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Unusual Model 63
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February 6, 2024 - 1:13 pm
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Bought this 63 from a friend who had a local gun store and was a Winchester dealer from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s. I believe the swivels are factory work.  Anyone ever seen one like this?IMG_0413.jpegImage EnlargerIMG_0412.jpegImage EnlargerIMG_0408.jpegImage EnlargerIMG_0407.jpegImage Enlarger

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February 6, 2024 - 2:16 pm
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Bought this 63 from a friend who had a local gun store and was a Winchester dealer from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s. I believe the swivels are factory work.[email protected] said

Looks like it to me, too–same QD swivels as on Super Grade 70, but what’s really impressive is the special work on the nose cap.  The fact it was made up for a dealer adds credibility; even if it was not a catalog option, special favors are always available to VIPs.  Can’t be proven, of course, but common sense should be applied when no written records exist.  I think you’ve found a very rare rifle; to me, any hunting rifle without a sling is an encumbrance.

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February 6, 2024 - 2:59 pm
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Hi George,

Interesting 63! I sent you a pm. 

Any chance the friend gave any insight as to where the gun came from or its background?

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February 6, 2024 - 3:13 pm
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jsgwoodsman said
Hi George,

Interesting 63! I sent you a pm. 

Any chance the friend gave any insight as to where the gun came from or its background?

  

No, actually he just passed away unexpectedly. Had a surgery for prostate cancer.  Came home to recover, must have had complications. 
His wife left to run some errands, and came home to find him gone in his favorite recliner.

He showed me old pictures of his shop. Winchester display pieces along with what appeared to be a large metal Winchester gun display case.  I also know that towards the end of his time at the shop, he sold tons of Winchester commemorative rifles.

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February 6, 2024 - 6:10 pm
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Very neat indeed, and I have no doubt that the sling mounts were factory installed on that rifle.  They are identical to the sling bases and QD slings that Winchester installed on the Model 64 Deer Rifles, and on the Model 65 and Model 71 Special rifles (all manufactured in the same time period as your Model 63).

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February 6, 2024 - 6:40 pm
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[email protected] said

jsgwoodsman said

Hi George,

Interesting 63! I sent you a pm. 

Any chance the friend gave any insight as to where the gun came from or its background?

  

No, actually he just passed away unexpectedly. Had a surgery for prostate cancer.  Came home to recover, must have had complications. 

His wife left to run some errands, and came home to find him gone in his favorite recliner.

He showed me old pictures of his shop. Winchester display pieces along with what appeared to be a large metal Winchester gun display case.  I also know that towards the end of his time at the shop, he sold tons of Winchester commemorative rifles.

  

I’m very sorry to hear that. It sounds like he couldn’t have gone in a more comfortable spot. 

I always wonder how the closing of the old Winchester distributor shops looked. Did multiple people buy one or two individual items each, or was it all sold off to another shop or collector? Did a lot of it go into storage by family and friends and is sitting as a group somewhere?

 

I’m sure the scenarios and possibilities are varied and almost endless.  

Thank you for sharing and my condolences for your loss!

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February 6, 2024 - 7:16 pm
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Bert H. said
Very neat indeed, and I have no doubt that the sling mounts were factory installed on that rifle.  They are identical to the sling bases and QD slings that Winchester installed on the Model 64 Deer Rifles, and on the Model 65 and Model 71 Special rifles (all manufactured in the same time period as your Model 63).

Bert

  

Thanks Bert!

I’ve poured through dozens of pictures on the web…. Can’t find another one like it.  Anyone ever seen one like it?

George….

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February 6, 2024 - 10:58 pm
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I met Bruno Pardee, the one-time manager of Winchester’s Custom Shop, at a Dallas Arms Collectors show some decades ago. I was curious to know whether the forearm caps with integral detachable sling swivel bases, as found on the deluxe Winchester Models 64, 65, and 71, were milled with the cap from a single block or a separate part that was brazed or welded to the cap. 

His response to my question was that it was done both ways, earlier as a single milled part and later as a separate part welded to the cap. 

At a magnification of about 10 diameters,  it is readily apparent this Model 63’s foward swivel base is welded (or silver soldered or brazed) to the cap.  To me, that lends weight to this being a special order feature because that forward base, not combined with the cap, was never available as a separate cataloged part.  Also, I don’t believe the Model 03/63 cap was interchangeable with caps for the 64/65/71, arguing against a post-factory gunsmithing job. Such a job would require either a shop fabricated base or one cut off from a larger cap/base. Again arguing for a factory job. 

