A bit of History
The rifle is a Winchester Model 94 with a long half octagon barrel that was manufactured in 1907. The caliber is Thirty-two Winchester Special. For those of you familiar with the Thirty-thirty, it is essentially the same cartridge case except that it is thirty-two caliber instead of Thirty. The .32 W. Spl. was the first smokeless powder cartridge developed.
As a young boy this is the first center-fire rifle I ever fired and successfully hunted with. Even though it always maintained a place on my Grandfathers gunrack, it was a firearm I grew up with and longed to shoot many years before I was deemed mature enough to do so. Today the rifle just doesn't seem as big, long and heavy as it did to a twelve year old boy all those years ago.
From the Firing Line
Arriving at the range feeling more than just a bit sentimental I uncased the rifle and a twenty round box of ammunition. Starting out at 25 yards I guestimated where to set the adjustment on the Lyman tang peep sight. Firing three rounds I was amazed that this firearm could still shoot that well. All three shoots produced one ragged hole that could be covered with a nickel. Being that it was only hitting a tad high and a bit to the left I decided to try it out on a one hundred yard target. Shooting four rounds the group opened up a bit and shot a little more to the left. This was to be expected and I did not make any further sight adjustments. I do not plan on hunting with this firearm this season anyway. If I were I would have taken more ammunition and spent more time sighting it in. Even so it shot a group that measured less two inches. Not bad for a rifle that will soon be celebrating it's one hundredth birthday.
Accompanying me to the range were my oldest son and his father-in-law. They shot the old rifle as well. When my son shot the rifle, five generations of this family have now handled and fired this gun. I have no idea how many meals this rifle has put on the table, but I do know it has been in the family since before the Great Depression. That said I know that it has contributed to the survival and sustanance of my family through some desperately hard times.
It truely is a family hierloom. It is not one that needs to be cleaned and put away, only to be brought out just for conversation, infrequent target shooting or reminicing over. I fully intend to take this rifle to the field and hunt with it again. I also hope that some of my Grandchildren are equally fortunate enough to shoot and hunt with this rifle long after in passes it's century birthmark.