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Winchester 30-30

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Basic Specifications

Length: 965mm
Barrel Length: 508mm
Weight: 2.72kg
Magazine Capacity: 6 plus 1 in the chamber

CALIBRES

  • 30-30 Win

Winchester 30-30 Variants

Winchester 30-30 Short
Winchester 30-30 Sporter
Winchester 30-30 Trails End

Introduction

At the beginning of a special series on lever action rifles in Australia, how could the Winchester not come first? Winchester is and had been a household name for many years in any gun enthusiast or gun owners household. One of the company’s most popular offerings is without a doubt the lever action Model 94, chambered in 30-30.

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Every hunter’s had one, seen one, heard of one or longed for one. I remember my first, I popped my Model 94 cherry in a hunting shop I was working at when I was 18. The action was so loose from use that I could one hand flick it like the old Western movies, and from then on, without even firing this masterpiece, I had to have one. Such is the charm of these rifles.

Designed by John Browning in 1894 (hence the Model 94), this model was a rifle of firsts. Originally known as the 30 WCF (Winchester Centre Fire), it was the first commercially produced American rifle to chamber the smokeless powder. In production for 112 years, it was the first sporting rifle to sell more than 1 million copies, and by the time it was discontinued in 2006 by the closing of the Winchester factory in Connecticut, it had sold over 7 million copies. The first to do so, and dare I say, possibly the only that will.

But enough about the history, let us look at what it has to offer to the Australian hunter. Being compact, lightweight, easily carried and quick to the shoulder, could this be the perfect close quarters pig and mid-size deer rifle that exists today? The simple answer is yes! The Model 94’s rugged construction has also proved popular with the farming and outback communities, as well as those that have the need for a gun behind the bench seat in the ute or on the tractor on their property, just in case. Also having a reasonably light report and kick is perfect for the wife or younger children to use, without compromising on the suitability for hunting larger game, such as more traditional beginner calibres, such as the .22lr or magnum. This simply means that taking the Mrs. and/or kids out for a pig shoot need not be a hassle, or end with a sore shoulder.



From a more technical point of view, if handloading is not your thing or you simply choose to purchase factory ammunition, you are in luck. Most popular ammunition factories churn out a range of ammunition to suit, usually in the popular 150grain or 170grain projectile, each averaging 2390fps and 220fps respectively. The Model 94 features a simple to use cross bolt safety, an excellent feature still found on many lever actions today. The short receiver is also a bonus, keeping the balance centred between the hands nicely.

As for mounting a scope, whilst I do not see the need on a close range, repeating lever action, a no drill scope/tactical rail option is available as an aftermarket accessory, and this rifle is easily drilled and tapped if need be.

As much as I don’t like pointing out a fault on such an iconic rifle, the only downside that I could find was, in particular on the earlier models, was that the “V” notch on the rear sight was ineffective for some users. I have never personally found this to be the case, and used within their limitations, I found the sights more than acceptable for the type of rifle that this is. After all, if you wanted a long range rifle, you would not buy a Model 94.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a rugged, reliable, lever action rifle perfectly suited to Australian conditions, there would be few that could argue against the Model 94 Winchester chambered in the ever popular 30-30 calibre. From pigs to deer in Australia, and Whitetail deer to who knows what worldwide, discontinued or not, this rifle is and continues to be a most popular addition to any hunters collection.

*As a footnote, the Model 94 is still produced by Miroku in Japan, and to a high calibre, however, this is not recognised by many of the original Winchester fans, and mainly comprise of commemorative models.

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