While standing in my local gunsmith's shop the other day a fellow came in a picked up his Bannerman Krag. The smith had mounted a forward mounted scope, like a scout rifle set up. The old Krag had one of those Bannerman Springfield front sights and a peep sight mounted on the receiver. It was like new. Those old Krags take a wonderful re-blue.
The 30/40 is still a great round IMO. In the old days, Krags, which cost about $1.75 from the NRA, were considered primo Elk rifles because they shot surplus 220 grain round nose bullets that would rake an Elk. They penitrated and did not blow up under the hide.
I too like shooting with iron sights. That limits me to around 200 yd shots, but I can shoot farther. Usually don't have to tho.
I like shooting those old fancy open sights on the '84 Trapdoor, '03 Springfield and the 98 Krag. They adjust for bullet drift! I have one of those 1891 Winchester reloading tools and I use it to load BP 45/70 rounds to shoot in my Trapdoor. Using a cast 405 grain bullet they are comfortable to shoot and they make a satisfying boom and then that wonderful smell! My reloading tool however, is made for the original loading with the 500 grain bullet so I use that too.
Rifle for rifle IMO the Marlin is a better gun than a 94 Win. They still make them and the old 336's have been around for over half a century so there are lots of them out there. At gun shows you will always see a few nice ones. The are usually cheaper than Winchesters too.
My 336 is a 1952 made 35 Remington and it is a fine old rifle. I also like the round, but you need to get the right bullet that will break up at 35 Rem velocities and not one made for the 35 Whelen which is more rifle.
While the Winchester has more cache than the Marlin, for shootability; I'd go with the latter rifle.
I have never shot one of the newer Marlin 95's that shoot the 45/70, but to modern standards. So they shoot HARD. You can also load them down with a 310 grain bullet and make'em shoot like an old Trapdoor Carbine, so I think the 95 Marlin would make a good rifle.
Not to start an arguement, but not all post-64 Winchesters were made in Japan. I have a 1971 Model 94 in 44 Mag made in New Haven. Most of what was made in Japan was some Model 70's and shotguns.
Winchester shut down it's New Haven factory in 2006. Here is an excerpt from their web site:
Our other factories will continue production uninterrupted. Products made at these factories include the Super X line of shotguns including the new Super X3 autoloader and the new Super X Rifle (SXR) centerfire autoloader. Both are made in Belgium and assembled in Portugal. In addition, we will continue with our line of quality Select over and unders: the only production Belgium-made over and unders in the world. Our special historic guns -- 1885s, 95s, as well as other limited series rifles -- continue to be made at our factory in Japan. These factories are unaffected by the New Haven closure and we continue forward with our production and future plans.
I have quite a number of years working with one of the best gunsmiths in the Pacific Northwest (before I went into the gun business myself) and never saw a problem re-bluing any Winchester.
By the way, jimpickens, if you re-blue that pre-64, it will lose value. Leave the stock alone also.
Trying to recall which Winchesters I saw that were made in Japan. The 101 for sure. I recall in '64 or '65 when the new post 64 94 came out and we placed the pre- and post rifles next to one another, the differences were pretty obvious. The lifter, the design of the receiver, the number of screws. Winchester started making their commerative 94's around then, some with gold do-dads and we just didn't think much of them. The standard models sold for just under a $100. Of course the Model 70 changed too and we (when I say "we" I mean the younger hunters and shooters in the Mid-West) stopped buying them too. We bought Remington's; in my case a 600 in .243. We hunted a lot of coyotes from a P-U, the short barreled 600 was ideal.
I do shoot Winchesters today, but the almost all are old ones. I own is a pre-64 Model 100, then a Win-Lite model 59, which I like a lot, and a Pre-64 model 70 in 270...a wonderful rifle. A pre-64 94 and a model 71. I own five Model 12's and a 97. I own a few old .22's; a 9422, a model 62 pump and one of those single shots (a 67 I think) where you have to pull back the striker, which is one of my favorite guns of all. So I like Winchesters, but except for the 9422 which I think was made in Japan, I buy and shoot only old ones.
I've been a handgun man most of my life. Dad never was, but I am. My 1st one--the 1st one I bought for myself--was a Colt New Service, 1917 model, chambered for .45 ACP or .45 Auto Rim, which is a rimmed version of the ACP ctg. It was in original--sort of--condition. When they 1st came out in 1917 they were blued. Sometime in the '30s they were parkerized. It had un-checkered wooden grips that were probably original. I sold it in the early '60s. My next was another 1917, but it had been customized. It had Micro sights fore & aft, a Shooting Master hammer, a trigger shoe, a grip filler, & a Fred Clay trigger job. It only had a 3" bbl & I wanted a 5.5" like the original, so I took it to a gunsmith to have one fitted. A week later his shop was burglarized. He lost 30 guns, mostly pistols, & mine was 1 of 'em. My later carry gun--which I still have--is a civilian-model New Service in .45 Colt. This was the last really big-frame revolver Colt ever made. Production was halted in '42 when all production was devoted to the war effort. It was never resumed. I've been told Colt released some of the '42 production after the war, but you couldn't get a new one after abt '47.
