Winchester Model ’94—The Rifle That Won the West

Who does not own or wish they owned a Winchester Model 1894? Most gun collectors consider Winchester Repeating Arms as the firearms manufacturer that “Won the West.”

Among the top performers were rifles such as the Model 1866, 1873 and 1876. Then, along came a man by the name of John Moses Browning. Isn’t it amazing to see how many stories start with John Moses Browning revolutionizing a new design?

Winchester Model 94 Trails End Takedown
Winchester Model 94 Trails End Takedown

John Browning was the father of many of our most famous rifles and pistols, and many more have key elements based on Browning’s numerous designs. As for legendary Winchester rifles, Browning was responsible for the Single Shot 1885, Model 1886 and Model 1892. However, in 1893, he outdid himself with a new Winchester model, the lever-action rifle that would become known as the Model ’94.

Pre- and Post-1964 Model ’94s

When discussing the Winchester ’94, you’ll often hear of “pre-1964” Model ’94s with a certain reverence—and “post-1964s with a certain disdain. There is a bit of credence to this differentiation, though not perhaps not as much as some of the salespeople behind the counter would have you believe.

Winchester Model 94 loading port
Loading is easily accomplished by feeding the rounds through the port on the right side of the rifle. To chamber a round, pull the lever completely open (finger off the trigger of course) and close it again.

The pre-1964 Winchester ’94s feature graceful lines, fine walnut stocks and forearms, and plenty of steel. The combination made it the best-selling sporting rifle of its day. However, the forged steel parts were expensive to make, and by the early 1960s, 70 years after its introduction, the Winchester ’94 was reaching a price beyond the means of the average hunter’s budget.

This left Winchester in a quandary. Its best-selling rifle was about to become unaffordable. The solution was to substitute a stamped sheet metal and roll pin design for those same parts that had long been made of forged steel. In addition, the steel buttplate was swapped for one made of plastic and the traditional bluing seen on the barrel and receiver was traded for a less durable finish.

The new models with their more inexpensive parts came off the production line in 1964. Down range, the new models shot every bit as well as the pre-’64 models. Perhaps they were not as pretty, but they were said to shoot just as well—or so said Winchester’s factory representatives, anyway. Many consumers disagreed. Yet it wasn’t a debate about accuracy that caused the rifle’s reputation to take a hit, rather it was the sturdy construction, durability and fine lines that reduced the public’s clamor for the Model ’94—and made the pre-’64 models instant classics.

With the public clamoring for the oldies but goodies, Winchester made significant strides and improved the aesthetics of the post-196r Model ’94s during the following years. But while the Model ’94 did in fact regain much of its standing in the eyes of shooters and hunters, today the pre-’64s own the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Winchester Model ’94 and Competition Shooting?

Winchester Model 94 top ejection
The Model ’94 ejects the spent shells (or live rounds during unloading) from the top of the gun’s receiver.

So that’s the history. You will not find one thing wrong with today’s Model ’94, and it remains a very popular gun for hunting and plinking.

Since this was one of the guns that “Won the West,” you also might think it would have a prominent place in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting, but that’s not the case. Costumed competitors in the action-shooting sport of CAS accuse the Model 94’s long action of being too “clunky” and somewhat unrefined. Cowboy Action Shooters favor rifles with actions they can cycle fast enough to put 10 rounds on five targets in less than 10 seconds. That would be a tough task for most Model ’94s. Thus, while the ’94’s action and it’s .30-30 cartridge are well suited to a properly placed shot on medium-sized game such as deer, the same cannot be said of action shooting.

The Modern ’94

Today, Winchester sells the Model ’94 in four configurations and three different calibers including .30-30, .38-55 and .450 Marlin (the last is known as the Model 94 Trails End Takedown). The .30-30 is still the king of three calibers in which the rifle is offered, and a fine choice for deer-sized game.

What makes this handy rifle more popular than ever these days is its ability to wear a scope. Scopes were not a common accessory in the 1800s, when the rifle was first introduced. Browning designed the original Model ’94 to eject the fired cases out of the top of the rifle’s receiver and over the shooter’s shoulder. That was fine for its day, but pretty much precluded the use of a scope. Thank goodness invention is the mother of necessity. Today you can shop for an offset scope mount (also known as a “scout-type” mount). A scope mount of this configuration places the optic forward of the ejection port, over the barrel of the gun. Winchester also makes a Model 94 AE, the AE standing for “angle eject.” This configuration ejects the empty case out to the side of the gun, allowing the user to put a more conventional scope mount on the rifle.

