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1930 manufacture 94 Eastern Carbine, anything you folks can tell me about it?
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Weirdsylvania
Posts: 3
August 30, 2022 - 6:03 pm

1sp_QuotePost

So, I have an 1894 created at the tail end of 1930, serial number 1071299. It has bad finish (though I understand practically everything from that era back is like that) but mechanically is near perfect. Great bore, for example. Action is smooth if not a bit stiff (at least compared to the newer one I had), I tried adjusting the tension but the screw wouldn’t budge so I quickly gave up rather than risk stripping it. It came with a Marbles peep attached which based on the faded brownish color and the fact that when I removed it all the finish on the tang was there underneath, is likely vintage itself. I’d upload pictures of that but currently I do not have it on hand (I’m sure I can find it if I look though). I took that sight off because I have the original carbine ladder site and I found it interfered with handling (I’m left handed so I need to hold the gun in that precise area to comfortably load it). If I had a 26″ rifle I’d have probably kept the peep but now I might sell it for the right price (or could just as soon keep it, it’s just I understand they are valuable themselves). 

Things of note: It’s within about 121(?) or so guns of the last made in 1930, which means one of the very last guns made before Olin took over, maybe a bit more considering when in 1931 the transaction took place. It’s also minus the saddle ring (which I understand by that date about half of all carbines did not have a ring so likely not a special order). Other than that it’s a true carbine with correct sites and stocks and 20″ barrel with full length mag tube. Meaning it’s in the same configuration minus the ring that the carbine launched with as far as I can tell. The roll marks (second or third generation?) do say 94 instead of 1894 (with Winchester logo on the tang) so it’s not exactly like an older one (sure the experts here would know that but it bears saying). 

The finish I’ll show in photos when I’m able and describe in the mean time (since photos don’t seem easy) as I’m not familiar with how to deduce percentages. The receiver is practically white with some mottled dark patches in most places, so more “gray” (no chipping, just looks like honest wear), and the barrel and mag have a bit more finish but are likewise mottled brown (I see a lot of these where the barrel finish stays almost mint, this is not one of those). There was no serious rust when I bought it and other than cleaning up some tiny flecks in the mag tube region I’d say there’s zero appreciable rust and zero pitting, just very worn finish. If I had to guess I’d assume it spent most of its life as a hunting rifle, carried often but shot rarely. Other than one little nick in the metal near the region the bolt slides in (purely cosmetic, not severe enough to be anything mechanically upsetting), there are really no other scratches or dents either. Receiver is as smooth to the touch as anything newer I’ve handled.

I briefly considered taking it to Turnbull for a restoration since I got it relatively cheap and it doesn’t appear to be all that desirable from a collecting point of view (feel free to correct me if that’s not the case, just seems like everyone wants the ring or an older special order sans ring). On the other hand as time goes by I’ve learned to accept it for what it is, and I don’t really want to put money into it that won’t necessarily translate to a higher resale value. I do now mostly agree that it’ll only look like this once, and anything done to it will make it never “all original” again.

I won’t be doing any multi-day excursions where the lack of finish could be a liability, but I do plan to hunt with it eventually. I understand collectors frown on any restorations, so I’m just wondering if this is a good candidate for resto (if any are) based on it not being hyper-valuable and less desirable, or more likely I should just enjoy it how it is. At this point the question is mostly academic, I don’t have the money for a refurb and if I did have the money I’d rather just buy a newer (or even totally different) gun.

It occurred to me after researching the serial that this may be in the last fewer than 200 guns made by Winchester pre the Olin acquisition in 1931. It’s also only a few years away from them retiring this model for what became the “standard” 20 inch 94. For instance my grandfather had a mid-30’s version in .32 Special that did not have the ladder site, I can’t remember if it had the older stock or the later shotgun butt (leaning toward the latter as I recall it having essentially the same profile as the angle-eject I had at the time) but I haven’t seen it in over 20 years. My uncle has it and I don’t see him much, and never his firearms. I’d guess that was a “transition” model. 

