07:07 PM
but even BATFE has priorities. I really can't see the boss telling one of his agents, "Drop that investigation on the attempted bombing of the White House and check on a rumor of an antique shotgun without a serial number!

Like I said , you'd have to be a total moron to get caught with it.

Wolf Lies Down
October 4, 2007, 08:54 PM
-Well, without getting too deeply into a political discussion here, believing that the government won't make time for the opportunity to make a "convention" of ANY magnitude is, in my opinion (and we all know what THOSE are like ;)), simply naive.

As far as what you say to someone's face, and WHEN you say it is, in my opinion (I have a lot of those :D), just a matter of choosing your fights. You know, sort of the Kenny Rogers approach ("You gotta know when to hold'em. Know when to fold'em.").

If this guy's old weapon has marks of obvious, intentional attempt(s) to remove the S/N, I wouldn't get involved with either buying or selling it. Not because I'm afraid of legal ramifications, either. It's a simple matter of good ethical and moral behavior. If the gun shows that normal wear probably smoothed off the S/N, as in the case of my shotgun, I wouldn't worry about it and might, but wouldn't necessarily, try to raise the S/N or punch in a new S/N (NOT on top of the old one, Please!!) and use that number as a matter of record. My local gun shop where I bought my shotgun wasn't concerned in the least regarding a worn S/N and a new S/N punched into the frame, and we're in California, and the shop is a reputable, legitimate establishment, and the transaction was legitimately within the law. Don't ask, don't tell.

Wolf Lies Down