Whichever Model ’94 you choose, you’ll be shouldering a piece of long gun history and own a rifle worthy of passing down to the next generation. The Winchester ’94 proved the perfect design for the USA’s first smallbore sporting rifle cartridge. Well over century later, that rifle in its famous .30-30 cartridge is still a favorite of thousands of shooters and hunters.

Are you a Model ’94 fan? Share your best Model ’94 story in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (53)

  1. I acquired my 94 in 30-30 back in 1974. It is a post 64 model, but it is a great shooter, one I will never part with. The way I got it is kind of comical. My father was owed some money by one of his truck drivers, who was always broke. Anyway my father saw the gun in the cab of his truck, reached in and took it. He then told the driver they were even. And all was good.
    Anyway it has been probably 30 years since I last shot the beast. It kicks like a drunk mule, so I keep it cleaned and stored.
    I also have 92 in 25-20. Now that is a fun gun to shoot, ammo is hard to come by, but am looking to reload.

  2. I have one I got in 1961 in a pawn shop. I paid 50$ for it. Big money back then. It is one of those made by hand and not machined! It shoots well, but I have only shot it 6-8 times. I keep it for nostalgic reasons and maybe a SASS shooting.

  3. I have a model 1894 that was originally purchased by the Calumet and Arizona Company (later became Phelps Dodge Corporation). Exact date of purchase is unknown, but was reportedly for the purpose of placing armed guards on the company’s copper smelter in Douglas, Arizona, during the Mexican revolution fighting at Agua Prieta, Sonora, across the border from Douglas. Evidently, there was concern that Pancho Villa would attack Douglas in retaliation for his perception that the US had supported General Calles, causing Villa’s failure at the second battle of Agua Prieta on Nov. 1, 1915. My rifle was discovered in an unopened crate along with several others in the late 1960’s during renovations at the Phelps Dodge offices in Douglas and my father was able to purchase it and subsequently gave it to me. The rifles were still wrapped in brown paper with a light coating of cosmoline, and aside from the probable test rounds at the factory, has never been fired. I was unable to verify the date of manufacture, since older Winchester records were evidently destroyed in a fire a number of years ago. It is a beautiful, octagonal barreled piece.

  4. Wandering through the twice-annual Mt. Dora, Florida Amtique Extravaganza, I spotted an octagonal (or hex, I get them confuses) barreled beauty. The bluing was worn, the wood looked well-used, but the bore looked fairly good. It just had that “right” look. The serial number was from 1911, and he wanted 500 bucks. That beauty went home with me. Can’t hit anything beyond 50yds with that Buckhorn sight, but it feels so good to shoot! Bought it about a dozen years ago, and it will go to my youngest grandson. Thanks John Browning. May just take it to the deer woods on Nov. 30 to celebrate Mr. Winchester’s birthday.

  5. I bought a limited run 94 in .357 magnum back in 2001 I think it was (maybe 2000), I used it for cowboy action shooting and had the insides polished by a reputable gunsmith who specialized in cowboy guns. I ran 10 hits on 10 targets in 9.6 seconds, anyone who says the 94 isnt suited for cowboy action doesnt practice enough period. I sold that gun when I quit competitive shooting and boy do I regret it! I tried looking for another rifle but to my dismay they are made in Japan now and cost more than 1600.00 dollars, never will I support Winchester till they bring the 94 back to American production facilities. Mine was made in the USA and was a perfect machine! My SASS handle back then was BlueIron from MN.

    1. If you found new Winchesters made in Japan, they weren’t Model 94s. The new Model 94s (any of them made after the 2006 closing of the New Haven plant) are made in Belgium (either that, or they’re counterfeit). Their quality is as good as any other post-1964 editions, but none of the post-1964s can compare to the pre-1964s. The Winchester Models 92, 95, & 96 are the ones made in Japan, and licensed by Browning.

    2. I beg your pardon, but the Model 94 is now manufactured in Japan by Miroku, a partner of Browning/Winchester. Production of the ’94s resumed in Japan in 2011. They manufacture the Sporter, Short Rifle, and Trails End Takedown. Their quality is said to be as good or better than any made since 1964. There are several links including Wikipedia” to the partnership you can look up on the Internet by entering “Winchester model 94 2011″ or more specifically “Winchester model 94 2011 chuckhawks” for a good breakdown. I will say if you meant that the new Model 94s are “reproductions” that would be correct; however, that does not mean they are not Model 94s. They are imported to the U.S. by the Browning Arms Company.

