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Thread: 375 Winchester/Model 94 project rifle complete:

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default 375 Winchester/Model 94 project rifle complete:

    When I was a youngun, I always got down n dirty with a thrity-thirty. Ever since I've live here in Alaska, that same rifle I grew up shooting, has collected nothing but dust. Due to my fully-evolved preferences in rifles and cartridges, anything 30 caliber is kind of ho-hum, boring, and too common for my tastes. I sent the rifle off to JES for a rebore to 375 Winchester, outfitted it with a lyman peep, pacmyer fitted recoil pad (which really isn't fitted btw), sling swivel kit, refinished stock, and slicked up the action. I did most of the work some time ago, but didn't get it finished until a few weeks ago.

    For the unknowing, a fairly new model 94 in good working condition is plenty strong enough to be rebored to 375 Winchester. There are a few "torture test comparisons" done on the model 94, and it flat-out handled more purposeful abuse than a model 336. The loads I'm pushing don't even come close to 52,000 PSI. I believe they're more in the ball park of 42,000-44,000 PSI. Honestly, the model 94 will handle anything a Marlin 336 can handle and carries more strength in barrel threads, and the locking mechanism. If you've ever looked at a 336, it has this dinky little piece of metal that engages a flat spot in the bottom of the bolt, while the model 94 has a large chunk of metal that completely locks the entire rear of the bolt. It's not as strong as a model 92, but it can certainly handle the 375 Winchester. Sorry, but I'll remain a huge Winchester lever rifle fan for life. The levers aren't stationary on a model 94 like a 336 (which impedes comfortable carry at the balance point), and is a heck of a lot lighter than a 336 too. Sorry, I don't need a scope for a 200 yd. gun either.

    Now, after distinguishing the facts as to why I prefer the Winchester, and addressed the Marlin purists before they hi-jack the thread, let's have a "cartridge 101" about the 375 Winchester and how it compares to a similar and well respected cartridge. No, put down the reloading manuals, I'm not claiming that a 375 is similar to a 35 remington like they do (because it's not). The 375 winchester vs the 454 casull lever rifle:

    255 grain barnes original 375 wincester:

    Muzzle velocity:
    1977 fps. (my pet load) 100 yds: 1745 fps. 200 yds: 1522 fps

    muzzle energy (ft. lbs):
    2,250 ft. lbs. 100 yds: 1725 ft. lbs 200 yds: 1311 ft. lbs.

    454 casull/250 grain xpb:
    Muzzle velocity: from a 20" rifle barrel (from what I've read from reliable sources):
    1,950 fps Max 100 yds: 1,550 fps 200 yds: 1230fps

    muzzle enegry (ft. lbs.):
    2100 ft. lbs. 100 yds: 1380 ft. lbs. 200 yds: 840 ft. lbs.

    It's as powerful as a 454 casull lever rifle up close, but with less pressure. It substantially exceeds 454 power out at 100 yds, and at 200yds the difference is ever more obvious. A model 94/375 can't hold the same amount of cartridges, but this is a non-issue in my opinion, because my rifle holds six in the tubular magazine (why would i need more than that?). Yes the model 92 (and it's clones are relatively light), but my rifle weighs 5 lbs 14 oz. after the re-bore, that's plenty light enough if yah ask me. I'm not crapping on the model 92/454 casull toters, I'm simply trying to articulate the usefulness or a 375 Winchester compared to a widely popular and well respected cartridge, to those who know little about the 375 Winchester.

    Now that I've addressed the model 92 clone toters (based off what I've read in this forum), maybe, just mayyyyybe......we can shed some positive light on this cartridge/rifle combo?


    Load development:

    CCI Bench Rest Large Rifle primers, 255 grain Barnes Originals, Winchester Brass and Alliant Reloader 10x

    I chose Reloader 10x because it's slower burning than reloader 7 which is the preferred powder for the 375 Winchester. I theorized, that I'd run out of case capacity before I reached heavy pressures. Well, that's just what happened:

    I started with 6 bullets loaded at 33 grains(1790 fps), 34 grains(1840 fps), 35 grains(1878fps), 36 grains(1920), and 36.5(1977 fps) with a slightly full case. I could have probably fit more powder, but why? No need with decent velocity, and obviously mild pressures.

