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Discussion Starter #1
Winchester 94 in .32 Winchester Special. Serial number indicates manufacture in 1964. That would make this a "post 1964" I believe.

I am just aching to get out and shoot this! The more I play with it, the more I feel that it is not even broken in. The action is quite stiff from quarter cycle to completion. I have noticed that the barrel stamping does not look deeply "rolled" like the Marlins - it looks more engraved. The reciever looks more "dusty" black than blue, looks slightly different than the barrel and mag tube.

Having never owned or handled a Win 94, imagine my surprise when I cycled the action the first time and it looked like the whole darn bottom was falling out! It took me four or so starts before I realized that this was proper, and that it was stiff not because it was breaking, but because it is not broken in! Looking down the barrel, it looks very bright, though a little cluttered with dust, gonna correct that this evening after I get a sized nylon brush to use if a patch won't clean it thoroughly.

Can anyone tell me what sort of rifling this is? It is not very pronounced, and the only conclusion I can draw on the twist rate is around 1:12 - that is only supposed from reading what the optimum was for heavy bullet weight vs. the 30-30 lighter bullet.

This is not a caliber I would have thought I would have, considering it's a discontinued model rifle. I like the fact that it is not a 30-30. It's different. But then, my wife says I am different too - I wonder if that is meant in a good way?!

Anyone that knows the peculiarites or has other tidbits of information, please feel free to enlighten me, I am interested in finding out all I can about this Win 94. I think I have reached the limit of what I can find on-line, which is not in-substantial, just a little lacking.
 

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Mike,

Your .32 Special has a 1:16 twist in it, and you won't tell any difference between shooting your new find, and .30-30! Great gun, and sounds like you found a plum! Go shoot and enjoy!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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I read somewhere that Winchester introduced the 32 special to allow people to reload with black powder. How it is more appropriate (for black powder) than the 30-30, I have no idea. I do know that the 32 has a suprising amount of fans, I have never met anyone with a 25-35, but I know a handful of folks with a 32. Here is a link to a breif description.
Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Andy, I had also read that. I wonder, if that advertisement was so that those that were used to just stuffing the case with BP, and crimp, and shoot, would buy a new riflle, in a respectable caliber, that going forward could be loaded easily with smokeless. I am sure the 30-30 could have done the same, but the companies already offered it in smokeless, trying to get folks to go that way, and maybe the point of advertising the .32 the way they did was to capture that crowd that was sceptical of smokless powder yet.

Sounds plausible, don't ya think?

Marshall, thanks for the twist rate, I have read that it may have been the reason that the .32 was "special" in that it broke from the other .30 caliber twist rate of 1:12? I wonder why, given a larger diameter, a rifle company would slow the twist rate in the rifle that could potentially have the heavier bullet. Am I on track here? Or is my thinking 180 degrees off?

It is entirely too early to think this hard, I am not even finished my coffee!!
 

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Mike,

Andy's post was right on the money. Supposedly the slower twist wouldnt' foul so badly when reloaded with black powder, and would remain accurate without mandatory cleaning after a few shots as it was assumed would be necessary with the common twist of the day with the already available .30-30 when also loaded with black powder.

One must realize that the cartridge was introduced when smokeless powder ammo was a totally new concept, and although there were plenty of handloaders, they were used to stuffing 38-55's, 45-70's and 32-40's with black and topping off with a bullet. The .32 Special was designed to fill that niche, yet still be factory loaded as a smokeless cartridge closely approximating the existant .30-30 in performance.

The .32 Special is a dandy deer and blackbear gun but can suffer some accuracy problems when the bore gets worn. I've remedied that problem with several .32 Special Rifles by loading them universally with .323" diameter 170g LFNGC bullets. The throats are cut large in these chambers as per the original specs that had built in tolerances for blackpowder residue buildup, so they are very generous in diameter. The gun never knows that the extra .002" of bullet diameter is there, and the results are very accurate shooting .32 Special rifles, even those with worn barrels!

Enjoy your new find!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Keep in mind that the .32 cal was a popular choice for serious target shooters in the pre-smokeless days.

Then, as now, people build up prejudices toward certain calibers, all out of proportion to reality.

Just like Winchester came out with their .300 short magnum, then of course had to come out with a .270 version, to appeal to the sub-30 cal crowd. I suspect that weighed on the minds at Winchester as they worked on the new smokeless calibers.

As you go up in bullet diameter, a slower twist can be used, because bullets get heavier faster than they get longer. The 1-16" twist does fine for the .32s. Most .30 cals don't need 1-10", unless shooting 220gr. bullets, which is uncommon. The .30-30 case, in a repeater like the Win 94, would run out of capacity for really heavy bullets pretty quick.

Anyway - another big factor in cartridge development is to re-use as much existing technology as possible. So not only was the .32 Win Spe. a necked-down .30-30, no doubt Winchester just use the same barrel-making equipment as they did on previous .32 offerings, to keep costs down.

Easy way to introduce a 'new' cartridge with just a few tooling changes (reamers and bullet sizing dies), everything else comes 'off the shelf'.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Much food for thought. Thank you. Since the action feels so stiff on this, I am going to hope that it has been shot very little, but, I guess I better still slug it and have the throat measured. Do you suppose the "generosity" of throat and bore size would continue in the 1964 production year? My initial guess would be maybe, since all Winchester did was change as liitle as possible to produce the new caliber in the same case. On the other hand, since 1964 was the year the manufacture process changed, maybe the tooling was refreshed? Not likely in that there were already thousands of pre-1964 models in use. I can certainly see why the post-1964 models are not as desireable as pre. I do like this rifle, when you pick it up and shake it, there are no rattles or unexpected pings, the finish on the metal and on the wood is good. And the rifle is so nicely balanced. The only complaint, if I were to have one, is that the wood to metal fit is not as I have seen on other rifles. There is a defininate, very slight step up to the wood from the metal. And that is over whole rifle except the butt plate.

Thank you so much for all your responses. I am going to take this, and other rifles out this week, as soon as the weather gives me a break. This is exciting - I have two 40 year old rifles, that not only have I not shot, neither seems to have had more than 10 or so rounds through them!
 
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