Winchester M94 Front Sight Blade Specs
Considerable confusion has resulted from Winchester engineering department’s recent decision to change the front sight overall height specification for the Model 94 lever action carbine from .360" to .290". The following background information is provided to assist in understanding the situation.
With the introduction of the 20" round tapered barrel carbine in 1930, the ramp mounted front sight (and later with hood) became the norm. The front sight used was the .310" high Winchester number 103E. This sight was used in conjunction with the rear sight #94 and the 3C elevator.
With the revamping of the Model 94 in 1964 the front sight specification for the Post-'64 Model 94 carbines with ramp became .360" high. This new front sight was still used in conjunction with the #94 rear sight and 3C elevator. The sight was originally referenced by the Winchester factory part number 103F. In the early 1990's the factory changed the format of all their part numbers to more data base manageable numbers. The 103F became the 5301A0250. Why the front sight was changed from .310"/103E to .360"/103F, when the rear sight stayed the same, is unknown and lost to history.
With the advent of the Model 94 Big Bore variations the .310"/103E was spelled out as the correct front sight for the Big Bore application. By the mid 1990's Winchester had changed the Big Bore front sight specification to the .360 "/103F/5301A0250, the same as then used on the standard Model 94 carbine.
Late in 1998 Winchester’s engineering department once again changed the front sight specification, which brings us to the current confusion. The specification for both the standard 20" carbine and the Big Bore was set at .290" high blade. The indication is that they wanted to return to a sight that was as close to the original .310" blade that had been used in both the carbine and Big Bore. The .290" blade was what they already had in the system. The reason given is that input from the field indicated that .290" to .310" high front sight allows the greatest amount latitude for sighting in most individual examples of the indicated models.
For this reason the factory part number 5301A0250, which represents the .360" high front sight, has been superceded and is replaced in all required applications (and this affects some of Winchester’s shotgun rifle sighted barrels) by 5301A0230/ #910-530-023 with a designated overall height of .290".
Should a particular individual example of the affected models require a .360" sight blade to zero correctly, a non-factory sight blade such as the Marbles or Williams will have to be utilized. It should be noted that neither company make an actual .360" sight blade. The choice will have to be made between the available .343", Marbles #579-603-421 , Williams #962-161-341 and the .375", Marbles #579-503-721 , Williams #962-161-371 1/16" diameter gold bead.