View Full Version : Transverse Barrel Cracks???

February 5, 2011, 12:43 PM
Brand new to the forum. I hope someone can help. What I have is a Winchester 1892 44-40 saddle carbine. It's been passed down 4 generations. Me being the forth. I know for sure that it hasn't been fired in 40 years. Now that I have a son to pass this down to I'm hoping to shoot it with him someday. Yesterday I finally made time to completely dismantle the whole rifle and clean and oil every singe piece. Everything appeared to be in pretty good shape considering its age. There is no way of knowing how many rounds have been fired. What I notice on the I.D. of the barrel appeared to be transverse cracks about half way down. Is this common or are its shooting days over? The last thing that I want to do is destroy this old piece of history. Any and all help would be appriciated.

February 5, 2011, 01:19 PM
You are asking what is essentially, a structural soundness opinion.

What vintage of rifle, blackpowder or smokeless. If blackpowder I would not consider it safe, even in like new condition, with smokeless loads.

How large are the cracks?

I don't know the safety factors built into those barrels. The fact that it is cracked indicates to me that the metal was either defective or at some point of its life, it has been exposed to pressures that exceeded the ultimate tensile strength of the barrel. If either is true, I would not consider the barrel to be "safe". Whatever margin the barrel had, it has less right now.

If you plan to pass this down to another generation I would have the barrel replaced. Future generations may not know enough not to fire rounds in the barrel and a descendant of yours may lose a hand or an eye.

If this was a question about a car and worn out brakes, you know what the answer would be before you let your Son drive the car. (Fix the brakes!) I don’t consider this any different.

Maybe the SASS types know a source for barrels. I would have the barrel replaced with a modern tube. A web search will find barrel blanks, then another web search you will need to find a gunsmith who will turn that blank, chamber it, and put it on the receiver.

That's my opinion.

February 5, 2011, 01:54 PM
Whay you say are cracks could be lead fouling. If they are really cracks, you may need to rebarrel or line the barrel. Call John at Taylor Machine, he mainly works on old Winchesters. 253-445-4073

February 5, 2011, 02:05 PM
Proceeding with caution is in order,of course.
The rifle as is,in its original form,with 4 generations of history,is probably best left unaltered.
Outfits like Puma,Pedersoli,etc make new 92's that would be better for shooting.If you look at Winchester's site,they list several variations of 92.
Rebarreling costs money,clobbers the original condition,and you will still have an old rifle action.

I am curious,how have you identified them as cracks? Do you have a borescope?A crack would be very bad,an impending failure.A "ring" is a little different.It s an unfortunate flaw,but can be formed by,perhaps a squib sticking halfway down the barrel,the trying to remove it with a case full of black powder.A ring may not be so bad,and shooting a barrel with a ring is not too much of a problem.
You will,of course,need to shoot black powder or equivalent loads if you choose to shoot it.
My vote,keep the old original just like it is,safe as an heirloom.Show it to the kids and grandkids.Tell them stories,then take them to the range with a modern 92 and let them wear it out

February 5, 2011, 02:25 PM
Arrowing back resulted in duplicate

Jim Watson
February 5, 2011, 03:00 PM
A cracked barrel would be very bad and not shootable at all.
As said there are other flaws that will not completely ruin a barrel.
If it is a small ring bulge or a band of rust as a patch left in the barrel can cause, it might not be accurate but you could shoot it on "ceremonial occasions." Time for a real gunsmith with a borescope and knowhow, not the sporting goods store parts changer.

Mr Redman will not reline a skinny carbine barrel, I don't know about Mr Taylor. A replacement would be expensive and a loss of originality.
There was once an outfit that sold direct replacement barrels complete with fake markings, but they were $500 at the time, several years ago. I don't see them on Google today.

February 5, 2011, 03:53 PM
The vintage is smokeless. I ran the serial numbers through Winchester and it came back as 1896.Yes, it is hard to tell if they are in fact cracks but I didn't know what else they could be. Rebarreling will not be an option. It's heirloom value is higher than it's functionality.Thank you all. I will take it to
"2" gunsmiths and have it scoped. If cleared, I'll still put it in a gun vise with a 40 ft. string for the first shot. I hope that it is ok because I would really, really like to shoot it but safety will be put ahead of everything else. Thanks again.

Jim Watson
February 5, 2011, 04:05 PM
I don't worry about the action, the '92 is a strong Browning design, actually limited more by the diameter of the barrel shank than anything else. Mine is 1911 vintage and two previous owners shot it with loads that would make a 21st Century Internet Expert turn pale as a ghost. It isn't even a little bit loose. The barrel is a reline but it is a good stout octagon with plenty of room.

I hope your barrel checks out usable. I think it is sad that so many old family guns are demoted to bric-a-brac because people are scared to shoot them.