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First Model 1894 Problem With Cartridges Flipping From Gun When Working Action?
February 12, 2021
10:22 pm
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I have discussed this problem once before but since it still has not been resolved I am seeking some advice and guidance again. I have an 1894 First Model .38-55 Rifle. I have owned this gun for almost 60 years and have occsionally hunted with it. It works fine as a single shot and is quite accurate for hunting. 

The problem I am having and have always had is when the action is worked to bring a cartidge from the magazine the cartridge entered the cartidge carrier. When the cartidge carrier flips up the cartridge flips right out of the gun. The left side cartridge guide was missing the little leaf spring but I have since found and installed it into the gun but it still flips the cartridges? The only thing that seems might be the problem is that the cartridge guides seem to be thicker towards the front of the gun the rear. Being such a rare gun with the 10 o’clock screw above the loading gate I have found very little information to compare the guides with another gun. I wonder if any of you 1894 enthusiasts and collectors can suggest a cause. The action seems to work as well as any 1894 I have owned.

February 13, 2021
2:44 am
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I remember this one.  Not sure how to help other than to post some pics of a first model cartridge guides.

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If they look any different than the example above, I dont know why they are flipping 38-55 cartridges out of the receiver.  Does not seem possible.  

 

While the below pics ares not a first model, when the carrier comes up with cartridge in tow, that cartridge diameter is larger than the opening between the cartridge guides (bolt end)  and the base of the cartridge will not pass past between cartridge guides till the cartridge base enters the milled inlet, where the cartridge can go on its merry way into the chamber. 

DSC03972.JPGImage EnlargerDSC03969.JPGImage Enlarger

Some pictures of the receiver from the top like in the above pics may help identify the problem if you can post them.  A straight down view that shows the cartridge guides and elevator (in the down position and in the up position) with a flash to illuminate the dark spaces. 

Chris

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February 13, 2021
3:06 am
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Some pictures are in order like Chris posted with a shell in it. My guess is the cartridge guides have been modified and have too wide of gap.

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February 13, 2021
3:47 am
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I no longer have a first model, but the spacing between the left and right cartridge guides for multiple 38-55 rifles I have in the 10K SN range varies from .374″ to .377″ when measured nearest the bolt with the action open.  On a couple of examples from the SN 80K-660K, the spacing was .368″.  The spacing may all likely vary from one degree or another between .368-.377″. 

I seem to recall on the old post that a portion of the cartridge guides had been removed or something to that effect on the end nearest the bolt.  If the cartridge guides have been shortened on the end nearest the bolt (when the action is open), then yes, the cartridges will flip out of the receiver because there is no section of cartridge guide to stop the cartridge from flipping out of the receiver. 

Finding a set of first model cartridge guides will likely be impossible.  As a repair alternative, if the existing cartridge guides have been cut or something, the 38-55 cartridge guides, at least up to SN 85K, will have the little side spring and configured in the same way – I think.  If you can find a replacement set of cartridge guides, you could have a gunsmith drill and tap the replacement guides with the offset threaded screw hole to accommodate the first model cartridge guide screw configuration/location.   

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February 13, 2021
9:30 am
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Just a thought, those guns in 38-55 were designed to work with a cartridge case length of 2.125 inches. The standard case length was changed to 2.080 inches for the 38-55 industry wide I believe around WW2. A few years ago Starline started producing the longer cases again. Might be worth it to try some of the original length cases.

February 13, 2021
2:24 pm
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Thanks for the help. I will do some measuring of the guides and the cartidge case length. I do have a set of guides with the flat spring configuration and know where another .38-55 is with the old style guides to compare. My exact thought was to have the replacement guides drill and tapped. 

February 13, 2021
5:18 pm
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Easty308@gmail.com said
Just a thought, those guns in 38-55 were designed to work with a cartridge case length of 2.125 inches. The standard case length was changed to 2.080 inches for the 38-55 industry wide I believe around WW2. A few years ago Starline started producing the longer cases again. Might be worth it to try some of the original length cases.  

I dont think it has anything to do with the brass or overall cartridge length.  It has more to do with the spacing between the cartridge guides being too wide at the bolt end of the guides and allowing the base of the cartridge to pass between them when the carrier springs into place in the up position.    

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February 13, 2021
5:35 pm
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Dave K. said
Thanks for the help. I will do some measuring of the guides and the cartidge case length. I do have a set of guides with the flat spring configuration and know where another .38-55 is with the old style guides to compare. My exact thought was to have the replacement guides drill and tapped.   

Dave,

Do the cartridge guides in the rifle span the full length from the bolt to the front of the receiver?   The only way I can envision the cartridge flipping out of the receiver is if the original cartridge guides were cut just past the retainer screw on the bolt end leaving a opening where the cartridge base is allowed to pass.  Or, that someone may have taken a set of 2nd model cartridge guides and cut them to fit a first model frame (to match up to the off center first model screw hole), removing the wider section of cartridge guide that keeps the cartridge base from passing between the guides when the carrier is engaged to cycle the round. 

