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GUNS Magazine January 2012 Digital Edition - Page 48
Winchester The New hundreds of thousands is an achievement. The winchester repeating arms company did phenomenally well with its Model 1892 by hitting the million mark in a run lasting until about 1940. But consider this: the one millionth Winchester Model 1894 was presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and serial number 2 million was given to President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s. The last I heard before manufacture ceased in the United States about 2007 was that over 7 million Model ’94s had been made. That has to make it the most proliferative non-military rifle ever produced. The vast bulk of those first million Model 1894s were made either as saddle ring carbines or full-length rifles. The first had 20" lightweight round barrels and weighed about six pounds while the latter had 26" round or octagon barrels and weighed about 7-1/2 pounds. (There was also a military style “musket” made but they’re so rare that I’ve never even seen one on display.) Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Winchester welcomed custom orders. It’s true that Model 1894s were generally considered a basic tool so custom versions are not nearly as commonly encountered at gun shows as some other Winchester lever guns. That said, it is also true that many left the factory with options such as 1/2-round, 1/2-octagon barrels, set triggers, 1/2 magazines, shotgun- The sToried rifle reTurns in boTh .30-30 & .38-55. Mike “Duke” Venturino Photos: Yvonne Venturino roduction runs of military arms are p commonly in the millions, but for sporting rifles getting even into the Duke found both of the new 94s perfectly reliable throughout the test with a variety of .30-30 and .38-55 factory ammunition. style buttstocks and even fancy wood. What is also true is this. The name .30-30 is almost synonymous with Model 1894 because the vast bulk of those 7 million or so made were so chambered. But there were other ’94 calibers, especially in that first 1 million. In fact the very first cartridges for which the Model 1894 were cataloged were lead bullet, black-powder-powered .32-40 and .38-55, even though the model was designed from the ground up as a smokeless powder firearm. It wasn’t the powder that caused the slightly tardy introduction of the new rounds. It was the barrel steel. Because the envisioned new .25-35 Winchester and .30 Winchester Centerfire (WCF) used jacketed bullets, Winchester’s engineers figured they would excessively wear the ordinary steel then used in building barrels. A nickelsteel alloy was required and some production problems The new Browning/Winchester M94 is a beautiful deluxe version of the later angle-eject rifles, yet compares nicely with an original Model 1894 Winchester in the background. 48 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2