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Cocking a Winchester Model 74
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WACA Member
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September 6, 2020
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February 10, 2021 - 5:42 pm
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Greetings to all, 

I have always avoided retracting the bolt handle ALWAYS with the Model 74 safety engaged. 

However, I was reading from a pic of the Winchester warning tag that I found on this site that you should never COCK the gun with safety on, but that once cocked, the bolt can be safely retracted with the safety in either position. 

So is this correct, once the gun is cocked, it doesn’t matter about the safety?

And if so, I am having difficulty understanding why. What is different about the uncocked bolt?  Why will the uncocked bolt potentially hang up on the safety, while the cocked bolt will not. 

Perhaps the non compressed firing pin spring hangs it up?

Or perhaps the front of the sear clicking into the firing pin gives a little more clearance?

Please advise and my thanks as always. 


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February 12, 2021 - 1:08 am
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Ok, I figured it out I think. 

If you attempt to cock the bolt with the safety on, when the front of the sear rises up just a bit in order to engage the firing pin, its front edge can jam up and behind the back underside edge of the safety cross switch.  This can bind and jam the bolt. 

But once the bolt is cocked and the firing pin engaged, the front of the sear drops back down flush with the rest of the top of the bolt and no longer moves up and down when the bolt is retracted. 

So then the cocked bolt can clear the engaged safety when retracted and released backward and forward respectively because the front of the sear won’t get in the way. 


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