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My father's 69A: target or match version; three pair of tapped holes on top of barrel
August 9, 2021
1:21 am
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I now have my father’s firearms. They were in bad shape after years in a damp basement. I am not an avid hunter, but I am a retired soldier and familiar with firearms. These were dad’s guns so I want to return them to service. Dad had a Model 69A rifle. It works, but I cannot figure it out, so I decided to invest in this membership in hopes of finding some answers. From internet searches I have learned that there is a 69A target and a match version. The match version has Lyman #57EW receiver sight. The target version has rear peep sight, swivels and sling.

IMG_1061.jpegImage EnlargerThe rifle has swivels for a sling, which is consistent with the target model.

IMG_1062.jpegImage EnlargerThe rifle has no rear sight and I can find no information about the style of the front sight. I have seen different front sights on other 69A.

IMG_1063.jpegImage EnlargerOn the left rear side of the barrel are two threaded holes 1/2 inches on center. These appear consistent with the mounting holes for a Lyman #57EW receiver sight I have seen on other 69A, which would make this a match version. I find no mounting holes for a rear peep sight. 

IMG_1064.jpegImage EnlargerWhat is most confusing are the three pari of threaded holes in the top of the barrel. The two holes to the rear of the chamber are 1/2 inches on center. The two holes immediately in front of of the chamber are 7/8 inches on center. The two holes further down the barrel are 9/16 inches on center. I remember this rifle as having a scope. I presumed the rear two pairs of hole were for mounting a scope and the front pair of holes were for a rear fixed sight. In dad’s stuff were several Weaver B4 scopes, but the only mounts were Weaver N type, which do not attach to this rifle. I thought the holes might be for base mounts, so I obtained #12 and #17 Weaver base mounts. The base mounts are of different thickness to accommodate the change in barrel diameter at the location of the two sets of holes, but the #17 mount holes are 1/2 inches on center and do not match the 7/8 inches on center holes in the barrel. Weaver does make base mounts with 7/8 inches on center holes, but they are for different rifle models with different barrel diameters.

That is my story. Dad was not above changing things. He may have replaced the stock or barrel, which would explain some things, but not the holes in the top of the barrel. Right now the rifle has only a front sight, so it is not serviceable. I want to return it to service; either by mounting one of dad’s old scopes or obtaining a rear sight. Any input or advice is appreciated.

Mike

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August 9, 2021
2:30 am
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Hi Michael,

Your father had extremely good taste in .22 rifles!

What you have is a pre-war Winchester catalog model G6941R Match rifle.

There were several 69 models that were drilled and tapped on the side of the receiver for the Lyman 57E sight but your rifle is in fact the pre-WWII version of the G6941R Match rifle.  The pre-war version of the Match rifle is one of the rarest of the Model 69A types offered.

Unfortunately, although the 4 holes on the barrel were factory provided for the optional Winchester 8X scope, the extra holes at the rear of the receiver hurt the “collector” value since they were added later (likely for your father to mount a more modern scope with internal adjustments).

There is a lot of information available for your Model 69 in the new 450+ page book “The Winchester Model 69 – Evolution in Design” but I am happy to answer any additional specific questions you may have.  The book can be found at http://rimfirepublications.com/

You are welcome to contact me via PM if you wish to restore the rifle with the correct vintage Lyman 57E rear sight, I can give you guidance on the correct era version for your rifle.

If you want to use the original barrel mounting holes for a vintage scope, the hole spacing is for the “L” and “A” Unertl style mounting blocks.

Congrats on your heritage rifle and thanks for your service!

Best Regards,

WACA Life Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

http://rimfirepublications.com/  

August 9, 2021
8:16 pm
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Thank you so much. Not sure I am ready to give dad credit for extremely good taste in .22 rifles. Dad was a farmer and was good a fixing things. He bought the cheapest used equipment he could and then got it to work one way or another. When I received his firearms, he actually had three 69A. I suspect he obtained the other two for parts because both have badly damaged stocks and are missing metal parts. There was no Winchester 8X scope, or scope mounting hardware to match the holes in dad’s stuff, but I can easily see him cobbling something together that worked for him.