    Measurements and close observations ensued with every fired case. The primers didn't even flatten with any of these loads. It's reasonable to assume they are within 42,000-44,000 psi.

    Anyhow, just wanted to report some load development on a great cartridge that IMO belongs in a Model 94 (no "big bore 94 needed). If you have an old 30-30 Model 94 that's in good shape but is collecting dust, it only costs $225 to get it rebored. Opt for the 3-groove, it's supposed to give good velocity with less pressure. Stick with reloader 10x, it's slightly milder than the reloader 7/375 Win. loads. Won't say anymore about it, other than a picture here n there of a dead moose or bear in the hunting thread with this little rifle. Hope to see a few more decades of use with the ole 94:



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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Very cool....now go kill somethin' with it!

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    A 375 winchester lever gun was my aunts faithful woods companion for the last 30+ years. It stacked up quite a few moose and bou in the freezer over that time. They retired to the south last year and the rifle took up residence at my cousins place now. It was the one he shot his first moose with as well. Pretty cool little rifle in a neat cartridge there Mainer!

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    Thanks, mainer:

    I enjoyed reading your report.

    I'm gonna look into the 375 Winchester cartridge.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Nice write up and neat cartridge.

    I do have an old 336 knocking around....wonder if it's a candidate for a re-bore.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    I think its awsome! Would it work with a 1954 Model 94?

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    The .38-55 was one of the orginal cartridges for the 94. I was never sure why it didn't become more popular but I guess everyone wanted a .30 cal like the new army rifles of the time.

    I picked up one of the Win 94 Timber carbines in .450 Marlin some time back. As Mainer points out it is lighter and handier package than the Marlin and has an equivalent or better punch than the .45-70. I'll probably never hunt with it but it is a very handy rifle for bear protection and already has the peep sight installed. I'm really surprised they haven't brought the rifle back to life.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I'm not meaning to contribute to a thread hijack, but it still is offered in 450 marlin. Although at 6lbs n some change, I bet that thing is stout on the shoulder. It's at a price I certainly can't afford:
    http://www.winchesterguns.com/produc...03C&mid=534191

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    The .38-55 was one of the orginal cartridges for the 94. I was never sure why it didn't become more popular but I guess everyone wanted a .30 cal like the new army rifles of the time..
    The "new" thirty-thirty, while anemic in out jaded eyes was an absolutely hot rock in it's day. It would outrun the 38-55 by nearly 1000 fps and shot much flatter. The 30-30 feels like a veritable death ray when shot side by side.

    I've had the privilege to shoot an original Winchester 1894 chambered in 38-55 and it felt pretty puny despite the big case- I'd hate to face down something toothy with it!

    This .375 Win thing has got me thinking...
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    that's why I'm here.......thinkin outloud. I think when Winchester hot-rodded the 38-55 with such a similar cartridge, they were affraid that it would eventually end up into an old 38-55 black powder lever rifle. It was a smart move to drop down to a .375 caliber bullet. Actually.......it was a genius idea because most of the extra pressure would end up as blow-by had someone accidentally loaded one into an ancient 38-55 that usually has a .378-.380 bore. Stupid to do so, as it won't usually stabilize for crap, but at least no one that I've heard of...... got hurt.

    With that said, buffalo bore makes a hot-rodded 38-55 load (255 grain .377 caliber) that is safe for use in all newer model 94 or 336 rifles:

    Buffalo Bore loads their ammunition up to maximum SAAMI specifications, which delivers devastating performance on a wide range of game. Please note that this ammunition is not intended for older guns. It is made for modern firearms only, as some of the ammunition could damage older and weaker firearms. This heavy 38-55 ammunition is for use in any firearm chambered in 38-55 or 375 Winchester that is in normal working condition and designed to be used with smokeless powder. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer primed, reloadable brass cases.
    Technical Information

    Caliber: 38-55 WCF
    Bullet Weight: 255 Grains
    Bullet Style: Jacketed Flat Nose Bonded Core (377 Diameter)
    Case Type: Brass

    Ballistics Information:

    Muzzle Velocity: 1950 fps
    Muzzle Energy: 2044 ft. lbs.

