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Thread: Winchester 94 in 35-30/30

  1. #1

    Default Winchester 94 in 35-30/30

    I am starting this thread about my Winchester 94 project in response to a request by mainer_in_AK on another thread.

    A few years ago I built my first custom rifle in .358 Norma and since then have become quite hooked on .35 cal firearms. The versatility you get with the the caliber is in my opinion unequaled in any other. You can go heavy or light with bullets from under 100grs. to over 300grs. The .357 pistol bullets are cheap to play with which is one of the most appealing aspects of .35's in my opinion.

    With all of this in my head, last year I started eyeballing the old Win 94 in the safe. This was an early 70's model in 30/30 that I had not sentimental attachment to at all. I picked it up in a deal for little money. It was in pretty good shape so I kept it. The 30/30, while a fine round, just didn't have much appeal for me. I had been seriously looking at getting a .35 Remington and I considered trading the gun off to get a Marlin in that caliber but the Marlins just felt clumsier in my hands, not as fit and trim as the 94. That's when I started reading about the .35-30/30.

    According to some, it is one of if not the oldest wildcats, but it fell out of favor when the .35 Rem came around. It nearly duplicates .35 Rem ballistics when compared to factory ammo (you can certainly load a .35 Rem hotter). So I did some checking around and found Jesse Occumpaugh in OR who did rebores and specialized in .35's and was a big fan of the .35-30/30. So after a call to set it up I sent him the rifle on a Thursday evening with a check for $225 and the following Friday I had the completed rifle back in my hands. (I'm not in AK by the way so I don't know how fast turn around would be for up there)

    I could not be happier with the results both in his work and in the performance of the cartridge. I haven't done a tremendous amount of load work with it yet. I mostly played with pistol bullets and cast loads at first on the low power end. In preparation for whitetail season this year I worked up one load with the 200 gr Core-lokt bullet and got it to right at 2000 fps and called it good for now. This is right in the neighborhood of .35 Remington power. The opportunity never presented itself to use it when I had that gun with me this year, but I have no doubt it will be a thumper. I have plans to try a few other powders as I think there may be a bit more preformance to be gained yet.

    So there you go mainer_in_AK. I hope that piques your interest. feel free to ask me any questions. I love talking about my .35's

  2. #2

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    That's excellent feedback, and I'm looking forward to more as time passes. I've seen a few bargains on 94's, and every time I do I think of your work. Bad influence, that's what you are!!!!

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    Very interesting! Could we have or could you PM me with Jesse Occumpaugh's contact information. Word gets out about him doing that kind of stuff for $225 and he could end up a very busy man.

    35-30-30....HMMMM... I like that idea! Just so happens that I have a dandy little 94 in 30-30 sitting in my gun cabinet that was made back in 1976( the year I graduated from highschool). I had thought about reboring it to 375 Winny...now ya got my wheels turning!

    Who makes dies and what could a fella expect to pay for a set of 35-30-30 dies?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    That's excellent feedback, and I'm looking forward to more as time passes. I've seen a few bargains on 94's, and every time I do I think of your work. Bad influence, that's what you are!!!!
    BrownBear: Bad infuence!!!! I think the guys a genius or I'm just missing the boat(which is probably the case). Necking the 30-30 up to 357 is such a novel idea yet I've never, ever considered it!

    Calling evandailey a bad influence is like the pot calling the kettle black. Do you have any idear how many times you have coaxed my thinking and how many times I've reacted on it? You and Smitty of the North are both instagators....and I likes ya for it!

    This here 35-30-30 influential read is a good en too and makes me think "here I go again" !!!!

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    There was a fellow who lived up here years ago, by the name of Joe Chung. He was a real gun crank, who did a lot of shooting, and loved to hunt. One of his favourite rifles was a 35 on a blown out 30-30 case. It was kind of an Ackley Improved, but with the shoulder moved quite a bit ahead, as well the neck opened up to 358. I can't remember, but I think the shorter neck was a tad less than one caliber.