The more I work at restoring this rifle, the more I am amazed at the variety just within this one model of firearm.  

I interpret your comments to mean that this G6941R Match rifle came standard with the Lyman 57E sight and the 4 holes on the barrel forward of the receiver were factory provided for the optional Winchester 8X scope. That creates options for returning the rifle to service.

I could install the “L” and “A” Unertl style mounting blocks and the optional Winchester 8X scope, or the correct vintage Lyman 57E rear sight. I searched for both. The Winchester 8X scopes appear to sell for $400-700. The Lyman 57E sights appear to sell for $75-125. I can afford either, but would appreciate your opinion on which option is preferable should I wish to use the rifle, sell the rifle, or pass it along to a son or nephew. I also accept your offer to talk via PM about the correct vintage Lyman 57E rear sight and guidance on the correct era version for your rifle.  What is PM?

Based on what I now know about this rifle, I am not inclined to utilize the extra holes at the rear of the receiver to mount a more modern scope with internal adjustments, but if I were to do so, can you provide any input on what mounting blocks would be required given that the barrel diameter at the rear of the receiver is greater than the barrel diameter in front of the receiver?

Thanks again,

Mike

August 9, 2021
9:05 pm
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PM=private/personal message

 

Click on the persons name you want to send the message too. There are a few options that pop up and the PM option is one of them. Or you can go to the top of the page where your inbox is located, open it and type in the persons name/username and send it that way.

 

Erin

August 9, 2021
9:59 pm
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Michael Fisher said

I could install the “L” and “A” Unertl style mounting blocks and the optional Winchester 8X scope, or the correct vintage Lyman 57E rear sight. I searched for both. The Winchester 8X scopes appear to sell for $400-700. 

Amazing to think anyone would pay $700 for one of these “economy model” scopes!  (Unless maybe they owned a 69 with documentation to prove it had been ordered with one.)  The same scope was made in greater numbers in 4X, which should be available for less.  Personally I think the Lyman 57 is the best choice.

August 10, 2021
12:18 am
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Michael Fisher said

The more I work at restoring this rifle, the more I am amazed at the variety just within this one model of firearm.  

I interpret your comments to mean that this G6941R Match rifle came standard with the Lyman 57E sight and the 4 holes on the barrel forward of the receiver were factory provided for the optional Winchester 8X scope. That creates options for returning the rifle to service.

I could install the “L” and “A” Unertl style mounting blocks and the optional Winchester 8X scope, or the correct vintage Lyman 57E rear sight. I searched for both. The Winchester 8X scopes appear to sell for $400-700. The Lyman 57E sights appear to sell for $75-125. I can afford either, but would appreciate your opinion on which option is preferable should I wish to use the rifle, sell the rifle, or pass it along to a son or nephew. I also accept your offer to talk via PM about the correct vintage Lyman 57E rear sight and guidance on the correct era version for your rifle.  What is PM?

Based on what I now know about this rifle, I am not inclined to utilize the extra holes at the rear of the receiver to mount a more modern scope with internal adjustments, but if I were to do so, can you provide any input on what mounting blocks would be required given that the barrel diameter at the rear of the receiver is greater than the barrel diameter in front of the receiver?

Thanks again,

Mike  

 

Hi Mike,

Yes, you interpreted my G6941R comments exactly correct.  You are also correct in that there are a LOT of variations of the 69/69A.  There were 16 catalogued versions and within those 16 different catalog numbers there were at least 48 sub-types which tends to confuse the issue when trying to determine exactly which model and sub-type you have and what it might take to restore it to “as-sold” or “as-issued” condition.  

The majority of the pre-war G6941R Match rifles were simply shipped with plug screws in the supplied holes on the barrel, As your photo indicates, they are still there.  Replacing the Lyman 57E is by far the best route to restore your Dad’s rifle to shooting condition and will enhance the remaining value of your Match rifle. 