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February 13, 2021
7:06 pm
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Thnaks for the help. The cartridges I am using in the gun are old Dominion brand and the case length is 2.125. My micrometer shows the gap between the guides is 0.381 but the extractor doesn’t let the gauge get to the bolt face. If I get the micrometer ears back at an angle I did get a reading of 0.378. The guides do not go to the very end on the receiver but do exactly fit into the groove cut into the sides for the guides to fit. I would guess approx. 1/4″ from the front end of the guides to the chamber opening. When I place a finger on the top of the cartridge as the carrier pops up it seems to work and the cartidge is held at the rear. To remove the cartridge from between the rear of the guides it has to be moved forward into the chamber where the head can pass through the opening cut between the guides for the purpose. If I place a cartidge back down onto the carrier and use the bolt to move the cartridge forward the bullet enter the chamber but the case binds against the top  of the chamber and  jams the gun. 

February 13, 2021
11:56 pm
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Dont think we are going to get any further without some photos of the inside of the receiver, guide rails, and carrier. 

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February 14, 2021
12:29 am
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Thanks, Your photos look so much the same as what I am seeing but I will get back with photos in a say or so somehow, 

February 14, 2021
1:21 am
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In a post a couple years ago you mention there was something different about the cartridge guides but never saw any photos:

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/restoration-repair-and-maintenance/first-model-1894-flips-cartridge-out-of-the-gun/#p69684

Is this the same gun or a different one

Chris

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February 14, 2021
5:05 am
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1892takedown said
In a post a couple years ago you mention there was something different about the cartridge guides but never saw any photos:

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/restoration-repair-and-maintenance/first-model-1894-flips-cartridge-out-of-the-gun/#p69684

Is this the same gun or a different one

Chris  

1892takedown said
In a post a couple years ago you mention there was something different about the cartridge guides but never saw any photos:

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/restoration-repair-and-maintenance/first-model-1894-flips-cartridge-out-of-the-gun/#p69684

Is this the same gun or a different one

Chris  

Yes the same gun but I wasn’t sure the cartridge guides had been modified but I suspected that they had been as a reason for the cartidge to slip through and then I put the gun back in the safe. Now I am not usre and  I would like to discover the fault to make it a working gun. 

February 14, 2021
8:47 pm
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I removed the two cartidge guides and sure enough they have been altered by milling away the sides at the rear. The one I have with the later screw position and the flat spring slot is wider where the milling was made so definitely the cause for the cartidge flipping out. I have owned the guns for very nearly 60 years and never bother to seriously look at the gun. 

The real mystery is why? What was the reason for opening up the guides? This was done a long time ago. I wonder if the intention was to use a wider cartridge yet the chamber is still for the .38-55.

i am going to take the one guide to a gunsmith and have the hole drilled for the outside scew model guide and now wil be on the hunt for the opposite side. Do you know whether it not the guides would be different for each caliber or woukd say a .30-30 guide be the same? I am not even sure if the later guide is correct for a .38-55 so no sense having the work done by a gunsmith  if the guides are different for each calibre unless I could establish that this the correct one to fit the gun. Maybe best to leave well enough alone.

February 14, 2021
9:15 pm
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Dave,

The guides for the 38-55 are interchangeable with the 30 WCF and 32 WS, based on the fact that Winchester stated in their catalogs that interchangeable Take Down barrels were available for those three cartridges.

Bert

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February 14, 2021
10:03 pm
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Thanks Bert, I thought that was the case as I recall you mentioned that in another post. The possibility that the flat spring replacement guide is anything but a .38-55 , .30WCF or 32 WS is pretty unlikely unless its a .32-40. How would a .32-40  work if my chance that was the case.  I might be in luck since finding a guide for the right side should be easy.

February 14, 2021
10:14 pm
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Dave K. said
 How would a .32-40  work if my chance that was the case.  I might be in luck since finding a guide for the right side should be easy.  

The 32-40 and 25-35 cartridge guides will not feed a 38-55, 30WCF or 32WS cartridge.  Ive tried it. 

In staying with the same style of cartridge guides (with the side spring on the left guide) you would have to find some early ones like I mentioned before.  However, I dont see where there would be a problem using even later cartridge guides, they look different than the earlier ones but should still work so long as they are from a 38-55, 30WCF or 32WS.  Just have to drill and tap them to accommodate for the screw. 

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February 15, 2021
12:06 am
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1892takedown said

The 32-40 and 25-35 cartridge guides will not feed a 38-55, 30WCF or 32WS cartridge.  Ive tried it. 

In staying with the same style of cartridge guides (with the side spring on the left guide) you would have to find some early ones like I mentioned before.  However, I dont see where there would be a problem using even later cartridge guides, they look different than the earlier ones but should still work so long as they are from a 38-55, 30WCF or 32WS.  Just have to drill and tap them to accommodate for the screw.   

I have a leaf spring left side guide but not a right side. That should not  be a problem if all pre 64 .30WCF  and .32WS are the same. Findng one in Canada may not be so easy but I will look around.  It would be nice to get it functioning as it was meant  to be.

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