    The cartridge headspaced on the rim, so he had no problems fireforming ammo, except the occasional split shoulder. He used the 220 gr Speer flat nose for everything.

    Don't know if he is on this forum or not, but if he is he could give us his take on the 35- 30/30 Imp.

    Ted

  6. #6

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    All of Jesse's contact info can be found on his website www.35caliber.com

    Dies are availble off the shelf from www.ch4d.com for $78. They are a little rougher than say Reddings but they are perfectly serviceable.

    There IS an "improved" version of this cartridge and they have dies for that as well. However, from everything I have read the performance gain is minimal and the 40 degree shoulder creates issues feeding in a 94. I considered it but decided to go with the regular version and am glad I did.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    All of Jesse's contact info can be found on his website www.35caliber.com

    Dies are availble off the shelf from www.ch4d.com for $78. They are a little rougher than say Reddings but they are perfectly serviceable.

    There IS an "improved" version of this cartridge and they have dies for that as well. However, from everything I have read the performance gain is minimal and the 40 degree shoulder creates issues feeding in a 94. I considered it but decided to go with the regular version and am glad I did.
    Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    Dies are availble off the shelf from www.ch4d.com for $78. They are a little rougher than say Reddings but they are perfectly serviceable.
    They sure are. I ordered a set of 9.5 Mannlicher-Schoenauer dies, and they have loaded plenty of ammo without a hitch. Came with a tapered expander to neck up 8X57 brass in one pass.

    Ted

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner Ted View Post
    Came with a tapered expander to neck up 8X57 brass in one pass.

    Ted
    Yes, mine also has a tapered expander and will bump up 30/30 brass to .35 in one pass no problem.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    BrownBear: Bad infuence!!!! I think the guys a genius or I'm just missing the boat(which is probably the case). Necking the 30-30 up to 357 is such a novel idea yet I've never, ever considered it!

    Calling evandailey a bad influence is like the pot calling the kettle black. Do you have any idear how many times you have coaxed my thinking and how many times I've reacted on it? You and Smitty of the North are both instagators....and I likes ya for it!

    This here 35-30-30 influential read is a good en too and makes me think "here I go again" !!!!

    Ah geez, busted again!

    I had considered having a Winnie or Marlin rebored/rebarreled to 357 Herret, but just never got around to it. I couldn't be sure the slighlty shorter case would feed as well, and I got sidetracked onto something else. This one makes so much more sense and wouldn't require a Herret's case prep work. I'm a 35 caliber fan in the first place, so this would tuck right into the fold. It's getting to be a PITA to find 35 Rem brass at times, but I've still got around half a case of brand new 30-30 brass.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    All of Jesse's contact info can be found on his website www.35caliber.com

    Dies are availble off the shelf from www.ch4d.com for $78. They are a little rougher than say Reddings but they are perfectly serviceable. There IS an "improved" version of this cartridge and they have dies for that as well. However, from everything I have read the performance gain is minimal and the 40 degree shoulder creates issues feeding in a 94. I considered it but decided to go with the regular version and am glad I did.
    Evan,
    Thank you very much for posting this information on you 35-30. I think it's a wonderful cartridge and I just may go this route as opposed to the 375 win for the sole purpose of those 220 grain speer hot-cor flat points. I'm a huge fan of speer bullets and wouldn't be able to use speer if I went the 375 route. They only offer a semi-spitzer in 375 (not for tubular magazine). I'm certain you could push the 220 grainer about 2100fps. (safely). I too am a big fan of the 35's and it just makes good sense.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I'm certain you could push the 220 grainer about 2100fps. (safely).
    I've whacked a fair bit of deer with the 220 at 2200-2250 fps from 358 Winchesters, and it surely does well at that velocity. I made a couple of longish shots (150-200 yards) with it, and even at that lower velocity it still expanded beautifully and held together well. I'm guessing that worst case if you only got 2000 fps from a 35/30-30, it would still be a very credible game gun.

