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Thread: Smokeless sight for '94 .32 Winchester Special

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold BobInAus's Avatar
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    Smokeless sight for '94 .32 Winchester Special

    Good after noon guys.

    My first post here. It looks like a wealth of knowledge in these threads. I have had a 32 Win. Spl. for many years now and want to try it with black powder. The molds I use are a Winchester 32-40-165 and an RCBS 170gr gas check. The rifle originally had the base for a smokeless sight set in place however the centre semi buckhorn leaf was missing.

    Now after all that, I need some help locating a complete smokeless sight. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards

    BobInAus

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I have no idea what you mean by a "smokeless sight". Sights are sights - semi buckhorn or other but the same for smokeless loads or BP loads. Please be a little more specific about what you are wanting. A complete semi-buckhorn sight? Or a completely different style of sight?
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Bob, I'm going to take a guess and my guess is that what you are describing as a smokeless sight is a receiver sight or aperture sight which mounts on the receiver - commonly called a peep sight over here. The other less common sight is the tang mounted peep sight which I've never used. I do have a Williams peep sight mounted on my son's M94 and these can be found on E-Bay and are pretty common. If you have the base for the sight and know which brand it is, you could shop for the slide portion of the sight only and save some money. If you want to go with a new sight then Williams and Lyman are the commonly known producers and can be found on line at Midway, Midsouth and Brownells. Hope this helps.
    There are only to kinds of men:

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    Can you post a few photo's of the "base". It's probably a receiver "peep" sight and might be easy to replace the missing part.
    When I mounted a receiver sight on my model 94 I had to remove the barrel mounted buck horn sight , it gets in the way when using the peep. If not mistaken the 30-30 and 32 special were the first "smokeless " rounds developed by Winchester, I don't think they were ever commonly loaded with black powder from the factory...but the 32 could have been....never say never.
    Welcome to the forum,
    Gary
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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
    Devon's Avatar
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    Here ya go....Click image for larger version. 

Name:	smokeless sight.jpg 
Views:	36 
Size:	41.0 KB 
ID:	203952

    Not mine. Just a pic off the web.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master




    Scharfschuetze's Avatar
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    Model 94 Rear Sight

    I haven't seen one of those in years. You might try E-bay for one.

    32 Specials are pretty popular here on the Lever Action subsection of the site. If you need load suggestions or just conversation on the good 32 Special, then that is a good place to go.

    I use a Lyman Model 66 aperture rear sight on my 32 Special with very good results.

    Here is a rear sight that will work on your Winchester (needs an elevator ramp) without any modification to your rifle.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Winchester-M...0AAOSwRH9ZcNgU

    By the way, welcome to the forum.
    Last edited by Scharfschuetze; 09-12-2017 at 07:56 PM.
    Keep your powder dry,

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    yes that is the smokeless sight that I wrote about in another post. they are rare I have a rifle with one. it is only the third rifle I have ever seen with one and they all had round barrels.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    I have never seen one ...learned something new today. They had smokeless and black powder sights for the 32 Special. Did each rifle come with both sights or just one ?
    My 94 30-30 just came with one barrel mounted sight but was drilled and tapped for a receiver sight.
    Gary
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    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold BobInAus's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pic Devon, looks like it put everybody in the picture. I haven’t learnt how to post photos yet. I should have put you in the whole picture.

    The rifle was made in 1910, has a 26” barrel is a take-down and as I said, came with the base of the smokeless rear sight. It had a Lyman tang mounted peep sight and I have been using that all these years. I bought in about 1980 from a bloke who used it to shoot feral brumbies and camels in the Northern Territory.

    For some reason the wood is perfect wear wise but the frame has a couple of areas with deep pitting along with the lever and tip of the trigger. It is my preferred hunting rifle with a new 32 special normally coming along as a backup. I call it new because it was made in 1976.

    Now days its limited to hunting fallow deer and hogs/pigs, nothing as big as what my old mate from the NT was shooting.

    My 30 WCF, as I prefer to call the cartridge, hasn’t seen the light of day for many years.

    I read somewhere that the smokeless sight came with each 32 Win Spl up until somewhere shortly after 1914. I could be corrected there but not by much I don’t think. I tried to buy the only two smokeless sights I have ever seen on ebay (on different occasions). But after contact with the sellers, as they listed them as ‘may not ship to Australia’ they informed they only sold to the states.

    Never mind I will keep looking, it’s not as if I haven’t been looking for a long time already, there is one out there somewhere for this rifle.

    Well sorry about the long winded reply gents but that’s my story on my favorite rifle.

    Well thanks to Scharfschuetze, my next stop is the Lever Action subsection and have a look at what they have to say on the 32 Win Spl.

