With its innovative Browning design action, the Model 1894 became the first Winchester specifically developed for smokeless powder. This model has seen continuous production since its inception and has outsold all other models. Most important of its many features were the cartridges Winchester developed for this action. The old standby 30 W.C.F., also known as the “30-30” (30 caliber bullet with 30 grains of powder) has killed more North American big game than any other cartridge and still remains popular to this day.
Early Model 1894 Calibers:
.32-40 – introduced in 1894
.38-55 – introduced in 1894
.25-35 – introduced in 1895
.30 W.C.F. (30-30) – introduced in 1895
.32 Winchester Special – introduced in 1901
The U.S. Army purchased 1,800 Model 1894 carbines on December 29, 1917 to help guard strategic defense industries in the Pacific Northwest. Production of receivers was suspended in 1943 during World War II. As serial numbers approached the one-million mark, the official model designation was changed from Model 1894 to the Model 94. The 1,000,000th Model 94 was presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1927. As many special orders features were available, a variety of interesting configurations can be found in both rifles and carbines making the Model 1894 one of the most collectable of all Winchesters.
In 1964, major changes in the manufacturing process were adopted to lower production costs. As such, “pre ‘64” guns are recognized to be of higher quality and command higher prices in the collector market. The “post ‘64” guns have additional calibers, with both top and angle-eject models, and a variety of stock options.
Winchester also issued the ‘94 in various commemorative models over the past several years and these guns provide an identifiable goal for the collector desiring to specialize in them.
Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 353999.
The Winchester Model 1894 Lever Action Rifle
The Winchester Model 1894 Saddle Ring Carbine