    3. I stand corrected. And with all due respect to Chuck Hawks, I didn’t even bother to read his article, because my own misinformation came from reading someone else’s reputable (or so I thought) article that stated that the 94s were supposed to start production in 2010 in the Belgium plant. And maybe they did, or they didn’t, I don’t know. But after seeing two different articles that contradicted each other, I went straight to Winchester’s website and looked up where their guns are made. It seems the Super X3 shotgun and the Model 101 over/under are the only Winchester guns produced in the Belgium plant.

  6. I found a good condition pre 64 94 at cabelas a while back . It wasn’t what I was looking for at the time but the deal was to good to pass up so it when home with me. When I got it home I found out it may have never been shot! The bore was perfect and the groups I got from it was amazing 1.25 moa! My fends dad seen it at the range and fell in love with it so I couldn’t say no so I sold it to him for what I payed for it. I look at a 30 30 as a total dad’s gun and it fits him better then me besides I have my dad’s Marlin 336 from way back and I hardly shoot it so the winchester will get more love from him anyway

  7. In the early 1990’s I acquired a secondhand model 94 chambered in .44 magnum as a companion for a 629-1 Smith revovler I had. The carbine (or perhaps, short rifle) is a very Plain Jane variant (labelled ‘Ranger’) with a 20” round barrel, unremarkable hardwood stocks, hard plastic butt plate, semi-buckhorn rear sight, hooded front sight, and a full length magazine tube that’ll shoot all week. No saddle ring. No oversize loop. No crossbolt or tang mounted safety, thank you very much. Does have that trigger block which requires the lever to be all the way up before she’ll fire. Does have a rebounding hammer. Plenty safe without extra buttons to remember. The rifling appears to make about one half a turn over that 20” length, making the twist rate a traditional (don’t ask me why) 1:38. She hadn’t been been broken in when I got her, and her action was a bit… crunchy… but after some judicious polishing (mostly of the underside of the bolt) and some hours cycling the action in front of the TV, she runs about as smooth as a model 94 possibly can. Will she ever be a Cowboy Action racing machine? No. Certainly not with me driving, anyway. But she will feed and fire just about any bullet profile I’ve tried so far, LSWC’s to 300 grain XTP’s (loaded long), and will chamber (single shot style, mind you, not fed from the magazine) those monstrous Buffalo Bore 340 grain hardcast rounds that are forbidden to the Smith. She’s an angle eject, too, from an era when that was not noted in the serial number, which is in the middle 5 millions, and so she’s drilled and tapped for scope mounts or a ghost ring sight. If you’re getting the feeling I’m fond of this gun, you’re right. I am. Very.

  8. Bought a ’94 early 60’s, was a pre ’64 for $70.00 in a gun shop in N.J. Had it till ’84 when out of work, sold it. Bought another in ’05 in Houston at a gun show for $200.00 Turned out to be a ’67Looks good and shoots fine.Every article I’ve read said the Japanese made ones are as good as the ’64’s Cost a bunch, look great at the gun show.

  9. Yup but I do not remember any John Wayne heroes firing The 30-30 round.
    In fact it may be that Winchester levers killedna lot of game up until yurm of WwI andbSpanish War it was the heavy hitting model 95 calibers that became our Big Game rifles with the 30-30, 32 Special and pistol calibrrs being Marlin and Winchester being poor mans cheap weapon.
    The heavy hitting 95 became the rage of all big game and Safari hunters.
    As to comparing the Winchester it came in third to Marlin and waybunder both aesthetics and accuracy of Savage lever guns
    I remember the farmer having me pace off the range ofba dead Maine Whittail shot with a takedown and largrly unheard of 250-3000 Savage.

  10. I’m sitting now at my computer reading these revues,looking at the picture of the 94 .I was lucky to get to use a 94 that belonged to my uncle Leonard. It was light, accurate, and fun to shoot, that was in the early 50s. That was when Iwas in the ozarks. I always wanted one, but school, army, wife, homes, kids, and work, I forgot about it until 2 weeks ago when I saw this rifle on the shelf at Academy Sports. I asked the price of that 94 and was told under 400.00 dollers, as iI was getting up off the floor and getting my buddies out of my buddie carrier that he told me it was a Mossberg. He told me that Winchester had sold out to Mossberg 3 or 4 years go. IT LOOKS LIKE A 94, FEELS LIKE a 94 . I put a top mount base #48107 Winchester 94 angle eject, a burris fast fire. I have a farm here in AR, rifle range, hand gun range . The Mossberg #464 is my new 94 thank you folks. The redman here in AR.