  13. #13

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    The only "issue" I have had with the cartridge is simply trying to figure out where I stand pressure wise with the lack of published load data. If this was a bolt action rifle i wouldn't be concerned at all and would just be conscious of normal pressure signs. But in this lever rifle I know that the rifle is the weak link in the pressure dept. I was really in the dark until one of the very knowledgable guys on another forum gave me some formulas to use to extrapolate both 30-30 and 35 rem data to determine feasible pressure levels. I feel better about experimenting now and look forward to spending some time developing loads. If only available time and money were in proportion with eagerness and options!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Ah geez, busted again!

    I had considered having a Winnie or Marlin rebored/rebarreled to 357 Herret, but just never got around to it. I couldn't be sure the slighlty shorter case would feed as well, and I got sidetracked onto something else. This one makes so much more sense and wouldn't require a Herret's case prep work. I'm a 35 caliber fan in the first place, so this would tuck right into the fold. It's getting to be a PITA to find 35 Rem brass at times, but I've still got around half a case of brand new 30-30 brass.
    One option is the 357 Herret long neck, just have the chamber reamed with the herret reamer, then the smith goes back with a necker/throater to allow the use of fl cases. Use std herret dies, but don't trim the cases.

    I'm a 35 nut, and one of these days I'd like a 35/30 of some sort. I have a 200 gr wfn mold, and it would be a dandy bullet at about 2200 fps. I've launched that bullet 2000 fps from a 10" herret, so no problem getting 2200 from a longer barrel and full size 30-30 case.

    Then again I'd also like a 357 maximum lever gun, no brass forming, and no need for custom dies.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I'm a 35 nut, and one of these days I'd like a 35/30 of some sort. I have a 200 gr wfn mold, and it would be a dandy bullet at about 2200 fps. I've launched that bullet 2000 fps from a 10" herret, so no problem getting 2200 from a longer barrel and full size 30-30 case.
    I would think that it would depend on the action you had the cartridge in as to how "no problem" 2200 fps would be with a 200 gr. bullet. In the load development I did with the 200 gr Core-lokt in the model 94, I got to 2000 fps without TOO much trouble but the first two powders I tried wouldn't get it there without being in a pressure zone I felt was pushing it for the old Winchester. I think there is another 100 fps or so to be had with a couple different powders but I haven't had a chance to try them yet. I think 2100-2150 fps is going to be tops in my rifle with 200 grainers and around 2000 fps with 220's. We'll see. I try to remind myself not to get too caught up in chasing velocity with this thing. I am fairly confident the critters will be just as dead from 2000 fps as they would be at 2200.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    I would think that it would depend on the action you had the cartridge in as to how "no problem" 2200 fps would be with a 200 gr. bullet. In the load development I did with the 200 gr Core-lokt in the model 94, I got to 2000 fps without TOO much trouble but the first two powders I tried wouldn't get it there without being in a pressure zone I felt was pushing it for the old Winchester. I think there is another 100 fps or so to be had with a couple different powders but I haven't had a chance to try them yet. I think 2100-2150 fps is going to be tops in my rifle with 200 grainers and around 2000 fps with 220's. We'll see. I try to remind myself not to get too caught up in chasing velocity with this thing. I am fairly confident the critters will be just as dead from 2000 fps as they would be at 2200.
    When you enlarge the bore size it should reduce peak pressures with the same charge and bullet weight. Like what happens when you go from 308win to 358win.

    As to action strength that old model 94 action is not a weakling by any means. My crazy uncle thinks they are 30-06 and has been loading them accordingly to his belief for 50 years. He stuffs them to the brim with 4895, 39.5g if I remember, way past any book max I have found. Spooks the snot out of me but heís never had an issue and he shoots more than anyone else I have ever met so for the 94 to take his abuse itís strong. Also I believe the 307win (a rimed 308win case with a 300 Savage performance) was built on the grand old model 94 action.
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