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Old June 27, 2010, 08:41 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: February 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 100
Lever Opens on Model 94 When Firing

I have a pre 64 Winchester Model 94 in 32 Special. I've noticed that the action/bolt is opening at times when firing. Specifically:

- action will open at times, regardless of whether or not I have my hand on the lever
- not load specific (i.e. happens with reloads and factory ammno)
- action will not open if I try to keep the lever closed with my hand wrapped around the lever and stock
- doesn't seem to happen right after cleaning, but does happen more as more shots are fired to the point where it opens on every shot
- beside firing, the bolt/action will open when the rifle is given a modest rap on the butt stock on the floor.

I found on post on Paco Kelly's Leverguns site that discusses a similar problem with a 356 winchester in a post 64 Model 94 (

One theory was excessive case lube getting in the chamber, preventing the expanding case from "sticking" to the chamber and putting excessive pressure on the bolt face. Unlike the poster in the above forum, I don't shoot cast bullets and I wipe all my cases with a damp cloth and dry, so I don't think case lube is a problem. I didn't clean my chamber with alcohol (tried this in the past and all I got was rust), but I do clean with Hoppes #9 and wipe well with clean patches.

Another theory was headspace - I still have to check this, but I'm not seeing tell tale signs on the cases (i.e. bright ring above the rim).

Another theory was a loose bolt and/or a loose locking block. In my Model 94, both don't seem overly sloppy, although I'm not sure how high the locking block is supposed to come up. It is level with the receiver, but below the small "flat" on the back of the bolt - the locking block sits just below the flat at the rear of the bolt, on the beveled section. Not sure if this is normal.

Another suggestion was that the friction stud was not locking the lever. The locking stud does seem to have a fair bit of tension, but I'm not sure if it is getting into the recess in the receiver. I'll have a look at this tonight. Some have stated that the function of the friction stud is not to hold the gun in battery when firing.

Unlike the problems observed by C. Cash, the bolt and locking block do stay locked when I hold the lever shut.

Any ideas or similar experiences?

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