Winchester Model 1895

This is a discussion on Winchester Model 1895 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I just inherited a mint condition early model 1895 Winchester (1910 or around that time manufactured). Does anyone know if I can shoot modern 30-06 ...

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    Ex Member Array pscipio03's Avatar
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    Winchester Model 1895

    I just inherited a mint condition early model 1895 Winchester (1910 or around that time manufactured).
    Does anyone know if I can shoot modern 30-06 ammo out of this? It says on the barrel that it's made specifically for smokeless cartridges, but I want to make sure that this older rifle can handle the pressures of today's ammo.
    Thanks!

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    As long as you stay away from anything that says Superformance, Lite mag, or any thing else that denotes more power. you should be fine with standard hunting rounds. They are all designed around standard SAMMI pressures. DR

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    Lucky you. The originals are worth a small fortune.
    Shoot it and cherish it.
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    Other than a potential headspace issue which could potentially be found any used .30-06 rifle, your Model 1895 should be good to go with standard factory ammunition of all types. I too would not be interested in using the rifle with any of the so-called enhanced performance .30-06 loadings or any nuclear powered handloads. The rifle would basically handle them with safety but at the expense of unnecessary added strain on the action. Why do that to a scarce rifle? A gunsmith could easily run a headspace check on it for you for cheap if you're concerned. If I had acquired it I'd have it out to the range with some mild handloads initially and then with some factory loads or factory equivalent handloads. If no primers backed out or the case heads didn't expand over .003" I'd call it good. I'd be tickled too!

    I have a George Madis "The Winchester Book" handy if you would like to check the serial number against his year chart. You could post the serial number with XXs substituted for the last two digits if you like. The .30-06 chambered Model 1895 is especially popular and sometimes worth a premium to collectors if in good condition. Not so many were actually produced in .30-06.

    Strangely enough the bulk of the Model 1895 production (by a huge margin) was chambered for the 7.62X54R for the Russians and was produced in the Winchester musket configuration, originally provided with Winchester-produced bayonet to Russia during the turbulent times leading up to Russian Revolution. The Russian contract '95 even had stripper clip guides for speedy reloading. This was uniquely the only Winchester lever-action model to have been produced primarily in musket configuration. Surviving examples of this huge production are very scarce and most found are in extremely poor condition. Almost 300,000 were produced for Czarist Russia and all seemed to have gone down a black hole of oblivion. Nobody has really ever traced what became of them. Perhaps they were all scrapped and sent to the smelters to provide steel for the Soviet weapons of World War II. Wouldn't it be great if some surplus house ran onto a large cache of them found in some forgotten depot warehouse or armory in Russia or Eastern Europe.

    I wouldn't feel ill-armed at all with a Winchester Model 1895 Russian contract musket in good mechanical condition and a fist full of 7.62 Russian on stripper clips, even in this day and age. A rapid rate of accurate long range fire could be maintained with such a combination. It'd whip the pants off of the Mosin Nagant for rate of fire. Upon further consideration it'd also whip the pants off of such worth bolt action designs as the 98 Mauser, SMLE, and my favorite the 1903 Springfield. It's fast and slick and when fed from stripper clips would be speedy indeed.

    For some reason the Winchester Model 1895 "trips my trigger" even more than the other famous and classic Winchester lever-action models and I really like all of 'em. The old '95 is a bit different with its box magazine. It's another excellent John Browning design and a pretty strong old action. It's almost humorous to open the action as the rifle appears to spill its guts out. Very clever and effective design though. One may use pointed bullets in it and it chambered some really respectable high-powered rifle cartridges. I've owned two, a .30-40 and a .405 and have been around a few more including a .30-06. I still have the .405 which was manufactured the first year the .405 was introduced in 1904.

    We love photographs here and a Winchester Model 1895 .30-06 hasn't been seen on the Forum in a long time, if ever.
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    Ex Member Array pscipio03's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I'm going to have a gunsmith check the headspacing on it. Got a closer look-- think it may be a bit newer than I had thought. The serial number is 401,3XX, with the letter "B" stamped below the serial number. When I had first glanced, I thought it was 40,13X. It is the carbine model with the steel buttplate and has the bayonet lug on the front.
    Non-checkered stock and has the channel cut on the front grips.
    I appreciate any info you can give BMC.
    I don't know if it will replace my 700 for hunting, that steel buttplate just screams Advil.

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    Re: Winchester Model 1895

    Man, I was hoping to see pictures...



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    Quote Originally Posted by pscipio03 View Post
    Thanks everyone. I'm going to have a gunsmith check the headspacing on it. Got a closer look-- think it may be a bit newer than I had thought. The serial number is 401,3XX, with the letter "B" stamped below the serial number. When I had first glanced, I thought it was 40,13X. It is the carbine model with the steel buttplate and has the bayonet lug on the front.
    Non-checkered stock and has the channel cut on the front grips.
    I appreciate any info you can give BMC.
    I don't know if it will replace my 700 for hunting, that steel buttplate just screams Advil.
    I forgot what Winchester suffixes like the "B" stood for. Used to know. The serial number indicates a 1921 production date.

    With that particular fore end you describe, it sounds like a typical Model '95 carbine. Probably has a flat "carbine" butt plate too. The combination of .30-06 caliber, the short, lighter barrel of the carbine length rifle, and that flat steel butt plate means the thing will "cozy right up to you" when you touch off a round. Don't let that scare you off though and do shoot the grand old rifle. It'll perform well and with good accuracy at 100 yards. It will have quite a good trigger, much better than most lever-action rifles possess today. Just be certain to place that butt tight against your shoulder and properly within the "pocket" that forms on the front of your shoulder when you shoot the rifle and you'll do fine and will want to come back for more. Don't place it so low that it is against your upper fore arm, nor on the shoulder joint itself, nor on the collar bone. You'll be sorry. It won't be any worse on you than the average Mosin Nagant carbine such as the M37 or M44.

    It won't be as bad as the .405 chambered Model 1895 is. It is one of the few guns I've ever fired which well lives up to its recoil reputation. A couple of five-shot groups, shot in shirt sleeves from off the bench rest and one feels he's been in a bad auto accident, the kind that leaves one stunned and stumbling around in the ditch beside the road. Your .30-06 has a flat, relatively wide steel butt plate. The .405 rifle typically came with the adequate-by-19th-century-black-powder-cartridge-standards thin curved steel butt plate.

    There couldn't have been a rifle design that is poorer for shooter-sustained recoil. Take a relatively light 8 1/2 lb. rifle, place a stock on it that requires "crawling the stock" in order to shoot the rifle because it far too short in its factory configuration, has far too much drop, and has a wickedly thin and excessively curved steel butt plate fitted. Chamber it for a .40 cartridge that can fling a 300 grain bullet to within 150-250 fps of the factory 300 grain bullet figures for the .375 H&H Magnum and one has a rifle that rattles the fillings in one's teeth. I have a Winchester Model 70 .375 H&H Magnum bolt-action rifle and a 10 gauge magnum shotgun and either is more pleasant than the .405 Winchester Model 1895 is.


    Nonetheless, I've spent a lot of fun time behind this rifle, developing various handloads and using it on a Texas whitetail deer and a coyote on an occasion. It's underwhelming on such critters as it's simply too much gun. The small buck just sagged to the ground as if he had been a puppet whose strings had been clipped. He was standing at the edge of a very long freshly plowed field. Upon shooting, a geyser of dirt was seen to erupt where the 300 grain bullet struck about 400 yards behind the buck which was standing broadside about 90 yards out. There's just not enough deer to make effective use of the cartridge thought it was undeniably effective. The coyote took a .405 bullet running dead away and was raked stern to stem but with less damage than would be delivered by a rifle from .220 Swift to .30-06 in performance characteristics.
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    Ex Member Array pscipio03's Avatar
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    1.jpg2.jpg

    Sorry for the lighting-- was in the mancave.

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    Ex Member Array pscipio03's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=bmcgilvray;2469675]I forgot what Winchester suffixes like the "B" stood for. Used to know. The serial number indicates a 1921 production date.

    Now that is a pretty gun. Sports model?

