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Old January 25, 2013, 01:16 AM   #1
Join Date: December 14, 2010
Posts: 79
Best loads and accuracy expections for Winchester 94?

Just bought a 1982 Win 94 from Scheels in W Des Moines. Been testing it for best loads.

So far, I've determined that Remington SP's are best and give me 5" grps off a BR with irons at 100 yds. Not the best shooting conditions. Subfreezing, wind knocking out the tgt boards and wearing AF parka, Army gloves, VB boots and balaklava.

I'm using the rear sight without the reticle and using the prongs it slides on. This gives me a wide, deep V that I deem superior for woods hunting or defense, but maybe less than precise on a target.

I'm an awarded competition shooter, but am reading claims of 1" grps with 30-30's elsewhere in this forum.

Haven't I found the right load, is it my iron sights, am I waaaay out of practice or am I hearing tall tales?
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Old January 25, 2013, 07:27 AM   #2
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Winchester 94's quality has been all over the place and it is hard to predict how an individual gun will shoot until you start shooting. I've seen a few that would do 1" with optics, closer to 2" is pretty good for most guys with iron sights. With other guns 3-4" groups even with glass on the rifle, 4-5" without is about as good as they will do.

It could be that that individual rifle is simply not capable of better. Or it could be a combination of several conditions. The weather, it may not like that type of ammo, try something else. I'd think you should be able to get accuracy down to 2-4" even with iron sights. The 1" Winchester's are out there, but they are not common. In my experience a your odd's of getting a great shooter are better with the Marlins.
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Old January 25, 2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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After working on many 94s over the years, I agree with JMR40.

Some older 94s and 92s can be scary-accurate, especially with receiver sights.

The tendency when shooting at game with open sights is to look right over the rear sight and shoot high. I've cured several people's poor game shooting by installing receiver sights with large apertures.

A friend missed every deer he ever shot at with his open-sighted 94, never getting one, but shooting at several. I figured out his problem, installed a Williams 5D and, a few days after he shot a (left to right) running deer through the heart on the first shot, then, not realizing he'd hit it, through the lungs on the second shot!!! That was in the woods and at 40 yards.
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Old January 25, 2013, 10:02 PM   #4
Dan Newberry
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Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Wytheville, VA
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receiver sights for sure... you will be glad you got one...

For most accurate handload, I've found 170's with 32.6 grains of RL15 in Winchester or RP brass very hard to beat.

Be sure to FL size the cases if you handload... and some guns even like a small base die for good chamber fit.

I've never had a deer walk away from a 170 grain 30-30...

Practical Long Range Rifle Courses...
Optimal Charge Weight handload consulting
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Old January 26, 2013, 10:13 AM   #5
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Minute of deer (or bad guy) out to 150 yards.

150gr for regular white tail, 170 for the corn fed ones.
Above is based on the opinion of a 20 year Small Arms Marksmanship and Training Unit USAF instructor with more than 30 years in competitive shooting sports. Your mileage may vary.
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Old January 26, 2013, 10:26 AM   #6
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I have occasionally, when the wind is still, the dew is wet on the grass, and the shooting imps are off bothering someone else, shot groups with my Win 94 that are very, very nice. More often, though, it's a 3-4 minute rifle. Because the Win 94 is hard to clean from the breech, many folks have cleaned them from the muzzle. I have seen Win 94s that have had the rifling scrubbed out of the first inch of bore through cleaning rod wear. I also saw one years ago that had been stored in a barn and dirt daubers had filled the bore with their mud nests.

You don't talk about the condition of your crown, nor how old the rifle might be. Some old Win 94s are very nice, some have been abused; it's simply the nature of the way they were used by past owners.

I agree that the most common mod for best accuracy is the installation of a receiver sight. Both of mine wear Williams FP sights and the extra sight radius sure helps me shoot them better. For myself, I am perfectly happy with a 3-minute Win 94. The width of the front bead is such that it subtends about six inches at 100 yards, and I have mine sighted to shoot into the area covered by the front sight. I simply put the bead on the target, squeeze the trigger, and know that the bullet is going to smack the area covered by the front sight. It's not a very precise arrangement, but it's perfectly suitable for my purposes.
Dennis Dezendorf
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Old February 14, 2013, 04:17 PM   #7
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I have an old win 94 that looks like it came over on the Mayflower. Picked it up years ago as boot in a trade. Anyway, great bore, good tight lockup, and great original iron sites. Tried a load listed in a Lyman manual: Speer 150gr FP on top of 30gr of IMR 4064, in win brass with winchester large rifle primer. Best I have done off the bench with em was 1.5" C-C, three round group. That was the Best. Most of the time I average 2.5" to 3" groups off the bench, w/sitting or rest shots coming in about 3" to 4" groups. It is a lot of fun to shoot and it would probally win most "ugly gun" contests.
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