I agree with Clarence’s comment about the low-quality and over-priced 8X scopes.  For the same money you could purchase a low-power Fecker or a Unertl which are infinitely better quality.    But, as stated, the Lyman 57E is what it had originally and is a pretty decent receiver sight.  It was good enough for the U.S. Army in WWII…..

So, now you should start looking for the correct vintage (pre-WWII) of Lyman 57E for your rifle (it deserves the extra effort for the correct sight).  There were a number of changes over the years to the 57E and 57EW but you are looking for the version with the script (not block) “57E” at the rear and the Lyman name and address on top of the mounting arm.  If the mounting arm is blank, or just states “Lyman” those are post-war versions.  Good news is that not many people know about the sight differences so they all sell for about the same amount ($75-$125).  The 2 mounting screws are 6-48.  It is a bonus if the sight comes with them but no worries if not, that is the most common sized sight mounting screw for most rifles.

Now, regarding the 2 extra holes at the rear of your receiver, those stand-alone holes do not match any of the commonly supplied bases of the era and were likely the result of some past “engineering” to make something work by utilizing the middle 2 holes on the barrel.  Nothing wrong with that but it was probably a custom made front mount that compensated for the lower barrel.  It is doubtful you will find anything off-the-shelf that will work in that spot unless you get lucky.  I would just put plug screws in the holes to neaten up the look of the receiver and forget about them.

I would like to hear about the other Model 69’s you have, never know if there might be a gem in that bunch also.

Hope that helps and enjoy your rifle!

Best Regards,

WACA Life Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

http://rimfirepublications.com/  

August 10, 2021
12:32 am
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JWA said

I agree with Clarence’s comment about the low-quality and over-priced 8X scopes.  For the same money you could purchase a low-power Fecker or a Unertl which are infinitely better quality. 

A Lyman 438 is a better scope than any of the Winchester .22 scopes, shouldn’t cost any more, & is period correct.

August 10, 2021
2:43 am
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clarence said

A Lyman 438 is a better scope than any of the Winchester .22 scopes, shouldn’t cost any more, & is period correct.  

Hi Clarence,

ANY scope is better than the 1937-1941 Winchester scopes (which were not made by them), they are quite literally the WORST pre-war scopes ever made. 

I like your thought process but, technically, the 438 may not be correct for a 1941 Model 69 as I “think” it was discontinued by Lyman in late 1939.  Stoeger’s does not list it in the 1940 catalog or thereafter.

Here are the most popular U.S. 1941 ‘scopes I would consider to be “period correct” aka contemporary for his Model 69A – 

WINCHESTER ‘SCOPES: No. 3 (2.75X), No. 5 (5X) and No. 8 (8X)

WEAVER ‘SCOPES: 330 (2.75X), 440 (4X), 333 (3X), 344 (4X) , 355 (5X), 29S (3X) and 329 (3X)

LYMAN SCOPES: Targetspot (8X and 10X), Super-Targetspot (10X, 12X and 15X), Junior Targetspot (6X and 8X), No. 422 Expert (4X) w/Lyman mount and Alaskan (2.5X)

UNERTL ‘SCOPES: ¾” Small Game (3X, 4X and 6X),  1” Target (6X, 8X and 10X), 1 ¼” Combination Target (8X, 10X, 12X and 14X), 1 ½” Target Scope (10X, 12X, 14X, 18X and 20X), 2” Target Scope (10X, 15X, 18X, 20X, 24X and 30X) and Big Game (2.5X and 3X)

J.W. FECKER ‘SCOPES: ¾” Target (4.5X, 6X, 8X and 10X), 1-1/8” Target (6X, 8X, 10X and 12.5X), 1 ½” Combination Target (8X, 10X, 12.5X and 16X) and Small Game (2.25X, 3X and 4X)

MOSSBERG ‘SCOPES: No. RF1 (4X), No. 5M4/8M4 (4X), No. 9R/9RS (4X), No. 7R (4X), No. 7M4 (4X), 9R/L9R (4X) and No. 9 (2.5X)

NOSKE ‘SCOPES: No. 1 “A” (2.25X), No. 2 “B” (2.25X), No. 3 “A” (4X) and No. 3 “B” (4X)

 

I believe Wollensak had discontinued the 4X Ranger by 1941 also but I am still researching it.