  11. Over Hyped and over blown..I’ve never understood the attraction to the 94..I’m thinking Hollywood probably had more to do with it than anything else..There has never been a Winchester Lever built that can or could compete with the Masterpiece created by Arthur Savage. I’ve owned , fired and extensively hunted with both & the Model 99 will eat any 94’s ever built breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack and then eat the leftovers…If someone gave Me another 94 (pre 64 or not), I would sell it and use the money to buy another 99…99’s are engineered better, more durable, sleeker. They point better, carry better, function better, are more aesthetically pleasing (subjective but true), come in wider variety of calibers and 99’s are much more accurate and have greater range.. The often ignored (by Gun Writers) Marlin 336 is more accurate, more affordable and functions better than any Winchester. Buying Winchester is like buying a Schwinn Bicycle. You are paying for the Name.

    1. maybe so, but you can’t deny it’s killed more big game from whitetail to grizzly’s , my first I paid $69 NIB , It’s served me well, Never Jammed never a miss-fire, never missed. I can carry it all day also.

    2. Paid $189.00 for my first 99 back in 1976. Paid $650.00 for my last one. I currently have 4 of them. I’ve owned something like 9 of them over the years. I’ve killed everything from Big Mulies & Whitetails to Elk, Black Bears, Wild Hogs, Antelope on down to Prairie Dogs with them. Even took a 300 lb. Dall Sheep at over 600 yards with my .308 99E…

      I’ve also owned half a dozen Model 94’s. (I’m left handed so lever guns are my bread & butter.) I wouldn’t even attempt a 600 yard shot at anything with a 94. I currently do not own and 94’s but I did hold onto a Marlin 336 in a 30-30 because as I stated earlier, compared to the 94 the Marlin is a dream. The 94 in it’s Heyday was the Poor Man’s rifle because anybody who could scrape together $50 could have one. Those days are long gone. I’m glad you’ve had success with your 94 but they are over blown and expensive and at today’s price points, there much better options out there for Lever Guns…

    3. I haven’t used the Model 99 you’re so excited about, but I’ve got a Model 94 in .38-55 with only peep sights, and I can hit a golf ball at 150 yards with it. That alone is enough for me to say I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    4. *LOL….I would be willing to bet $$ you can’t even see a golf ball @ 150 yards with open sights…*rmes @ the B.S. some people try to shovel around here….38-55…. please…

    5. Well, “Me”, it’s entirely up to you whether you want to believe I can hit a golf ball at 150 yards with a .38-55, but I have no reason to fabricate my claim. I know what I can do with my gun, so I really couldn’t care less what you think.

      As for being able to see the ball… Have you ever played golf? You can see a golf ball with the naked eye at 300+ yards. Seeing it through the sights is no more of a challenge than seeing it out on the golf course.

      You really shouldn’t cavil with someone’s details when you have no way of backing up your assertions. To do so just makes you a jackass.

    6. Scott, you ain’t gonna change “Me”‘s mind, I love the part where he writes “more aesthetically pleasing (subjective but true)” if something is “true”, it is fact and thus not subjective… anyways he can like his “99”, his choice but if it was really that much better than the 94 why isn’t the story about the 99? Oh that’s right he says the success is because of Hollywood…well maybe but the facts are facts and that isn’t subjective! Go on “me: love your 99, and the rest of us will talk about our 94’s which is the topic of this blog. Maybe you can write one on the 99 and CTD will post your story, then we can comment on how it didn’t win the west….LOL!

    7. And if anyone really wants to argue about “the rifle that won the West” as the title of the article suggests, they wouldn’t be arguing whether it was the 94 or the 99, since the vast majority of the battles for the West took place before 1894 anyway. If you really want to talk about rifles that “won the West”, you’d have to look back at the original Henry rifle from 1960 (not to be confused with the recent Henry Repeating Arms company, which has absolutely no connection with Benjamin Henry or his 1860 rifle), or the Winchester 1873 that introduced the first centerfire rifle cartridge, the .44-40 (which, incidentally, is traditionally known as the “rifle that won the West”). To try to assert that the Model 94 won the West is a bit of a stretch. Granted, some contests are decided in the final moments – such as the recent Michigan/Michigan State football game – but there weren’t really any deciding battles for the West in the years after 1894.

