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Model 70 pre64 375 H&H ? special order
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December 15, 2017 - 1:09 am
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hello, I am a new member, but have enjoyed the volumes of info on this site. I’m not sure if this is the appropriate place to post, but I have a question about a recently acquired Pre64 375 h&h. The serial number is 169706. I bought it with the intention to use it as a hunting rifle. The rifle is a supergrade with some custom work done to the stock. I believe I was able to purchase it at a reasonable price because of the Griffin & Howe side mount scope and the unusual stock pattern lowered the collectors value. As I looked through the Rule book to confirm that the rifle was as described, I noticed the photo on page 280. The pattern of checkering is the same as my rifle. My question is: am I able to find markings on the stock that will help to determine authenticity? And, if the side mount destroys the value, is there any reason not to hunt with the rifle? I could always swap out the stock and enjoy the gun. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.  Thank you John

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December 15, 2017 - 3:54 am
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John,

Welcome to the WACA forums! There are several fellows that are considerably more knowledgeable than I am in regards to your rifle. They should be along to comment shortly.

Bert

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December 15, 2017 - 10:18 pm
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Thank you for the welcome note. I look forward to hearing their opinions.

 

John

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December 15, 2017 - 11:09 pm
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Really need some more pictures showing entire rifle, stock, bolt, buttpad etc. to make a more accurate assessment. That said, I am going to go out on a limb and say the rifle was modified subsequent to leaving Winchester, possibly G&H? I would at least contact them and see if they have records on the rifle. Since I answered some questions on this prior to the post, I know the s/n and it is an early 1950 rifle. Seem’s to me the rifle should have a molded rubber grip cap instead of the later steel style. Also, the engine turning does not look like Winchester work. The engine turning on the receiver adjacent to the magazine follower and at rear right hand flat, is not consistent with Winchester Super Grade work. Engine turning was not standard on Super Grades until later in production. I do find the gold inlay on trigger guard interesting, in that I have a 52C Sporter that was built for John Olin which has very similar inlay on trigger guard, with his initials.  This would have obviously been a special order rifle if done at Winchester, and I would imagine any of the noted concerns could have been done by them for a price. 

    I will be interested in hearing other’s comments.

Steve

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December 16, 2017 - 12:00 am
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John-

Interesting rifle.  My initial reaction (for the same reasons Steve mentioned) would be that the rifle is non-factory custom work, possibly by G&H, which would in itself make it quite a valuable rifle.

I agree with that it would be helpful to see photos of the stock, especially cheek piece and recoil pad.  Also that the metal grip cap is a bit early on a 1950 rifle for regular production, as they came along with the introduction of the MC comb stocks in about ’51-’52.

Out of curiosity, do the gold inlaid initials stand out above the surface of the metal or are they flush.  The attached photo is of gold inlaid initials on the trigger guard of a documented 1948 factory special order M70 ordered by Dr. Russell C Smith. These initials stand above the level of the metal.  I don’t know if that was a standard practice, but that is how the Winchester factory did it in ’48.

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Best,

Lou

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December 16, 2017 - 1:07 am
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You guys may be right about Griffin & Howe since they sold Model 70’s with serial numbers 169671 and 169740.   John’s 169706 falls neatly in between them.

Most of the original G&H ledgers have gone missing but it is still certainly worth a phone call to them.  Ask them to check the Abercrombie and Fitch ledgers also since A&F owned G&H during that period and in some cases would transfer rifles from A&F inventory to G&H, especially for custom rifles.  The A&F ledgers are still available from G&H.  When calling, ask for Bob Beach (their Chief Archivist).

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December 16, 2017 - 1:38 am
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Thank you for the detailed assessments. I was able to communicate with G&H. Bob noted “it was part of a large collection of firearms received from “W.A. Jones” for sale in 1962. G&H likely added the mount but any other work is beyond my ability to authenticate. The jeweled bolt could have been done by G&H if not a standard feature on a Super Grade of that vintage. The checkering pattern is not typical G&H from the 1960’s.”  Paul Chapman (Vice President & director of gunsmithing) wrote “We would have installed the sidemount and Burnished/Jewelled the action at some point after it left the factory. Winchester Jewelling has ¼” circles and we do it in 1/8” circles. The sidemount base has blind screws which are done through G&H instead of slotted screws used when mounts were sold to other shops.”

 

i will post more photos when i am able.

thank you again for your time and willingness to provide your knowledge

john

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December 16, 2017 - 4:35 am
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6DD23784-A11A-4339-8910-661F09601135.jpegImage EnlargerEnclosed are a few more photos of the rifle.

Lou, the inlay initials are flush. I have enclosed close ups of them. 

thank you again for your insights.

JohnIMG_0232.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0233.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0234.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0235.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0236.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0237.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0238.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0239.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0240.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0241.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0242.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0243.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 18, 2017 - 5:12 am
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E8A2F383-3621-4317-80B5-A66D7CA2792D.jpegImage EnlargerEnclosed is a photo of a rifle on page 280 of the Rule book. The stock appears to be similar to my rifle. 

