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Thread: Winchester 1892 - can't hit the side of a barn

  1. #1
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    Winchester 1892 - can't hit the side of a barn

    I've picked up a lever action Winchester 1892 in 44-40 that is in great condition apart from being that inaccurate that it's not funny.

    At 25 meters, it won't hit a meter by meter target.
    There's no consistancy just bullets going everywhere.

    It's been in the family at least 3 generations and I'm keen to get it working again.

    Given its age, (produced somewhere between 1892 and 1945), can these be rebarrelled , or will it remain a historical curiosity?

  2. #2
    Member Max Headroom's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if the barrel needs a good clean. Were you using factory ammo?

  3. #3
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    Shooting jacketed closed-base bullets through a worn barrel?

    You maybe want soft lead bullets which obturate better.
    Maca49 likes this.

  4. #4
    Member Max Headroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cordite View Post
    You maybe want soft lead bullets which obturate better.
    Explain?

  5. #5
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    Have been using factory bullets of unknown age or make, they came with the rifle when my father was given it back in the late 50s.

    Probably hasn't been cleaned in the last 60 years, but probably only had a couple of dozen rounds through it as my father prefers duck shooting.

    Task one, clean it

  6. #6
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    Try slugging the barrel?

    And adjusting the iron sights?

    A recrown would be a good idea at some point

  7. #7
    Member norsk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Headroom View Post
    Explain?
    Soft lead bullets can expand into the bore because of the pressure acting behind them.Its also known as "setting up",some early Bullet types had a hollow base to facilitate obturation.However those usually only obturated to the diameter of the cartridge neck and part of the chamber.

    A gently pressure curve such as what is developed using Black powder is considered better for "setting up" than a steep pressure curve such as smokeless produces.

    I would start by cleaning the bore,then trying some different loads.What looks like a very worn bore in the old guns can shoot surprisingly well with lead bullets.Especially those cast and sized to the correct ,(worn) bore diameter.
    "Sixty percent of the time,it works every time"

  8. #8
    Member Marty Henry's Avatar
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    44 40 began life as a lead bulleted pistol round. Do as norsk has says clean it is step 1. I would then fire one of those bullets into the dirt and recover it to see if theres rifling engagement. If you dont cast or know someone who does track down the local cowboy action club someone there will be able to help. Dont worry about a pitted bore, I have a snider carbine with a bore that looks like the surface of the moon but it shoots within 18 inch at 100 yards which is pretty ok for a snider.
    Sideshow likes this.

  9. #9
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    just looked on trademe and there is set of old school LEE loader dies with bits n bobs to go with it...price is up there but would be well worth it long term.
    check for loose bits on rifle....is forestock doing something really daft,and are projectiles hitting end on or keyholing??? does crown/muzzle look off shape???eg has some fool in the past pulled cleaning cord over on edge and worn a groove to stuff crown???
    perservere with it as they are a neat rifle .
    Sideshow likes this.

  10. #10
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    I would also try some ammunition that is less than 60 years old. It is likely that the ammo has degraded more over that time than the rifle has.

  11. #11
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    @Manchester, have you got any photos of the fine old gun?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Henry View Post
    44 40 began life as a lead bulleted pistol round. Do as norsk has says clean it is step 1. I would then fire one of those bullets into the dirt and recover it to see if theres rifling engagement. If you dont cast or know someone who does track down the local cowboy action club someone there will be able to help. Dont worry about a pitted bore, I have a snider carbine with a bore that looks like the surface of the moon but it shoots within 18 inch at 100 yards which is pretty ok for a snider.
    Really? I thought it was a rifle round first, (Pedantic I know)

  13. #13
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    The old 92's had a fairly thin barrel and a drop of water, snow, or mud in the muzzle could cause a bulge right at the muzzle which is very hard to see. If the barrel looks good to the eye from the muzzle but still shoots all over the county then that is the probable cause. The muzzle can be shortened and recrowned (and the mag shortened accordingly) by any competent gunsmith.

  14. #14
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    @gundoc what sort of time frame/cost to do a recrown and possibly a rethread on a 22 lever?
    Bit more of a PITA to set up due to the action?
    Might need some dovetails cut too
    Thoughts?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by csmiffy View Post
    @gundoc what sort of time frame/cost to do a recrown and possibly a rethread on a 22 lever?
    Bit more of a PITA to set up due to the action?
    Might need some dovetails cut too
    Thoughts?
    There is no need to set it up in a lathe. They can be cut, squared, and crowned by hand with perfect results. Go and see my old apprentice, Zach at North Canterbury Gunsmithing in Flaxton, and he will be able to sort you out.
    Sideshow and Micky Duck like this.

 

 

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