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Original pre-64 Model 1894
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November 24, 2022 - 3:17 am
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I have a question regarding an original 1894 30 W C.F. carbine that I bought about 15 years ago, but have never fired. This rifle is s/n 206xxx, and has a 17″ octagon barrel. While cleaning and lubing the rifle, and checking operation of the action, I discovered that the firing pin is “free-floating”…there is no spring that retracts the firing pin from the bolt face. I’ve been unable to find a schematic online, so have been unable to determine if there should be a firing pin spring (like all of my other firearms have). Is it possible that this ’94 had a free-floating firing pin (no spring)?? A schematic sure would help me to insure the gun is safe. Definitely don’t need a slam-fire!

If  a firing pin spring is required, can anyone provide me with the part number, and maybe source for it?

Thanks in advance.

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November 24, 2022 - 5:55 am
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If your Model 1894 has an octagon barrel, it is not a “carbine”, instead, it is a “Rifle”.  Additionally, a 26-inch barrel was standard for the Model 1894 Rifles.  A 17-inch barrel is highly indicative of a cut-down (shortened) barrel. 

Like many of John M. Browning’s designs (patents), the Model 1894 does not have a firing pin spring.

Bert

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November 24, 2022 - 3:29 pm
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Thank you so much for the info.

My apologies as a Winchester-neophyte for being so ignorant of Winchesters. When I purchased this ’94 , the seller provided a factory letter documenting the “special order” 17″ barrel. I’m guessing that letter was from the Buffalo Bill Center. Regrettably, I have (over the past 15 years) inconveniently misplaced or mis-filed that letter. I shall endeavor to acquire another factory letter from the Buffalo Bill Center, documenting at least the early provenance of this ’94. It is definitely not a pristine condition collector’s grade/condition rifle, but rather shows evidence of having been used in the field, and exposed to “the elements”. As a collector of other antiquities, I have come to appreciate the story that can be told by what some refer to as the “patina”. I prefer to leave leave such “patina” as-is, unless it compromises desired functionality. I look forward to re-discovering (to the extent possible) the history of this rifle.

Incidentally, what is/was the ordinary magazine capacity of the 26″ barrel 30 WCF ’94? This rifle’s magazine (extending to just 1/16″ shy of the muzzle) capacity is 5 rounds.

 

Thanks again…

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November 24, 2022 - 7:49 pm
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Allen,

If you have a 17″ 1894 rifle that’s original based on a factory letter, that’s quite a find. In fact, it’s the only one in the records. Keep in mind, the warehouse ledgers for the 1894s only cover the first 354,000 guns so there may be other examples out later than that, but I highly doubt its more than a few, if any. 

Please share a few pictures if you can, regardless of condition. I’d love to see it.

Also, can you share the rest of the details such as the items below, I’d love to add it to my 1894 short rifle survey. I will need the complete serial number too.

Butt plate style (crescent or shotgun)?   Is it a take-down? Anything else other than standard? Sights, checkering, sling eyes? What length is the fore-end wood (9 3/8″, 8 3/8″, or 7 3/8″)?

                                                                               ~Gary~

                                                                                                                                                                              94-SRR.jpg

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November 25, 2022 - 12:22 am
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Gary,

Oh, how I wish I hadn’t misplaced that factory letter! The rifle is s/n 206471, and has has the crescent butt plate, and no sling eyes, engraving, or checkering, and it is not a take-down. The front sight is a dove-tailed Marbles No. 5. The rear sight is a Marbles p/n? (now, cut me some slack) dove-tailed leaf adjustable semi-buckhorn. The exposed wood of the forearm measures 9-3/8″.

I’m stumped by how to download pics on this site. I know I can download and send via email. I’ll try via PM to you.

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November 25, 2022 - 12:36 am
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I’m stumped by how to download pics on this site.timberwolf said

  

More trouble than it’s worth.  Send by email if you can. 

Did the brl. length & other features match that factory letter?  Going to be expensive to replace it.