John

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December 18, 2017 - 7:37 pm
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JR-

Yes. That is interesting.  As I recall, Roger’s rifle (shown in the book) was a very late serial number made up by the custom shop either in ’63 or sometime thereafter and engraved by Nick Kusmit.  It did have two different l.p.i. checkering in different panels, as does your stock.

My guess would have been that the blind screw scope mount and jeweling were done by G&H, but the stock overall looks more Winchester insofar as the shape of the cheek piece and recoil pad go.  As noted before, your 1950 S/N is somewhat early for the MC comb stock and the metal grip cap, but it’s possible that the gun was sent to the factory and/or G&H for custom work later on.

Out of curiosity, is there by any chance a single digit stamped inside the left lug bolt raceway of your receiver?  While not a sure thing, supposedly the Winchester Custom Shop would (sometimes anyway) stamp the last digit of the year that custom work was performed in that location.

Thanks for sharing,

Lou

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December 18, 2017 - 7:43 pm
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You might also check under the barrel near the receiver. I have seen many rifles sent back for rework that had a 5 digit work order number stamped there as well. It would also be interesting to see the what the barrel date is. It will be stamped on barrel underside just in front of receiver. Also check barrel channel in stock for numbers stamped there as well.

Steve

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December 18, 2017 - 11:23 pm
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On further inspection, the left bolt raceway was altered during the side mount installation by Griffin&Howe.

The barrel date appears to be 1950

enclosed are pictures of the stock and barrel.

there are no internal marks/letters/numbers on the stock

thanks

johnBDD8E75B-1994-4F3F-8ACC-12BDA27933B5.jpegImage Enlarger83B82E8D-2050-42DA-B949-D7FDE9707878.jpegImage Enlarger

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December 21, 2017 - 2:47 pm
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In light of the above comments, and the evidence that the gun was modified by G&H after leaving the factory (side mount), can I assume this gun is more of shooter than a collector item? I would love to take this out hunting.

thank you

John

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December 21, 2017 - 7:10 pm
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Hi John-

I can’t speak for others, but I’d consider a G&H customized M70 whose owner “W.A.J.” is documented in G&H records to have considerable value compared to a similar rifle with unknown aftermarket work.  

Moreover, the mystery of how what looks like a Winchester SG stock with that checkering pattern came to be on the rifle is still unresolved.  As you pointed out, the pattern resembles the one used on the Roger Rule Custom Shop rifle that’s shown in his book.  The MC stock/cheekpiece are of a style that is later than the 1950 serial number of the rifle.  But that, in and of itself, does not eliminate the possibility that the rifle was restocked by the factory and that the monogram added there.  G&H was willing to claim responsibility for the jeweling and scope mount, but not the stock work, right? 

One thing you could do is to reach out to Pauline Muerrle (http://paulinemuerrle.com) as she is a former Winchester Factory Engraver and intimately familiar with the Winchester Custom Shop.  She should be able to definitively tell you whether that checkering pattern and monogram is/is not consistent with Custom Shop work.  If, by some chance, the stock work was done at the factory Pauline can provide a letter to that effect, which in conjunction with any documents from G&H would establish the history of an interesting and collectable M70.  So if the rifle were mine I think I’d do a little more research.

OTOH… M70s in 375 H&H are fun to shoot!!!  Recoil is not near as bad as I would have expected.Laugh

Best,

Lou

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December 21, 2017 - 7:57 pm
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Lou,

Thank you again for your invaluable insight.  I will continue to do some research on the rifle and fight off the urge to take it out in the field.

Happy Holidays

John

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December 21, 2017 - 9:35 pm
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Louis Luttrell said

OTOH… M70s in 375 H&H are fun to shoot!!!  Recoil is not near as bad as I would have expected.Laugh

Best,

Lou  

I will absolutely agree with this! My pre 64 ’06 featherweight kicks way more than my pre 64 375 H&H.  There are a lot of fun to shoot!Laugh

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December 24, 2017 - 12:32 am
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Lou,

thankyou again for your suggestions. I spoke with Pauline about the rifle. She is very knowledgeable about Winchester history and it was fascinating to listen to her anecdotes about the factory. She seemed confident that the stock was definitely from the custom shop given the checkering lines/style. Also, the gold initials (with the diagonal texture) typical of the style made by the custom shop. 

John

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December 24, 2017 - 2:33 am
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John-

That’s NICE!!!  Laugh If Pauline says it’s custom shop you can count on it.  She is asked to authenticate so many Winchesters that aren’t factory work that it’s probably a welcome change for her to see something legit…  

I think you should buy a different M70 375 H&H to take hunting…  But you could get one to hunt with b/c they just are fun to shoot!!!

Cool…  Lou

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