I've got one of those 1917 S&W .45's. I bought it when I still had my FFA. It is one of the Brazilian ones made, as I recall, in 1937. Unlike the Colt it can be loaded with standard .45 ACP rounds without the half moon clips. They head space on the shoulder, just as they do in the auto. It's easy to jerk out the empties with your fingernail.
I like loading it with the auto rim cartridge and while ancient, the darn pistol locks up like new and is a very straight shooter! I've also found an old flap holster for it. Has a lanyard ring on the butt.
I spoke with a fellow who saw them while still in storage in Brazil. He said they were all like new. Mine is pretty beat up. He said it looked to him like someone had loaded them into a truck with a pitchfork!
I'm finding that I'm growing away from pistols and settling onto revolvers. Not sure why. I have four .45 revolvers. A TC, a 1917 Smith, a 25'5 Smith and a 3rd generation Colt SAA with the short barrel. My plan for this summer is to shoot the heck out of them.
I wish I had a nice .44 Special. But I'm setting up my reloading bench for the .45's which will keep me busy.
Just read thru & want to mention that several years ago I picked up a Sears Model 54 in excellent condition at a gunshow for $150.It's actually a Winchester 94 in 30-30 that was made for Sears (I've never done it but I understand if you take off the fore end you can see the "Winchester" stamp).From what I've read they still don't command much more than that,but having shot real 94s I can't see any real difference,mine shoots as well as any 94.
A good thing about 30-30 is you can find ammo anywhere & no less than the late great Col. Jeff Cooper advocated it as one of the best all-around gun & cartridge.
So you might want to keep your eyes open for one of those,they can be had cheap.
I bought a used pre-64 94 in a pawn shop in Yuma, AZ in 1971 for $65. It shot off to 3 o'clock, so I attached a peep sight and removed the open sight and hammered in one of those slot filler blanks where the open sight had been. Had to adjust the peep way off to the right, but now it shoots fine. I could see where someone had messed with the barrel/magazine "ring" obviously trying to fix the sighting in problem.
That little 94 is a good hunting rifle and it shoots plenty hard. I reload for mine with an old hand held and hammer Lee Loader. No better deer rifle made. Good coyote gun to, if you can hit him. Perfect saddle gun. Ol'Jeff Cooper was right.
Don't go up the velocity ladder with that 1917 S&W! Those things are bored .444 to .446, not .452! The thicker barrel on the Colt will allow you to load heavily--tho the thing will kick like a govt mule--but I've seen more than 1 1917 S&W with a hairline crack at the top rear of the barrel, the result of somebody trying to use higher than factory-pressure ammo in it. All pre-WW II & many postwar S&W's barrels are too thin to use anything but factory-pressure ammo.
A lot of guys used to get Model 10 heavy barrel Smiths & put Model 19 .357 cylinders in them, & it worked so well S&W started putting out a revolver in that configuration. However, I saw what happened when I guy put a Model 19 cylinder in a Model 10 light barrel. It had a 4" barrel. There was a 3" split wide enough to put the tip of my pocketknife's blade in, extending from the frame to the front sight. That's why I've always avoided the 1917 S&W & won't use anythng but factory-pressure ammo in my .44 S&W M&P, which was made in the '30s.
Both the 1917 Colt & S&W were factory headspaced so you could use .45 ACP with or without the half-moons. I shot both of mine both with half-moons & without. At one time I had 3 sets of half-moons. I carried 12 ARs on my uniform belt, but I had ACPs in half-moons in the weapon & 2 more sets of half-moons in my pocket. Most guys just had 18 rounds--6 in the revolver & 12 in the belt--but I had 30--6 in the cylinder, 12 more in my pocket, & 12 in the belt. If we'd gotten into a firefight, which fortunately we never did, I could keep shooting a long time after everybody else had run out of ammo.
I have handled 1917 Colts that did require the half moon clips and did not headspace on the lip in the cylinder. Some, as yours, did; but they made two kinds. My 1917 Smith does headspace in the cylinder and it shoots .45 ACP perfectly and it shoots very accurately.
Why'd they bore it so tight? I have loaded .45 auto rim rounds too with lead bullets and they work fine, but I admit that I've never tried to load it overly hot. I never do. I seldom load above the mid-range published in a reloading manual.
