I received an old Model 1894 Winchester from my wonderful GF, it belonged to her late father.
The rifle was in very sorry shape when I received it, it looked like it had been fired, never cleaned, and hung on wall for 40-50 years (I've seen a pic from the 70's and it was hanging on the wall then too!)
The gun was completely covered in grime and filth, and the action was nearly frozen solid with hardened oil and dirt.
I managed to tear it down without hurting anything proceeded to scrub for about 7 hours. In the end, I only found one damaged part, the shell elevator. The elevator had been bent by someone not aligning it properly before putting the screws in on each side. I was able to carefully straighten it, and reassemble the gun.
After much scouring of the bore, decent rifling emerged under the crud. So I now have the gun back together and fully functional. A quick check of the serial number shows it was built in 1899.
I understand that lever actions from this period are very collectible, but this one is definitely a "shooter grade" gun. It has no finish left, fine pitting all over the receiver, a fairly rough stock that was heavily sanded and slopped with varnish at some point.
Despite being a rough example, the internals are solid, and the action is not overly worn. So I'd like to shoot this gun. It is chambered in .32-40.
I found one box of "John Wayne" 32-40 in her fathers ammo stash, but I wont be shooting it as it worth more to a collector. Any good sources of new loaded ammo? Cowboy action maybe???
My concern is the correct load for the gun. Should an 1899 gun be shooting BP? A quick check shows the John Wayne ammo was made in the early 80's to go with a new batch of guns. I worried any ammo I locate will be too hot for my old gun, but I would like to see how it shoots before investing in reloading dies for it. I'd prefer not to shoot BP if I can avoid it, as this thing is a real PITA to take apart and reassemble.
Thanks in advance.