Basically when I picked this up for just under $1300 fairly recently it was either this one, waiting for a Uberti repro to come in stock, or a ’63 with more modern features but better finish, and I opted for this one. I like the history, the old configuration (and especially that sight!) and the only way I’d restore it would be so I could feel like a time traveler.Kiss

I’d like to share some pics and if there’s anything you folks could tell me about it (including whether or not it would be a candidate for resto) that’s much appreciated. For instance I don’t know if the serial going practically to the very end of 1930 could potentially make it more valuable, I believe it’s around 121 guns from the last of 1930. I have no plans to get rid of it (at least until I’m too old to use it) so it’s more curiosity than a desire to flip it or anything like that.

It is a true “eastern carbine” in that it has all original carbine configurations minus the saddle ring. Almost forgot to add it’s also in 30-30. I live in PA, and it was a PA gun when I bought it, so it might have even started life here out east! I will post photos if I can and anything at all I could learn from you folks would be much appreciated. When I have the spare cash I plan to get all the paperwork I can from the factory and Cody. 

Addendum: Unfortunately I cannot figure out how to post images here but I have 6-8 that I would gladly share if anyone can tell me how to get them to work. Edit: Just realized Guests cannot post photos. Will work on that. 

Thanks in advance, I look forward to communicating with this community. All questions are welcome if I missed anything! Laugh

My grandfather would've been 18 when my firearm was made. He was born in 1918 and the date of manufacture on my 94 is very late 1930. He had an old one as well but was a bit newer (mid-late 30's) and my Uncle now has it. Had to get a "real" pre-64 94 as soon as I was able, which was not long ago (2022). I've owned an angle-eject 94 as well (the one with the big ugly safety) but even with decrepit finish the 1930 version is infinitely cooler. I could become a serious collector is I ever have the means, but it'll be several years before I have the extra dough for another purchase. Wish List: 1873, 1886, 1892, pretty much one of each of Winchester's lever guns (well maybe not the 1895 because I'm a sucker for tube magazines). Plans in the next year or two to take the old girl hunting, she's 30-30 with a minty bore I'll just need to oil before and after taking it out so rust can't occur. Here out of pure curiosity and a desire to learn! 

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Kingston, WA
Posts: 10582
August 31, 2022 - 4:55 am

2sp_QuotePost

You can send pictures to me at – [email protected]

From your description, it is a late production “Eastern” Carbine, and in typical condition.  The bluing on the receiver frames flaked terribly on the Model 94 Carbines and Model 55 rifles manufactured from 1924 – 1932, and in many cases, it is nearly 100% missing.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

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Weirdsylvania
Posts: 3
August 31, 2022 - 10:36 am

3sp_QuotePost

Pictures have been sent, as I described in the email I’ve got it stored in a leather scabbard, took pics of both sides of the receiver, the barrel, the rear sight, the wood (buttstock has one major dent but is otherwise excellent, front wood is clean and near perfect though). Also the serial number. If there’s anything I forgot feel free. I get the feeling this may be one of “the last of the first” is that accurate? And of course, thanks for your response!

My grandfather would've been 18 when my firearm was made. He was born in 1918 and the date of manufacture on my 94 is very late 1930. He had an old one as well but was a bit newer (mid-late 30's) and my Uncle now has it. Had to get a "real" pre-64 94 as soon as I was able, which was not long ago (2022). I've owned an angle-eject 94 as well (the one with the big ugly safety) but even with decrepit finish the 1930 version is infinitely cooler. I could become a serious collector is I ever have the means, but it'll be several years before I have the extra dough for another purchase. Wish List: 1873, 1886, 1892, pretty much one of each of Winchester's lever guns (well maybe not the 1895 because I'm a sucker for tube magazines). Plans in the next year or two to take the old girl hunting, she's 30-30 with a minty bore I'll just need to oil before and after taking it out so rust can't occur. Here out of pure curiosity and a desire to learn! 

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Posts: 216
August 31, 2022 - 3:33 pm

4sp_QuotePost

Sounds like a nice rifle. I like the ones with mileage on them, adds character. Personally I might keep it out of the leather scabbard, tanning solutions in leather have been known to attack metal finishes with prolonged contact.

