View Full Version : Winchester 30WCF 30/30 - will it survive?

February 27, 2011, 08:41 PM
Good evening everyone, I'm a newbie here. First off I hope I've posted this in the correct area. I recently inherited some rifles and shotguns from my father. He passed away in 1997, and I've only just recently received the guns. Most are in decent condition, considering they were literally wrapped in blankets and sitting in the attic insulation for the last 20 odd years.

The rifle I'm most interested/concerned with is a Winchester 30WCF. I don't know a whole lot about guns, as I've only recently rekindled my interest in firearms from when I was a kid. But I do know that if a gun sits for a while it can be damaged/ruined by time.

I'm sorry to ramble, but my question is - does anyone here think that this gun is still usable? I've posted some (what I hope to be decent quality) pictures here. If anyone requires any better pictures I will do my best to get some for you.

Again, if this is in the wrong area, I apologize.


February 27, 2011, 08:52 PM
From your pictures, rust has done its damage on the exterior. I suspect that improper storage has resulted in pitting from rust in the bore and chamber. If minor pitting in the chamber, sticky extraction would be expected. If pitting were major in the chamber and bore, it would be dangerous to shoot it.

February 27, 2011, 08:56 PM
1st Clean and inspect the bore and chamber.
Will most likely be safe to shoot BUT the accuracy may be compromised by a pitted bore and or worn rifling.
Clean properly like you would any rifle, and let an experienced shooter or gunsmith look at it for you.

February 27, 2011, 09:01 PM
She sure looks like a Wallhanger from here ! Too bad , it was once a beauty ! :(

February 27, 2011, 09:26 PM
You definitely need to get that thing to a gunsmith for a good inspection.

February 28, 2011, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the info fellas. Unfortunately there are so far 3 people that have mentioned that it will probably be a 'wall hanger', as someone mentioned. I haven't been to a smith yet - for some reason all of the Gun shops here in the Austin area seem to be closed on Sundays and Mondays. But I fear that a smith will tell me the same thing. It's a shame, it's such a beautiful rifle, even in it's current condition.

It makes me wonder if it was even usable when my father got it.

Sorta off topic - does anyone know if there's a way to trace a gun's history via it's serial number? I have no idea how my father came upon this rifle (or the others in his small collection) and I'd love to see where they came from, or when they were made.

Again, thanks for the information, it helped greatly!

February 28, 2011, 10:47 AM
I am curious to it's age also. It doesn't look like a newer gun with rust, it looks old with patina covered in rust. Being chambered in a low powered cartridge, it may still be salvagable.

It looks like your dad and my dad have the same gun care techniques!

February 28, 2011, 11:10 AM
My grandfather said that he only found a few thousand dollars worth of Gold at the Alaskan Gold rush, but shot mountain goats with a 30-30 and sold them to the tavern.

My father said my grandfather recovered Gold from a bank robbery and got his name in the paper.

I imagined that my grandfather was wandering around Alaska, goat hunting with his 30-30, and apprehended a band of bank robbers.

Then I got the copy of the Klondike news, all old and yellow, that showed my grandfather worked in a sleuth box, and like all town folk, was deputized and fanned out. He found a bag of Gold and turned it in.

I wish he brought back the 30-30. All we got was an Iver Johnson break top revolver:(

My first load book:
"Speer 12" 1994:
"Some bolt-action and single-shot rifles have been chambered for this cartridge. Reloaders can sue spritzer-type bullets in these rifles, but should keep the weight to 150 grains or less. Heavier spritzer bullets cannot be drive fast enough in the 30-30 to expand reliably. We are occasionally asked if the 30-30 can be loaded to higher velocities in a modern bolt action like the Remington model 788. The answer is NO! The 30-30 case is an old design with relatively thin walls. Attempting to load "hotter" would risk a dangerous case failure."

I don't believe that, having cross sectioned 30-30 brass.

I have since worked up 30-30 loads more powerful that the 300 Win Mag loads in that book.
The 30-30 has less case capacity than the 300WinMag, but can go higher pressure because it does not have an extractor groove to weaken it.

February 28, 2011, 11:48 AM
I found a serial number dating page here: http://oldguns.net/sn_php/windateslookup.php

Now, I don't know how accurate that page is, but the serial number I have, which is 786359, is dated 1916 - at least according to that page.

February 28, 2011, 12:09 PM
Your 1894 rifle is in pretty rough shape. There are people who can rebuild it to look original, right down to the proper markings and everything. Only word of caution is that with the metal in that rough of a condition and the wood cracked, you would be looking at around $1500 to return the rifle to good working order. If that is out of the question, either hang it on a wall or sell it.

February 28, 2011, 12:41 PM
That's what I was afraid of Scorch, and I appreciate the info.

Do you have any kind of idea/estimate on how much it might cost to get the gun operable? I'd love to restore it on my own as best as I can, but even if I can't get it to Factory New status, I'd at least like to get it to where it can be fired safely from time to time, to enjoy it.

February 28, 2011, 01:01 PM
There is no easy answer for "how much would it cost", it depends on how you want the results to look. There are several options for each piece:
* Barrel- reline the barrel or rebarrel with an octagon barrel= approx $350, more if you want it re-marked to look like the original.
* Wood- new stock set "drop-in"= approx $150. New stock set, fitted to your metal= start at $200 and go up from there.
* Metal- hot tank reblue= about $200, rust blue= about $500
* Various replaceable parts (screws, magazine thimbles, etc), budget about $50.

In the shape it is in, there is no "quick and easy" to get it back to shooting condition. If you consider selling it, talk to me.

March 1, 2011, 12:33 AM
If you can open the action do so and verify the chamber and tubular magazine are empty otherwise treat the gun as if it were loaded.

March 1, 2011, 03:29 AM
Even in it's present condition, you still have something that has a pretty fair value. I had a friend who bought and sold old Winchesters, and it constantly amazed me how much people would pay for what I considered absolute junk, waaaaaaaaaay worse than what you have.

FWIW, check the bore (after you ensure that it's unloaded), and see exactly what condition the bore is in. You might be surprised.

March 1, 2011, 04:06 AM
Sometimes folks hide guns away to keep the kids from fooling with them.
It is what it is.Just my opinion,there is a fine line...
Can anyone tell you some family history?Provenance?
Not just every gunsmith is best to work on it.Myself,I would leave it old.There is a way to clean it up without changing it from what it is.
It may prove out to be shootable as is.
There are other old 94 Wins out there.Not cheap,but neither is remaking the one you have.I'd spend the money on another Win 94 for a shooter.I have seen rifles that looked worse that were shootable.If it will function,if the headspace is within reason,maybe light cast bullet reloads would be OK.
Look at the new Winchester website,You migt see something you like.
No,I do not think the 30-30,or 30 WCF,will go away any time soon.

Dr. Strangelove
March 1, 2011, 04:20 AM
Ehhh, I wouldn't automatically say it was unsafe to shoot, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to shoot it, either.

Get a good gunsmith to look at it and see what they say.

March 1, 2011, 08:53 AM
HiBC, that's how I feel. I actually like the way it looks as it is. It looks very old-timey, like I just pulled it out of Shane's (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046303/) saddle.

My main goal is to get it looked at by a smith and see if it's usable in it's present (or at least cleaned up) condition. I wouldn't sell it, it's got sentimental value.

March 1, 2011, 10:37 AM
"I have since worked up 30-30 loads more powerful that the 300 Win Mag loads in that book.
The 30-30 has less case capacity than the 300WinMag, but can go higher pressure because it does not have an extractor groove to weaken it. "

I don't... um.... oh, never mind. :rolleyes: