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Thread: Bringing an Old '94 Back to Life

  1. #1
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Bringing an Old '94 Back to Life

    For the 20+ years of my marriage I've off and on seen an old '94 Winchester in my father-in-laws gun cabinet. All I'd really noticed about it was that it was HIDEOUSLY rusted, probably from spending most of its life in humid SE Texas. Well, my FIL is in a nursing home now and asked if I wanted any of his guns. I'm pretty well set for firearms, but have always kid of sort of wanted a '94 in 30-30, and I like beat up old guns. So he said I could have it.

    So I picked it up today and right away noticed that the heavy surface rust was even worse than I'd remembered. The buttstock is cracked lengthways and has been repaired with brass screws, and judging from the battered wood, it appears to have been thrown from a bucking horse (Don't ask me how I know....) but what really caught my eye was that the rear sight was a ladder-type sight. I flipped it over and noticed the 6-digit serial number began with "8". Turns out it was made in 1915.

    So out to the shop we went and I began the judicious application of 0000 steel wool and Break Free CLP. Much to my surprise, none of the metal is pitted, so I lightly scrubbed until the rust could no longer be easily seen, although one can still feel it.

    I expected the barrel to be hopeless, but I plugged it and filled it with Ed's Red and left it soaking while I fed the cows. When I returned I poured out the bore cleaner and began brushing it with a .30 caliber brush with a few strands of Copper Chore Boy wrapped around the brush, then dried it. To my complete surprise the bore is in relatively good condition; shiny with just a smidge of roughness and a few light pits.

    Not much time before dark, but I hastily threw together a load of 17.0 grs. of AL2400 and seated some forgotten 311291's I'd cast looong ago. Man....this ol' girl can shoot! This is the first three shots at 100 yds.-



    I found some bullets I'd cast several years ago from an NEI 308-145 mold; 155 gr. plain base FP's. I used to shoot these bullets subsonic out of a Swiss K-31 in our local reduced course High Power matches and they have always provided great accuracy.



    Today I loaded them over 7.0 grs. of Unique in the 30-30. I had to flip the ladder sight up to get the bullets on the steel at 100 yds., but 9 shots went into a pretty decent cluster especially considering it was dusky when I shot-



    Can any of you 30-30 guys suggest an good loads? As far as moulds go I have a couple of Lyman 311291's and a 311041.

    Thanks!

    35W
    "Only accurate rifles are interesting." -Col. Townsend Whelen.
    NRA Life Member
    Certified Texas Hunter Education Instructor

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    My go to load for 30 WCF is 14.5 grains of IMR 4227 pushing a 165 grain .310-.311 boolit at 1450 fps.

    This load provides very good accuracy out of all my 30/30s.

    Winchester Model 64A 30/30 5 rounds 100 yards:


    Marlin 1893 30/30 5 rounds 100 yards



    Same Load provides great accuracy in my 32/40 as well:

    Marlin 1893 32/40 165 grain .321 boolit 14.5 grains IMR 4227 10 rounds 100 yards:


    Same charge of IMR 4227 in 32/40 with 180 grain boolit:
    Last edited by ATCDoktor; 01-05-2020 at 10:34 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Lovely old gun. I have one with a ladder sight also. I use Accurate 31-171D with 4064 in mine for full-charge load, or for plinker the 31-155D, which is same profile, but without the GC heel, using 11 grs., of #2400 or 14 grs. IMR4227.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Good looking project.

    I load cast for my 1977 issue '94.
    I've tried a few things, but keep coming back to the RCBS 170 RN and use either IMR 3031, or 4198.
    I gas 'em up to about 10% under max recommendation in the Lyman book.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I also use IMR4227 in my 30-30's. 15 grains with a 180 rain bullet usually works pretty well. I haven't chronographed it but guessing around 1,500 fps. Very comfortable load to shoot.
    Good Luck,
    Rick

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    I appreciate the input so far guys. Keep 'em coming!

    35W
    "Only accurate rifles are interesting." -Col. Townsend Whelen.
    NRA Life Member
    Certified Texas Hunter Education Instructor

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I like my RCBS 150 over H4198. Great for black bear and deer. Has been very accurate for me!

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    There is nothing as good a a family gun being passed down.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Now that's nice to read. I'm so glad that old rifle made it into the hands of someone who will appreciate it.

    And, .30-30s are one of those calibers that "there's always room for one more" to me at least. Love 'em all.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Congratulations on resurrecting a great old shooting iron. If only those old leverguns could talk.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master redhawk0's Avatar
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    I shoot Lee 173gr GC'd and powder coated. I load them up with the same load as my jacketed stuff. POI is 1/2" difference between the two.
    32.0gr of W748 and a magnum primer....runs about 2000fps.

    redhawk

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    My deer hunting load for the 30-30 was a cast bullet that weighed 188 grains with my alloy and was driven at about 2000 fps out of my 24" barrel Marlin CB. It was the Lee 185 grain 303 bullet sized down to 309 and lubed with Lee Tumble Lube. Got 3 deer with it and one at 140 steps from my tree. I have some 4759 and like it for cast. Basically I have found that the 30-30 is about the best cast bullet caliber I have seen and when I had a Winchester was pretty forgiving.

    DEP

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I have been getting good results with 32grains W748 and the 31141. Both with CCI and winchester standard rifle primers. I've gotten 3 shots in the 1 3/4" range at 70 yards. Factory 170 grain federal does a little better but I'm real happy with it.

    I forgot to say, thanks for sharing your rifle and story.
    Last edited by Bazoo; 01-07-2020 at 07:08 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



    atr's Avatar
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    you have a really nice looking 30-30 !
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    That is one nice looking gun to bring it back to you can say to life.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  16. #16
    What alloy or BHN are youbusing to get to 2000 fps? Thanks

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I up that unique load to 10 grains with either 311291 or 311041. I believe 1500 FPS and its my bulk cheapnshooting 30-30 load. Out to 200 yards on steel if I hold the buckhorn high on the plate.

    Congrats on bringing an old Winchester back out to Shoot!
    Last edited by smkummer; 01-08-2020 at 06:36 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Gotta love those rear ladder sights the old guns mines a 32 spl .
    Might want to try a little slower power for full speed loads . I couldn't get the accuracy I was looking for with the normal medium speed powders . Had a can of 4350 looking at me from the back of the cabinet that I hardly ever use so I loaded up a few and turned out to be the best load so far . Forget what weight it was but was near a full case .
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  19. #19
    Boolit Man ofreen's Avatar
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    The load I use in the M94 is one I started using 30 years ago when I came into a bunch of 4198 cheap and looked for places to use it. 311291, coww, .310", 21 gr 4198 (either one), LOA 2.535 for 1800+ fps in the 94. That old powder is long gone, but the load works so well, I've kept using it. It also works well in the 10" and 14" Contenders. I used the load for silhouette in the Contenders.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check