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My reason for complete tear down on old Winchesters
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November 29, 2022 - 5:01 pm
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Shown in the pics is a made in October 1915 ser#800838 26″ 30 WCF  Model 94 Rifle that I picked up yesterday from my FFL.

Time to tear down, clean and assemble ….. 6 hours ( I’ve done this before)

First inspection looked to be un-touched as far as fasteners (every screw slot filled to the top with 107 years of grime) 

The real soiled patch was ONE swipe through the magazine tube, spring came out in two pieces. The patch in my hand was grime under the forend wood.

The green patches obviously were from the bore. Bore cleaned up like “New” shiny with strong rifling and No pitting or frost.

After 20 toothpicks,40 Q-tips, countless patches and rags and 6 hours labor it cleaned up very well.

No hardware had to be replaced. Bolt was completely disassembled and cleaned. Firing pin was seized in the bolt until I cleaned.

Bluing on barrel and magazine tube 95%, receiver bluing 25% with no nicks or gouges. The towel was white when I started the service.  

1915-7.JPGImage Enlarger1915.JPGImage Enlarger1915-6.JPGImage Enlarger1915-2.JPGImage Enlarger1915-3.JPGImage Enlarger1915-8.JPGImage Enlarger

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November 29, 2022 - 5:48 pm
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Personally, I like it when I see old dried oil in the nooks and crannies, especially the screw slots and around the sights.  It tells you the gun has not been taken apart (a good thing) for any reason for a very long time (or ever) and I leave it that way. Just clean the bore, clean the action, give it a good wipe-down and call it good.  I’m not the only collector that thinks this way.  To me, it’s just like leaving the natural patina on a brass frame–never clean it!

Just my take!

Don

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November 29, 2022 - 6:05 pm
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deerhunter said
Personally, I like it when I see old dried oil in the nooks and crannies, especially the screw slots and around the sights.  It tells you the gun has not been taken apart (a good thing) for any reason for a very long time (or ever) and I leave it that way. Just clean the bore, clean the action, give it a good wipe-down and call it good.  I’m not the only collector that thinks this way.  To me, it’s just like leaving the natural patina on a brass frame–never clean it!

Just my take!

Don

  

That’s the difference between a “Wall Hanger” and a “Shooter” leaving the belly button lint and dead skin in all the nooks and crannies or not.

This 94 was sold as a “Tool” for about $36 back in the day and if that tool doesn’t perform as intended… it’s just Junk IMHO

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November 29, 2022 - 6:48 pm
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“To each their own.”  Like I said, just my opinion as a collector. 

Don

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November 29, 2022 - 7:23 pm
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I am of the same mind… If I intend to use (shoot) the gun, I want it thoroughly disassembled, inspected, and cleaned (like you did).  There is nothing wrong with a careful disassembly with proper tools if you are competent (skilled) in doing the work (as you obviously are). 

On the other hand, if the Winchester is acquired solely as a “collectable”, then I do not tear them down for a detailed inspection & cleaning.  I simply clean all of the external surfaces and anything that needs attention.

Bert

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November 29, 2022 - 8:31 pm
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Bert H. said
There is nothing wrong with a careful disassembly with proper tools if you are competent (skilled) in doing the work (as you obviously are). 

  

“Competent” is the keyword. Butchered screw heads, gouges caused by a slipped screwdriver, etc., tell us it’s a quality often lacking in those who think they know what they’re doing.

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November 29, 2022 - 9:15 pm
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Then you have the cheapskates who break down a rifle to save $10 on shipping in a smaller box. I never break down a rifle for shipping. All I need is butchered screws as stated or gouges etc. I bet it’s fair to say more than a few butt stocks have arrived damaged or pieces broken. 

 Rick C 

   

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November 29, 2022 - 11:11 pm
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  I think in the case of this 94 rifle a careful cleaning will not affect the value. It is modern, uses modern ammunition, and you can take it deer hunting. Why not use it and enjoy it!

