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Manufacture Date of Model 1894 and other info.
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February 27, 2023 - 8:00 pm
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          Hello, new member here. I am the fourth generation  owner of a family Model 1894 serial number 96774. I have the certificate from the Cody Museum, the “polishing room” data. It states it was made in 1900, which probably right. The problem is it states it is a .38-55, which it is actually a 30WCF. I know these records are not 100% accurate. Another reference has it made in 1897. It is a common rifle, nothing special, except of course, to me! It is missing the rear sight elevator, I was wondering if you guys could tell me the correct one? I am also considering having it reblued, as it will hopefully stay a heirloom gun in the family! What is your opinion on this? Also a cracked hand piece at the tang. Repair or leave as is? I will upload pics if I can to this post or to  if I have trouble. Files are too big! Pictures not too good! I can do better if needs be!

                                                                                                                                          Thank so much for your time and knowledge on this.                                                                                                                                                                                                 Respectfully, Dave B.IMG_20230226_1712204651.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1719575331-1.jpgImage Enlargerimg026-1.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1721237501.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1713549001.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1715435921.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1713310611.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1721088891.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1720338691.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230226_1715293971.jpgImage Enlarger

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February 27, 2023 - 8:16 pm
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David,

The information on the CFM factory letter is the correct (accurate) dates for your Model 1894 Sporting Rifle.

Can you post a clear picture of the factory markings (address and caliber) that are on the barrel of your rifle?  Winchester periodically made changes to the markings that can be used to determine approximately when the barrel was manufactured.  I suspect that the barrel may be somewhat newer than the rest of the rifle.

Bert

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February 28, 2023 - 12:40 am
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      Bert,

             Thank you so much! Better pictures coming!

                                                                             David

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February 28, 2023 - 12:53 am
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Welcome, David! More than a few Winchester 1894’s were “upgraded” from 38-55 to 30WCF and some built in 30WCF were changed to 38-55 back when this rifle was newer. I can understand wanting to go from an “old fashioned” BP cartridge to a “high-velocity” modern cartridge but even as a 38-55 fan I wonder why anyone 100 years ago would go the other way. If it was my family heirloom I’d only do what it takes to make it shootable if you want to shoot it. I like a gun with character!

 

Mike

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February 28, 2023 - 6:21 pm
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                                          Bert,

                                                    Hope these pictures are better for you, Bert. As for the other info, opinions mostly.  It is missing the rear sight elevator, I was wondering if you guys could tell me the correct one? I am also considering having it reblued, as it will hopefully stay a heirloom gun in the family! What is your opinion on this? Also a cracked hand piece at the tang. Repair or leave as is? 

 

                                                                                                                                             Thanks so much,

                                                                                                                                                                          DavidIMG_20230228_1052100851.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230228_1052382951.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230228_1052581441.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230228_1053069711.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_20230228_1054175761.jpgImage Enlarger

                                                 

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February 28, 2023 - 6:32 pm
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           Mike, 

                   Thanks for your input! You are right this gun has plenty of character, many years of use! It is shootable, and you have a good point! I think I will try to fix the cracked tang wood, it has a little play in it.  I would like to know how that happened! My Dad wrapped electrical tape around it tight, you can see the evidence! I’ll bet it involved a horse!

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, David

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February 28, 2023 - 8:22 pm
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David,

The barrel currently on your Model 1894 is only slightly newer than the rest of the rifle.  Based on the fact that it is proof marked, and the caliber marking is on the top flat of the barrel, it was manufactured sometime in the 1905 – 1907 timeframe.

The rear sight is not the correct sight for a Model 1894.  Both the front & rear sights are non-factory replacements.

I do not recommend having it refinished.  Doing so will wipe away all of its hard earned family use.  I do recommend finding the correct sights and replacing the current sights, and also repairing the split/cracked stock.

Bert

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March 2, 2023 - 5:15 pm
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                        Bert,

                               Once again thank you!  So the scenario might be, rifle made in 1900 in .38-55, then in few years rebarreled  to .30WCF to fulfill an       order? 

                             Where should I look for the correct sights? Does someone on the forum have some or a picture of them? Yes, I will not refinish and will   repair the crack! Thank you for the info and advice!

                           David                                     

  

                                

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March 2, 2023 - 5:41 pm
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                                      Is this it? 32 special rear sight - Picture 1 of 5Image Enlarger

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March 2, 2023 - 5:48 pm
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David Bracken said
                                      Is this it? 32 special rear sight - Picture 1 of 5Image Enlarger

  

No, that is not the correct sight for a Model 1894 made in 30 W.C.F.  That sight was specifically designed for the 32 W.S. cartridge.

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March 2, 2023 - 5:55 pm
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David Bracken said
Bert,

Once again thank you!  So the scenario might be, rifle made in 1900 in .38-55, then in few years rebarreled  to .30WCF to fulfill an order? 

David  

Based on the information the CFM listed in the factory letter that would not be the scenario.  Your rifle originally shipped (sold) as a 38-55.  Further, there is no documentary evidence that it was returned to the factory to be rebarrelled.

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March 2, 2023 - 5:58 pm
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David Bracken said
                                      Is this it? 32 special rear sight - Picture 1 of 5Image Enlarger

  

No.  Click on this and it shows some sporting rear sights.  The one on the right looks more like what you need.  In the picture the elevator you need is on the third one.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of the standard front sight.

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-sights/early-sporting-rear-sights/

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March 3, 2023 - 2:51 pm
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           Thanks Chuck, sight first on the right side of the picture and elevator third from the right side.

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March 3, 2023 - 2:54 pm
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        Ok, thanks Bert! It will remain a mystery! Still working on the sights!

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March 3, 2023 - 5:50 pm
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David, here is a pic of the front sight.  I was being lazy yesterday.  Rear sight going left to right.  Last one, elevator on third one.

 

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March 4, 2023 - 3:22 pm
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For me, the prospect of having a family heirloom like yours reblued, is horrifying.  It would be like wiping away the family history and connection to the rifle.  Your rifle has character and as stated above, that character was hard earned.  

I would focus on finding correct sights that have very little finish as I would want them to match as closely as possible.  The good news here is you will pay less for weathered and low finish sights than you would be for high condition sights.  

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March 4, 2023 - 4:59 pm
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                     Thanks Chuck and Steve004, no reblueing, what was I thinking! Wow the correct sights aren’t cheap! So it could have the set screw or not?

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March 4, 2023 - 5:01 pm
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                                        The front sight, the German silver blade or maybe not?

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March 4, 2023 - 7:21 pm
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David Bracken said
              

                     Thanks Chuck and Steve004, no reblueing, what was I thinking! Wow the correct sights aren’t cheap! So it could have the set screw or not?

  

David – 

Glad you came around to our way of thinking.  If l saw that rifle on a gun show table, I wouldn’t be very interested – because of the condition.  However, if that rifle were handed down to me through my family, I would cherish the condition.  Ironically, much more so than if it were in pristine condition.  Just thinking about the various relatives who carried it, used it to hunt with and all the adventures the rifle had been along on – that is true treasure you have there.

Let me add, I also don’t view your rifle as abused.  It has some minor bumps and bruises – but to me it looks like a rifle that was simply used for what it was made to do – and it got used a lot.  What a wonderful life that rifle has had – and there’s no reason that life can’t continue.  It looks to me like it’s still up for more adventure.

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March 4, 2023 - 11:17 pm
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Your gun should have the set screw.  After about 1887 they came with the additional leaf and screw.

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