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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sunny Southern Idaho
    Posts
    315

    Default "Sloppy" '94 (and a stock question)

    I own exactly two leverguns - a Henry H001 and a Winchester '94. The Henry has a very tight, smooth action, which may not be all that tough to do in a .22 rifle. It's what I'm used to, since I've had it for a while.

    Now, the Winchester is something else entirely. The lever is, for lack of a better word, sloppy. There's a fair amount of play in it, especially side-to-side. It makes cycling the action feel a little uncertain. No problem with the trigger...well, it's really got a very light trigger, which is sometimes disturbing, because I'm used to milsurp guns, but that's another story.

    Is the "sloppiness" normal for a '94 made in 1973? Do I need to look at replacing pins or, god forbid, other action parts?

    And on another topic, the finish on the stock...well, Winchester could have put a plastic stock on it and it would have looked just as good. It's the oddest looking finish that I've ever seen. It really does look like a shiny, plastic, wood grained finish. Now, it's not, but it just looks, well, wrong. Is that normal? When I think about a .30-30 Winchester, an oil finish comes to mind, not this plasticy thing. There's nothing special about the gun, other than it was my father in law's (but that's a different kind of special), so what about refinishing the wood? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    2,541

    Default

    for the winchester it wasn't thier finest time for manufacture

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    The 14,000' mountains Colorado
    Posts
    320

    Default

    I have been a collector and student of the 94 Winchester for many years. While the Henry and Winchester both have levers to cycle their action that is the only similarities. They are entirely different action types. There are many different types of lever actions. The Henry I am unfamiliar with however I have studied the 94 intensively. Winchester built far poorer quality firearms after 1964 with some real klunkers in their last years. The 94 does have a loose action that many dislike however this is one of its features that make it reliable. Called by many "Winchesters rattletrap" it was never unreliable even in the worst conditions. I have seen some severely abused 94,s that were still in service. Most hunting rifle can be used for years and years and still look new because they are only used a couple a days a year, however a huge ammount of 94's are an everyday carry rifle and though they have no finish left they are still in use after many gererations of use. So revel in its sloppiness.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Honolulu,HI
    Posts
    484

    Default

    this guy might be able to help with the slop.

    http://www.stevesgunz.com/
    "Hows Jesus Look To You Now Bob"

  5. #5

    Default

    It's been my findings, after several years of part-time employment in gun shops, that '94 Winchesters are much looser in design than most other Winchesters, such as '92s, 86s or '95s. If it's not having trouble feeding or showing signs of excessive headspace I'd leave it alone and shoot it.

    Rob

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    896

    Default

    The previous answers are very good on the 94's action, it is sloppy feeling but reliable. The final lock-up is tight.
    As for the stock, some of the 94's came with birch stocks that had a dark finish and were ugly. That might be what yours has. If so, there is not much you can do. The birch is so close grained it is hard to stain properly and look like anything. I would suggest you buy new walnut stock and forearm from Boyds or Brownells and oil finish them. They are reasonalby priced and you would be very pleased with the final look.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by firefuzz View Post
    ...or showing signs of excessive headspace
    Are backed out primers a sign of excessive headspace? You can run a finger over my fired cases and feel the primer backed out slightly. If it is a sign of excessive headspace, what can be done about it? How much is "excessive"?

  8. #8

    Default

    Could be, depends on how much it's backing out, could be other things too. It wouldn't cost much to have a gunsmith check the headspace.

    Rob

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sunny Southern Idaho
    Posts
    315

    Default

    Thanks for the advice, fellas. It does lock up nice and tight and it's accurate as all get-out, so I'll just stay happy.

    Regarding the birch stock, I think I see what you're saying, kp321. I think that I'll pick up some walnut stocks next month and make that one of my winter projects.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Laramie, WY area.
    Posts
    1,029

    Default The 1894 was compact , powerful and loose.

    Winchester had the 1886 but it was pretty bulky for the big black powder rounds (.45/70 etc.). They had the scaled down 1892 that was as smooth and tight as the 1886 but only worked with very short cartridges (.44/40). In the 1894, Browning made a compact action that would handle the new smokeless cartridges like the .30/30 and to do that the bolt tips up to lock and was left unsupported for most of its travel. So, it is either locked tight- or very loose and rattling. It is a much more convenient package to carry than the 1886 and much more powerful than the .44/.38/.32 series the 1892 offered- so it became very popular. It does rattle however! The regular production Model 94's had plain but dense walnut up through the mid- 1950's and were well fitted. After that.....

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