 My problem is when someone “cleans” an original antique survivor. It’s value is based on condition and only needs to be cleaned to prevent corrosion. The cleaning should be done with great care. The dried oil hallows, sealed wood, and unturned screws add value and make a future sale easier. Sealed up original guns are rare. T/R

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December 5, 2022 - 8:27 pm
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Most, but not all, my guns are picked up by a good friend, who has all the proper tools for complete disassembly. He cleans them, and puts a light coat of oil on the internals and the bore. All the external parts are carefully cleaned, and Ren Waxed. The wood too. The result is a much better looking firearm. Like shiny and new as they say. Now, you have a completely protected firearm that will not rust and looks one heck of a lot better. 98% of my 200 guns are protected like this. Even those in poor condition. No sense letting them get worse. Big Larry

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December 6, 2022 - 2:08 am
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I agree with deerhunter.  Whether you’re hanging it on the wall or shooting it, you should only go so far in prepping it for shooting.  It’s a no brainer that the bore should be inspected and cleaned.   Cleaning an action to make ready for shooting on most Winchesters can be done without having to take it apart completely.  I hate loosening screws that have old  grease and crude around them and in the slots.   The only time I’ve found this necessary,  is if I discover the gun seems to malfunction.   Just my opinion. 

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December 6, 2022 - 3:11 am
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win4575 said  The only time I’ve found this necessary,  is if I discover the gun seems to malfunction.  
  

In other words, when it’s broke, then fix it, but not before.  I can’t keep up with the jobs that do need fixing, right away, so I don’t go looking for “something to keep me busy.”

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December 6, 2022 - 4:32 am
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As some of you know a nice enough 1897 Black Diamond Trap Gun destroyed itself because I neglected to give it a detailed cleaning before I shot a round of trap with it. I cleaned it better than I generally do but I didn’t take the bolt apart to clean the firing pin and inside of the bolt. It was a hard-used old gun without much finish left but it was a slick old pump gun once I sprayed most of the gunk out of the action. On a brighter note an exceptional Single Shot came home with me with a pretty crappy trigger in spite of a ledger entry noting a “light trigger”. A detail stripping and cleaning removed decades of crud and resulted in one of the best rifle triggers I’ve had the pleasure to pull. 
IMHO if you intend to shoot an old gun and it needs repairs or cleaning, by all means clean and/or repair it IF you’re able to do so without damaging it. If you have no intention of shooting it just wipe it down, maybe run a patch down the bore. 

 

Mike

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December 6, 2022 - 12:23 pm
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Big Larry said
Most, but not all, my guns are picked up by a good friend, who has all the proper tools for complete disassembly. He cleans them, and puts a light coat of oil on the internals and the bore. All the external parts are carefully cleaned, and Ren Waxed. The wood too. The result is a much better looking firearm. Like shiny and new as they say. Now, you have a completely protected firearm that will not rust and looks one heck of a lot better. 98% of my 200 guns are protected like this. Even those in poor condition. No sense letting them get worse. Big Larry

  

True enough Larry, but as you know we choose not to follow this disassembly-based method with your lever guns. It’s “clean the bore” only, then address  whatever can be safely reached on the interior with spray and a soft brush. It’s much too risky, IMO, for amateurs like me to disassemble collector grade lever guns for reasons other than repair.

And of course exterior protection such as Ren wax is standard fare for all.

T

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December 6, 2022 - 4:47 pm
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You do good work T. I never question it. I have some very pretty revolvers because of you. Thanks as always.   Big Larry

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December 7, 2022 - 5:10 pm
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TXGunNut said
As some of you know a nice enough 1897 Black Diamond Trap Gun destroyed itself because I neglected to give it a detailed cleaning before I shot a round of trap with it. I cleaned it better than I generally do but I didn’t take the bolt apart to clean the firing pin and inside of the bolt. It was a hard-used old gun without much finish left but it was a slick old pump gun once I sprayed most of the gunk out of the action.

 

Mike

  

Did you ever determine what the root cause was?  I haven’t had many Winchester bolts apart.  The few times I did there were noticeable problems. 

