Winchester 1890

The case of the poorly-lined Winchester 1890 barrel. Here’s how I refurbished this classic 22 takedown rifle.

by Mark R. Hollensen

When I took this rifle in for the requested repairs, it seemed straightforward. The customer told me that he had purchased it on “a while back” and that it was jamming. The Winchester Model 1890 Takedown pump action 22 Short has long been known as a “gallery gun” and many of these particular rifles were placed into service at local fairs and amusement parks many, many years ago.

I decided to forgo historical information on this particular rifle so that I could cover some important aspects about it. To start off, you all are aware of the convenience of Internet firearm purchases now in the mainstream. And, as great as this new type of vehicle for buying and selling firearms is, it also has some unforeseen issues attached to it. We all would like to believe that the seller is on the up and up, or at a minimum, inadvertently listed something that was not as good as their write up. I tell my customers that when buying firearms used online, they should first check to see how many firearms the seller has sold and what their rating is. More important than that, they should never buy a used firearm online if that seller doesn’t offer a return option. That way when they make the purchase, they will have time to run to the range, or better yet, have a local gunsmith inspect it to make sure it is in the condition specified by the seller. The Winchester in my shop should have been returned as it did not match the seller’s write up. So be on alert, follow those instructions, and you can lesson your chance of being burned.

Immediately after taking possession of this rifle, I decided to contact the customer so I could better understand what he meant by “the gun jams” on him. As we all know, jamming could be feeding, extracting, ejecting, trouble chambering, or some other issue. It was then that my customer relayed to me that the rifle barrel had previously had a barrel liner installed and the gun had been recently reblued. All of this was purportedly done before he “won” the gun on Gunbroker. He didn’t offer up what he had paid for it and I didn’t ask. He told me that when he fires the rifle, it jams up when ejecting the empty round. He further stated that the magazine feed tube assembly was super tight when inserting it into the magazine tube, but that the previous gunsmith he had taken it to had already fixed that. Finally, he told me that the same previous gunsmith let him know that the jamming was due to excess solder from the barrel liner job and that he would not work on it.

I had previously worked with this customer on a repair job, so I knew him and agreed to look the rifle over. I began by initiating the…

Read more in the May 2021 issue.

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