April 15, 2005
Not sure what you are referring to by “short action”. Winchester only made 1 length of pre 64 model 70 action. They accommodated the various lengths of cartridges by variations in extractor rings, ejectors, magazine wells, followers and bolt face diameters. In the case of the long H&H magnums, they also massaged the loading port and mag well cut out on the receiver to accommodate the longer cartridge lengths. You can narrow down your search by verifying which of these parts your action has. They are typically marked on the individual part. For example ejector #4 was used for the .220 Swift, 243 Win, 257 Roberts, 300 Savage, 308 Win, and 358 Win. If you have a #4 ejector and a 1962 action assy, the original caliber would have been either a 220 Swift, 243 or 308. None of the other cartridges I listed for that particular extractor were offered in 62. As Bert mentioned beyond that you pick what you want.
Thanks for the quick response and great advice.
I should have been more specific as I’m referring to the article; Making sense of the pre-64 model 70 receiver –May 31, 2016
“SHORT MAGNUM: In the pre-64 era the term “short magnum” had a very different meaning than what we think of today. The “short magnum” receiver has a slightly wider magazine box and the feed rails are missing the characteristic step which is present the standard receiver – this is in order to accommodate the higher and wider shoulder of magnum cartridges. The short magnum receiver is used for all true magnum cartridges (belted magnums) other than the very long H&H magnums. Factory Winchester chamberings which used this receiver include the .264 Win mag, .300 Win mag, .338 Win mag, and 458 Win mag. Besides the differences described above, an easy way to identify a short magnum receiver is to look for the numbers “.458″ stamped into the The bolt face on this bottom of the recoil lug. This receiver will accommodate cartridges with an unfired length of up to 3.35 inches.”
The bolt face on this action is 0.540 and the receiver is stamped .458 as discussed in the above article and of course, the receiver is the standard long action with the three bottom metal screws. This is all I have to go on so I was hoping someone had a data base telling what the gun came with from the factory. Not a game stopper but was trying to be true to the original configuration.
Your choices for 1962 in the short magnums would have been a 264 Win Mag, 338 Win Mag, or a 458 Win Mag. The 458 bolts were factory jeweled , so if your bolt is not jewelled, the 458 possibility is eliminated. The 264 was a good deal more popular than the 338, so there is a better than average chance it most likely started out as a 264.
I checked the ongoing survey information available to me…
I have S/N 552057 recorded as a “Featherweight Westerner” in 264 WIN. MAGNUM. This, you probably know, is the one with the 22″ featherweight contour barrel and stock with factory ventilated recoil pad. Like this (S/N 549531):
Of course, I am not infallible, and this information is from an observational survey (meaning that at some point since 2010 I saw a M70 in FWT-Westerner configuration with a S/N I recorded as 552057). As both Bert and Steve point out, there are no surviving factory records that can provide original serial number/style/chambering.
Since the 264 WIN. MAGNUM fired out of a 22″ barrel basically delivered 270 WIN ballistics with the added bonuses of excessive muzzle blast and shorter barrel life my own inclination would be to build something else. The standard 264 WIN MAGNUM Westerner (26″ barrel), 338 WIN MAGNUM Alaskan (25″ barrel), or even the 300 WIN MAGNUM (24″ barrel) would be reasonable choices if you want to go with a factory chambering and factory barrel. Steve is absolutely correct that the 300 WIN. MAGNUM was only cataloged in 1963, but the earliest block of them have S/Ns in the 537XXX range. Keep in mind that the FWT-Westerner was also only cataloged in 1963.
Hope this helps!!!
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters
WOW! Thanks guys. The bolt was apparently wire brushed back in the day so I can’t tell if it was jeweled or not and the serial number is etched into the bottom of the bolt. Even at that I’m can’t be sure the bolt is original to the action. Given the data you’ve provided I’m gonn-a assume it started its life in 264. SOooo, I’ve kind-a given up on returning it to factory issue configuration and will probably try building it back as a 300 WM with 24 or 26 inch barrel. That’s the most plentiful factory ammunition I see on the market. Besides, I’m getting to long in the tooth to reload in calibers I don’t have dies for. It’ll be a fun project. Will let you know when I’m done – IF – I can find the parts at a reasonable price that is! Wish me luck.
Glad we could be of some help…
I’ve always felt the M70 FWT Westerner was the dumbest idea they ever had for marketing the pre-64 M70, but for such a dumb idea they seem to have sold a lot of them (for a gun cataloged only 1 year). According to Roger Rule’s book, they sold 3116 FWT-Westerners, compared to 4916 of the more practical 300 WIN MAGNUM Westerner-Alaskan with a 24″ standard contour barrel.
You got me thinking that if I were doing a project like yours, what I would probably do is to build a 264 WIN. MAGNUM Featherweight the way Winchester SHOULD have done it, i.e. with a 24″ FWT contour barrel… The gun will never be original anyway, so I’d just “fix” Winchester’s bad decision and barrel it with a FWT barrel long enough to burn the extra powder… IMHO iron sights on a 264 WIN MAGNUM are about as useful as “mammary glands on a bull” so I’d omit them, but apart from the barrel it could be made to look like the original product…
Good luck and let us know how the project turns out!!!
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters
November 7, 2015
I like the way Louis thinks. Barrel blanks generally come longer than 22” and I hate to waste good steel. Build it and try like Hell to live long enough to wear out that barrel!
Tanks a bucket full guys. I’ll ponder the 264 suggestion and let you know what direction I take. Do you have any source for parts? I need everything but the receiver, bolt carrier, and sling attachment gear. And, I have a montecarlo stock in really good condition but need everything else or possibly a donor gun that’s been shot out. I’ve perused the internet and find that most ebay and gun broker sellers are VERY FOND of their parts so I’m not keen on investing 2 to 3 K on a gun that will, at best, command $800 on a good day.
I’m aware of the powder burn issue with the 264 so a 24 or 26 inch barrel is the direction a may take as you suggest. But, IMR 4198 or WIN 680 has a pressure peak conducive to a 24 in barrel with full burn. Only experimentation will tell the tale.
Le-me-no if you come across some parts that don’t bankrupt me.
March 31, 2009
A lot of your barrel length and powder questions could be figured out if you could find someone that knows how to use Quick Load.
You fill in all of the data fields and you can find what amount of a certain powder will get you a safe load. It will also tell you what length of barrel you would need to get a 100% powder burn. It will figure the optimum twist rate for your bullet. And much more.