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November 25, 2022 - 1:53 am
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timberwolf said
Gary,

Oh, how I wish I hadn’t misplaced that factory letter! The rifle is s/n 206471, and has has the crescent butt plate, and no sling eyes, engraving, or checkering, and it is not a take-down. The front sight is a dove-tailed Marbles No. 5. The rear sight is a Marbles p/n? (now, cut me some slack) dove-tailed leaf adjustable semi-buckhorn. The exposed wood of the forearm measures 9-3/8″.

I’m stumped by how to download pics on this site. I know I can download and send via email. I’ll try via PM to you.

  

Unfortunately, your rifle is not the lone (single) Model 1894 rifle manufactured with a 17-inch barrel.  That honor belongs to serial number 113997.  Based on the fact that your rifle has a 9-3/8-inch forend stock, the odds are extremely high that the barrel length was originally 26-inchs long.

Bert

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November 25, 2022 - 2:00 am
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Thats a bummer. I guess I misunderstood the earlier post that stated this rifle was documented with a letter. I see where Bert got that number from the Armax survey now. Case closed unfortunately. 

                                                                               ~Gary~

                                                                                                                                                                              94-SRR.jpg

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November 25, 2022 - 2:59 am
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pdog72 said
 I guess I misunderstood the earlier post that stated this rifle was documented with a letter.

  

Actually, no; the “lost” letter supposedly verifies the brl. length, Allen said.  Best way to keep the letter with the gun?  Tie or tape it around the brl. 

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November 25, 2022 - 3:16 am
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Gary,

No, you didn’t misunderstand. That is what I stated. I did get a factory letter with the ’94. But, after 15 years and two major strokes, what I don’t recall is whether the factory letter specified that it was a special order 17″ barrel, or if the seller added that information himself…as an addendum to the letter. I have no interest or intentions toward marketing or selling this rifle, but am very interested in learning what I can regarding it’s history. 

Are the Marbles sights that I described even sights that Winchester used on the 1894’s?

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November 25, 2022 - 4:47 am
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timberwolf said
Are the Marbles sights that I described even sights that Winchester used on the 1894’s?

  

Two Marble front sights were available as catalog options by 1916, then after WW I, a rear sight; doubtful sights on your gun are original.

Giving any credence whatsoever to what the seller told you, if not verified by the letter, would be very unwise.

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November 25, 2022 - 2:11 pm
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If there is a chance this rifle has a 17 inch Winchester installed barrel, I’d sure go to the effort to request a new letter from the Cody Museum.  

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November 25, 2022 - 4:01 pm
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Yes. I haven’t given up finding the letter that I got with the rifle. If I’m unable to find it after a more thorough search, I’ll order another one. When I originally opened this thread, it was really to ascertain whether or not the floating firing pin (no spring) was correct. Thanks to the expertise available here, I was able to confirm that the floating pin is correct, so no loner a concern. I have a friend that’s an armourer cominig by this morning to perform a thorough inspection of the rifle. I hope it passes inspectionSmile

I hesitate to add this to the discussion, but guess I’m a glutton for punishment. I recall that the seller of the rifle (a pretty colorful old timer from northern Arizona) told me that the rifle had been originally purchased by a Wyoming trapper. How or where he might have gleaned this information, or whether this was just an old-timer’s yarn is anybody’s guess. But, allegedly it was the trapper’s working environment/conditions  that caused him to order the short barrel. And, THAT was the seller’s story.

My search for the letter will continue, but putting the rifle back into service (if possible) is my most immediate objective.

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November 25, 2022 - 4:17 pm
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One of the nicknames for a shorter than standard length carbine is, “trapper.”  I suppose some were actually ordered and used by trappers.

Sometimes, photos can be very telling.  As a guest, you can’t post a photo directly but you can use a photo hosting site such as photobucket, Imgur etc.  Or, you could e-mail someone here the photos and they could post them for you.  There is a fair chance, by viewing clear photos, some of the members here could quickly detect whether it would be worthwhile to order a new letter.

