Coolest Lever-Action Upgrade on the Market

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Looking to spice up your classic carbine? Here is the quick, easy, and inexpensive way to improve looks and performance.

by Mike Disario for HuntDaily

Consider the iconic Winchester Model 94. No lever-action carbine is more embedded in the annals of American deer hunting than this rifle (although the Marlin 336 is a close second). It was the go-to centerfire for millions of hunters over the last century, used by our fathers and grandfathers, and passed along from generation to generation. Most of us have hunted with the Model 94 at one time, and it is as effective today as it was decades ago. The difference is that time and use have put many of these veteran rifles on permanent gun cabinet duty.

The good news is, it only takes a little effort to put that classic carbine, sitting idly in your gun rack, back in the game. With improved ammunition technology, such as Hornady’s LEVERevolution, many folks are bringing their old lever actions out of mothballs, or are simply wanting to preserve and pass down their treasured rifles to the next generation.

Our 50-year-old Model 94 had seen better days. Refinishing the original wood furniture several years ago did not turn out quite like we had planned, and new rifles eventually put this one on the permanent back-burner.

In our case, we’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic and want to hunt with an old friend this season. We really like the laminated furniture on the Marlin 336XLR since it came out several years ago. So, having had plenty of experience upgrading our various centerfire bolt and semi-auto rimfire rifles with Boyds laminated hardwood gunstocks, we checked to see what Boyds had in the way of replacement stocks and forends for the Winchester 94. As it turns out, Boyds offers furniture for the Model 94 in both upgraded laminated hardwoods and replacement solid walnut for those who prefer the original factory look.

Here’s how we did it. Simple and easy.


Here’s the stock set we ordered from Boyds Gunstocks for our Winchester Model 94. The laminated hardwood construction delivers strength and durability that’s superior to factory wood furniture, and the ability to choose color options, custom engraving, length-of-pull, and even extras such as the rubber buttpad we opted for make this the perfect way to restore and upgrade older firearms.



Boyds is known for the precision inletting on their stocks and forends. Based off original equipment dimensions, the furniture usually needs only minor sanding, if that, to precisely fit barreled actions.



Before doing any work or cleaning to a firearm, open the receiver and ensure that there are no cartridges in the chamber or magazine.



Begin by removing the magazine tube spring and tube. This requires removing the magazine tube cap and carefully removing the spring from the tube. The spring is under tension when the cap is removed, so hold on. With the spring removed, remove the forward barrel band screw and pull out the magazine tube.



Rotate the forward barrel band 180-degrees to slide off the barrel, and then slide the rear barrel band off the forend and remove it from the barrel.



Remove the old forend from the receiver. Also, pull the magazine tube plug from the receiver.



Remove the one upper and one lower receiver tang screws that secure the stock to the receiver, and then pull the stock away from the receiver to separate.



A furniture replacement project such as this presents a perfect opportunity to give your rifle a deep cleaning and lubrication. We discovered some unfortunate rusting in the dark corners of our barreled action.



Test fit the new Boyds stock by sliding it into the receiver, noting any tightness or obstructions.



We had to file a small amount of wood where the stock seated into the back of the receiver.



Once fitted to the receiver, the tang screw holes lined up perfectly with the pre-drilled holes in the new stock.



The new forend fit the receiver and barrel without the need for filing.



We did have to file a small amount of material where the upper end of the rear barrel band fits over the forend. Again, a few strokes with a flat file did the trick.



In order for the barrel band retaining screw to align correctly, some minor enlarging of the screw holes was required. We used a small needle file to do this.


One area that concerned us going into this project was whether or not the new forend’s magazine tube channel would align properly with our magazine tube. Our worries were for naught, as everything aligned perfectly. After reinstalling the magazine tube plug, magazine tube, spring, retaining cap, and forward barrel band, our installation was complete.


To say we like how this project turned out would be an understatement. the new Boyds furniture combines with our 50-year-old rifle and conventional optic to give our Model 94 an “Old-School meets Retro-Cool” vibe. Can’t wait for deer season to roll around!

Boyds Gunstocks

article copyright © 2017; promoted by Boyds Gunstocks

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