In 1894, the relationship between renowned firearms designers John Browning and Winchester Repeating Arms was hitting its collaborative peak. By the mid 1890's Browning had already developed some of Winchester most robust and popular actions, including the 1885 single shot rifle, models 1892 and 1886 lever guns, and even a large lever action shotgun in the Model 1887. Winchester recognized that if Browning invented a firearm it would sell-and sell well. When Winchester's ammunition division began offering cartridges loaded with newly-invented smokeless powder in 1893, Browning was tasked with developing a new firearm that would take full advantage of the new ammunition; capable of chambering mid-sized cartridges of higher breech pressure. The new rifle needed to be simpler to manufacture as well. Browning came up with a way of having a single locking lug positioned transversally, as opposed to the pair of locking lugs in the ’86 and ’92 models. On August 21, 1894 Browning obtained patent number 524702 for the rifle, and by November the first Model 1894 Winchester rifles were made available to the public.
Winchester began working on making nickel-steel barrels for the new M1894 that could handle the equally new smokeless powders but it wasn’t a simple task. For this reason the initial cartridges chambered in the M1894 were blackpowder .32-40 and .38-55 rounds. But by mid-1895 the nickel-steel barrel issues had successfully been addressed and Winchester introduced its first smokeless powder sporting cartridge-the .25-35 Winchester Center Fire (WCF)-in the M1894. A few months later they expanded the neck of the .25-35 to .30 caliber, developing the .30-30; a cartridge which still remains extremely popular with hunters and sportsmen well over a century after its development.
To say the Model 1894 was an instant success would be an understatement. The West may have largely been settled, but there was still plenty of wild country out there, and farmers and settlers still needed to feed and protect their families. The 1894 was relatively light; it handled well, either in the hands of a hunter or in the saddle scabbard of a cowboy.
By 1927, the one millionth M1894 was produced and subsequently presented to President Calvin Coolidge. By 1948, another 500,000 1894s had been made and the 1 1/2 millionth rifle went to President Harry Truman; and President Dwight Eisenhower was presented with the 2 millionth M1894 in 1953. Sales continued to soar throughout the 1950s.
Things hit a bit of a snag in the 1960's when the powers-that-be in Winchester's finance department decided that 19th Century production methods were too costly for the space age. To that end, in 1964, a concerted effort was made to reduce manufacturing costs across the companies' entire production line. The model 1894 suffered the most as a result of these new changes. Forged steel receivers were discarded in favor of cheaper cast frames. Other internal parts that were once forged were also cast or stamped out of sheet steel. Solid steel pins were replaced with cheaper hollow roll pins. The rifle’s performance had not been compromised, but its aesthetics were terrible. The new cast steel receivers turned purple after being blued, actions that were once renowned for the smoothness were now clunky and rough, and cheaper grades of walnut with sprayed-on lacquer finishes replaced the fine hand rubbed finishes of the previous generation. This is what gave rise to the pre-’64 versus post-’64 nomenclature, with premium prices attached to guns made prior to the cost-cutting measures of the 1960's.
This particular Model 1894 was made in 1924; far removed from the guns of the 1960's. As such it features quality materials and wonderful hand fit craftsmanship. This is evident when working the action of this carbine. Its smooth and positive, with everything functioning as it should with no worn or damaged parts.
The barrel is full length and features beautiful factory bluing with a great set of original unmodified sights. Chambered in .32 WS, this carbine has a beautiful bore with excellent rifling and no rust or pitting.
The stocks are in excellent condition with no cracks, chips, or other damage.
This carbine would be a great shooter or collector's piece. Don't miss out on this iconic rifle!
*This weapon was made after 1899 and MUST be shipped to Federal Firearms License holder, or Curio & Relic License holder, for transfer. Never bought a gun through an FFL before? Give us a call at (262) 473-5444 and we'd be glad to walk you through this simple process.