In the upcoming book on the Model 75 I have included a master list of the correct era scopes, by year, for the 75 and 69 to answer these exact types of questions.

You will note that I only mention U.S. scopes since getting a European Hensoldt, Ajack, Zeiss, etc. at that time in the war was starting to get “erratic”.

Please let me know if I am in error since I have not quite confirmed all of the Lyman manufacturing dates yet.

Best Regards,

 

.

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August 10, 2021
3:46 am
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JWA said

ANY scope is better than the 1937-1941 Winchester scopes (which were not made by them), they are quite literally the WORST pre-war scopes ever made. 

I like your thought process but, technically, the 438 may not be correct for a 1941 Model 69 as I “think” it was discontinued by Lyman in late 1939.  Stoeger’s does not list it in the 1940 catalog or thereafter.

I’ve always wondered how Stoeger’s content was assembled…whether it was entirely “free,” or whether “contributions were accepted” from the makers, in which case it might not be all-inclusive.  The Lyman Centennial Journal states it was discontinued “before 1947.”  A few other similarly ambiguous references leads me to believe that certain Lyman catalogs were missing from the Lyman archives when the Journal was being compiled in 1978.  If I get ambitious, I’ll check for 438 ads in the ’41 Rifleman.

Wollensack, by the way, was one of the most prolific producers of military-issue scopes during WW II, so when in 1941 those orders began coming in, that necessitated the end of the Ranger.

August 10, 2021
1:47 pm
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clarence said

I’ve always wondered how Stoeger’s content was assembled…whether it was entirely “free,” or whether “contributions were accepted” from the makers, in which case it might not be all-inclusive.  The Lyman Centennial Journal states it was discontinued “before 1947.”  A few other similarly ambiguous references leads me to believe that certain Lyman catalogs were missing from the Lyman archives when the Journal was being compiled in 1978.  If I get ambitious, I’ll check for 438 ads in the ’41 Rifleman.
  

Yes, I have wondered the same thing about Stoeger.  Much of the advertising content for the items I research “seems” to be fresh ad copy but is based upon images and photos provided by the manufacturer’s.  Some of the ad images even have an individual (C) marking.  I suspect that some companies actually paid Stoeger for some of the ad placements.  Weaver has several full pages of hype introducing their new “J” and “G” line of scopes, pure advertisement with no ordering information or prices.  The Weaver prices are contained on later pages on the “regular” ad pages.

I realize that as a data source it is not all-inclusive.  I have a copy of the Lyman Centennial Journal but do not have the individual Lyman catalogs for the pre-war years which is why I am still vetting the Lyman info.  I appreciate your help in nailing down the years if you run across any additional info on the 438.  My notes also have the Lyman 422 rolling off the Stoeger catalog in 1944.

Kollmorgen is another U.S. optical company that heavily contributed in WWII (and later produced the quality “Bear Cub” scope for Stith).  Here is an interesting article about their history for your reading pleasure.

https://www.kollmorgen.com/uploadedFiles/kollmorgencom/Company/HistoryofKollmorgenAnniversaryBook-mobile.pdf

 

Best Regards,

WACA Life Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

http://rimfirepublications.com/  

August 11, 2021
8:47 pm
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Gentlemen: Thank you for all the information. I am certain to return to this string multiple times. I may never become a collector, but will certainly be a more informed owner.  Dad had several other Winchester rifles and shotguns, so I may be back with more questions when I get around to breaking them down. For not I will take JWS up on his offer to help with the Lyman sight.

Mike

August 11, 2021
11:09 pm
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Hi Mike,

I responded to your PM with the info you were looking for and some explanatory photos.

Also, I think we forgot to give you a hearty WELCOME to the WACA!

Best Regards,

WACA Life Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

http://rimfirepublications.com/  

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