The Winchester 1894 Take-down is an Exercise in Reminiscing of Times When Men Were Men
Winchester’s reputation in the firearms field spans back to 1866 in New Haven, Connecticut and even before this as New Haven Arms which produced the famous 1860 lever action in .44 Henry rimfire. Winchester has had a long history of making lever action rifles and even a lever action shotgun. The shotgun was the Winchester 1887 produced during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This model was produced in 10 and 12 gauge. Currently, Winchester does not produce this shotgun. I have my fingers crossed. Reproductions of this lever action shotgun are made overseas and imported under different brand names.
Speaking of Winchester shotguns, I strongly believe the 1897 pump 12 gauge in a take-down model with an 18-inch barrel would be a winner. Just saying Winchester/Browning, the cowboy shooters would snap them up. Currently they are made in…..dare I say……yes I dare…China. A cowboy shooting a Chinese’s shotgun?
Winchester sent me for test and evaluation their 1894 Trails End Take-down in 38-55 Winchester. I was intrigued by one of the three calibers offered. The1894 Trails End Take-down also is chambered in the 30-30 Winchester and the 450 Marlin. In particular I liked the concept of the 38-55 caliber. The Winchester 38-55 cartridge is actually a .3775 bullet which was introduced in 1876 by Ballard. It was used by Marlin in their single shot target and hunting rifles. Marlin later offered this caliber in their own 1893 lever action rifle.
The 1894 Trails End Take-down sports John M. Browning’s original take-down design. I found my T&E sample was easily taken apart. Once apart, the 1894 Trails End Take-down can be stored in a much smaller custom gun-case, not included. The barrel assembly and stock-receiver can be easily placed into front seat-cover pockets of your Jimmy pickup or in your backpack. I am sure you will come up with a neat way to carry this rifle in the take-down configuration. However, in order to take down the 1894 Trails End you will have to remove all cartridges from this firearm. Once you snap it back together it can be reloaded fairly quickly. Watch the YouTube video of me taking the 1894 Trails End apart for the first time. Brand new it was slightly tight which I liked. When I put to the two parts back together it went together fitting tight. Tight is better than loose.
For the purpose of hunting, the 1894 Trails End Take-down is perfect. The 38-55 caliber is perfect for deer or like size game in brush country. For the fast-moving wild pigs on the Double JM Ranch in Oklahoma I would choose this lever-action model in the bad-boy 450 Marlin. The 450 Marlin is somewhat stouter than the 30-30 or 38-55 Winchester round. For this reason, Winchester thoughtfully makes the 450 Marlin 1894 Trails End Take-down with a ported barrel and a Pachmayr “Decelerator” recoil pad to lessen the felt recoil. I love this idea and almost chose the Marlin 450 to T&E. But I am setting my sights on a more historic caliber in the Winchester lever-action line.
There are special features included to enhance the use of the Winchester 1894 take-down. The hammer is drilled and tapped for a knurled hammer spur extension which is included. This aids in the cocking of the hammer when a scope is mounted. The Marbel Arms front sight and adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight are fantastic. The Marbel Arms’ sights are some of my favorite. A steel loading gate was added for smoother loading. An articulated cartridge stop improves feeding reliability without damaging cartridges. The Winchester 1894 Take-down is even drilled and tapped for scope mounts which lets you easily attach your favorite optics.
On the Range
I took the Winchester 1894 Take-Down to the Oklahoma City Gun Club for my T&E. I had planned to take this firearm to Kansas to shoot in the woods on my Uncle’s farm. However, he and my Aunt have a friend who bow-hunts this area so I did not want to excite the big white tail deer there.
Myself and Gridley decided to shoot the 38-55 Winchester 1894 Take-Down from fifty yards. We did shoot at closer ranges for testing the functionality of the action. You can see a portion of the shooting on the YouTube link in this article. First thing we noticed was the Winchester 1894 Take-Down functioned smoothly in loading and in chambering rounds into the breech. I felt this rifle functioned well straight out of the box with no lube added. I do this to see how well the firearm works for the first 20 rounds. After placing some lube on the action, I found very little difference in the action or take-down of the total firearm. Nice and tight.
