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Thread: Which Big Bore 94 ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
    C-dubb's Avatar
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    Which Big Bore 94 ?

    Been looking to ad a lever action to my collection that I intend to use for whitetail and maybe a hog hunt this summer. I love the Winchester 94 and have narrowed my choice down to one of the Big Bore 94's.
    They were produced in .307. .356. &. .375 Winchester. I prefer an earlier one with no safety and I plan to add a peep sight so I don't really need the angle eject. Im sure any of these will do the job for me but I was wondering which one would be better for me.
    I cast and reload all of my ammo so the only concern is the availability of brass (or an easy way to make it) and good bullet molds.
    I have noticed that the .375 rifle are much more abundant and sell cheaper for some reason.
    Would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I think that the .375 version sold better than the other two because there were so many .30-30 owners that wanted just a bit more. I own two of them. Beautiful rifles, hampered only by the sometimes-scarcity of ammo and brass for reloading. I guess the same can probably be said of the other two as well. I have a .356 also, which I came by when it arrived with a scratch on the side of the receiver, and the customer who ordered it refused delivery. It had the high comb on the butt stock to compliment the mounting of a scope, which to me just didn't look "Winchester". So I reblued the rifle and changed out the butt stock for the conventional version in fancy walnut, and it's just about my favorite rifle. I think the .375 would work o.k. for elk, but the .356 is probably good even for a big bear. I can't help you much with the .307, except to say that it is just about the equivalent of a .308 Win. That's one I missed, and probably should have acquired. Overall, they are very attractive rifles with their high polish bluing and solid walnut stocks. I like them!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    My choice would bethe 356 but 375 could use 38/55 brass in a pinch. Brass for either could be made from 444 brass. Get whichever you find first at a good price.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a couple of 307's. Plenty of brass available at a good price, and affordable jacketed bullets as well as plenty of options for cast. Probably the cheapest to shoot of the 3 calibers.
    356 is expensive, and not a whole lot of ammo or brass around, and a more limited bullet choice. I have not done it, but 307 brass should neck up to 356 if needed.
    375 brass is available from starline, and not too expensive. Selection of bullets limited.
    I think you can get the top eject in the 375 only. The 307 and 356 were angle eject.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master




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    Things I look for when thinking of any firearm, how easy is it to get brass, what bullets can be used and what am I planning on using it for.
    Of the three you mentioned the .375 winchester has brass easy to get from starline, bullets if you like lead there is a large range from around 250 grains all the way up to 350 grains if you are planning to hunt anything needing more weight then you need to look at a 45-70 as with that you can go up into the 450 grain bullet.
    If I had the money I would get one of each just to have more or less
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ulav8r View Post
    My choice would bethe 356 but 375 could use 38/55 brass in a pinch. Brass for either could be made from 444 brass. Get whichever you find first at a good price.
    How do you make 38-55 from .444 ?
    What you talking about ,Willis?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I would look for a 375 Winchester .
    You said big bore....and .375 fills that bill nicely. I would prefer it to a 45-70 , I have shot 45-70's in some lever actions and they can, when loaded warm, detach a retina and bruise your shoulder.
    I think the 375 Winchester would be a nice compromise and fun to cast and reload for. For hogs and deer it should be just right !
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    In my opinion the 356 is the best of the bunch for hunting, but brass is scarce. The 307 would be my choice.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-dubb View Post

    Been looking to ad a lever action to my collection that I intend to use for whitetail and maybe a hog hunt this summer.

    I love the Winchester 94 and have narrowed my choice down to one of the Big Bore 94's.

    They were produced in .307. .356. &. .375 Winchester.

    I prefer an earlier one with no safety and I plan to add a peep sight so I don't really need the angle eject.

    FWIW:

    * Both the .307 Winchester & the .356 Winchester (aka: the best of the bunch) were made after Model 94 production was changed to the Angle-Eject model.

    * ALL Winchester 1894/94's have had a safety - 1st & always, the lever safety; then the cross-bolt safety (CBS), then the rebounding hammer safety; then lastly the tang safety.

    I've owned/shot/hunted with almost every Model 94 chambering (.30-30, .307 Win, .32 Special, .356 Win, .375 Win, .444 Marlin, & .450 Marlin), and can unequivocally affirm that the best choice for me (YMMV) is the .356 Win in a pre-CBS Model 94AE.

    The .356 delivers the same flatter trajectory as .307 with more bullet weight - which trajectory is much flatter than all the other chamberings.

    My .356 BB94 regularly gave me very satisfying 3" groups @ 250yds (scoped/benched) with commercial ammo.


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  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Bird View Post
    I have a couple of 307's. Plenty of brass available at a good price, and affordable jacketed bullets as well as plenty of options for cast. Probably the cheapest to shoot of the 3 calibers.
    356 is expensive, and not a whole lot of ammo or brass around, and a more limited bullet choice. I have not done it, but 307 brass should neck up to 356 if needed.
    375 brass is available from starline, and not too expensive. Selection of bullets limited.
    I think you can get the top eject in the 375 only. The 307 and 356 were angle eject.
    No, they made a 375 AE for at least one year. Pretty scarce but that would be a great lever to own for bear and moose
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    From what you describe, deer and hogs with a peep sight, you will be well served with a top enect 375. I like mine, light, accurate, and plenty of power. The flatter trajectory comes with more recoil and is hard to justify without a scope. I shoot the issue open sights and have only 2 molds for it. Actually I like that, and it was the easiest rifle I have ever worked up from scratch. Brass is readily available for mid range loads, I just use short 38-55, but you can get 375 from starline if you want. Personally, I dont like the humpback stock on the AE version, but I dont scope leverguns either. Get 1 of each and tell us which you prefer ....
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    why stop at one

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    My 356 Winchester M94 and 336ER both function fine with necked up 308 brass. I have several hundred new Win 356 cases I’ll hold onto but wouldn’t worry about brass availability. And thanks again to Beagle for finding that Marlin in Kentucky for me!
    Tony

  15. #15
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    I have 375's in both top eject and angle eject styles. The AE model I have has no additional safeties. The AE model has a heavier barrel and is noticeably heavier. To be honest I havent really taken to the AE model. The top ejects are about the same weight as a 92 carbine in 44, so they are easy to carry, handier to use and offer a lot more than a 44.

    The 375 has really become a bullet caster / tinkerer's cartridge. Suitable jacketed bullets are becoming harder to find but you can get great results from cast bullets. The 375 is far from picky and there is no shortage of cast bullet designs that work. The Winchesters have deep rifling, a fast twist and a fairly generous throat. Once you figure how to deal with the throat it becomes a handloader/bullet casters dream.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    How do you make 38-55 from .444 ?
    What you talking about ,Willis?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    Would use 444 to make 356, would use Starline 38-55 if that was needed. As mentioned by AnthonyB and at other places online, many 356's will feed and extract rimless brass made from 308 and 358 cases.

  17. #17
    Boolit Man
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    Made up my mind to find myself a 94 Big Bore in .375 Winchester. Just ordered 250 Starline brass. Im sure Ill find a gun soon, they are all over the internet. Then probably go with a Marbles sight. Thanks for all of the good advice.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Wow, I'll bet you are the only one here to buy the brass first and then try to find a rifle to shoot it in.

    And for what it's worth, I think you made a good choice.
    ..

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    [QUOTE=Beerd;4550046]Wow, I'll bet you are the only one here to buy the brass first and then try to find a rifle to shoot it in.

    I thought everybody did that

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Me too! I had 35 Rem brass and dies for over 10 years before I found the right rifle. Bit before the gunbroker era, wouldn't have taken 10 days now!
    Op, you chose well.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

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