1894 Winchester Take Down Rehab

Last week I was on business in Minneapolis. When anywhere near a Cabelas I simply must visit the gun library! I’ve been to every Cabelas in the USA…..Some a number of times.
While there I saw this 1894 Winchester take-down, 32Win Special, Octagon to round, pistol grip, Marbles tang sight…….I fell in love!

But it had some warts….someone had drilled and tapped the side for a cheap scope side mount and mounted an El Paso Weaver 4X, the stock had a pretty bad crack at the toe and the take down mechanism would not work.

The bore looked excellent and the action functioned fine. The price was a little steep ($750) so I passed.  The next day all I could think about was that little rifle. I called the Gun Library and spoke to Jaclyn. She said they still had it and would hold it for me. I drove back to Rogers, MN, about an hour and a half from where I was now, and decided to buy it. Had it shipped to my FFL here in Massachusetts ($25 for 2nd day FedEx..Nice!)

When I got the rifle home the first thing I did was try to get the magazine tube to turn ass this is how the take-down function works. No Joy! It was locked up solid.

So I removed the take-down lever, removed the forend cap and carefully drifted out the forend cap boss. This allowed me to pull off the forend. I could clearly see that someone had been using WD40, the bane of the firearms industry, to try and keep rust at bay. Well it did its job as far as rust in concerned, but it turned into that brown WD40 wax and locked everything up solid. A bit of Kroil Oil (the savior of the firearms industry!) and I had it apart.

The action was covered with the same WD40 wax. A real mess. I put the whole action into my Ultrasonic Cleaner and let it stew for 5 minutes. This removed about 90% of the crap and now allowed a full disassemble. Every last piece was taken apart, wire brushed and put back into the Ultrasonic Cleaner. The parts came out looking like new!

I reassembled everything, and everything was right with the world! But the hammer spring was extremely stiff. This caused the action to be very hard to open as the bolt tried to push back the hammer. I pulled the spring and took it to the shop and ground down about 40% of its thicvkness. Reinstalled and the action is smooth as silk! I test fired a bunch of cartridges with primers onlt to be sure I had enough hammer fall. No Issues!

The stock had a bad split at the toe that someone tried to fix with Elmer’s glue. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the pieces back together without a small gap. I mixed up some epoxy and added some brown stain, glued it up and when dried I scrapped the excess glue off the joint. A bit of steel wool with Balistol and it is hard to see the repair.

I removed the scope mount and used four filler screws to fill the holes. At some point I’m going to TIG weld the holes and have the receiver re-cased. I’ll also replace the wood as this rifle doesn’t really have any collector value.

So here’s what we ended up with:

1894 Winchester Takedown

Interesting front sight….Anyone know anything about it?

I’d love to know what these 6 “hash” marks are all about…….Six dead bandits? Six dead deer?

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2 comments on “1894 Winchester Take Down Rehab”

  1. Gary Behrman Reply

    I have a front sight on a Winchester remodeled by Niedner Rifle Corp. It is a Marbles I think. They said use the open for close (you can see all your target) and the top for longer range. I never tried it but at least one of the sights should work. It is in Schidlers “Old Gunsights” book.

    The hobby gunsmithing you do is fantastic.

  2. Rem870 Reply

    Congratulations! Very interesting rifle. A real piece of history. I thought that Ruger 10/22 Takedown is a new idea but it turned out that takedown Winchester was available in 1894.

    I have never seen a fron sight like that but I think that Gary is right.

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