Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Share
    avatar
    sharpenit
    .17 HMR
    .17 HMR

    Posts : 20
    Join date : 2014-05-18
    Location : Ohio

    Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sharpenit on Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:37 pm

    I bought a used (circa 1983) Winchester 94, it was my first LEEver gun, and I immediately fell in love with it. However, I also noticed that about one or two rounds out of every box of factory ammo would fail to fire. Occurs with Winchester ammo, Fusion ammo and Federal ammo. Misfired cartridge shows a good solid dent in the primer, but no bang-bang. Some will fire after being hit a second time.

    So here are all the things I tried to do to fix the problem:

    1) Disassemble action, clean everything, including firing pin channel, ensure that firing pin moves freely in channel, inspect firing pin, which looks normal. Reassemble, misfires continue despite apparent solid hits on primer.

    2) Order new firing pin and install. Ensure that firing pin slides freely in firing-pin channel. Reassemble, misfires continue despite apparent solid hits on primer

    3) Order new hammer spring, which feels stiffer and more forceful, install. Misfires continue despite apparent solid hits on primer.

    4) Swear profusely. Goddamn misfires continue despite apparent solid hits on primer.

    5) Reload own 30-30 ammo using Federal primers because they are reputedly softer. This works.

    6) Reload own 30-30 ammo using large pistol primers. This also works.

    So apparently factory ammo has harder primers, but why isn't my Winchester 94 hitting them hard enough to fire them all reliably?


    Last edited by sharpenit on Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:14 am; edited 2 times in total
    avatar
    Charlie Foxtrot
    .41 Magnum
    .41 Magnum

    Posts : 670
    Join date : 2014-03-05

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:22 pm

    I'd look at/ replace the hammer spring. The old owner might have lightened it, or maybe it just got weak.

    I don't know the Win 1894 mechanicals, but.....  I bought a used 1895 Marlin in 45 By God 70. I was getting weak hammer strikes and uncertain ignition with LeveRevolution ammo. Several washers tightened up the mainspring, and it has been flawless since then.

    Luck.
    avatar
    sharpenit
    .17 HMR
    .17 HMR

    Posts : 20
    Join date : 2014-05-18
    Location : Ohio

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sharpenit on Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:27 am

    Charlie Foxtrot wrote:I'd look at/ replace the hammer spring. The old owner might have lightened it, or maybe it just got weak.

    I don't know the Win 1894 mechanicals, but.....  I bought a used 1895 Marlin in 45 By God 70. I was getting weak hammer strikes and uncertain ignition with LeveRevolution ammo. Several washers tightened up the mainspring, and it has been flawless since then.

    Luck.

    Thanks, Charlie Foxtrot, but as noted in #3 in my original post, I've already replaced the hammer spring with a stiffer one, and still get misfires.
    avatar
    Charlie Foxtrot
    .41 Magnum
    .41 Magnum

    Posts : 670
    Join date : 2014-03-05

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:49 am

    Sorry - missed that. Now I'm really stumped.  

    Reread post -- Fusion ammo is good stuff, they should go off. Maybe the commercial loads are harder to ignite because of concerns about chain firing in tube. but they should go bang. And since the 30-30 headspaces on the rim, the chamber cannot be an issue. ...

    Nothing's binding the hammer? No strange wear patterns or drag marks on its sides? Pivot's clean and lubed?

    May be time to take it to a good leaver plumber.
    avatar
    sharpenit
    .17 HMR
    .17 HMR

    Posts : 20
    Join date : 2014-05-18
    Location : Ohio

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sharpenit on Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:59 pm

    Charlie Foxtrot wrote:Sorry - missed that. Now I'm really stumped.  

    Reread post -- Fusion ammo is good stuff, they should go off. Maybe the commercial loads are harder to ignite because of concerns about chain firing in tube. but they should go bang. And since the 30-30 headspaces on the rim, the chamber cannot be an issue. ...

    Nothing's binding the hammer? No strange wear patterns or drag marks on its sides? Pivot's clean and lubed?

    May be time to take it to a good leaver plumber.

    Nope, can't see anything rubbing, binding or sticking. It's definitely a puzzler. Also forgot to mention that I also replaced the hammer-spring guide rod, and that didn't help, either.

    Had a local gunsmith of good reputation look at it. It was a cursory exam, with him firing it just a few times, but he said he could see no obvious problem.

    So I think I'm down to the explanation of last resort: This rifle is possessed by Satan.

    So my question is, if I offer it on Gunbroker, does Satan possession increase or decrease the retail value? Very Happy
    avatar
    Devereaux
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1258
    Join date : 2014-02-28
    Location : Greater Chicago

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:23 am

    Headspace COULD still be an issue. Consider measuring it to see if it fits within the allowable norms. If you are just past the max size, you could be getting this issue. Note that reloaded cases generally have expanded rims, so a larger headspace would not affect them as much.
    avatar
    sharpenit
    .17 HMR
    .17 HMR

    Posts : 20
    Join date : 2014-05-18
    Location : Ohio

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sharpenit on Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:03 am

    Devereaux wrote:Headspace COULD still be an issue. Consider measuring it to see if it fits within the allowable norms. If you are just past the max size, you could be getting this issue. Note that reloaded cases generally have expanded rims, so a larger headspace would not affect them as much.

    Have always been kinda mystified by headspace, what it is, why it matters, how to measure it. I know about using go and no-go gauges in Mosin Nagants. Do I need a go/no-go gauge for 30-30?

