I just purchased a custom Pre-64 Model 70 chambered in 270 Winchester. The barrel and stock are aftermarket, but the action is factory original, except the solid bolt knob has four checkering panels added. The bolt is serial-numbered to the receiver, with the number being 2225XX, which indicates a 1952 DOM. Interestingly enough, the action has the cloverleaf tang, which I thought was eliminated in the 180000 range; however, I don’t have access to my copy of Rule’s book to confirm any of this. I know there are always oddities with the Model 70, with some older parts getting pulled from bins long after production changes were made. Do any of you experts have any thoughts on a 1952 Model 70 with a cloverleaf tang?
The guy who owned the rifle knew little about it, so he clearly wasn’t the one who had the custom work done. He claimed the original owner ordered the rifle as a Super Grade and the rifle I bought is what Winchester delivered. However, there’s no SG floorplate and I doubt Winchester would have delivered the rifle with a non-Winchester barrel. Therefore, I strongly suspect someone had the custom work done on a Standard 1952 action…but it was done beautifully. Overall, I’m just looking for your opinions. Again, I’m mostly wondering about the action, is it odd to have a properly serialed 1952 action/bolt with a cloverleaf tang?
November 1, 2013
Fairlane*66 said I know there are always oddities with the Model 70, with some older parts getting pulled from bins long after production changes were made.
Seems the obvious explanation. I prefer this shape to the one which replaced it. (Because, I suspect, it was easier to fit.)
November 5, 2014
Is the bridge smooth (not roll marked) and factory D&T? The last of the pre-war (type I with undrilled roll marked bridge) standard length actions were around S/N 60,000 and the last of the transition (type II with smooth D&T bridge) were around S/N 87,000. The H&H Magnum receivers were different, with cloverleaf tang receivers appearing into the 120,000s, but not relevant for a 270 Winchester…
It’s possible that it’s a leftover transition receiver that wasn’t finished/serialized until 1952, but unlikely. The closest I’ve seen to something like this is a consecutively serial numbered pair of 300 and 375 H&H Magnum Super Grades that were built (by a factory employee) around 1950-52, and the S/Ns on those are 86704 and 86705. So they were already finished (and serial numbered) receivers that sat around for several years. It’s less likely, but not impossible, that a partially finished receiver got dug up, finished, and serialized in 1952. That’s sort of the story with the H&H Magnum length receivers in the 120,000 range (finished/serialized well after the factory was making oval tang receivers)…
OTOH several of the better custom rifle builders liked/still like to reshape the oval tang of type III receivers into something approximating the cloverleaf tang shape. Not only does it look better (I agree with Clarence), I think it gave the builder a chance to show off their stock making/inletting skills. Are there any maker’s marks in either the barrel channel or under the butt plate? The “famous” guys liked to sign their artistry…
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters
At this point I haven’t been able to take the barreled action out of the stock, but hope to in the near future. As for the bridge, the rifle has a Leupold scope mounted, so the top of the bridge isn’t visible without removing the scope. As for the tang, I think you’re onto something. It is quite possible the gunsmith who worked on this rifle reshaped the tang, just as you suggest. I have a couple of transition-style rifles, although not at my fingertips. Once I get this rifle integrated into my collection, I’ll compare rifles with known cloverleaf tangs with the action on this new rifle. Until then, logic suggests you’re right and this action has been re-contoured to showcase the smith’s abilities.