The barrel of the Smith does look thin. I hope I'm right about the Colt being made both ways...my memory seems pretty clear and I turned one down because I didn't want to be forced to use the half moon clips, which can be hard to load. I guess they make plastic ones now that "give" and are easier to use.
I've also got a 4" model 10 and have never overloaded it either. I like to shoot it with wad cutters. It's an old gun that I bought in a pawn shop. It was filthy. When I got it home it cleaned up like new. Pin barrel and half moon front sight.
I have never loaded my 25/5 hot either, but I have been tempted. That is a wonderful pistol! Super smooth and light on the trigger. I think they came that way.
Of course I've read "Hell I was There" and "Sixguns" by Keith and it makes me want to hot load a .44 Special, but I don't own one. Passed on a well used Ruger .44 mag a few weeks ago. We had to buy a lawnmower, which cost about the same. Someone else got the pistol.
In the Marine Corps we (pilots) carried a Model 10 that would shoot little flares. That was fun. In the Army infantry I always carried a 1911. I have never even shot one of those 92's that they issue today. (I've never worn the new helmet either.) I have a high power that I shoot all the time and like it.
I have a TC Contender with the 45/410 barrel that I used to shoot (in the 70's), but it kicked like mad straight back. I'm about to pick it up again, just for grins.
I'm a big fan of my 1917 Smith, tho. She ain't fancy by any means, but she shoots great!
As an aside; I always wondered what I'd do with my little .38 if shot down. If you decide to fight it out with the gooners they'll kill you, but you might take one or two with you, or do you toss the gun aside, surrender and then take the torture? Or do you shoot yourself in the head with the damn thing? That was about all it was good for.
If those '17 Colts didn't headspace the .45 ACP, somebody shadetreed 'em. All of the 1917s were made to headspace the ACP round in case the soldier didn't have half-moons. A lot of 'em were later shadetreed to chamber the .45 Colt, but it didn't work too well because of the thin rim of the .45 Colt. You got a lot of lightly-dented primers & no-fires.
I have no idea why the '17s were bored .444 to .446, they just were. I shot .452 hard-cast wadcutters in front of 9 gr of Unique in ..45 AR cases in mine & she kicked like a hard-tail. Of couse, with surplus Twin Cities arsenal steel-cased .45 ACP ammo out of late '44 & '45 she also kicked like a mule. Those steel cases didn't expand in the cylinder like brass cases wiil. They slammed back against the recoil shield & transferred all the recoil to your hand instead of absorbing it by expanding against the cylinder wall like brass cases did. They were also rough on reloading dies. I quit trying to reload them after ruining a die.
My first boss as a lawmen had been in the Navy in WW II. His pistol was an S&W model 10 light barrel--at the time it was called a 'Military & Police'--in, of all chamberings, .38 S&W, not .38 spl. He 'liberated' it from an Ensign's quarters. It was a pipsqueak! He never actually carried it that I saw. His weapons of choice were a Winchester '94 carbine in .30-30 & a sawed-off 12 ga. double hammer gun with the hammers & triggers wired together. It had a pistol grip instead of a full stock & abt 16" bbls. He could cock both hammers with his thumb & fire both bbls with the back trigger. He kept it loaded with 00 buck. I saw him use it once. It didn't leave much on the receiving end.
He was a big man--abt 6'2", around 200, all of it muscle. He could handle that scattergun. I doubt anyone else could. He put his left hand atop the barrels to hold it down the only time I saw him use it, so it didn't buck up & put a knot on his head. I fired a 20 ga. with 18" bbls & a pistol grip & didn't hold the bbls down. It recreased my hat, & I only had #4s in it.
Additional. The New Service Colt originally came in 7 calibers--.38 WCF, .44 WCF, .44 'Russian & Special,' .45 ACP/Auto Rim, .45 Colt, .455 Eley, & .476 Eley. Standard bbl lengths were 4", 5½", & 7½". The most common was 5½". I once had to pass on a factory-nickel 5½" in .455 Eley marked RCMP on the backstrap because I simply didn't have the $65 asking price at the time. At one point in the early '60s some idiot got hold of a bunch of '17s, bobbed them to 2", & advertised them as 'very rare OSS undercover guns.' I've also seen several Shooting Masters--the target version of the NS--in both 5½" & 7½". All were Colt royal blue. They had flat-top frames. The rear sight was adjustable for windage only. The front sight was adjustable for elevation. The very 1st '100/10x' score was shot with one. Plinky Toepperwein, Ad's wife, who was a tiny woman with very small hands, shot the first woman's 100/10x with a Shooting Master. She'd never picked up a gun in her life before she married Ad.