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I got my first lever gun, a Winchester Trail's End 20" .44 Magnum. I expected it to be made in Japan along with the Browning Citori, but it says Made in CT. I have read some posts of guys saying they *hate* the cross bolt safety and rebounding hammer, and that they would only buy a used gun to avoid these features.

While I am against the warnings that Ruger engraves in their guns, and against new useless safety features put in strictly for liability reasons, I see no downside to these features. They are not ugly nor useless. The guy who compalined about them said that if the user learned how to use the rifle the way it was meant to be used, they are not needed. But having the hammer not sit on the firing pin can prevent a problem if the hammer take a wack. So, does everyone hate these new Winchesters? It seems real nice.
 

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rsilvers,
     The only serious downside that I know of is the tendency to fire the gun (or attempt to!) with the crossbolt safety engaged. I would imagine that doing this while looking over the sights at a big buck would make you hate that safety! There are now two things you need to remember to do to prepare the rifle to fire; move the crossbolt to the fire position AND cock the hammer. I think that's why people don't like them.
      If you have ever had the hammer slip from under your thumb as you were lowering the hammer to half-cock on an old-style gun, the surprise BANG! would make you understand why they put that crossbolt on there!
      As far as the half-cock notch, I have a transition period model 94 that does not have the safety but DOES have the rebounding hammer and I really like it. I can see no disadvantage with it at all as compared to a half-cock system.
       Ultimately the only thing that keeps a rifle safe is not to point it at anyone or anything you'd regret shooting! Just my thoughts.   IDShooter
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What about using the cross-bolt safety, but never lowering the hammer? Then there is still just one action -- removing the cross bolt safety. Whereas the old way was re-cocking the hammer. A good way to carry a 1911 .45 pistol is to keep it cocked and locked. Do the same for this (assuming you have chambered a round to begin with).

Or, chamber a round once you climb the tree-stand (or whatever), drop the hammer (with or without the cross-bolt on, depending on how comfortable you are with that (I am not)), then keep the hammer down, (but turn off the safety if you had used it to lower the hammer).

Relax until you see a deer. Drink a non-alcoholic beer.

When you want to fire, draw the hammer back as usual.



I could never understand people using their thumb to lower the hammer on a weapon. It always seemed against basic common sense. But I know that is how it is done. I learned about guns with modern semi-auto I never got into dropping a hammer.

The Sigarms pistols have a decocker, and a walther PPK drops the hammer if you put the safety on. In leu of a decocker, the cross-bolt safety on the new Winchester 94 seems logical, not a lawyer-insisted add-on.
 

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If you ever try and lighten the trigger pull you will understand why some of us don't like the rebounding Hammer.........................................Marko  
 

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To stay on the positive side, I think the crossbolt is better in use for dry-firing the gun to practice the trigger.  

Otherwise, it's teats on a boar hog and a cost of doing business today.  
 

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a 1911 style pistol is designed to be carried 'cocked and locked'    but NOT a lever gun   the very idea makes me shudder.   the rebounding hammer and the crossbolt isnt that bad of an idea, ugly yes,   but it does make the gun safer   espessially for younger shooters.   i grew up in the 60's and 70's carrying a model 94, i learned to use it safely with the half cock,   once my younger, who was around 13 at the time,  came home from deer hunting, it was cold outside and he was about froze out, he decided to sit in the kitchen an unload his 94,  his fingers were cold and stiff and as he was cycling the action, the gun discharged,  putting a 170 grain slug right through the refridgerator,  and vaporizing a quart jar of pickles,  that 30-30 really made a bang inside that old farmhouse,   fortunatly no one was hurt, but it wouldnt have happened if the gun had a crossbolt safety,  the bottem line is, a firearm is dangerous and no matter what safety features it has, its still only as safe as the person handling it, my brothers incident happened because he was young and inexperianced, i have handled 94's for years and never had one go off while unloading it.  the rebounding hammers and the crossbolt safety happend because the firearms makers want to reduce their liability in case someone does something stupid  (like shoot a hole through their moms refridgerator) good shootin.....gut
 

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Hi
You will sure get comments on this question.

I am an old guy I guess. I like Winchesters and I have a number of the cross bolt equipped rifles.

I hate the cross bolt safety for several reasons.
1st. I was raised to load a lever action and place the hammer on half cock safety.
Everytime I pick up a new winchester I open the action to make sure it is unloaded and then try to place the hammer on half cock safety - bugs me. What is worse is that when I load the rifle and chamber a cartridge I still try to place the hammer on half cock safety - not good.

2cnd If you use your rifle as a back up around dangerous game as my brother and father did while they lived in Fairbanks, you may find yourself with an inadvertatly engaged safety - again, not good.
When picking blueberries, working a plane or boat pulled to the shore you sling your rifle. A new Winchester slung on the rifght side will inadvertantly engage the safety. This defeats the purpose of a back-up rifle. A Williams reciever sight added to the angle ejects helps protect the safety button. A rubber "O" ring on the left side also helps to prevent inadvertant application.

The long take-up triger caused by the rebounding hammer is another aggravation. You can feel the trigger spring stack as you squeeze the trigger.

I am a big fan of the .307 and .356, the angle eject -94's and the Big Bore actions. I have never had a problem with a new Winchester, but I have cleaned a lot of lead out of the barrels. You must remover the safety before you can remove the bolt - bugs me.
As an old guy I guess I just cannot accept the change.

The tang safeties are just as bad - but... at least they are less likely to be inadvertantly activated. You should not install tang safties on heavy recoiling rifles such as the .307 and .356 or .444. so a tang safety would not be a problem.
 

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Probably the biggest complaint is that they are just another ramification of how bad the kneejerk liberals have taken over our lives. The old "blame the inanimate object, not the person". As far as I am concerned they fall into the same type of nonsense as "lights on" systems on motorcycles we are stuck with. No safer, in fact more dangerous, because the lame d**ks of the world are depending on mechanical devices, that can fail, instead of paying attention to what is going on.
It is a sad thing that there are firearms accidents, regardless of cause, that harm people yet I have never seen to much effort to gather bonifide statistics on how many people are killed or injured BECAUSE of these so-called safety devices.
I recently bought a new 336 & was shooting groups to work up loads for it. I had belonged to the crowd that felt the cross bolt was a "no problem" after all I have been shooting for nearly 52 years, & am a firearms & sniper instructor. I know how to work these things right?? During the target session the cross bolt safety was inadvertantly applied. How, I do not know, suffice to say that when returning to the bench after checking targets all I got was a "click". The #### safety was on & I did not intentionally put it there. Lucky for me I was only being assaulted by a hunk of paper & not some dangerous type critter- as in 2 legged vermin trying to pass itself off as a human.
The "safety has been removed & I will do it the old way.
 

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rsilvers,
I have enjoyed this thread,  because I am a fan of lever guns and single action revolvers.  
I suppose you could say I am a traditionalist.  Anyway I own one of the transition Mdl 94 Win. angle rejects.  It came with the rebounding hammer and no cross bolt safety.  I bought it in '85 because it was the only long gun available in my favorite caliber, .45 Colt.  Otherwise I would never have bought it.  
My experiances were numerous.
First:  The trigger pull was hidious.  Almost seven pounds.  Winchester said it was within limits of a shootable triggerpull.  Maybe for Arnold, but not for me.
Second:  When carying the rifle with the lever closed, any slight bump would cause the action to pop open.  Carying an old style rifle with the hammer down on an empty chamber gives an additional bit of resistance to the lever bumping open.
Third:  I was brought up on the traditional guns.  Like the previous poster who trys to put the hammer on half cock I do the same thing.  I found I could not adapt to the difference.
Lastly:  All my other leverguns are the old style, and I see no reason to have one different one in the midst of all the traditional ones.
My cure:  I ordered an old style lower tang assembly from Gun Parts Corp and installed it.  Problems solved.
One note.  I have never had an accidental discharge with a traditional lever gun or single action revolver.
BUT, I have had one with a New Model Ruger Blackhawk.
I fear the safety gadgets more than the traditional guns.
So I avoid the ones with the safetys.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all. I tried to get my new Winchester to pop open by whapping it and it would not. But I can see how having the hammer down ads extra resistance.

I did not know that the rebounding hammer would hurt the trigger pull. I figured the firing-pin disconnect would be the thing that hurt the feel (but I think those are really needed).

I am confused why you cannot put the Winchester in 1/2 cock after chambering a round. I can lower the hammer on mine.

Now with that said, I have never felt comfortable lowering a hammer. I feel that my thumb could slip all too easily. Currently when I want to lower the hammer, I put on the cross bolt safety, lower it with my thumb, then take the safety off right away.

As far as it getting bumped when slung, I understand. My AR15 would always close its bolt when slung as the bolt-release bumbed into me. The saddle-ring on my rifle is rather near the safety and probably helps protect it.

I have never had an accidental dischange where I did not pull the trigger.

Now I recently ordered a custom varmint rifle with a Jewell trigger and I specified no safety because a bolt gun can be made safe by lifting the bolt! So a safety is silly. But on a lever gun, I could use, not a safety that prevents firing, but a way to lower the hammer without risk of slipping. A Sigarms P226 pistol has a decocker. On the Winchester, I can use the cross-bolt to get the hammer down, then put the safety off again.
 

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I like this thread a lot. I wish I could convince Winchester (or USRAC) to read it carefully.
  I have two recent acquisitions. I have never owned a Winchester brand lever gun before but now I have two. First, a'94 Legacy in 30-30. I cannot adequately express my disdain for the crossbolt safety. It is unbearably ugly and redundant in purpose. This gun cannot be fired without the action firmly held closed because of the trigger disconnect mechanism which is activated by the Lever. This in itself became a hurdle for me to learn after so much familiarization with other makes of levers.
Next, the rebounding hammer, which I like, keeps the gun from firing from a blow to the hammer unless the trigger is depressed. So, the only possible purpose for the crossbolt would be for decocking. Frankly, mechanical decockers scare me to death every time someone uses one. I have one of many pistols which has this feature, my wife's Beretta 92f. It is kept in a Handi-Safe with no safety engaged. I would never trust a crossbolt for decocking a loaded gun without my thumb on the hammer as well.
I had actually considered a thread on this site to ask how to do away with the crossbolt on this gun so I would stop having dry fires at the range. I could tolerate this device if it was needed but it simply is not needed and should be eliminated.
  Now, my other new shootin' stick is a '86 Extra Light .45-70. This gun makes a lot of sense to me. NO STINKIN' CROSSBOLT. No trigger disconnect to make it tougher to fire when you want to. It has a rebound hammer which, again, I like. The safety is on the tang and is quite easy to use, like many shotguns, double guns, etc..  I choose not to use it. My only complaint would be if I wanted to fit a tang sight. This is not likely to be desired on my light 22"bbl woods gun.
  Finally, why is there no consistency in the percieved need for the same types of safety devices on these two guns: trigger disconnect, tang vs crossbolt. This can lead to confusion and therefore accidents. This all really looks like someone is appeasing the legal department instead of practicality.
 

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Bigal,
    You are absolutly right.  The inconsistancy of safetys is totally because of apeasement.  
    One example I have used in the past.  Winchester bastardized the Mdl 94 centerfires while leaving the Mdl9422 unchanged.
    Marlin put tastefully done crossbolt safetys on all leverguns, and rebounding hammers on the .22's.
    I have no love for crossbolt safetys on leverguns, but I have had a Marlin and found it's safety easily ignored.
    But the Winchester, Oh God, how ugly can you get?
And I have heard more and more people complain about how easy it is to enguage this abomination without knowing it.
    My 94 Angle "re"ject was a transistion model.  Rebounding hammer with no safety.  If it had of had a safety I would never have bought it.  When I decided that I hated the action, I replaced it with a pre-floppy hammer lower tang assembly.
    Don't know if that can be done now.  However, a gunshop here in Springfield IL has told me they have a way of getting rid of the cross bolt safety on the 94 Winchester's.  This was early last year when they told me this so the info isn't current.  But if you want to ask them here is their phone number.  1-217-487-7100
Their name is Oglesby and Oglesby.
    The Winchester 86's and 92's are made by the Japaneese.  By the same people that used to make the Browning Lever Guns years ago.  Probably why they use different safetys.
  rsilvers,  I forgot to mention something when I told you that my 94 AE would pop open if it was bumpted.  The primary latch for holding the lever closed is a little spring loaded plunger at the rear end of the lever link.  It latches into the forward edge of the lower tang.   My original lower tang assembly was improperly fitted and the plunger had no secure lockup.  When I replaced it with an older version lower tang the gap was closed and now it won't pop open even when the hammer is on half cock.
    Sorry for the long post.
    Oh, one other reason I dislike these stupid redesigned actions.  They are more complex and therefore have more gadgets to get out of whack.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The Winchester cross-bolt is recessed on the right and protruding on the left. This means it has been designed to be easy to engage but hard to make ready to fire. Personally I can see needing to remove a safety very quickly (charging bear) but can see no reason to need to put it on that quickly, but I can see why they did that. I think if it is going to be there at all, you might as well recess it in both directions. That way it cannot bumb on or off by itself, only by deliberate action.

Going back to trigger pull, I really do feel that my new Win 94 has a good pull. It feels two stage, and just breaks clean. It is a little heavy, but I don't have a scale to measure it. But I would have to try a lever gun with what others feel is a good pull to know for sure if mine is as-good.
 

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rsilvers;
    I have a trigger pull guage of my own.  I bought it years ago and find it indespenable.  I don't usually do my own trigger jobs, but I try to keep the trigger pulls on all my guns close to each other.  
    Probably since the late 70's trigger pulls have been getting heavier and heavier.  However lately I have been seeing and hearing about better pulls on factory guns.  Maybe the makers have begun to ease up on the paranoia of decent trigger pulls.  I really don't know.  
    What it really comes down to is what I and others are used to.  I prefer traditional actions.  This is what I was raised on, and what I am used to.  I "hate" these new lawyer designed safties on guns that never used to have them.  Actions such as the New Model Rugers and the Winchesters are to me filled with design flaws that take all the enjoyment out of using them.  This is why I didn't have any work done on my 94 AE.  I just replaced the lower tang assembly with an older standard one.  
    Consistancy.
    Now, if I had not been used to the old style actions, I might not be so prejudiced against the new ones.
    Next time you go to a gun shop, look at a new Marlin lever gun.  The cross bolt safety on their guns is small, and easily placed "on" or "off".  But it isn't ugly, or likely to be enguaged unless you want it.  
    Different makers, different ideas.  They both sell.

Nuff said.

 
 

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I should correct the last paragraph of my post.

It should have said that no one should install a tang sight on a heavy recoiling rifle like a .307, .356 or .444. The .45-70 lever actions are used for cowboy shooting with light loads and that may be okay. If you shoot heavy loads while hunting with your .45-70, someday you will stick a tang sight in your eye.

Glad to see that I am not alone in this emotional issue.
 

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Hi guys, I'm not sure what I am allowed to say on these boards but here goes;  If you dislike the crossbolt safety on your Marlin (not sure about usrac), remove the stock and figure out what the little set screw to the left of the tang does. That is, when the rifle is viewed from the rear.  If you would like to remove the crossbolt completely, do a search on the internet for a man named Clyde Ludwig, He has a product to replace it with what looks like a screw.  I will post more complete contact info for Mr. Ludwig tomorrow.
 

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As promised, here isa Clyde Ludwig's info.  Contact him for the Marlin crossbolt safety eliminator.  
           Clyde Ludwig
           po box 26156
           Wauwatosa, WI
            53226-0156
         PH# 414-536-1101 AFTER 6:30PM CST
           &#369.95 plus &#363.00 S&H
 

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rsilvers,
The design is more than a 100 years old and it worked just fine before the safeties.  I have dropped the hammer on a lever gun with the safety on while a deer was in my sights and I was extremely unhappy with the rifle at that moment.  I showed great restraint by not wrapping it around a tree!

I have owned four or five Winchesters, some with the safety features and some with out.  By far I prefer those with out them.  The rebounding hammer will affect the trigger pull adversely and has caused a reliability problem with one of my rifles (igniton failure).  When lowering the hammer on my pre 64 or pre rebounding hammer guns I alway make sure that I release the trigger as soon as it is past the full cock notch so that if there is a slip, the half cock will catch the hammer before it strikes the firing pin (while pointed in a safe direction of course).  I have never had a unintended discharge with these guns.

As for your rifle, I don't know if you have noticed it yet but pushing the safety off will often cause the saddle ring to slap forward into the receiver with a loud "clank", not something you want to do during a hunt!  If yours is new production you don't have a half cock notch, but the rebounding hammer is at rest while not in contact with the bolt face.  The only way to make it contact the firing pin is to pull the trigger so that the hammer can move the rest of the way forward into it's firing position.  It will promptly rebound back to the at rest position once the hammer is no longer under pressure.  The pre-crossbolt, post rebounding hammer guns had no half cock either but relied on the "hammer block" feature alone for safe operation.  As long as you are aware of the features of your particular model all should be well.  That said, I most definitely prefer mine with the old half cock.  It is faster, slicker, just as safe, more authentic and works well for me.
 

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The saddle ring does prevent the safety from engaging while being carried in a saddle scabbard. It works for me. I like the saddle ring. It's traditional.
 
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