    8. You need to learn the difference between truth and lies….Just because something is subjective doesn’t make it un-true….The 94 won the west? LOL…That is laughable…The 1894 had about as much to do with “winning the west” as the Automobile did…(whatever the hell that phrase is supposed to mean in the first place) because the West wasn’t “won”, it was stolen from the Indians..

      I will love my 99’s…By comparison, the 94 has it’s place…. On the Wall over your fireplace with the rest of the obsolete relics… My 99’s will be out in the Woods killing stuff…

    9. I will say this much for the Model 94…(this is what it has going for it)

      #1…The 30-30 Winchester version kills Deer. Period…That’s more a function of the caliber than the rifle. (The Marlin 336 also kills the hell out of Deer.) The 30-30 is an excellent medium power cartridge. It’s accurate, stable, easy to reload, has a great selection of bullets…Especially today with all the polymer tipped projectiles…A hand loaded 30-30 can push a Hornady polymer tipped 125 grain SST to 2600 FPS, which is at least in the Ball Park of 308 Winchester velocity….That being said, the title of this Blog says it’s the gun that “Won the West”…That is patently untrue. .The Model 94 came along long after the “West was Won”. So it’s a lie. (blame the Author and flagging readership and an increasing amount of DILLIGAFF).

      #2 Continuous reloading….I’m not sure why this is as big a deal as people seem to think it is…If you need more than 2 shot’s to get the animal on the ground, you probably need to practice your shooting. I know it’s hard to believe, but Zombies DO NOT exist….No matter how much AMC and certain Gun Manufacturers would like you to believe they do..So the whole continuous reloading thing is pretty much a moot point. I’ve never shot animal more than Once with either of my .30 caliber 99’s…Never needed too.. I DO like the combination of a cockable hammer/hammer block safety. (also on the 336) It’s intuitive, quick and with a little practice dummy proof. The Lever mounted Safety on the 99 works, but it sucks for Lefty’s. 1955-1960, Savage manufactured tang mounted versions but those versions also had a detachable box Magazine which I do not care for. I wish they would have stayed with the tang Mounted Safety… You get used to the slide lever mounted version.. I carry mine with the safety disengaged & de-cocked. When I’m ready to shoot it’s a quick easy short throw of the Lever to cock the Gun. Takes about as long as a blink once you are used to it.

      #3 With it’s short barrel, the 30-30 Winchester does swing nice in brush. Kept within the ranges it was intended..(50-125 yds. max) In the rights hands, it is lethal. Put a sling on it and It can be carried all day without fatigue. The 170 grain round nose bullet, at modest velocity) is just about the perfect brush buster. I’ve seen the 30-30 shoot through small saplings, emerge out the other side and still kill. Again that’s a function of the round, not the rifle.

      #4 It is a very recoil friendly rifle. Ever 94 I’ve owned or shot has a recoil that is about equal with a 20 gauge shotgun. If you are small framed, a female, a youngster or maybe just a Wimp, you can practice with a 94 all day long and not feel it the next day..Put 100 rounds down range with a .308 or a 30-06 or or any other .308 caliber high intensity cartridge in an afternoon and see how you feel the next day…

      #5 Most 94’s are considered collectible. Given enough time, They hold and often exceed their original price point. That being said, a friend of my Son just purchased a Gold Plated, 1973 Texas Lone star Commemorative version for $250.00. Up until very recently, it had never been fired. There are several Gun Outlets that still sell those commemorative rifles for $600-$650 BNIB with Papers…Why the non-commems cost an addition $400-$500 is a mystery to Me. I’m gonna chalk it up to Corporate greed..

