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  #1  
Old 06-03-2008, 03:51 PM
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1981 Model 94 receiver metal


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The serial number of the model 94 I'm working on indicates it was made in 1981. Does any one know what the receiver is made of and how it was finished? It is not responding well to the blueing process (Blue Wonder Gun Blue) that worked very nicely on the magazine tube and the finger lever. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2008, 07:25 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

That sure sounds like one of the 'mystery metal' receivers that Winchester got a lot of grief for back in the day. Hopefully one of our Winchester experts can give you advice on how to finish it.
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2008, 01:17 AM
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I've heard they can't be blued. Might have to use one of the spray on bake on finishes. You might drop Brownell's tech section a note and see what they say. I'm sure they've dealt with this problem as they work with lots of gunsmiths.
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2008, 02:36 PM
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Thank you both for your replies. I will check with Brownell's.
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  #5  
Old 06-05-2008, 04:44 AM
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Guns made as late as 1981 had steel receivers. Although it is steel, it may be a different type of steel than the barrel and other parts and thus react to cold blue differently. I have seen some guns receiver react to hot blue in strange ways. In fact, I have seen some of them come out of the hot blue tank with a reddish tint to them. When it comes to bluing post 64 model 94s your on your own. Hope for the best but expect the worst.

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  #6  
Old 06-05-2008, 10:45 AM
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I've got one from the late 70's that's a real ugly duckling! The receiver is all pitted where the original factory finish has "flaked" off. The only reason I keep it is that the gun is amazingly accurate! I shoot open sights with it and was keeping a short scrap piece of 2X4 wood jumping all over the place at 100 yards. I can live with ugly because I have to look in the mirror every morning when I shave. . .
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2008, 11:28 AM
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I recently acquired a model 94, in a caliber of .44 mag, that was manufactured in 1969. Next year it will be 40 years old. It has never been fired! I cleaned it last weekend. There is not a mark or scratch inside. It appeared to be the first time it has been cleaned. I found two teeny, tiny, itty-bitty rust marks. I was going to shoot it this weekend. Now I think I will keep this one unfired and buy another in a different caliber.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:10 PM
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Thanks for your input. I'm thinking that I'll also keep it ugly.
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  #9  
Old 06-05-2008, 04:18 PM
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From Brownell's: The receiver of that gun is a casting and was electroplated with a
microscopic layer of iron at the factory that allowed it to be blued in
the normal manner. That layer of iron is too thin to allow rebluing and
a bake on finish is often the best option. None of the cold blues will
color it. Thanks for writing.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2008, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
From Brownell's: The receiver of that gun is a casting and was electroplated with a
microscopic layer of iron at the factory that allowed it to be blued in
the normal manner. That layer of iron is too thin to allow rebluing and
a bake on finish is often the best option. None of the cold blues will
color it. Thanks for writing.
Sorry, I mis-informed you. US Repeating Arms claimed to have used steel receivers from about 1978 and all my guns from that time on DO have steel receivers. I just assumed that USRA knew what they were doing and since mine (4) have steel, I believed USRA. I have a 1981 vintage, serial number 4926XXX , that I just checked again and indeed it does have a solid steel receiver. Could Brownell's parts person be in error?

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  #11  
Old 06-06-2008, 04:45 PM
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All of the M94s have steel receivers. The post 64 top ejects, with the exception of the Big Bore models, were produced by investment casting, the same process that Ruger uses for many of their frames and receivers. The Big Bores were advertised as being machined from forgings. The metal that was selected for the investment cast receivers was likely selected for its ability to fill out the ceramic mold and leave no faults. Such a metal was not necessarily a good candidate for bluing. When the angle ejects came along, the company made a big fanfare about returning to machined forgings being used for the receivers. All of the angle eject models should respond to conventional bluing. The information supplied by Brownells is accurate guidance for the non-Big Bore, top eject, post 64 models.
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2008, 07:18 PM
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Last edited by JBledsoe; 06-06-2008 at 07:22 PM.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2008, 11:52 AM
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'Sintered' iron castings. The late commemoratives were also made of this material & it does not blue well - if at all. Here's one I bought on GB that had some bubbles in the factory
finish. Took a lot of work but it turned out OK - IMO. Please forgive the background <sigh>

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  #14  
Old 06-07-2008, 04:33 PM
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According to USRA Winchester discontinued use of the junk metal receivers in the mid 70s and went to cast steel as noted in Quarterchoke's post. The cast steel will take blue although not always the same as other parts of the gun and thus a color shift at times. No doubt there were some left overs in the parts bin so some could have been used in later production. By 1980 everything should have been steel, except commemoratives which was a totally different production line.

That information was given to me by USRA. Now the clerk at Brownells has a different story. Who do we believe? Just remember, however, Winchester/U S Repeating Arms would could and did do anything so never say never.

No offense, Quarterchoke, it was not you that I call B.S. but Brownells employee.

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  #15  
Old 06-07-2008, 08:51 PM
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Winchester went to the investment cast receivers in 1964, and as far as I know, there was no change in the standard receiver until the advent of the angle eject model, when they went back to forging billets and machining the entire receiver. Their advertising said that the Big Bore models were forged receivers. I don't know for sure. I have an early one, and it is highly polished, but what the "bluing" is I cannot say. The idea of the investment cast part is to produce a piece close to its final shape where the finish machining is minimal.

From 1974 until 1988 I saw many attempts to blue the post 64s. All came out of the caustic blue process with a plum color. Attempts to rust blue were not successful. That effort resulted in a dirty black color, if you did enough coats. Unfortunately, that also resulted in pitting of the receiver. Saying that cast steel will take a blue although not always the same as the other parts is like the story you get from your kid when you ask what happened in the school bus today.

Investment casting has been around since the Egyptians started making jewelry that way some 4,000 years ago. Ruger uses that same process for their revolver frames and centerfire rifle receivers. As they age, they commonly take on a plum color shade. Bright sunlight shows this up pretty well. The problem manufacturers run into is to get the mould to fill out with no voids. The M94 receiver is long, wide and has rather thin sides. To pour a void-free casting under those circumstances is probably a real challenge. Whatever elements are added to make the molten steel flow smoothly are what are responsible for that color problem. Ruger obviously uses a different alloy from the one used in the M94, but they don't have the problem of the size and shape of that receiver.

The thin plating of iron on the post 64s will blue, but the first hint of rusting yields the apparent "flaking off" of the receiver finish. USRA is not really lying when they say they made steel receivers after 1978. All of the M94 receivers are steel. What the question is is what alloy are we talking about?

Stories are around that the post 64 is made with powdered metal technology. That system works OK with small and simple parts such as hammers and triggers, but large pieces with exotic contours are beyond its capabilities.
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2008, 04:33 AM
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I agree with you 100%! The post-64 were a very low grade metal. Where we seem to disagree is on the time frame. Winchester (not USRA) produced those recievers that could not be blued until the early 70's. At that time they began to experiment with different alloys in an effort to improve the 94. By the late 70's (well before the angle eject) the grade of steel had improved in the reciever to the point taking blue as the rest of the gun did. It is exremely unlikely that the first poster in this thread has a "pot metal" receiver on a 1981 gun as the Brownells person indicated. I DO NOT believe it! On a commemorative, yes anything is possible, but not on a standard production gun. But then again, never say never with Winchester.

Also, chapter 11 guns were made of anything at hand. I have seen some very strange guns from that era (1986).

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  #17  
Old 06-08-2008, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
The serial number of the model 94 I'm working on indicates it was made in 1981. Does any one know what the receiver is made of and how it was finished? It is not responding well to the blueing process (Blue Wonder Gun Blue) that worked very nicely on the magazine tube and the finger lever. Thanks.
'94s were cast steel receiver until 82/83, when USRAC returned to 100% forged receivers and intro'd the AE receiver.
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2008, 04:59 PM
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I always heard that the post 64s had junk metal receivers and were hard to blue. That was why a lot of commemoratives were made from the post 64s. They would use gold and silver metal plating instead of bluing. That is what I heard.
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  #19  
Old 07-06-2008, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cowpoke1955 View Post
I always heard that the post 64s had junk metal receivers and were hard to blue. That was why a lot of commemoratives were made from the post 64s. They would use gold and silver metal plating instead of bluing. That is what I heard.
Well, there were no pre-64 Commemoratives, and the reason Winchester brought out the Commemoratives was to boost sales that had tanked with the introduction of post-64 models.
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  #20  
Old 07-06-2008, 08:26 PM
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The story that the post-64 was a failure is a myth. In the first 70 years there were 2.8 million sold. In the next 41 years there were 4 million sold. That is hard to characterize as a failure.
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