I have a question that I have not found a satisfactory answer for and I think it will be easy for you guys:
It seems to me that the 86/92 vertical locking bar system is far superior to the 1894 mechanism. From what I have read Browning designed 94 to handle more powerful smokeless cartridges and to be “easier” to manufacture. However I have read where earliest 94s were still blackpowder. Maybe this had to do with scarcity of new smokeless cartridges.
Anyway my question is why the 86/92 action was abandoned when it seems to this neophyte to be superior?
April 15, 2005
The twin vertical locking bar action requires a hefty sized frame for the rifle sized cartridges used in the Model 1886. The Model 1892 frame was smaller and lighter because it used pistol length cartridges. In order to make a lighter and slimmer frame capable of handling the longer rifle cartridge, John M. Browning created the Model 1894 action with its rear single locking bolt.
The Model 1894 from day one was designed for smokeless powder, even though the early rifles were made in 38-55 and 32-40 which were still blackpowder. The hang up with blackpowder versus smokeless powder in the Model 1894 was perfecting the nickel steel alloy for the barrels. Once that was worked out, production of the 30 WCF and 25-35 WCF chambered rifles began in mid-year 1895.
WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
December 27, 2007