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Posts: 4506
August 31, 2022 - 3:39 pm

5sp_QuotePost

I second what Mike said.  Never store a gun in leather.  If you have to store it in something make sure it is not anything that can trap moisture inside.

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Weirdsylvania
Posts: 3
August 31, 2022 - 3:54 pm

6sp_QuotePost

Wow I did not know that about the leather, I’ll take it out of there right now! Thanks a bunch guys, I’d have probably let it sit in that thing indefinitely and not known the difference! Gonna need to get a gun sock or the like I guess. 

My grandfather would've been 18 when my firearm was made. He was born in 1918 and the date of manufacture on my 94 is very late 1930. He had an old one as well but was a bit newer (mid-late 30's) and my Uncle now has it. Had to get a "real" pre-64 94 as soon as I was able, which was not long ago (2022). I've owned an angle-eject 94 as well (the one with the big ugly safety) but even with decrepit finish the 1930 version is infinitely cooler. I could become a serious collector is I ever have the means, but it'll be several years before I have the extra dough for another purchase. Wish List: 1873, 1886, 1892, pretty much one of each of Winchester's lever guns (well maybe not the 1895 because I'm a sucker for tube magazines). Plans in the next year or two to take the old girl hunting, she's 30-30 with a minty bore I'll just need to oil before and after taking it out so rust can't occur. Here out of pure curiosity and a desire to learn! 

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Edwin K.
September 15, 2022 - 3:58 pm

7sp_QuotePost

Almost forgot, is there anyone on here that could tell me around what this is worth? I have no intentions of selling but I paid roughly $1250 for it and I just wanted to know if I got a fair deal or not. Also, and this is more of a theoretical, would a gun like this that’s on the cheaper end of originals (seems like a ring would’ve almost doubled the value), be a good candidate for restoration from Turnbull, as I’d only consider it if it was all refurbished precisely how it was done when the gun was new. I’ve gone back and forth on this and I tend to think I’ll keep it as it is, but if possible some clarification on that would be nice. Basically are these on the low end of collectable since they are the last of the true carbines and lack of ring is not special order? Or will they shine in their own right eventually? Any speculations would be welcome. Maybe I don’t know (I’m no expert) but I find that it’s very near the end (~121 guns I believe) of 1930, and 1931 was when Olin took over, might it eventually be worth more on that account? For those who haven’t seen the photos it has all original Carbine configurations with the exception of the saddle ring. IE it has the original carbine ladder sight and the original carbine stock. It is a true Eastern Carbine, without the ring it is a carbine as originally designed. rnI bought it more or less for that reason, a repro of the ladder sight alone is $300+ dollars (which a Uberti would need for fidelity’s sake) and the unique stock really distinguishes it from what came later. The fact the finish is thoroughly worn doesn’t really bother me, I’d love to see it as new but I figure if I use it in the rain I’ll just thoroughly oil it, make sure it’s dry, and nothing should be amiss. I could have had a Uberti, but it had the buckhorn rear sight and really wasn’t any cheaper (as well as out of stock). This is at least partially an investment for when I retire and am too decrepit to shoot (so, say, 25-30 years in the future), so I figured ultimately nothing would beat the real thing. Finally, I have an original (not a repro) Marbles peep sight with hardware. I’m 99% sure it’s original because it’s patina’d instead of black like the new ones. Plus as said before when I removed it the bluing on the tang was near perfect where it had been covered. It’s practically unusable as a left-hander is the thing, I need to grip the stock around there when I load. I think I want to get rid of the peep for the right price, I just need to dig it out. Once I find it I would be accepting offers for that. Not sure if selling parts is part of this website, but figured I’d put it out there.  If I was more a man of means I would have everything from the 92 to the 73 as well! Maybe even a 66 (repro). Love old winchester level guns! They are no semi-automatic in the strictest sense but I just like old stuff better. Practically every firearm I’ve owned or considered owning dates back at least 100 years! Thanks for reading!

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