I sent my old Winchester Model ’94 off to a gunsmith to replace the stock a while ago. I finally got it back, but I hadn’t had a chance to take it out and refamiliarize myself with how it shoots until this weekend.
I’d like to take it out to the field and maybe take advantage of the tail end of the whitetail deer season, but I didn’t want to do that without making sure the old iron sights are still on. I’ve been hoping to jump a jackrabbit on my way home from work each night, but there don’t seem to be any jacks out there that are eager to help me check the accuracy of that old lever action.
So Saturday, while the kids were helping a nearby rancher get some chores done, and my wife was in town doing a 5K run, I hauled the Model ’94 out to the backyard shooting range. We’ve had a bit of snow lately, and the pasture is still wet from the moisture, so I thought about taking a jar of Tannerite out there with me to put an exclamation point on any solid hits I made. But I decided to go old-school, since I was shooting a 100-year-old rifle.
I propped up a metal target, then backed off a hundred yards. I jacked that first cartridge into the chamber, and I instantly remembered why I love this old gun so much. There’s barely anything in the shooting world as satisfying as the sound and feel of the workings of the action on an old lever action.
Almost nothing as satisfying, that is. I shouldered the rifle, took aim, and sent the first round downrange. The clang of a metal target, on your first shot in a while with an old gun, will put a smile on your face every time.
I think I’m ready to see if there are any deer out there I can chase with that rifle. It turns out I didn’t have to worry about it needing any more work.