View Full Version : Winchester '94 XTR info...

January 7, 2012, 10:31 PM
Picked one up today in .375 Win and can't find much info on it. I know they were made in the 80's but I'm not sure what exactly the XTR means. From what I've gathered it was a sort of upgraded version of the standard model right? Better wood, finish, sights, etc? I'd also like to narrow the production year a little but when I typed the serial into the database on oldguns.net it told me it was made in 1894... So I'm guessing they use a different serial number range? Basically any info on this thing is appreciated. It is replacing a Marlin 1895M in .450 Marlin that was a pos. My new brush buster.

Hog Buster
January 7, 2012, 11:32 PM
I acquired one about a year ago and Googled “ Winchester 94 XTR”, “Winchester 94 XTR Big Bore” and such, and found a ton of information out there on them. Most of it I have forgotten, but it’s available and takes a bit of sifting thru to find what you want.

From what I learned the reason that it flopped was because of the magnum craze then going on. Everyone wanted a rifle with the word “magnum” in the cartridge size, the 94 XTR didn’t have that. Had it been called 94 XTR Magnum it still might be in production today. I found it to be a good 100 -150 yard rifle with plenty of stopping power. It works fine on hogs, but haven’t tried it on deer or others, but I see no reason it wouldn't work on most North American big game.

I bought it to use as a truck gun, but it is in such pristine condition I shortly ruled that out. Couldn’t see beating up a good looking gun. Put a peep sight on it and turned it into a hog killer.

I reload and have found that cases are sometimes difficult to find, along with factory bullets. Factory rounds are even more difficult to locate, and expensive. I cast a 255 grain lead bullet for mine and have a stock of brass, so I’m good for the time being.

Tim R
January 8, 2012, 06:37 AM
I’ve wanted a big bore XTR for some time, but other things have gotten in the way. The 375 is on my short list though. It will take any thing in North America with the exception of maybe the BIG bears.

January 8, 2012, 11:15 AM
In the first 30 years or so of Model 1894/94 production, Winchester used the term "Highly Finished" when referring to their top-of-the-line rifle from the Custom Shop - usually engraved guns with special wood, sights, barrels, etc.

Times changed, and when Winchester wanted to designate a class of their current late 1970's production that had a better polish prior to bluing, and a better grade of walnut, and later also checkered - the came up with "XTR", because the guns were nowhere as decorative as the previously used "Highly Finished" guns, and Winchester wanted less confusion.

"XTR" means "eXTRa finish" - 1978 - 1983, IIRC.


Tom Matiska
January 8, 2012, 02:40 PM
XTR has the deeper bluing and nice checkered stock.

Big Bore means you have a receiver that is thicker and stronger than the average 1894. Make sure any scope side mounts or rear peeps are specific to the 375 Big Bore model and not the generic 94.

Many years of the Big Bore were numbered differently than the standard 94 range. I never saw that list published anywhere. I've seen later BB's that had longer numbers, but it looked like the extra numbers were stamped differently..... apparently legit but looks suspect.

January 8, 2012, 03:46 PM
Thanks for the info guys. Just brought it back from shooting it and I have to say I'm falling in love. I was shooting some 250gr Winchester factory ammo that came with it and it shot like a dream. I'm getting out of my phase where I feel the need for real big whompers and I greatly prefer the .375's recoil to the .450. Also digging the lightness. Carrying that Marlin around the swamp got old. I guess I need a set of dies next.

Hog Buster
January 8, 2012, 05:48 PM
Reloading info is getting harder to come by. I use 32 grains of Reloader 7 behind a 255 grain cast bullet. This seems to make it speak with authority.

January 8, 2012, 07:03 PM
Really? I would think the round would have been more popular. Seems like a hard hitting round in a light handy rifle that doesn't kill the shoulder. Anyways I know a local shop that has a few boxes of factory stuff I can probably get cheap. I'll grab those to hold me until the dies come in.

Hog Buster
January 8, 2012, 07:27 PM
Like I said, it didn’t have “Magnum” in the name. So it wasn’t macho enough for the masses. In truth it’s a miniature 45/70 with excellent stopping power. Almost no loading data for the heavier bullets now. Most data only covers 220 grain jacketed loads.

Tell someone you have a 375 Winchester and they say “OK”, tell ‘em you’ve got a 256 Winchester Magnum and they say “Wow”. From middling to macho with just one word.

January 9, 2012, 02:35 AM
I worked in a sporting goods store when the Model 94 XTR Big Boar were introduced. There were a few things that went wrong with the early Winchester Model 94 XTR Big Boars in 375 Winchester:
* They cost significantly more than a standard Model 94, selling into a market sector that was very price-conscious.
* They were very nice, glossy, well-checkered, when many people were trying to get rid of glossy looks.
* 375 Winchester was not advertised, not reviewed, and generally unknown. Lots of people thought it was a magnum cartridge.
* Winchester did not try to make a major marketing push in the market, they just introduced the guns and shipped them. We had them on the shelves, and people would look at them, but most had never heard of the 94 Big Boar nor the 375 Winchester.
* And perhaps most fatal, Winchester made a limited run of 375 Winchester ammo and it was hard to get.

A few years later, Winchester chambered the Big Boar rifles in 444 Marlin, but the special run was pretty much over by then.

Hog Buster
January 9, 2012, 07:13 AM
Yeah, you’re right about the advertising too, not much. That’s also about the same time Winchester was turning out 94’s that looked like Daisy Red Ryder’s. No so hot two tone finish and stocks made from some kind of monkey wood. If I remember Marlin put a whipping on them with sales at that time. I had both, but Marlin sure looked like a higher quality and better made rifle. This and the magnum craze sent the 94 XTR into oblivion.

January 9, 2012, 12:42 PM
The 375 flopped because the 356 and 307 chamberings came out at about the same time and were much better offerings. At that time Winchester had a lot of QC problems that did not help either. Marlin chambered their 336 in the 375 Winchester very briefly but most foks wanting something more than 30-30 bought either the 35, 444, or 45-70.

The 375 ain't bad, bit it won't do much more than a 30-30, no more than a 35, and less than a 444, or 45-70. It sorta got stuck in no mans land

January 9, 2012, 12:52 PM
I had an opportunity to pick up a Winchester 375 a while back and decided against it. My main reason was that the Marlin 35 could match it in performance with easier to find ammo and reloading components.

January 9, 2012, 01:12 PM
Very true. But then again of I was worried about convenient I wouldn't have owned half the rifles I have. That's part of the draw of the rifle for me. I wanted a mid size caliber hog whomper in a lever action but didn't want the same old thing everyone else has. Enter the 375.

January 9, 2012, 02:49 PM
Nothing wrong with that as long as you know the down side before getting into it. From what I have heard, the cartridge is effective.