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    You can do virtually anything with the 38-55 that you can with a 375 Win in the same gun. I had a 38-55 barrel made with a .375" groove diameter for an 94 (an old takeoff from a 375 H&H), in short rifle configuration. The 375 win is a good round, but I like the 38-55 so far as character goes.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malamute View Post
    You can do virtually anything with the 38-55 that you can with a 375 Win in the same gun. I had a 38-55 barrel made with a .375" groove diameter for an 94 (an old takeoff from a 375 H&H), in short rifle configuration. The 375 win is a good round, but I like the 38-55 so far as character goes.
    Well that doesn't make any sense! sounds like you have a "375" Winchester. Same thing I guess. 375 brass is thicker and slightly shorter. BUT a model 94 can only handle so much COAL so from what I understand, they are basically loaded to the same overall length. I guess in some odd way, you could call it a "375/38/55".

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Buffalo Bore shows their 300gr 454 at 2,000 fps so up close maybe a little more than the 375 but critters won't know the difference.Handloading for the 375 is the only way to go which holds true with so many under powered factory rounds. Did they restamp your barrel 375?
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member e45colt's Avatar
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    Mainer, I've got two original 375 Win Big Bores and love the 255gn Barnes original as well as the Beartooth 265gn FN. Great round in a awesome package!
    Carries like a charm...........handling is the forte' of the 94.
    Afflicted by condition human

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    My boss has a Big Bore 94 in .375 Win. I've tried to buy it and have him bequeath it to me. I think they'll probably bury it with him.
    Now what ?

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    Interesting cartridge Mainer - I am suprised you didn't consider a 358win rebore as I know you like that one also!
    Yes, we do expect some "fur" pics with this critter getter!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    Interesting cartridge Mainer - I am suprised you didn't consider a 358win rebore as I know you like that one also!
    Yes, we do expect some "fur" pics with this critter getter!
    I did do a re-bore/358 project. My buddy back home wants to do a long range shooting school back east. I'm gonna show up with that darned thing! Still waiting on Nosler to get this 200 grain accubond into production, so I can push it around 2,750-2,800 fps out of the 358 Win.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...age-99-project


    Amigo,

    Yes, he did do a re-stamp on the top of the barrel near the receiver. But on my 358, he simply stamped a "5" over the zero.

  18. #18
    DaggaBoyAK
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    Mainer, Interesting concept. Sounds like a fun project.
    Now money isn't everything, or anything. But I was wondering what the gun was worth in its original condition. And what it might be worth in its current, modified condition?
    And what will be the first alaskan game animal that you hope to shoot with it?

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    I had a Marlin .35 Rem turned into a .356 Win and it is just a smidge under the .358 Win with a 200 gr at 2550. I was told that the 94 should NOT be redone as a .356 Win due to pressure concerns....I have no first hand experience with hot loads in the 94 but I think I remember of hearing of problems with hotter loads in the standard 94. I just ran across a 94AE with a 16" barrel which would make a really cool gun in .375 or .356 Win. Must weigh right about 5 lbs....on par with my Rossi 45 LC...great to carry but would suck to shoot much.

    I think the Winchester in .450 Marlin is an angle eject which may be stronger than a normal .30-30 frame, but I am by no means an expert in 94 Winchester.

    I have a .450 Marlin in an 18" Katahdin barrel for my TC Encore and you are correct...it kicks like mule with 420 gr loads. But...#2 son killed a nice buck a few years ago and the deer simply sat down and died...never moved. Limbsaver pad helps but it still gives me a headache!!
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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Like the 356/358 Marlin did Winchester put the 307 in the 94ae, itís sort of a rimed 308 of just a tad less pressure, I canít remember for sure but I think just about 5000psi less. It was a rocket from a little 94 pushing 180g to something like 2600fps. Marlin prototyped a couple guns in 307 but never sold any, rumor mill was Marlin bolt lock up was insufficient to hold the near 308 pressure but I donít know.

    The early 94s were made with a more brittle ďWinchester Proof steelĒ alloy and if pushed too hard it could crack the recover at the barrel threads, bolt lock has never been a problem with the twin locking bars. I donít know exactly when the steel got better, I suspect 1965 or so but any angle eject will definitely have the better alloy.

    I know the post war/pre 64 94 30-30s can push a 180 to 2450fps with no ill effect for thousands of rounds, my crazy uncle has been doing it since the 50s. Iíd never recommend pushing any 30-30 that hard but the post war up 94s are a lot tougher than they get credit for because the older ones had older steel technology that got them all branded myth of being week guns.
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