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February 7, 2024 - 2:38 pm
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[email protected] said

 

Thanks Bert!

I’ve poured through dozens of pictures on the web…. Can’t find another one like it.  Anyone ever seen one like it?

George….

  

George,

I found a gentleman that owns these two 63s. Both appear to have factory installed sling swivels.

https://i.postimg.cc/Vk5V1GDw/IMG-8515.jpgImage Enlarger

I’ve held a highly embellished (engraved, gold inlaid, fancy checkering, xxx-xxxx wood) model 63 that had sling swivel mounts like yours. It also wore Supergrade swivels that appeared to be about 3/4” instead of the 1” and 1 1/4” sizes used on the centerfire rifles … but that part may be an inaccurate memory. There wasn’t proof if the rifle was factory built or not, but it looked it.

 

I have seen several model 71s that have standard grade (uncheckered) stocks that wear special grade sling swivel mounts in the buttstock and forend cap. Of the few that I’ve examined in person, all but one were definitely factory installed. I saw one at a show this weekend as a matter of fact.

(sorry Bert, I missed the serial number and other survey info on it and it sold by the time I went back to get the info for you).

My point in saying this is that it is just as likely to be offered/requested for sling swivels to be added to a 63 as it would be for a standard grade 71, 64, 65, etc. 

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February 7, 2024 - 2:41 pm
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P.S.

I asked the gentleman who owns the rifles above if his supergrade swivels were smaller than “typical” and he said no, that they were 1”…

But this fact could be attributed to them being a later replacement set. 

And makes me wonder, has anyone ever come across supergrade swivels that were smaller than an inch?

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February 8, 2024 - 2:03 am
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jsgwoodsman said

[email protected] said

 

Thanks Bert!

I’ve poured through dozens of pictures on the web…. Can’t find another one like it.  Anyone ever seen one like it?

George….

  

George,

I found a gentleman that owns these two 63s. Both appear to have factory installed sling swivels.

jsgwoodsman said

[email protected] said

 

Thanks Bert!

I’ve poured through dozens of pictures on the web…. Can’t find another one like it.  Anyone ever seen one like it?

George….

  

George,

I found a gentleman that owns these two 63s. Both appear to have factory installed sling swivels.

https://i.postimg.cc/Vk5V1GDw/IMG-8515.jpgImage Enlarger

I’ve held a highly embellished (engraved, gold inlaid, fancy checkering, xxx-xxxx wood) model 63 that had sling swivel mounts like yours. It also wore Supergrade swivels that appeared to be about 3/4” instead of the 1” and 1 1/4” sizes used on the centerfire rifles … but that part may be an inaccurate memory. There wasn’t proof if the rifle was factory built or not, but it looked it.

 

I have seen several model 71s that have standard grade (uncheckered) stocks that wear special grade sling swivel mounts in the buttstock and forend cap. Of the few that I’ve examined in person, all but one were definitely factory installed. I saw one at a show this weekend as a matter of fact.

(sorry Bert, I missed the serial number and other survey info on it and it sold by the time I went back to get the info for you).

My point in saying this is that it is just as likely to be offered/requested for sling swivels to be added to a 63 as it would be for a standard grade 71, 64, 65, etc. 

  

 

I’ve held a highly embellished (engraved, gold inlaid, fancy checkering, xxx-xxxx wood) model 63 that had sling swivel mounts like yours. It also wore Supergrade swivels that appeared to be about 3/4” instead of the 1” and 1 1/4” sizes used on the centerfire rifles … but that part may be an inaccurate memory. There wasn’t proof if the rifle was factory built or not, but it looked it.

 

I have seen several model 71s that have standard grade (uncheckered) stocks that wear special grade sling swivel mounts in the buttstock and forend cap. Of the few that I’ve examined in person, all but one were definitely factory installed. I saw one at a show this weekend as a matter of fact.

(sorry Bert, I missed the serial number and other survey info on it and it sold by the time I went back to get the info for you).

My point in saying this is that it is just as likely to be offered/requested for sling swivels to be added to a 63 as it would be for a standard grade 71, 64, 65, etc. 

  

Thanks!  Those are absolutely beautiful rifles!

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February 8, 2024 - 5:39 pm
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I had an unusual early 63 at one time with what I suspect was a different type of factory sling eyes. Not as s pretty as the above but it had some interesting features. Wasn’t able to find a better picture.

 

IMG_1081.jpegImage Enlarger

Mike

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February 8, 2024 - 8:43 pm
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Mike,

 

Wasn’t it you that had the factory strait grip 63?

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February 9, 2024 - 1:41 am
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jsgwoodsman said
Mike,

 

Wasn’t it you that had the factory strait grip 63?

  

Yes, sold at a Morphy auction October 2019. Good memory!

 

Mike

ETA: found another pic of the 63 with sling eyes.

 

IMG_1082.jpegImage Enlarger

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February 9, 2024 - 4:02 am
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TXGunNut said

jsgwoodsman said

Mike,

 

Wasn’t it you that had the factory strait grip 63?

  

Yes, sold at a Morphy auction October 2019. Good memory!

 

Mike

ETA: found another pic of the 63 with sling eyes.

 

IMG_1082.jpegImage Enlarger

  

Mike, I’ve seen those on earlier Winchester lever actions in some WRA catalogs. The rear sling eye  was at the head of a wood screw and the forward eye had a nut and machine screw to fit a hole to be drilled through the forearm cap. Sold with hooks to be attached to a sling. I’ve seen them on model 90s, 73s, 95s, 86s, and 92s.  A catalog option and available for a simple factory refit.  

- Bill 

 

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February 9, 2024 - 5:08 am
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Zebulon said

Mike, I’ve seen those on earlier Winchester lever actions in some WRA catalogs. The rear sling eye  was at the head of a wood screw and the forward eye had a nut and machine screw to fit a hole to be drilled through the forearm cap. Sold with hooks to be attached to a sling. I’ve seen them on model 90s, 73s, 95s, 86s, and 92s.  A catalog option and available for a simple factory refit. 

The “old fashioned” (but entirely practical) “fish-hook” style swivel was (on the evidence of catalog illustrations) phased out sometime between 1934 & 1939, so could be original on an early M 63; on a post-war gun, I doubt it would be factory installed.  But whether original or post-factory, they are an asset to use of the gun.  I installed repros on several of the guns I hunted with, & they are not inferior in utility to modern swivels.

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February 9, 2024 - 12:32 pm
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clarence said

Zebulon said

Mike, I’ve seen those on earlier Winchester lever actions in some WRA catalogs. The rear sling eye  was at the head of a wood screw and the forward eye had a nut and machine screw to fit a hole to be drilled through the forearm cap. Sold with hooks to be attached to a sling. I’ve seen them on model 90s, 73s, 95s, 86s, and 92s.  A catalog option and available for a simple factory refit. 

The “old fashioned” (but entirely practical) “fish-hook” style swivel was (on the evidence of catalog illustrations) phased out sometime between 1934 & 1939, so could be original on an early M 63; on a post-war gun, I doubt it would be factory installed.  But whether original or post-factory, they are an asset to use of the gun.  I installed repros on several of the guns I hunted with, & they are not inferior in utility to modern swivels.

  

Agree. It was a lot easier and less expensive for a local gunsmith to pull the nose cap off, say, a standard M64, clamp it in his drill press and drill the single hole for the forward eye, than to order a replacement Deer Rifle nose cap with integral swivel base. The two-screw rear Super Grade swivel base required some careful inletting as well. As opposed to just pre-drilling the hole for a single wood screw.  An inexpensive and useful accessory that worked. 

The late Jack O’Connor wrote many times that a sling was a highly useful device for hunters who walked long distances or climbed hills and mighty useful for the lone hunter dragging a deer out of the woods.  He much preferred detachable swivels and even suggested the “smaller and neater” models sold by Paul Jaeger and others, over the big Super Grade Winchester versions. 

Before I finally latched onto a good 64 Deer Rifle, I had one of the standard grades that a thoughtful person had ordered with Super Grade swivels, a once-cataloged option.  Sure enough,  I had to drag out a fat doe by myself a couple of hundred yards and under a barbed wire fence to get to my car. It was starting to rain and I was very glad not to leave the 64 in the brush. 

- Bill 

 

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February 9, 2024 - 1:52 pm
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One reason I believe the eyes may be original is the receiver sight had the proper markings for a factory installed sight. We’ll never know, of course. I sold the gun in a weak moment some years back. It might have made a better companion gun to the Model 1903 pictured in my T. C. Johnson and the Winchester Model 1903 article.

 

 

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