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Winchester Model 94 Re Barrel


Wildcat Sam

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I recently purchased a model 94 in 30-30. A good friend of mine mentioned re-barreling it to a 38-55. 
My question is, would it be possible to have it barreled in 45 Colt?

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I believe at one time there were some 94 winchesters in pistol caliber. Seems they had some problems with being reliable and were slow...even compared to a 92. I don't know what the internals were like...big differance in cartridge length. I do have a 94 that was re-barreled to 38-55...but I haven't had a chance to slug the barrel and cast the chamber yet

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Long story short, a Model 94 can be made to function with pistol cartridges.   But it will never work well for our game.   What year was your Winchester made made?  If it's a post 83 with angle eject and a stupid safety, those are what Winchester made, or more accurately, someone make for them, in the .45 Colt caliber.   They are crappy guns to begin with, and coupled with cartridge that the long action is just not designed for, even crappier.  To be honest, I will not own a post 83.

Now, if you've got a pre-83 Winchester, that was actually made by Winchester.  They are decent guns, and I'd not "ruin" it by changing the barrel to a .45 Colt.  The could also be issues with the bolt face, and other parts that would make the conversion more than just a barrel swap.  Which all adds up to a lot of money.  On the other hand, changing it to a .38-55 would be just a barrel swap, and if I couldn't find one already in that caliber, and really wanted one in it, this is one that I'd rebarrell.   Curiously, Winchester did make a handful of these guns in .44 Magnum.  I've never handled one, but find the concept interesting.  It would still have the problem of the action being designed for much longer cartridges, but at least it's a decently made gun to begin with.

As it is, you have an excellent hunting rifle, and not a bad one for SASS long range events. 

Now, if you've got a pre-64 Winchester, you have a gun that is potentially "collectable."  Condition is everything, of course, but a pre-64 tends to be be more valuable than a pre-83, and certainly more than a post 83.  They were also, in the opinion of most, better made than the things that came later.  (Although, I do have a very nice pre-83 model, so it is possible to get one..  I also have a pre-64, and it is clearly better.)  I would not change anything about a pre-64.  These are great guns.

Bottom line, the conversion is probably possible, but not worth the effort, or the money.

Hmm..   This long made short story, isn't all that short.

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Yes, Winchester made Model 94's in .45 Colt. I've got a 16" Trapper model that rides in the coat closet of my motorhome everywhere I go. With that being said, having yours converted would likely exceed the cost of buying a new Winchester 92 or 73 that are currently offered in .45 Colt. I just bought a 92 in .357 and it needed very little tuning to run at cowboy speed with the proper length ammo. Give it some serious thought before jumping in that rabbit hole.

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Why ?

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If you're gonna spew nonsense, be prepared to be schooled!  Winchester Repeating Arms became defunct when it went into receivership in 1931, subsequently bought out by Western Cartridge Company in 1934, a subsidiary of the Olin Corporation .  So, "Winchester" hasn't made arms since 1934.  Olin made Winchester firearms until 1983 when the New Haven plant was sold to the US Repeating Arms and produced firearms with the Winchester name under license from Olin Corp.  They ultimately got swallowed up by Fabrique National, who closed the New Haven plant in 2006.  And subsequently were granted a license to produce firearms with the Winchester name in their Miroku subsidiary's plant in Japan.  Similarly to how Browning Firearms were made there.  (Browning is also an entity owned by FN).

 

Second, the Winchester mdl 94 is an engineering marvel from the genius of JM Browning.  A medium power rifle in a slim, trim, quick handling lightweight carbine.  Just as  Thomas G. Bennett requested.  The mdl 94 was first produced in a pistol cartridge in 1969, a 44 Rem Magnum.  The 45 Colt was introduced in the mdl 94AE in 1985.  Parts are mostly interchangeable,, except the bolt for an AE won't work with a top eject (pre-'83, USRA receiver).

 

Thirdly, the mdl 94 and mdl '73 share a similar length factory lever stroke, so it doesn't really lose anything to a factory '73 in that regard.  The stroke is a little "clunky" as the bottom of the receiver drops out of the receiver in order to facilitate the longer rifle length cases.  The factory lever stroke on the mdl 1892 Winchester is slightly shorter than the mdl 94 and mdl '73, minutely longer than the Marlin mdl 1894.   A well tuned Winchester mdl 1892 was THE go to rifle for CAS prior to the development of the short stroked '73.   A properly set up Marlin in the hands of a skilled shooter was a good match for the 1892.  Any of which is far better platforms for a pistol length cartridge than the mdl 94.  

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Howdy Sam,

I re-barreled a Model 94 to 38-55 quite a long time ago.  It was a Buffalo Bill comm. rifle.  It was a fine shooter.  I moved on from that project and sold it.  Sure it's out there in Cowboy land,  Some where.  

regards

Texas Red

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2 hours ago, Griff said:

If you're gonna spew nonsense, be prepared to be schooled!  Winchester Repeating Arms became defunct when it went into receivership in 1931, subsequently bought out by Western Cartridge Company in 1934, a subsidiary of the Olin Corporation .  So, "Winchester" hasn't made arms since 1934.  Olin made Winchester firearms until 1983 when the New Haven plant was sold to the US Repeating Arms and produced firearms with the Winchester name under license from Olin Corp.  They ultimately got swallowed up by Fabrique National, who closed the New Haven plant in 2006.  And subsequently were granted a license to produce firearms with the Winchester name in their Miroku subsidiary's plant in Japan.  Similarly to how Browning Firearms were made there.  (Browning is also an entity owned by FN).

