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Old June 23, 2013, 01:25 PM   #1
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winchester 94

I have a winchester 94 not sure how old it is got it from my late grandfather
It does not have the serial number on it on the bottom of the riflle where most on here say it is. It does have a W stamped on it on the front part of the trigger mechanism at the front end of the trigger circle on the bottom and just forward of that where the serial is supposed to be it is worn very badly or removed etc.. does the W mean anything i am fairly sure it is before 1950 Any help would be great i can upload a pic or 2 if necessary
Thanks in advance
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Old June 24, 2013, 12:01 PM   #2
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Yes, pics would help--both of the underside of the receiver and overall. Is there a screw on the bottom of the receiver/lever apparatus? - a sign of a Pre 64 (later on--80s-90s+--the screw was re-added that, but that was combined with angle eject and safety, so the two eras cannot be confused). If a serial number "appears" 1,600,000 or so would be about 1950, and 2,700,000 or so being close to end of Pre 64 production in 1963. A "long wood" fore-end just (additional 3/8" or so vs Post 50/51) ahead of the rear-most barrel band--assuming a carbine--also an indication of 1950 and earlier (though some 1951s also had). This aspect (along with barrels and stocks etc) of course could have been changed out/swapped later, so talking generalities here. AFAIK, no regular production rifles were made during and post-war up to 1964--only 20" round-barreled carbines, so if it's got the bottom screw combined with longer (26" octagonal or round) or even octagonal 20" "short rifle" barrel configuration--again without the safety and angle eject "features" added later--it'd be Pre War also.

Last edited by gak; June 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM.
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Old June 24, 2013, 04:36 PM   #3
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FYI - Posession of a firearm with an obliterated, defaced or removed serial number in a direct violation of Federal Law (18 US Code, Section 922) aka: a felony , with some heavy penalties - whether or not you did the removal/defacing, or someone else did.

Scroll down to (9), "h", (2), "k":

There were NO Winchester Model 1894/94 Rifles or Carbines made w/o a serial number.

I would strongly suggest taking that rifle apart, destroying the stripped receiver, and selling off all other parts if the SN on the forward part of the lower receiver cannot be discerned.

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Old June 24, 2013, 09:10 PM   #4
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Seems excessive. If the serial is actually removed... and it happens... you can't sell it through a dealer as he would be required to turn it over to the police. If they become aware of the rifle they will confiscate it. Nobody's going to jail unless you live in NYC, maybe. I would keep it in the family and shoot it...

In some cases the ATF will allow such a gun to be marked with a new serial if there's no reason to believe the serial was removed for illegal purposes. But you can't count on them going along.

Try to locate a serial on it. May still be legible under blacklight or something.
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Old June 25, 2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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"(k) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to transport,
ship, or receive, in interstate or foreign commerce, any firearm
which has had the importer's or manufacturer's serial number
removed, obliterated, or altered or to possess or receive any
firearm which has had the importer's or manufacturer's serial
number removed, obliterated, or altered and has, at any time, been
shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce."

"...or to possess..."
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Old June 26, 2013, 12:24 AM   #6
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What about a firearm that has never had a serial number? I have an old Stevens double barrel with no serial number that I have taken into Canada and back. It has to be checked in both ways and no one said boo when I wrote "none" under serial number.
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Old June 26, 2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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Serial numbers were not required until 1968. Many manufacturers never used them until that time, others did.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:30 AM   #8
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In "The Winchester Book" by Madis, he shows several examples of older Winchesters that had the serial numbers removed at the factory during refinishing, they were marked with a "W" at times. It didnt seem to be all that uncommon judging from the way he discussed it.

As was mentioned, serial numbers werent required before 1968. I sure wouldnt have a cow from comments online. I know one guy that had an 1886 Winchester that had the serial number missing, he sent the lower tang (the part with the number on early 86's) to the state crime lab to have the number raised, as it may have been in the range and came from the area of the Johnson County War, but it wasn't in fact one of the guns known to be there, or of the exact time range. The state didnt care about the gun regarding the serial number in any event.

Rather than destroying what may be an interesting and possibly valuable gun from an anonymous suggestion online, it may be interesting to a collector because it is a factory marked gun with no number, done in a way recognised by collectors.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt-
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