    Thanks again for the info guys.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    That's a complete new one on me, too. It looks like a forward mounted peep site from the side.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy pill bug's Avatar
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    Hi Bob, I also have a m1894 Winchester in 32 Winchester special. Mine was made in 1908 and has had the sights replaced. So I am also looking for the smokeless powder sight that is unique to the model 1894 Winchester 32 special rifles. My problem is not in finding them, even though they are pretty rare. Its sticker shock once I do see one. Price is about 125 bucks. Which really is not bad at all, but it slows me down and has me nit picking the condition of the sights I find. I'm going to have to get with it, not be overly critical and find one to install on my rifle. They really are a very neat rifle sight.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold BobInAus's Avatar
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    Hey pill bug, yeah I was the same, nit picking. I have resided myself to the fact that I will take whatever comes along. I’m betting when I do fine one and if in poor condition, the ramp is the part that will have suffered, sticking out in the manner that it does. The semi buckhorn could possibly be ok and fit right into my ramp. Ha, listen to me, sounds like I’m placing an order. You’re right there, they are a neat sight.
    The 125 bucks is up there a little. Our dollar isn’t looking so good at the moment - $157. But then again I guess if they aren’t around you have to pay. They say all good things come to those who wait – 30 years, there must be a good one on its way. Anyway the tang sight hasn’t let me down, so I’ll just carry on with that.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Why all the talk about smokeless sights and 32SPL???

    It was a smokeless cartridge from git go and never loaded with black. The 32-40 on the other hand started with black.

  14. #14
    Boolit Man Randy Bohannon's Avatar
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    The early 94's in 32 Special were equipped with a reversible elevator, one side for black powder the other for smokeless.They are indeed very rare as most were switched to something else. I have a very nice 94 from the 50's and switched out the buck horn sight for one of the Skinner barrel peep sights, it is working very well for me.

    The best explanation I have read was Winchester or any gun maker of the period did not waste anything. The 32-40 was the predominate small bore cartridge of it's day.With Win. having rooms full 32 caliber barrels it was a no brainer to cut a reamer for the 30-30 necked to .32.This would allow for reloading with B/P and smokeless when it became available. Since reloading componets were not available for some time after the introduction of the new fangled smokeless. People were already set up to cast and load 32-40,Win. could sell a lot more rifles with the option of loading with B/P.
    Last edited by Randy Bohannon; 09-22-2017 at 09:26 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold BobInAus's Avatar
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    The 32-40 and 38-55 cartridges were chambered in standard barrels identified as Winchester Proof Steel. From 1895 until sometime about 1928 Winchester model 1894’s barrels chambered for the smokeless powder cartridges, 25-35, 30 WCF and 32 Winchester Special will bear the markings, “Extra steel barrel/especially for smokeless powder”; “Nickel steel barrel/especially for smokeless powder” or just “Nickel Steel”.

    The new smokeless powder cartridges 25-35 and 30 WCF were on hold pending the perfection of the Nickel steel barrels and introduced in 1895. The new smokeless powder cartridges were unsuitable for Winchester Proof Steel.

    Yes the 32 Winchester Special (WS) was loaded with smokeless powder only. It was never loaded with black powder by the Winchester factory however the factory was prepared to furnish primed shells, full metal jacket projectiles, lead bullets and reloading tools to enable the loading of black powder only. They advised against the loading of the 32 WS with smokeless powder by individuals. This was due to the unstable condition of smokeless powder at the time.

    Winchester did everything but load the 32 WS with black powder. Everything from publishing black powder ballistics in their catalogues to providing all the materials necessary to enable the use of black powder in the cartridges for the 32 WS rifle. Winchester even specially designed a rear sight (the smokeless sight) to facilitate the use of black powder loaded cartridges. This sight is graduated for either smokeless or black powder.

    This interesting information was largely provided by 30Gov03 on 21 May 2009 in Gunboards – Com.
    http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...h-Black-Powder

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    I have to wonder just how well a jacketed bullet would work in front of black powder, with no lube to keep the fouling soft. In all of the articles/ advertisements/ posts I have read of the .32 Winchester Special, none of them mention using any kind of bullet lube.

    Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobInAus View Post
    This interesting information was largely provided by 30Gov03 on 21 May 2009 in Gunboards Com.
    http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...h-Black-Powder
    BobInAus, I'm glad you found my old post (yes, that was me) interesting and useful! And best of luck in locating the elusive .32 Special sight

    Jim


  18. #18
    Boolit Mold BobInAus's Avatar
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    Jim, yes that was a great post. I have never read one before with so much good historic information.

    Bob

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    That sight is the one my grandpa George Staley of East Jordan, Michigan referred to as the "pig trough" sight. He had two different Winchester 94 32 Specials, first one bought from Moore's Hardware in Boyne City Mich new in a cloth case with two boxes of shells for a little more than $13.00. Sold it for $20 to an inebriated Native American (not exactly the words he used describing the gentleman) on the train going to the upper peninsula for a deer hunt, and bought another, a used one for $10.00 from his brother Bert who owned Staley Hardware in Charlevoix Mich, around 1921. I have that rifle, have killed deer with it, and passed it to my son. It has a replacement Marble open sight on it now.

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold BobInAus's Avatar
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    Great read Les Staley, love hearing personal stories / history of rifles coming from family members.

    Bob

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