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Thread: Win 1894 38-55 4 digit S/N Picking it up today!

  1. #1
    Boolit Master huntrick64's Avatar
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    Win 1894 38-55 4 digit S/N Picking it up today!

    I have wanted a vintage 38-55 for over 20 years and never could seem to afford one. I am finally picking one up today! I'm thinking it was actually manufactured in 1894 as the S/N is 5XXX. Full length mag, straight grip, 26" octagon. I will probably want to kill a deer with it once, then put it up. Plan on shooting black in it. Will post pics once I get it in my hands, a lot can happen between now and then.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Curious: Was the older 1894 38-55 barrels made of nickel steel?
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Very nice!!
    i love the 94. I have one that I picked up as a stripped receiver that was built in 1898.
    It too was a 38-55. I put an octagon 30wcf short rifle barrel on it. Still need furniture and to blue it.
    I look forward to your pics.
    Congrats on a fine find.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Congrats !

    Some 14,000-odd Model 1894's were made in 1894, so it's a 1st year gun, in one of the 2 original chamberings (.32-40 & .38-55).

    All Model 1894 standard barrels, up to late-1895/early-1896, were made of black powder rated "ordnance" steel (a carbon steel alloy).

    Any .32-40 or .38-55 Model 1894 with a barrel marked "nickel steel" would have been a Special Order gun.

    Nickel steel barrels were standard for every .25-35, .30WCF, & ,32 Special made prior to the introduction of "proof" steel barrels, marked as such, or not. (the nickel steel barrel marking didn't become consistent until after about SN 12,000).

    Around 1899, however, Winchester was experimenting with a different steel alloy for barrels, and those barrel were marked "extra steel" - and are usually found in the 45,000-75,00 SN range.

    Keep in mind that, due to Winchester's "parts bin" method of parts storage & installation, there was no definite SN or year "break", when a new part showed up - Winchester assemblers simply grabbed whatever part they laid their hands on, for the particular part they were installing at the moment.

    I hope that you'll post some good pics of your find.

    I further hope that it'll prove to have some "Special Order" features, that enhance it's true value.


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  5. #5
    Boolit Master huntrick64's Avatar
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    Here she is! There's a catch though. I got there and he had two of them for sale! The 1894 manufactured 38-55 as well as a 1906 manufactured 30 W.C.F. I couldn't pass them us so now I have them both. The 30 W.C.F. has a pristine bore and is in very good shape. It also has the "nickel steel" stamped barrel and the express 3-leaf sight. Now I have to sell something to keep them both. 1st line of pics is the 38-55:

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  6. #6
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    Wow! What a nice pair of nice old vintage guns! You're one lucky fella'! Enjoy them, and let us know how they shoot, will ya'?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    They are hard to pass up when they come available aren't they?
    I too have a 1906 in 30wcf, but mine looks like it had a harder life than yours.
    Nice pieces and I hope they shoot well!!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntrick64 View Post
    Here she is! There's a catch though. I got there and he had two of them for sale! The 1894 manufactured 38-55 as well as a 1906 manufactured 30 W.C.F. I couldn't pass them us so now I have them both. The 30 W.C.F. has a pristine bore and is in very good shape. It also has the "nickel steel" stamped barrel and the express 3-leaf sight. Now I have to sell something to keep them both. 1st line of pics is the 38-55:


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    This is so cool When I read this I was hoping to see external rail screws on your 4 digit Ser.# 38-55..........When numbers get that low you have a 50-50 chance to get one! ...Very Happy for you .....................Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  9. #9
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    Oh BTW....Good Looking Rifles

    Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  10. #10
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    Not great pics but a buddy owns this one. It too is 38-55, bright shiny bore and beautiful patina. Yup, serial #34. You guys with these beautiful old rifles really make me covet them!
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    Last edited by Bzcraig; 04-21-2017 at 01:47 AM.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master huntrick64's Avatar
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    I'm speechless regarding #34!