 

Second, the Winchester mdl 94 is an engineering marvel from the genius of JM Browning.  A medium power rifle in a slim, trim, quick handling lightweight carbine.  Just as  Thomas G. Bennett requested.  The mdl 94 was first produced in a pistol cartridge in 1969, a 44 Rem Magnum.  The 45 Colt was introduced in the mdl 94AE in 1985.  Parts are mostly interchangeable,, except the bolt for an AE won't work with a top eject (pre-'83, USRA receiver).

 

Thirdly, the mdl 94 and mdl '73 share a similar length factory lever stroke, so it doesn't really lose anything to a factory '73 in that regard.  The stroke is a little "clunky" as the bottom of the receiver drops out of the receiver in order to facilitate the longer rifle length cases.  The factory lever stroke on the mdl 1892 Winchester is slightly shorter than the mdl 94 and mdl '73, minutely longer than the Marlin mdl 1894.   A well tuned Winchester mdl 1892 was THE go to rifle for CAS prior to the development of the short stroked '73.   A properly set up Marlin in the hands of a skilled shooter was a good match for the 1892.  Any of which is far better platforms for a pistol length cartridge than the mdl 94.  

Thanks for the info, I didn’t know any of it, including FN owns Miroku!  I enjoyed the “lesson”!

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I'll assume that the 30-30 barrel is good, and this is just a project. Back in Winchester 94 Commemorative days they made some in 44-40. I owned and used one for shooting cowboy when I started. It may not be the fastest action, but honestly my speed with it allowed me to run in the middle of the pack. I'm still running in the middle of the pack now, even with better kit. Sometimes it's not the kit, .............

The Commemorative series was post '64, and lots of the parts were MIM, a metal powder and glue mix meant for making kitchen utensils. The rifle was a loaner and I could tell after a few matches that the rifle was starting to eat itself. I had greased and oiled it at all the wear points, polished any burr I could find, but it was getting worn out fast. Out of respect for the owner I stopped using it before it was trash. 

 

I do have a comment on the design, to make feeding reliable the engineers came up with a folded metal part to make a long action work with a short cartridge. I think that one factor would make me abandon such a project. 

 

Sounds like you don't have a need for a 30-30, perhaps selling it and moving on would be a better decision. However, a rebarrel to 38-55 is another matter entirely. With a rebarrel, or rebore, you have some control over the bore/groove dimensions and can have a tailored chamber reamed. Win/Win.

 

I've owned a Commemorative in 38-55, the MIM job was much better than the 44-40 and it was a good rifle all around. I got to appreciate the caliber. The other one was not as good. The action was clunky and it wouldn't shoot the ammo that worked well in the other one. 

 

I'm no Winchester expert, but it's been my experience that most of the pre 64 Winchester 94s were good, unless abused or worn out. After '64 up until Miroku began making them, some of those were OK, but a lot were poorly made with some dodgy metal. I have a '73 in 38/357, made by Miroku, that IMHO is a well made rifle. 

 

In conclusion, 45 Colt rebarrel is possible, but you may not be happy with it. Converting to 38-55 is possible and likely fairly common. However, 38-55 recoils a fair bit more than a 30-30, and even at BP velocities tends to kick you about a bit. A 30-30 shooting cast at 1400 to 1700 fps is fun, a 38-55 at those same velocities, less fun, more of a job. If I were to go 38-55 again, I think I'd like a heavier barrel, octagon, and a bit longer barrel as well, 24" min. A 20' round barrel carbine is a beast in 38-55. However, I'm not a real fan of having a rifle hurt me, I don't own a lever in 45-70.

 

BB 

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Big Boston, none of the Winchester post '64 parts were MIM.  The receiver was forged of sintered steel, not mystery metal, the carrier was sheet metal until about 1972, when it was changed to a cast part, as it remained throughout the USRA production, (I don't know what Miroku uses); the balance of the parts were forged regular steel.  Sintered steel doesn't take hot bluing the same as forged steel, therefore the purple color inside the receiver.  The receiver was either coated with steel & blued, clad with brass, pewter or hard chromed depending on model and time frame.  Some were coated with a special "black" finish, but almost all were susceptible to freckling.  Carriers would bend with most any jam, as most folks don't have much finesse when brute force sometimes works.  Among my 30 Winchester 94s, I have 16 post '64s, some of which are among the smoothest of actions.  Nothing inside the action "folds"... the lever has either a straight slot or a "L" shaped slot in it to facilitate it forcing the "link" to lower into position to accept a cartridge from the magazine.  At the very end of it's forward stroke the carrier is forced upward putting the cartridge in position to be pushed forward in the chamber by the bolt.  Working the action "smartly" it can function smoothly and quickly.  Worked slowly, one generally feels a hitch where the lever hits the pin thru the lower link, as it usually takes a bit of force to push the link out of position against it's catch in the receiver.  

 

I think they undeservedly got a bad rap in the beginning, partly due to the metal composition, and yes, partly due to the fragile nature of the carrier.  Just like with many other arms, they only improve with judicious stoning of mating parts.

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I have a 30-30 Marlin with a 24" octagon barrel that was rebored by JES to 38-88.  I picked it up here on the wire several years ago.

 

The barrel slugs at .375" and it's a tack driver with jacketed as well as cast bullets. 

 

Only thing I wish had been done was that at the time it was rebored was to X out 30-30 and remark the caliber as 38-55 

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NO 45. The action is totally different, the bolt travel  is not same. 38-55 may work.

 

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I have an very lightly shot Winchester 1894 Angle Eject model in .45 Colt that I'd part with, but I've resisted ever trying hard to sell it as I don't want the buyer to hate me!  :lol:  It's very slow to run the action, as it suffers from the "factory rough action no tuning" philosophy of the builders in the 1990s and beyond.

 

No, don't ruin the gun converting it to 45 Colt.    It's fine as it is.  GJ

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