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    Hi pscipio. It's the standard, solid-framed rifle. The stock is straight-grained walnut. Take-down rifles with the same barrel length were slightly less popular in the heavy calibers. I think they were known for becoming loose at the joint. Reference works don't indicate that the .35 Winchester and .405 Winchester ever came with anything other than the standard 24-inch round barrel. No carbines. Not too long into production of the heavy caliber Model '95s, the "shotgun style" butt plate, or even optional recoil pads, became popular. It's easy to see why. Winchester was a premium firearms manufacturer in that era and their standard guns were pretty high-grade by today's standards as far as fit and finish goes. A special order rifle with fancy wood or other embellishments is really something to see. Anything could be ordered custom ordered directly from the factory, through a Winchester authorized dealer, or the Winchester store so one supposes it could be possible to discover a Model 95 .405 saddle-ring-carbine. It'd be an oddity and it'd also be brutal to shoot.
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    AS Bryan pointed out, your 1895 is plenty capable of handling modern .30-06 ammo. You are one lucky fella to inherit such a treasure!

    Bryan's synopsis of the 1895 in .405 Win should serve to illustrate just how strong the 1895 action is... as far as I know, the .405 Win is the most powerful load ever chambered in a production lever gun. One of my favorite historical figures - Teddy Roosevelt - used the 1895 in .405 on his last Aftrican safari. That's him in the center of the attached photo.

    I have a fair library of out-of-print books on firearms and hunting, and one from 1944 goes on about how the modern lever guns such as the 1895 and the Savage 99 are the clear future of American sporting arms. The author goes on about how those strong lever actions will clearly replace the "clumsy" bolt-action rifles, especially after the soldiers who trained on autoloading rifles come home from the war!

    You've got a real keeper there. Keep us posted on how well she shoots!
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    Ex Member Array pscipio03's Avatar
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    Makes you wonder if people were tougher, or just plain didn't know any better back then. Or, you just carried it hoping that you'd never have to fire it.
    Along with the Model 95, I was also fortunate enough to get a model 94 30-30 later model (thinking the 60's or so). When I first looked at it all I could think was, 'Crap, that barrel is way too short to be legal'. Lucky enough for me, it's a trapper model with a 16" barrel. I can reach out with that thing almost as well as I can my 700-- and the 700 has a Zeiss mounted on it.
    Definitely going to get my 95 measured to make sure all is on the up and up. Will probably try it out at the range with a recommended low grain round first. I haven't gotten into hand loading my 30-06 just yet, as I really only shoot 6 to 8 a year. The first 5 to make sure my scope is still good, then hopefully only one or two more to take down Bambi.
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    OOOooo...that is pretty! It is in very nice condition and that's not a common configuration. You don't have the carbine version but rather the even more uncommon N.R.A. musket. Madis uses the term "one of the rarest" in describing this variant of the Model 1895 rifle. These were available in .30-40 and .30-06. The Madis book says the .30-06 chambered N.R.A. muskets were produced between 1907 and 1926. The N.R.A. musket was made to National Rifle Association specifications in order to be authorized for use in the NRA sanctioned target military matches of the day as "any military arm."

    The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming is a repository for Winchester records and they can provide research and a letter. Your rifle bears every characteristic feature of the photograph of a .30-06 chambered Model '95 N.R.A. musket as shown in this Madis book and doesn't have some features that are characteristic of the standard musket model. You really ought to take some detailed photos of that Winchester and send them to a Winchester authority. If you take more photos, please post them here as well.

    To the best that can be ascertained in the photos, your rifle bears a large measure of its original finish and is in especially fine condition. Your rifle is worth a pretty penny, as in thousands of dollars!

    That's a really exciting version of a Winchester Model 1895 to acquire!

    Despite its rarity I'd have to shoot it a bit if I had it. Probably a good thing I don't have it.

    Oh, by the way. That butt plate configuration would be considered that "shotgun" style as mentioned in the post above rather than the carbine style. It'd be the most comfortable non-padded butt to shoot. What a rifle!
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    Ex Member Array pscipio03's Avatar
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    Wow, I really appreciate that info!
    Will definitely reach out to Winchester and take some much better photos. I'm with you-- regardless of the value, it was made to be shot, and that's what it will do.
    Thanks again, bmc!

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    Wow, very sweet!

    It's value I would guess to be multiple thousands of greenbacks to a Winchester collector, yours is in very nice condition.
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