The Winchester 1894 has become one of the most manufactured and most popular sporting rifles in American history, and it owes this success to a combination of factors. Mechanically, the 1894 was a continued improvement on John Browning’s already-excellent 1892 model. It was strong and simple to operate, offering both speed and power. The cartridge that cannot be separated form the history of the Winchester 94 is the .30-30 Winchester, aka the .30 WCF (Winchester Center Fire).
While the .30-30 shared a naming convention with the many black powder rounds that were in use (a .30 caliber bullet over 30 grains of powder), this new round was a smokeless powder cartridge. As such, it offered a very significant increase in velocity over everything else that was then available (just shy of 2000 fps). The cartridge was well suited for taking nearly any North American game, and the package of the 94 and the .30-30 made an outstanding general purpose weapon for a huge swath of the American market.
By 1927, one million had been manufactured (the millionth one was presented to President Coolidge), and by 2006 production had exceeded 7 million. This truly is the iconic American deer and ranch rifle – so ubiquitous that its remarkable quality has set a new standard for the entire industry.