When shooting the Winchester 1894 Take-Down we notice some mild recoil. The 255-gr. bullet did some pushback which reminded me of the Winchester 30-30 in the 170-gr. bullet. All Winchester 38-55 rounds fired worked flawlessly. Without adjusting the windage while free standing in loose gravel from 50 yards, the rifle fired about an inch to the right. I would have taken this rifle to the bench range if it would have not been for the heavy use by hunters getting ready for deer season in Oklahoma. For my aging eyes the fine buckhorn sights were a little blurry. I plan on getting some shooting glasses with properly corrected lenses to alleviate this problem. I grew up with iron sights and I love my lever-actions which means shooting glasses for me. Some of the shots struck a little low and also to the right. Gridley being a decent shot, also shot in the same area. If I was to buy and keep this fantastic lever-action, I would have moved the rear sight slightly to the left. This can be done with a proper punch, lite hammer and steady hand.
I was happy I could still see the iron sights to shoot two water bottles. There is no doubt I could take down a deer or even an elk out to 100 to 150-yards. The Winchester 38-55 in the 255-gr. bullet drops off greatly at around 200 yards. If one was to reload a lighter bullet you might reach out to the 200-yard distance. A quick check on the Internet found not such offering. As always, be careful and stay within factory recommended limits if you choose to reload the 38-55 round.
The Winchester 38-55 Super-X ammo is an excellent medium game round. For those things with fur, fangs and claws which wonder the back country, the 38-55 Winchester in 255 gr. is lethal to take them all down. A big grizzly charging you at 35 mph could be stopped with a head shot. You might be a little damp in the BVD’s but it can be done. If you are going to be in Griz country and want to stay with the Winchester lever-action, as I would, Winchester Model 94 Trails End Take-down in 450 Marlin or the Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Medicine.” 1895 Winchester lever-action in 405 Winchester should be your pick.
The Winchester 38-55 Super-X Ammo has an alloyed lead core which increases retained weight for deeper penetration into that record elk. The Super-X has a contoured jacket projectile which gives maximum expansion performance. The Power-Point assures quick and massive knock-down ability. I love the Winchester brand of ammo and firearms.
In shooting the Winchester Model 94 Trails End Take-down in 38-55 Winchester, I found myself enjoying the smoothness and reliability of this firearm. As I said, I love lever-actions rifles and I love this Winchester lever-action rifle. If I had not spent my piggy-bank money on the 1886 Winchester in 45-70, I would have purchased this rifle. The Winchester Model 1894 Trails End Take-down in 38-55 Winchester is a great rifle and will likely become a modern-day collector. If you are a lever-action lover like me, or you need a good open sight hard hitting rifle for brush country, The Winchester Model 1894 Trails End Take-down in 38-55 Winchester is your firearm. Check out the links below and my YouTube video. Follow us on YouTube.
Model 94 Trails End Take-down Specs
- Item Number: 534191114
- Caliber: 38-55 Winchester
- Barrel Length: 20 inches
- Overall Length: 38 inches
- Length of Pull: 13.5 inches
- Drop at Comb: 1.25 inches (vertical offset between the top of the barrels (rib) and the comb of the butt-stock.
- Weight: 6 pounds, 12 ounces
- Magazine Capacity: 6
- Twist Rate: 12 inches
- Barrel Finish: Brushed Polish
- Stock Finish: Satin
- Wood Grade: Grade I
- Receiver Finish: Brushed Polish
- Chamber Finish: Polished
- Barrel Material: Steel
- Stock Material: Black Walnut
- Recoil Pad: Polymer
- Pistol Grip Cap: None
- Checkering: None
- Sling Swivel Studs: None
- Receiver Material: Steel
- Trigger Finish: Brushed Polish
- Bolt Slide Finish: Polished Blued
- Magazine Type: Full-Length Tube
- Trigger Material: Steel
- Trigger Guard Material: Steel
- Trigger Guard Engraving: None
- Drilled and Tapped for Scope: Yes
Winchester Repeating Arms
Winchester 1894 Trails End Take-Down
Winchester 38-55 Super-X 255 grain