      All THAT being said, Again, the Marlin 336 does everything the Winchester does and does it a little better & cheaper. You can buy a brand new 336 for $400-$550 any day. 10 years ago, (before all this Media Gun BS started up) they were about half that. The Savage 99, given it’s no longer in production, (but there’s literally a Million of them out there), 4 of them are in my Safe, is far and away a better package. They are about the same price as a Winchester. They come in a more efficient and wider selection of calibers. Point better, better balanced, swing better, are more accurate and less prone to operational problems. I think they look nicer too…But as pointed out above, that’s just my opinion)…

      Something the Author neglected to mention in this article and something people should consider, is that “the rifle that won the west” in it’s original caliber’s, would no longer be legal to hunt Deer or any Big Game in most States. With the Exception of Montana, the 30-30 is no longer legal to hunt Elk or Bear with in any State. My home State of Nebraska requires 1500 foot pounds of energy at 100 yards. Colorado, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico & Arizona require the same. The 30-30 Winchester, with 170 grain round nose bullet, loaded to 2200 ft/per/sec comes in at 1497 ft/lbs.@ 100 yards. (source Hornady ballistics table) It can barely squeak by with HOT hand loads. The original calibers like the 38-55 aren’t even in the Ball Park, even for Deer. I hear they are great for shooting Golf Balls…..Although I wouldn’t recommend eating them)…LOL. Most States require of 900 ft/lbs. @ 100 yds. minimum for Deer hunting

      Savage and Marlin (especially Savage) provide multiple calibers capable and LEGAL to Hunt any Big Game Animal on this continent and most of the others as well..

      If you enjoy looking at your $1300.00 “prized Winchester” hanging over the mantel or sitting in the closet gathering rust & dust, great. Get One, get Two, hell get 10 of them…They are fun to look at. I prefer a rifle I can actually Hunt with…

  12. When Clinton got elected and everybody thought they would outlaw guns the wife told me to go to the gun show, I picked up a used Ruger Super Black Hawk new model and a brand new Model 94 Trapper both in 44 Mag. I have purchased over 10 additional guns since then over the years in 9mm, 22lr, 556 and 7.62 yet the two 44’s are still my favorite to shoot, last year the model 94 and I took down a coyote that was running off with a chicken, neither of them survived. I did also have a post 64 94 in 30-30 but lost that to a pawn shop back when times were though right after I got out of the ARMY. Some have said the 94 has too much kick… not in my book, but each to their own.

  13. Sad to say, but the Winchester name has been tarnished. It has become a loosely regulated franchise stamped on subpar Asian made products like pocket knives and canteen cups. The model 94 was most popular in the 1940s and 50s when the demand for good rifles rose with the end of WWII. Ironically, all the new model 94s are made in Japan.

  14. I have a Winchester 66 Centennial that was built on a pre-64 receiver with a blued octagon barrel that’s a marvelous gun to shoot. It’s too bad Winchester made so many commemorative rifles after the 66 that weren’t as good as the 66, and seriously degraded the value of the 66.

  15. Ya’ll need to quit trying to re-write history……Winchester rifles were among the earliest repeaters. The Model 1873 was particularly successful, being colloquially known as “The Gun that Won the West”.

    Being inaccurate is half of the problem with America, telling a lie long enough becomes the truth….just stop it…..

    1. Thanks Wild Bill and John P – I don’t have to compose a polite comment on the “Gun that Won the West” heading. One list of ‘West winning’ guns gave the number one spot to: “A 12G shotgun in the hands of a farmer” I guess that to a large extent it depends on how you define “West”.for both location and time frame.

  16. Come on guys, there wasn’t much west left in 1894. Therefore, the ’94 Winchester didn’t “win the west.” Even Utah was only two years away from statehood by 1894.

    1. John P., you are quite right. I just posted a similar comment myself – hadn’t read yours yet.

  17. Last March I came across a Winchester Model 94 chambered in .30-.30 listed on a local gun selling/trading website. This particular model was the NRA Centennial Edition, 1871-1971, it is complete with the beautiful engraving on the sides of the recriver and the NRA medallion embedded in the wood stock. Thus it was manufactured in 1971 and therefore a post 1964 model. None the less I had to have it. This is the first Winchester 94 I had ever owned or shot. This rifle is the most beautiful in all of my collection, the bluing is pristine and the wood hasn’t got a scratch on it. This is the most accurate rifle I own using open sights. For those of you who are curious what I paid, I picked it up for the sellers asking price of $600, I tried to talk him down over 2 or 3 days, but he wouldn’t budge and I knew that if I waited much longer it wouldn’t be available. Still a good deal in my book.

    1. If you got any decent Model 94 last March for $600, you definitely got a good deal. And a Centennial Edition in pristine condition (even if it had been restored) for only $600 is an incredible deal!

