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1894 SHORT RIFLE TRAITS
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February 18, 2023 - 6:46 pm
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Was wondering if 94 shorties always had short forend wood and rear sight dovetail 4 inches from receiver if genuine? Looking at 22 inch octagon 38/55, 2/3 mag, standard no. 21 front sight, rifle butt. I would feel better if shotgun butt then special order features would line up better. Can’t hold it in my hands which sucks.

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February 18, 2023 - 7:03 pm
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Mike,

Not all Model 1894/94 Short rifles were made with the shorter forend stock. There were a fair number of the 22-inch short rifles that have the standard 9-3/8′ stock versus the shorter 8-3/8 stock. It gets tricky to authentic a non-letterable Model 94 Short rifle if you cannot examine it in hand.  But with the gun in hand, other features can be measured and checked.

Bert

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February 18, 2023 - 8:06 pm
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Here’s my 1894 38-55 short rifle.  It has the long 9 3/8 forearm and letters with everything minus the shotgun butt.  I’m 100% sure the shotgun butt is original factory configuration and was just left out of the ledger records.

Don

 

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February 18, 2023 - 8:19 pm
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Unless I’m looking wrong, I don’t see that barrel measuring 22 inch’s

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February 18, 2023 - 8:27 pm
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antler1 said
Unless I’m looking wrong, I don’t see that barrel measuring 22 inch’s

  

There’s some weird optical illusion in that last photo.  I just held a measuring tape to it and it’s 22 inches from the bolt face to the muzzle.

Don

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February 18, 2023 - 8:38 pm
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That is a beauty, Don. The one I’m looking has been hunted a lot. Rear sight is standard distance from receiver. Sight itself is original 22 but elevator isn’t. Priced really high if it’s a modified standard rifle. Low if it’s original Imo even with the finish loss. 

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February 18, 2023 - 10:34 pm
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Thanks Bert

 I will try to get serial number. If in letterable range all would be revealed.

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February 19, 2023 - 12:24 am
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antler1 said
Unless I’m looking wrong, I don’t see that barrel measuring 22 inch’s

  

letter says 22″ half oct

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February 19, 2023 - 3:25 pm
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I have seen and owned one example of a 1894 with many special order features that lettered with all of features.  But my rifle was clearly modified to the special order specs from a pre-existing rifle that presumedly came from factory inventory. All collectors that saw the rifle agreed, it was factory modified. So I believe that other special order rifles were built by cutting down other rifles rather than building it from scratch. Particularly if a shorter barrel was the main modification needed. The longer forearm was usually retained. 

      It was easy and more economical for the factory to cut a barrel down, recrown it and add a new dovetail as opposed to building the whole rifle from scratch.  To prove it was a factory cutdown the muzzle and front sight must meet very particular and strict measurements. Also the new dovetail must have characteristic rotary milling marks inside not file marks. I know some believe a cut down factory barrel must have blue inside the dovetail but I do not agree. I would be silly and costly for the factory to disassemble the gun, remove the barrel, repolish and re-blue it just to get blue inside the dovetail cut which cannot be seen anyway. If present the rotary dovetail can also prove factory work. The best gunsmiths are still unable to make one that works and looks factory inside.

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February 19, 2023 - 3:53 pm
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Any documented or surveyed model “1894” short rifles with 24″ barrels?

 Rick C 

   

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February 19, 2023 - 5:23 pm
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RickC said
Any documented or surveyed model “1894” short rifles with 24″ barrels?

  

Yes… lots of them.  I currently have (87) of them documented, and I suspect that Gary has more than I do.  For what it is worth, the factory could not or would not shorten a 26-inch barrel to 24-inches or 22-inches.  If a factory 26-inch barrel was shortened to 20-inchs, the barrel contour would not look correct.  Additionally, the factory original 20-inch rife barrels had their own unique contour (muzzle diameter) in comparison to a cut down 26-inch barrel.

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February 19, 2023 - 5:33 pm
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RickC said
Any documented or surveyed model “1894” short rifles with 24″ barrels?

  

Hi Rick,

Here are a couple 24-inch 1894’s in my collection that letter as such.

Don

 

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February 19, 2023 - 5:42 pm
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deerhunter said

RickC said

Any documented or surveyed model “1894” short rifles with 24″ barrels?

  

Hi Rick,

Here are a couple 24-inch 1894’s in my collection that letter as such.

Don

 

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Is there anything you don’t own Don? The hits just keep on coming. Nice collection!

Bert thanks for the info. And did not know that about the contour but makes sense. Very interesting. 

 Rick C 

   

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February 19, 2023 - 5:49 pm
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Don’s pics illustrate the taper Bert referred to. Nice rifle!

 

Mike

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February 19, 2023 - 5:53 pm
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RickC said

Is there anything you don’t own Don? The hits just keep on coming. Nice collection!

  

Thanks Rick.  Unusual 1894’s are my collection focus, especially those with longer or shorter than standard barrel lengths with condition.  Short barrels seem to be much easier to find than the long barrels.  Only have one long barreled 1894 and it is a 28-inch 32-40 and is pictured in the Madis book.

Don

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February 19, 2023 - 7:56 pm
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Here is my 1907 production 1894 Short Rifle with 20″ barrel, it’s a take-down model with octagon barrel chambered in .32-40 and had the long forend wood

Letter states everything EXCEPT the barrel length, so most probably did not leave the factory with the 20″ barrel, but cannot be 100% sure.

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February 19, 2023 - 8:20 pm
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Fellows

To the original question —    My ’94 short rifle survey shows ~25% of the 20″ rifles have the longer fore-ends and ~20% of the 22″ rifles have them. I believe the vast majority of the 22″ rifles were built that way from the start, with about half of them configured as extra-light weights. As others have said, I think many of the 20″ may have started life as full length and were shortened or re-barreled before leaving the warehouse to fill a special order. This seemed to be the case more often in the earlier period as I’m seeing ~33% of the letterable 20″ rifles with long wood. 

 Speaking to the 24″ rifles, I have 156 of them surveyed and they all have long wood, as expected. I own five of them. They are not as common as the 20 & 22 inch but there are plenty of them out there. There were 1661 of them manufactured in the letterable range, and I’ve found 74 of those. 

As a reminder, the 22″ length is by far the most likely to be found and make up 41% of my survey. 

                                                                               ~Gary~

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February 20, 2023 - 1:02 pm
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The exception to Bert’s barrel too heavy rule after cutdown was the lettered factory cutdown 1894 rifle I once owned that had a factory letter that noted the odd length of 21-1/2″ as I remember. The barrel was very fat at the muzzle but the letter specified “heavy barrel” so that took care of the too fat situation. 

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March 15, 2023 - 5:52 pm
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Personally I prefer short rifles with short forend wood. A true short rifle…imo!

 Rick C 

   

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March 16, 2023 - 11:45 am
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“If a factory 26-inch barrel was shortened to 20-inchs, the barrel contour would not look correct.  Additionally, the factory original 20-inch rife barrels had their own unique contour (muzzle diameter) in comparison to a cut don 26-inch barrel.”

Bert, Please publish the factory original Muzzle diameter for a 22″ and 24″ barrels so we can check our rifles. 

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