I have a Winchester 1895 lever rifle that will not release the safety on the lever to work the action. The rifle is in excellent condition and the first time I’ve handled the rifle from my dad’s estate. It acts as if it wants to release but does not. Is it spring release?
Any suggestions are helpful. Thanks,
Scott, Haven’t had this happen to me, so am totally guessing here. The safety is itself spring loaded slightly. If you can, check there is nothing keeping it frozen in place, such as crud towards the muzzle or trigger. Small gap, so it could be something quite small. The lever itself is hinged and the lower part of the lever is supposed to hinge downwards (REVERSE THESE IF YOU HAVE IT BELLY UP TO LOOK AT BETTER) to effect the release. Again, check the gap to make sure the hinged portion of the lever is able to hinge fully. This will be easier than looking in the tiny gap by the safety catch, so try it first in hopes you can resolve the issue. The lever needs to hinge all the way, as seen with the slot in the back of the lever loop. Mark is at school, I think, but when he is available he might have experience with this and better ideas. Let me know what it is like and if you get it resolved, please. As I think on it, be sure something is not built up in the slot in the back of the lever loop precluding the lever hinging in total, as well. Tim.
Hi Tim, I understand what you are saying, the bottom lever and catch are completely clean and free of crud. This a rifle well oiled and like new. The catch moves when the bottom lever is partially moved but does not disengage. The lever travels the full length of the slot without the catch doing anything else.
I am baffled.
I can see the first two numbers under the lever on one side and the last two numbers on the other side but since the lever doesn’t open, middle SN is unknown. It seems to be manufactured either 1902 or 03.
Scott, OK, looks like the jointed bottom lever is traveling full distance. I was thinking if you had fine, copper wire or some other type of material that would not scratch the blue, and worked it under the lever–make a loop to pull the catch towards the trigger as you work the lever, it might disengage the catch enough to open the action. If that works, then see if you find something jamming the catch so it isn’t releasing? As I said, haven’t had this myself so am flying blind. If you find the problem I would sure like to know just in case I run into it some day. Tim.
Scott, went in a “played” with one of my older 1895’s. The tolerance is very close. I used an index card to slightly move the catch forward, etc. I would squirt a LITTLE penetrating oil onto the plunger just ahead of the catch, too, let is soak a bit before trying to disengage. Like I said, just haven’t seen this before. Good luck! Hope this works. Tim
Scott, Any progress on your rifle? The clearance when all is working correctly is quite small. Might need a helper, one to push or pull the latch forward while you try to unhinge the lever? If the rifle is as nice as you say and hasn’t been redone or parts replaced, I just can’t see it not unlatching unless something is interfering with the latch itself. Tim
Hi Tim, Unfortunately nothing has changed. I have studied parts diagrams to clarify the operation and seems very simple. I have confidence in my ability to take it apart but will probably take it to a good smith to prevent an oops on my part. The penetrating oil did not make a difference.
November 7, 2015
I’ll defer to the more practiced eyes around here but my impression is this grand old 1895 has been reblued. Wood has been “refreshed” IMHO but I think that’s normal maintenance for a gun this old and well-used. I like the gun, hope you figure out the mechanical issue. I think if you handle another 1895 you may figure out what’s going on.