  18. In the summer of 1961, I was shopping with my Mom for school clothing as I would be going into HS. I went into a pawn shop and saw a Model 94 in a 30-30 cal. 50$! I had saved most of the summer working, but 50$ was big money to us and many at that time.
    I finally convinced her it was a great buy as I nothing to hunt with but a 12g Model 12.
    I bought the gun brought it home and to this day I have never shot it! I loaned it to a friend to hunt hogs with and he wanted to buy it. I think it was a great deal in 1961 and even better deal today.
    I have no idea what it is worth, but I do know it must be worth more than 50$. 🙂

  19. When I was a youngster, say 1960 or so, my dad had the Winchester advertising account. Winchester sent him a Model 12 shotgun and an air gun that looked for all the world like a 94. It shot little cork balls and was suitable for indoor use. That thing was my baby. From there on out I couldn’t have cared less about your Red Ryders or any of that stuff, I wanted an 1894, preferably in 30-30. About 10 years ago my wife found a clean mid-70’s one (post 1964, some of the worst cosmetic stuff was undone by then, pre “lawyer safety”). I got it for Christmas. It’s not rare, but it’s in better than average shape. I took it out the other day and ran a couple of boxes through it to celebrate a new pair of glasses. It still shoots very well at moderate distances. The recoil is snappy enough to make a rubber recoil pad a good idea but is by no means a deal breaker and I was using one of the heavier loads out there. The thing is just iconic.

  20. Secundius, I searched long and hard to find this rifle. Finally, I used They do not tell you where they acquired your purchase, only the FFL dealer to whom you have it shipped. I believe they purchase from wholesalers and manufacturers etc. Anyway, mine was shipped to my FFL dealer near my home I have used for years. This rifle was not cheap but well worth the cost (WINCHESTER M94 SPORTER 38-55WN 24 INCH 8RD BL WD)… over $1,200. But, it is really nice with the half hex barrel. I would recommend Grabagun for anything hard to find. It took some time to find mine but they did.

    1. @ James H.

      Do you know weather or more the Barrel is Arisaka Manufactured. They use Number 1085 Japanese Steel which had a 80% to 93% Carbon Rating. The 1085 Steel was used in the Manufacturing of Samurai Sword Blades. If so Barrel Pressure rating will Exceed 120,000psi. I don’t think the “Ma Deuce” even comes that close…

  21. When my boys started becoming old enough to hunt with me, I wanted a rifle that was fast handling, reasonably accurate, light weight enough for a teenager and fairly simple to use. My first choice was a ’94 in good condition. My boys had previously fired my 30-06 and commented on the recoil, so I thought the ’94 might be more gentle on their young and not full grown bodies.
    We went to the range and my two eldest sons shot the ’94 off the bench. Both of them immediately expressed a preference for my Pre-64 Winchester model 70 in 30-06 to the model ’94 in 30-30. I was surprised.
    Then, I shot the 30-30 and agreed with the boys. It’s felt recoil was greater than my old -06. I found that the 30-30 was unpleasant to shoot and I do not think I am particularly recoil sensitive, since I routinely shoot my .338 Win Mag off the bench with no particular complaint when sighting in. It is a Model M77 Ruger, is straight stocked and fairly light, but it did not feel like the slap from the rifle was as sharp (to me) as the 30-30. It went away soon, to be replaced by a .243 and a .270 each for my two sons. They were much happier with those rifles than they had been with the model ’94.
    Granted, it is a classic and attractive to look at but, for us, the recoil was so sharp in the light rifle that none of us liked it.
    Just sayin — to each his own and that particular rifle is not for me. No matter how cute or pretty. I just do not like the recoil which I find particularity uncomfortable — even with a rubber recoil pad slipped over the steel butt plate. Have not owned one since the early 1970’s and probably never will again.

    1. Macll, there is a reason the Winchester’s felt recoil is worse than other rifles of similar or even larger caliber. The way the stock is configured. It comes down to a ‘rifle’ stock as opposed to a ‘shotgun’ stock. Most lever-guns from the period of the ’94 Winchester were shotgun stocked, straight, inline with the top of the receiver, like the shotguns of the period. As a result, you must hold one as you would a shotgun, loose, but firm against your shoulder as opposed to holding a rifle, hard and tight against your shoulder. If you try this, I think you will find the felt recoil more pleasant. This trick has saved me many a bruised shoulder.

