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Alright that was my original plan so hopefully it works well. Does loading a "proof load" for it sound like a good idea? It's a .30-30 by the way.

No. A proof load sounds more like a bad idea. How does one go about making meaningful proof loads? I have some ideas how do do it but why unnecessarily abuse the rifle, even if firing it remotely with a string on the trigger? Just use some standard factory loads and observe the fired cases for backed out primes and case heads swollen more than .01".

Besides, the initial testing may not determine anything if the steel has been rendered soft (which I don't happen to think has happened based on the description of the heating). The receiver would stretch with cumulative firing and improper headspace would develop gradually. How gradually? Who knows?

Another way to tell if the '94 Whichester action has the potential for headspace issues is the bolt will rock minutely but discernibly when one pushes down on the rear of the bolt with his thumb while the action is closed.

I played with an ancient Model '94 .32-40 years ago that would back out primers and exhibit swollen case heads and would also stretch cases due to excessive headspace. Also once had 1965 vintage .30-30 94 carbine that had the same trouble to a lesser extent. With both rifles, pushing down on the rear of the closed bolt with the thumb would result in an audible noise and a small amount of movement could be detected.

A sound Winchester 94 will be tight and the bolt won't rock when the action is closed in the firing position. At least in my experience.

Sometimes it's best to have patience when trying to bring about a result while doing home gunsmithing. I speak from experience. Soaking the action in Kroil would have likely given the same results in a day or two without resorting to the more immediately gratifying but more radical application of what could have been excessive heat. Not fussing at you at all but just speaking from a "been there, done that" point of view. Heat, Dremel tools, and a "bigger hammer" have all brought me to defeat in my younger days.
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