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December 7, 2022 - 5:23 pm
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Chuck said

TXGunNut said

As some of you know a nice enough 1897 Black Diamond Trap Gun destroyed itself because I neglected to give it a detailed cleaning before I shot a round of trap with it. I cleaned it better than I generally do but I didn’t take the bolt apart to clean the firing pin and inside of the bolt. It was a hard-used old gun without much finish left but it was a slick old pump gun once I sprayed most of the gunk out of the action.

 

Mike

  

Did you ever determine what the root cause was?  I haven’t had many Winchester bolts apart.  The few times I did there were noticeable problems. 

  

In a word, gunk. Firing pin did not retract after firing, fired when I tried to chamber a round.

 

Mike

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March 9, 2023 - 4:26 pm
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Hi Guys,

I like this topic. I love all old firearms but in particular vintage Winchesters, Marlins, Colts, and Smith & Wesson. I buy a new rifle from a shooters angle and I want them to work correctly. Although I can see the value of leave it alone I am of a mind that a rifle was made to  use even the pretty ones. I also like to reload and form cases to make ammo for the rifles I have another side to owning and using vintage firearms. I also carry my rifles sometimes in a scabbard horseback.  I don’t generally disassemble my Winchesters but I have done some limited stuff. If you shoot them they need to be cleaned properly. So I would call my “collecting” targeted at a using rifle or handgun rather than a Collectors Grade. 

An interesting story, although about a Colt, was a pistol my grandfather had when he was a realtor back in the 1920′ & 30’s.  At the time he worked for his older sister and many of the houses that they were selling were abandoned or were repossessed. So at times he would go to check out a house that might be unexpectedly occupied. From what my dad told me he got the pistol to carry in his pocket just in case. The pistol in question is a Colt 1903 .32 and as a kid I remember that pistol in a box in my father’s desk. About a  year after my father died I was cleaning out his desk and there was the Colt but the box was gone and I never found it. The Colt is very lightly used but in fantastic shape and it had a full magazine in it but nothing in the chamber. I don’t ever remember my dad shooting that pistol and from what I could see the ammo in it was old. I took it apart and cleaned it carefully it had old oil in it and it looked like it had been there for many decades and there was no evidence that it had been shot. When I put it back together I took it out and shot it and I bet that I might have been the only one in my family to do so. From what I remember about the box it had a hardware store name stamped on it. That hardware store had been in the town I grew up in since around 1910 and closed sometime in the 80’s. My guess is that my grandfather bought it there and kept it with the box until my dad got it when he moved to California in the early 1950’s. My dad kept it in his desk at work and never took it out. I remember seeing it and asking my dad about it and that was how learned that it was originally my grandfathers. I use that pistol and I actually had a holster made to carry it. I bet it has been shot more by me than anyone who had it before. I value it because it was my grandfathers, I have used it because it is a handy handgun to have and is easy to carry.  When I find a Winchester I like I want it to be in good shape and if its collectible that’s great but I’d want it to shoot it. 

Rob

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March 9, 2023 - 7:42 pm
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Nice story.  If you would like a box these do come up for sale.  Might be a few hundred dollars for a real nice one.  The one in the picture is an early gun and box.  The early barrels are about 1/4″ longer and so is the box.  These will bring a premium. 

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March 9, 2023 - 7:57 pm
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Hi Chuck,

Thanks for the pictures that looks like the box that I remember that pistol was in. It had the same label on the inside and a label on the end but the box was a plain cardboard box. The store stamp was in red ink on the top in the middle of it. I only wish I could find the original box I only had it in my hands a couple times when I was young. Knowing my grandfather he may have kept a bill of sale with it if he did it is long gone like the boz. In hindsight I think I value it more than my dad did I only wish I know more. 

I would be interested in finding a box to go with it. 

Thanks,

Rob

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March 9, 2023 - 7:58 pm
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Chuck said
 If you would like a box these do come up for sale.  Might be a few hundred dollars for a real nice one.

S&W 1930s red boxes sell for over $500 on ebay, but since the serial is written with a china marker on the box, they can’t very easily be passed off as original to any other gun.  Same with Colt boxes, so nice as it is to have one, I question whether it’s worth that much for a non-original box. 

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