    2. Dark Angel,

      Thanks for the info. I did not know that but now that you have informed me, it does make sense. I gave up on the gun years ago and never looked back. Maybe, it was a mistake.
      I had a Marlin 336 in .35 Remington and it was a dandy. A fair number of pigs (feral hogs) in Florida met their fate thanks to it. It never treated me like the ’94 Winchester did. Obviously not stocked the same.
      But, unfortunately, that ’94 ship has sailed. I appreciate the knowledge. Still like to learn at my advanced age.

  22. As a boy, I really wanted a Winchester Model 94. I did have the Daisy BB-gun version. When I got a paper-route at age 13, and made enough to buy a rifle of my own – with my own money, Dad talked me into buying a Winchester Model 70 in .243 Win because it would be more practical for shooting in my native Wyoming.

    After Dad passed away in 2012, I inherited the pre-cross safety Winchester 9422 Dad bought at an estate sale for $200 years before. It is in 99% condition with original box & manual. I now own the infamous Model 94 – even though it is only the 9422.

    By the way, the only thing original on the Model 70 is the receiver. It is still chambered in .243.

  23. Bought my 94 in 1961 in Miami, Fl. The rifle and my Colt Buntline stolen in a robbery in L.A., Ca in 1970. Two years later they were found in the truck of a robbery suspect in a traffic stop. They are still in my gun safe and I still hunt and shoot with them. The 94 still has the evidence number inked on the stock and it is still my favorite rifle. It will be pig hunting in Texas this spring. It still looks great, shoots great and harks back to the days when “Made in America” meant quality. It is the best 100 gun dollars I ever spent.

  24. I have a nice, but old, Marlin 30-30 lever gun, and it is a very nice piece of machinery. The model 94 is an American icon.

    A lever gun can be so many things for so many purposes. You can hunt deer and black bears plus anything smaller, use it for excellent target shooting, and set it up to be the poor man’s SHTF rifle to defend against predators of whatever breed . . two or four legged.

    They are fast shooting, and you can continuously reload between shots without losing the ability to shoot like if you were without a magazine. Even a 30-30 hits plenty hard, and the gun itself is easy to handle in close quarters but has plenty of range.

  25. My father bought a new Model ’94 in 30-30 in the early 50’s right after WWll. I can’t count the deer he took with it in Texas. It is now mine and I have taken a few with it. Works perfectly every time. No Scope, just the original iron sights.

  26. Have always loved the ’94 Winchester. Don’t own one now, living in a country, while not as restrictive as some, still makes it difficult to own too many firearms. Have a 1911-A 1, just found a Freedom Arms .22 revolver,but as for long guns, not so much. The 1st ’94 I ever ran across was in .32 Winchester Center Fire. Still see on, occasionally. Owned by those that have had them a very long time and wouldn’t part with them for anything. One thing, thought they are no longer Winchester, am glad to see the original Henry making a comeback. Absolutely loved one ‘old timer’ that was still in .44 Rim fire, from when I was a kid.

  27. I have a 94 Sporter which was made in Miroku, Japan and chambered in the 38-55 caliber. It is as well made as any 94s built since the discontinued ’64s. My wife won a 38-55 in a raffle in 1976 (1986 Texas Sesquicentennial trail ride). It is a special edition rifle that inspired me to purchase the one above so I could shoot the outrageous 38-55. I also have a 94AE in the .357 Mag. I am not sure why the author did not mention the .357 mag as a 94 caliber unless it is specific to the 94AE. This rifle was manufactured in Connecticut just before manufacturing was moved to Japan in 2010. It is said the Miroku 94 is as good quality or maybe even better than the 94s manufactured in the early 1900s. I think the model 94 is a great quality rifle no matter when or where they were made. It is probably strange that my first model 94 would not be a 30 30 which is actually the most popular cartridge. I simply wanted a cartridge that I could use for both, my S&W model 27 revolver and the 94 also in .357 mag (and .38 Spl).

    1. “My wife won a 38-55 in a raffle in 1976 (1986 Texas Sesquicentennial trail ride)” Should have been “…raffle in 1986…”. Should have proofed before submission.

    2. @ James H.

      Actually EXCELLENT Quality. the Miroku 38-55 (.3775-caliber/9.59x53mm) has a EXCELLENT Reputation for Quality. Miroku was founded in 1893, with a Long Standing Partnership with Browning and Winchester. The Steel Barrel of the Rifle is by far, one of the BEST Production Barrels in the World. Even exceeding US Standards. How the HELL did you get your hand on that BEAUTY…

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