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November 25, 2022 - 4:46 pm
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But, allegedly it was the trapper’s working environment/conditions  that caused him to order the short barrel. timberwolf said

  

If that brl length was ordered (as opposed to being customized with a hacksaw), nothing else matters, & you have a rare piece.   Here’s a quick check of possible authenticity:  the forward edge of the front sight slot should lie exactly 3/4″ from the face of the muzzle.  (Though if the brl was shortened by a careful gunsmith, he would cut the new slot at that same measurement.)  Does the slot itself appear to be machine cut?

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November 25, 2022 - 7:01 pm
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The front sight cut measures 0.062 from the muzzle faceFrown

But, if anyone here has interest in seeing pics of the rifle, I’d be happy to share them if they would send me their email address via pm. Sure is looking like the seller’s claims were “imaginative”, But, I love the rifle, nonethelessWink

My armourer friend just completed his inspection of the rifle, and gave it a clean bill of health. He DID alert me to the fact that back in the 1900’s the cartridge primers were pretty robust, so there was really no problem with the floating firing pin. He cautioned me regarding the use of modern ammunition, given the lighter impact by the firing pin strike required for primer ignition. I have experienced problems (mis-fires) using WWII ammo in modern firearms, due to the heavy firing pin strike force required to ignite the WWII primers. Should I be concerned regarding use of modern ammunition in this rifle?

If anyone is interested or curious regarding this rifle (despite the revelations wrt provenance), and would like pics (perhaps to re-post), please send me your email address via pm.

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November 25, 2022 - 7:09 pm
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timberwolf said
He cautioned me regarding the use of modern ammunition, given the lighter impact by the firing pin strike required for primer ignition.

  

I would distrust the judgement of any “expert” who uttered such an arrant piece of nonsense.  He knows nothing about the subject.

Bert’s email add is listed.

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November 25, 2022 - 7:31 pm
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timberwolf said
The front sight cut measures 0.062 from the muzzle faceFrown

But, if anyone here has interest in seeing pics of the rifle, I’d be happy to share them if they would send me their email address via pm. Sure is looking like the seller’s claims were “imaginative”, But, I love the rifle, nonethelessWink

My armourer friend just completed his inspection of the rifle, and gave it a clean bill of health. He DID alert me to the fact that back in the 1900’s the cartridge primers were pretty robust, so there was really no problem with the floating firing pin. He cautioned me regarding the use of modern ammunition, given the lighter impact by the firing pin strike required for primer ignition. I have experienced problems (mis-fires) using WWII ammo in modern firearms, due to the heavy firing pin strike force required to ignite the WWII primers. Should I be concerned regarding use of modern ammunition in this rifle?

If anyone is interested or curious regarding this rifle (despite the revelations wrt provenance), and would like pics (perhaps to re-post), please send me your email address via pm.  

You can send pictures to – [email protected]

Bert

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November 25, 2022 - 8:08 pm
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clarence said

timberwolf said

He cautioned me regarding the use of modern ammunition, given the lighter impact by the firing pin strike required for primer ignition.

  

I would distrust the judgement of any “expert” who uttered such an arrant piece of nonsense.  He knows nothing about the subject.

Bert’s email add is listed.

  

He is an armourer that has, after several tours serving as an armourer for the US Military in Afghanistan, returned upon the abandonment of our Afghanistan involvement. He may not be an “expert” as you put it wrt Winchesters, but he was very familiar with the floating firing pin, and as a legitimate armourer, I value his counsel, but…welcome input from Winchester “experts”.

So…in your judgement, should there be no concern wrt accidental/unintended discharges regarding the use of modern ammunition in this rifle?

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November 25, 2022 - 8:13 pm
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Pictures of subject rifle…  positively a cut down barrel, and a modified butt stock & butt plate.

94.1.JPGImage Enlarger94.2.JPGImage Enlarger94.3.JPGImage Enlarger94.4.JPGImage Enlarger94.5.JPGImage Enlarger94.6.JPGImage Enlarger94.8.JPGImage Enlarger

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