    I really need the kindergarten version of what to do, because I don't quite get headspace.

    Also, if there turns out to be a problem with headspace, what do I do about it?

    Thanks.
    avatar
    Devereaux
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1258
    Join date : 2014-02-28
    Location : Greater Chicago

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:13 am

    Headspace is the distance from the bolt face to the measured point of the chamber. Since a .30-30 headspaces on the rim, you can either do the fancy way and measure with tools, OR you can take an unfired case and measure the thickness of the rim. Then partially insert a spent primer into the same new case and close the bolt. Remove the case and measure the distance from the case rim to the face of the primer (which will not be fully seated). You now know the distance from the bolt face to the front part of the rim - headspace. If yours is > .070, or even close to that, you have borderline or exceeded the max headspace for a .30-30. You need to use a fresh, unfired case as the rims will expand with firing - one reason a marginal headspace rifle may fire with reloaded ammo but not so well with factory fresh ammo.
    avatar
    Devereaux
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1258
    Join date : 2014-02-28
    Location : Greater Chicago

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:16 am

    Headspace is important because as you noted earlier, it's the go/no-go measurement. Headspace is usually a range of values. In a .30-30 it's .063-.070. So less that .063 and you will have trouble chambering, more than .070 you will have trouble firing.

    ?Make sense.


    Last edited by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Accuracy)
    avatar
    Devereaux
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1258
    Join date : 2014-02-28
    Location : Greater Chicago

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:03 pm

    This might be helpful in visualizing headspace in a .30-30

    http://www.castbullet.com/misc/hspace.htm

    avatar
    Charlie Foxtrot
    .41 Magnum
    .41 Magnum

    Posts : 670
    Join date : 2014-03-05

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:53 pm

    Thanks, Dev. I thought I knew about headspace.
    avatar
    sharpenit
    .17 HMR
    .17 HMR

    Posts : 20
    Join date : 2014-05-18
    Location : Ohio

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sharpenit on Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:38 pm

    Devereaux wrote:Headspace is important because as you noted earlier, it's the go/no-go measurement. Headspace is usually a range of values. In a .30-30 it's .063-.070. So less that .063 and you will have trouble chambering, more than .070 you will have trouble firing.

    ?Make sense.

    This is helpful, but raises this question: If the problem is excessive headspace, what do I do about it?

    That castbullet site you posted is good at explaining what headspace is, but doesn't say what to do if the headspace is excessive.

    How do you fix excessive headspace in a Winchester 94?

    Thanks.
    avatar
    Devereaux
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1258
    Join date : 2014-02-28
    Location : Greater Chicago

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:23 pm

    Can't help you on the last, other than it would take a smith to adjust the bolt I would think. I know the 94 locks in the back with a couple large bars. I would suspect that you make the adjustment there. But for all I know, you wind up having to get a new bolt.

    Mebbe Doc knows about adjusting headspace on Winchester lee-vers.
    avatar
    Devereaux
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1258
    Join date : 2014-02-28
    Location : Greater Chicago

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:27 pm

    Don't give up on it, though. Winchester 94's are nice rifles. I look at the line of Winchesters that JMB designed and find they are common. The '86 is the original and it's locks are bank-vault like. The '92 is smaller and lighter, and the locking bolts moved backward in the bolt. The '94 is smaller yet, and the locks are now at the back of the bolt. But when you look at them side-by-side you see the family resemblence.
    avatar
    sharpenit
    .17 HMR
    .17 HMR

    Posts : 20
    Join date : 2014-05-18
    Location : Ohio

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sharpenit on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:55 pm

    Devereaux wrote:Don't give up on it, though. Winchester 94's are nice rifles. I look at the line of Winchesters that JMB designed and find they are common. The '86 is the original and it's locks are bank-vault like. The '92 is smaller and lighter, and the locking bolts moved backward in the bolt. The '94 is smaller yet, and the locks are now at the back of the bolt. But when you look at them side-by-side you see the family resemblence.

    I love it, even with this flaw. Just won't be able to rely on it in a pinch. Will have to fall back on the Marlin 1894 for dependability.




    sthwestvictoria
    .32 S&W
    .32 S&W

    Posts : 60
    Join date : 2014-03-07

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sthwestvictoria on Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:11 pm

    So the indentation on the primer of a misfire looks the same depth as fired ones, or from another rifle?

    There can be a headspace problem with frame stretching in some lever guns, however I thought that was with brass frames, not a steel post-64 1894. The concern would be if the rifle closed on a no-go gauge. HOwever if headspace was a problem would we not expect to see case head seperation signs on the fired cases?
    avatar
    Cornmastah
    .44 Magnum
    .44 Magnum

    Posts : 1014
    Join date : 2014-04-07
    Location : Utah

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:29 am

    Interesting, I hadn't thought of the receiver stretching... In a case of too much headspace in the 94', is it possible to bring the barrel into the receiver slightly? I would think that a competent gunsmith could fix it.

    sthwestvictoria
    .32 S&W
    .32 S&W

    Posts : 60
    Join date : 2014-03-07

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by sthwestvictoria on Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:36 am

    It certainly seems a difficult one to solve. Sharpenit seems to have done all the sensible things - swapped out mainspring, firing pin, tried divers commercial and handloads. This should rule out all the usual suspects - inconsistent primer insertion, brass sizing problems, weak spring, over-oiled firing pin channel, broken firing pin etc.

    Sponsored content

    Re: Winchester 94 occasionally misfires

    Post by Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:03 pm