    If you will, check out the tang on my 38-55 (top set of photos). I was thinking it was missing the tang sight when I bought it, but a closer inspection shows the bottom hole not even drilled. I would think if there was one that would not be drilled, it would have been the top hole. Any of you ever seen this before on these older 94s? Compare the tang on my 38-55 to the tang on my 30 WCF. I guess the real answer is to order the letters from Cody.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntrick64 View Post
    I'm speechless regarding #34!

    If you will, check out the tang on my 38-55 (top set of photos). I was thinking it was missing the tang sight when I bought it, but a closer inspection shows the bottom hole not even drilled. I would think if there was one that would not be drilled, it would have been the top hole. Any of you ever seen this before on these older 94s? Compare the tang on my 38-55 to the tang on my 30 WCF. I guess the real answer is to order the letters from Cody.
    I saw that! On the Letters from Cody.........Hmmm I pd for 2 letters and they weren't even close to what I had..... One old 1894 I had was a solid
    frame and the letter said it was a take-down Now how can that be.......The info from the factory I believe was gathered from pay records! Monday guns, and Friday guns.....Hangovers & Beer Fridays LoL.......Ol Deuce
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    Do the Best with What you have !

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    It'll be interesting to see what you find when you slug the bore on your vintage .38-55. I had a '94 round barrel rifle mfg in 1899 and when slugged it measured out with a .384" groove! I had a Lyman mould at the time that dropped bullets at .379" and I could push them right through the barrel with a cleaning rod ... and with not too much effort! If yours is big in the bore too then you'll need a large diameter mould (if the loaded rounds will still chamber?) or a dead soft bullet and hope for it to slug up with your black powder loads.
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    Really enjoy seeing original old Winchesters, the oldest '94 that I have is 1904 in 32/40

    They are not '94's, but a pair of consequitive serial numbered 92's in 38WCF (4xx2 & 4xx3)


    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  15. #15
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    Winchesters

    I couldn't pass them us so now I have them both.
    You are a wise man my friend.

    While my Winchesters are not as old as yours, they are a treasured possession. The Model 64 in a Pre-War model and the 94 is a carbine from the 50s.
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    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  16. #16
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    I love my wall !!!The Old Winchesters are worth getting when they come up for sale !!!! Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    ....Hmmm I pd for 2 letters and they weren't even close to what I had..... One old 1894 I had was a solid
    frame and the letter said it was a take-down Now how can that be.......The info from the factory I believe was gathered from pay records! Monday guns, and Friday guns.....Hangovers & Beer Fridays LoL.......Ol Deuce

    If you'll contact Cody Firearms Museum they'll be happy to re-check the info in the letter. Sometimes the info is misinterpreted or misread but it doesn't happen very often.
    Endowment Life Member NRA, Life Member TSRA, Member WACA, NRA Whittington Center, BBHC
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master OlDeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXGunNut View Post
    ....Hmmm I pd for 2 letters and they weren't even close to what I had..... One old 1894 I had was a solid
    frame and the letter said it was a take-down Now how can that be.......The info from the factory I believe was gathered from pay records! Monday guns, and Friday guns.....Hangovers & Beer Fridays LoL.......Ol Deuce

    If you'll contact Cody Firearms Museum they'll be happy to re-check the info in the letter. Sometimes the info is misinterpreted or misread but it doesn't happen very often.
    I've thought about doing that! but Time has passed....'91? is when this was done ! I've heard Kennedy has a good handle on the records now!
    I'm only 100 miles from the Museum! Thanks for your Good words......

    Ol Deuce
    Do the Best with What you have !

  19. #19

    Low # 94's

    I have handled #8 and #24 both 38-55's. I have been told that some of the very first 94's never left the factory because they were having heat treating problems and some did not make the grade. If you look at Bzcraig's post of #34 you will see in the pic. of the serial number A hardness indent on the flat bellow the number and above the lever link, both #8 and#24 had this, and both were standard oct. 38-55's.
    Wonderiful old rifles!



    Quote Originally Posted by OlDeuce View Post
    I've thought about doing that! but Time has passed....'91? is when this was done ! I've heard Kennedy has a good handle on the records now!
    I'm only 100 miles from the Museum! Thanks for your Good words......

    Ol Deuce

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Some very nice Winchesters guys. I don't think many ever got sold into this farm state, they're hard to find here as most are in collections.

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