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 as this is how the take-down function works. One needs to unscrew the magazine tube which allows the barrel to be turned 90 degrees and removed.
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 we all hate 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 stuff 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 thickness. Reinstalled and the action is smooth as silk! I test fired a bunch of cartridges with primers only 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:
Hope you like it!