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View Full Version : Big Caliber Winchester 94 that's Reasonable to Reload?


runway1
12-13-2011, 5:40 PM
I was thinking I really wanted the Winchester 94 in a 30-30, of course, right? My son is leaning me toward a BIG caliber lever action. Application is range plinking, target shooting, "Im a cowboy" fun gun. No hunting, no scope, iron sight shooting.

Make/model is not optional in this question. Needs to be a pre-64, Winchester 94.

So, what is the biggest caliber available in this rifle that's relatively easy to reload?. I've read that 45 colt is difficult to properly reload and that brass is far more expensive. Would .44 Mag shoot/reload better? Any other calibers to consider? If not, what is the choice between the .44Mag and .45 Colt and why? Thanks all!

FLIGHT762
12-13-2011, 6:57 PM
Since you said Make, model and needs to be a pre 64 , you limited yourself in the model 94.

Pre 64 1894 Winchesters were made in 32/40, 38/55,25/35, 30/30 and 32 Win. Special.

There were no pre 64 Winchesters made in pistol calibers or other big bores other than the 38/55.

Winchester made many other calibers, but they were in their various other models, 1866,1873,1876,1886,1892,1895 and others.

Post 64 1894 rifles were made in a number of calibers, but since you specified a pre 1964 1894, you've limited your options.

Drivedabizness
12-13-2011, 8:57 PM
and of the calibers (thank the member for doing the research for you - that was pretty cool) listed above, only 30-30 will be close to "inexpensive".

Except you also mention "target shooting". You will do well to shoot 4-inch groups with a 30-30 with iron sights at 100 yards. Hardly a target rifle.

I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but your priorities contradict themselves.

My Dad has a .32 Win Special. You can find ammo but its not that easy (or cheap). Ballistically the .32 and 30-30 are pretty darn close.

wtkaiser
12-14-2011, 2:14 PM
I was going to include my .356 Winchester, but then re-read the original article. The "pre-64" and "big-bore" details are really limiting your choices. You wouldn't be showing any bias based on a common misconception about the quality of POST-64's would you?

tonelar
12-14-2011, 2:33 PM
I reload straight wall cartridges so much faster than bottle neck ones. Are you 100% determined this will be a pre-64 example? Winchester didn't sell pistol caliber 94s until decades later.
I own and shoot Winchester, Marlin, Uberti and Rossi lever guns in .38-.44 cartridges. They're all winners imho.

gatesbox
12-14-2011, 2:38 PM
45 colt is easy to reload, and I can't imagine that the brass is anymore expensive than 44mag or 44-40... Brass is only a limited expense when you think about the number of times you can reload a 45colt. I'd say 45 colt is also perhaps the most common cartridge do to popularity as a cowboy load....

runway1
12-14-2011, 5:53 PM
Since you said Make, model and needs to be a pre 64 , you limited yourself in the model 94.

Pre 64 1894 Winchesters were made in 32/40, 38/55,25/35, 30/30 and 32 Win. Special.

There were no pre 64 Winchesters made in pistol calibers or other big bores other than the 38/55.

I thought that the .44-70 (or .45-70?) was also a cartridge available in pre-64. Seems maybe I missed that somewhere

(thank the member for doing the research for you - that was pretty cool) .

I've done plenty of my own. What I'm asking for is opinions through experience, not research but yes, seems I may have missed something so the correction is always appreciated.

Except you also mention "target shooting". You will do well to shoot 4-inch groups with a 30-30 with iron sights at 100 yards. Hardly a target rifle.

I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but your priorities contradict themselves.

I see your point but you're assumming I won't be satisified with 4" groups. I said "fun gun". If I want to shoot <1 MOA, I'll pull out my 700P. If I want to plink some cans at 50/100yds, iron sights with 4" groups are perfect! Heck, that"target" could be a 3 foot wide tree trunck!;)

... You wouldn't be showing any bias based on a common misconception about the quality of POST-64's would you?

Well, yessiree, I would! Although, I may need to flex if I want a bigger bore. We'll see.

I own and shoot Winchester, Marlin, Uberti and Rossi lever guns in .38-.44 cartridges. They're all winners imho.

I agree. I drool ove those Ubertis but alas, my money printing press is broken.:(