Happy Holidays To All-
I have been working on this project “in secret” for a while now, but given that I will be retiring from practice soon, and with Bert Hartman’s blessing, I’m making this appeal to the WACA community for help with my “fool’s errand”.
Since there are no surviving publicly available M70 production records, the goal of this survey is to collect as much information about pre-64 M70s as possible to answer questions like: 1) When were specific styles/chamberings actually manufactured, as opposed to when they were cataloged? 2) When were certain production changes, e.g. action variations, stock styles, etc., implemented and how much overlap was there between the “new” and the “old” product? This sort of information is critical to collectors attempting to figure out if a given rifle is “period correct” or a mélange of mismatched parts. Unlike some other Winchester models, I do not think the survey will be able to address numbers produced or relative rarity, as there is too much “selection bias” inherent in surveying via the internet. But there are many questions that can only be answered by examining surviving examples, because many changes were never highlighted in Winchester advertising, even “obvious” things like the change from cloverleaf to oval tang. Yes… By 2020 many M70s have had parts, especially sights, changed over the years, but if you get enough data onto a spreadsheet and sort it by serial number it’s not difficult to identify the “outliers” and figure out what was the norm at any given time. That’s the goal…
SOURCES: Most of the data from the first 5000 or so entries has come from auction catalogs, internet sales, friend’s collections, etc. The “usual” sources. I am pretty good at searching the internet daily and will have more time to devote to it soon enough. What I’m hoping for is that members of the WACA community will provide information about pre-64 Model 70s that they either have (or once had) in their possession, or that they run across in shops/gun shows/etc.
WHAT INFORMATION: To be useful, the MINIMUM information would be:
– Serial Number
But whenever possible, I am recording over 20 different details on each rifle (or as many of them as I can discern from on-line photos). My survey checklist, which uses the Roger Rule nomenclature for things like barrel roll markings and action variations, is below:
If anyone is crazy enough to want to contribute this level of detail, I can e-mail this checklist in pdf format such that it can be printed out and completed just by checking the boxes. That’s what I do at gun shows, for example. Some of these details may be too much to ask of folks who haven’t memorized Rule’s book, but even filling out the parts like whether the caliber is stamped “30 GOV’T’06”, “30-06 SPRG–“, or “30-06 SPFLD–“ or whether the stock is Monte Carlo or low comb adds to the aggregate data.
To be included, the only requirement is that the rifle appear to have its original factory barrel and stock. Condition doesn’t matter to the survey, nor do things like added D&T holes or non-factory recoil pads. Custom rifles that have been rebarreled don’t help, since we can no longer tell what they were when they left the factory.
PRIVACY: I am not recording the source of the information on the survey spreadsheet. I’ll denote any member-contributed information simply as “WACA”. I hope to be able to use the summative survey data to inform some future writing about M70s and add to what we already know about the “Rifleman’s Rifle”
So, if anyone is willing, please PM me or send information to [email protected]. Whether you know of one M70 or 100 of them, any info is much appreciated!!! Many thanks for considering this!!!
Have a Safe and Merry Christmas!!!
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters
August 27, 2014
I have 2 candidate Model 70’s that I hope to submit over the Christmas holiday’s. I don’t mean to be a pain in the tuchus but it would be very helpful, at least for me, if your survey checklist had associated page numbers from “The Rifleman’s Rifle” for quick reference. This would help with standardization of responses and help avoid misinterpretation. Maybe I’m just lazy, but…
I have the 2009 publication and I’ll get started as time permits.
Merry Christmas!!! Hope you and yours are doing well!!!
I appreciate the help!!!!
I know that I am such a Geek that my checklist looks overwhelming. Since I do it daily (filling in all the blanks that can be discerned from on-line listings), it’s become second nature to me. Referring to the paperback edition of Roger’s book (I think the page numbers are the same in all editions), the location of the most nettlesome details are:
ACTION VARIATION: Table 5 (Page 143) is the easiest reference.
BARREL CONTOUR: Table 4-16 is the easiest reference.
CALIBER DESIGNATION: Pages 113-117
* This is easy because only four chamberings used more than one designation: (270 W.C.F. versus 270 WIN.–); (30 GOV’T’06 versus 30-06 SPRG.– versus 30-06 SPFLD.–); (300 MAGNUM versus 300 H&H MAGNUM–); and (375 MAGNUM versus 375 H&H MAGNUM).
BARREL ROLL MARKING STYLE: Pages 155-160
* This is easier than it looks. Style 1 is the pre-1941 style with both right and left side roll markings Quickest way to tell is the right side stamp ends with “MODEL 70 WINCHESTER – Caliber” while the later ones read “WINCHESTER MODEL 70 – Caliber”. Style 2 (which is rarely seen) in the “1940-only” marking which has the same right side stamp as style 1 but omits the left side barrel address. Style 3A is the first of the “right side only” dies that reads “WINCHESTER MODEL 70” but the caliber stamp is made using a separate die. The caliber is usually misaligned and doesn’t have a hyphen at the end. Style 3B used a separate roll marking die to apply the caliber. These are usually seen as “30 GOV’T’06–” and can be identified by the hyphen following the caliber and the lack of precise alignment with the address stamp. Style 3C is the “one piece” die that incorporated caliber into the address line. Spacing of address and caliber becomes consistent. For example “MODEL 70 – 30-06 SPRG.–” and “MODEL 70 – 30-06 SPFLD.–”. The Featherweight marking is self explanatory, it says “FEATHERWEIGHT”, although there is an interesting minor variation where the barrel address is stamped in three lines instead of two (Fig 6-83). The “Short Magnum” is a style 3C but it says “Made in U.S.A.” instead of “Made in New Haven, Conn. U.S. of America”. Finally, some late 300 WIN MAGNUMs have the (R) symbol instead of the word “Trademark”.
FRONT SIGHT RAMP: Pages 160-162
* Not too hard. The integral ramps #1 and #2 are longer and have shallow grooves on the side as well as slots for the front sight hood. Of the soldered ramps (no shallow grooves, only slots), the #3 is stippled, the #6 has 14 striations, and the #7 has 18 striations. The #5 is rare and pictured on page 161. I’ve never seen a #4 on a gun.
FRONT SIGHTS: Figs 6-37, 6-61 and 6-77
REAR SIGHTS: Figs 6-38, 6-42, 6-43, 6-44, 6-45 and 6-63
RECEIVER SIGHTS: Figs 6-39, 6-78 and 7-15
* Rule’s illustrations are not too helpful. Best illustration he gives for the 48WJS is Fig 6-39, but these sights weren’t made with “stayset” knobs until after the option was dropped from the catalog. If factory, they should have target knobs and the distinction is whether they are “full block” (requiring stock inletting) or “half block” (coved bottom that cleared the stock). Best illustration of the 48WH target rifle variations is Fig 6-78. Rule does not show a photo of the 57W, the 57WJS he shows in Fig 6-41 is a later sight never factory installed on a M70. The real 57W is pictured in the ad copy in Fig 7-15. Also I’ve posted pics of the correct 57W before and can add illustrations if folks want an “identification guide”.
STANDARD PISTOL GRIP SHAPE: Fig 6-1
SG CHEEKPIECE: Fig 6-46
SG FLOORPLATE: Fig 6-55 and 6-56.
* Main distinctions are whether the “G” in “GRADE” is a Helvetica serif font (little “tail”) or a plain Univers “G”, whether there are “teardrops” or “dashes” at the ends, and whether the teardops point “out” <SUPER GRADE> or “in” >SUPER GRADE<.
SG GRIP CAPS: Fig 6-54
MARKSMAN STOCKS: Figs 6-67 through 6-72
* These can be tricky as there’s more minor variation that Roger’s illustrations suggest, although the trend is there. I just make my best guess.
MARKSMAN FRONT SWIVEL: Fig 6-73
Like I said, ANY entry that includes Style/Serial Number/Caliber is a big help. To the extent that anyone want’s to provide more details, the dataset is further enriched, but it sure does involve more study of the gun’s minor details. Personally, I’ve found this exercise very helpful insofar as collecting goes. On a “fungible” gun like the M70, knowing what’s “period correct” can save a lot of money later on, when one realizes that a sight or stock has been replaced and correct parts are hard/impossible to find or horrendously expensive…
All the Best!!!
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters