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.218 Bee - another is it real?
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January 15, 2022 - 3:00 pm
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I will jump in here and say “no”, not real. If you look closely at the proof marks on barrel/action, they are not even close to matching. This would indicate the they were not stamped at the same time. Also, the under-barrel stamping is pretty crude for Winchester. I have never seen a model 70 barrel stamp with a “2” that has that particular font design. Obviously the “1” is not even close to matching anything. I would think the chamber stamp used on the bottom side of barrel would have been a 1-piece stamp since this caliber was being chambered in the model 65 at this time. Also, since the rifle was s/n’d in April of 41, and this would have obviously been a special order 1-off, I would think the barrel date would be some time after 1941, and not 3 years prior. 

     I find it amusing that these rare 1-off 70’s are always in a very configuration. The Super Grade carbines were not even cataloged by Winchester. 

   Lou, what are your thoughts……

 

Steve

     

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January 16, 2022 - 4:00 pm
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Hi Steve-

I agree with your assessment.  You raise excellent points. Laugh

These rifles always make me queasy, since they often fall into the “difficult to disprove” category.  IMHO they are for the most part assembled with Winchester parts (modified as need be), and by and large have very realistic roll markings (original dies or very good reproductions).  It’s typically only a few little things, like mis-matched proof marks or rust blue that doesn’t look quite right, that raise doubts beyond the natural skepticism that such rifles “can’t be real”.  Sometimes “definitive proof” of forgery exists in the form of a prior record of the S/N being something different in the past, but not very often.

On the one hand, it would not be hard (for either the factory or a well-equipped faker) to build a M70 in 218 BEE, since you mostly just start with a 22 HORNET action and add a 218 BEE barrel.  Oh the other hand, since 22 HORNET was a cataloged, and fairly popular, M70 chambering, WHY would anybody want one in 218 BEE?  To go with their M65 or M43??? Confused

But speaking of M70s in 218 BEE, here’s one that has me puzzled… Confused A while ago I had a chance to examine two M70 standard rifles in this chambering.  Not carbines, not Super Grades.  Good looking exposed looking barrel markings, like the subject rifle here.  Built on 22 HORNET actions, the barrels have the usual coned breech with just a circumferential flat milled for the rimmed cartridge to headspace on.  I did not take them apart so don’t know the barrel dates, but I do not recall seeing any striking issues with the exposed proofs (maybe I didn’t look hard enough).

The thing is the two rifles have CONSECUTIVE S/Ns in the 140-thousand range (I do not want to give the full S/Ns since they are not mine).  Would a faker REALLY want to destroy a couple of consecutive 22 HORNET M70s to make fakes in 218 BEE???  Or are they a pair genuine of factory rifles ordered together???  Logic dictates that they “can’t be real”, but the “logic” of the faker doesn’t make sense to me either.  Even if they were in rough condition, why not just “restore” them to “factory new” consecutive 22 HORNETs and cash in on that??? Confused

I just can’t get into these non-cataloged M70s myself.  Too many question marks for me to lose sleep over… Cry

Lou 

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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January 16, 2022 - 4:18 pm
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Steve and Lou – I enjoyed your interesting comments and thoughts.  The consecutive numbered .218’s is very intriguing.  I wouldn’t discount the existence of a Model 70 in .218 based on the argument of why would anyone want one when the .22 Hornet was available?  While I can’t say I believe any of the examples encountered are real, I do believe a desire for one did exist Wink 

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January 16, 2022 - 6:07 pm
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Louis Luttrell said   Oh the other hand, since 22 HORNET was a cataloged, and fairly popular, M70 chambering, WHY would anybody want one in 218 BEE?   

I have a different question: why would anyone want an un-scoped Bee, or Hornet, either, for that matter?  For shooting squirrels at 50 yds, if your eyes were sharp enough?  Both these cartridges were developed to reach far beyond the range of .22RFs, for sniping small targets as far as 200 yds, woodchucks being the classic example.  To accomplish that with metallic sights would be marvelous shooting, indeed.  (Unless your name was Elmer Keith.)

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January 16, 2022 - 10:45 pm
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Hi Clarence-

This is a little off tangent from the original post, but I know how strongly you feel about Winchester’s lack of foresight in designing the pre-war M70 in a way that could not accommodate a low top mount telescopic sight.  If you have not seen it, you might find this clip amusing (or validating)… Wink

Recommendation-for-Post-War-Arms-Line-clip.pngImage Enlarger

This is a Jan 15, 1943 record of WRACo. Board Member’s comments on a 1942 report by George Watrous recommending changes to the post-war Winchester product line (all guns).  It’s accessible via the McCracken Library on-line for anyone interested in post-war Winchester models that aren’t the M70..

I find it interesting that while Mssrs. Tiefenbrunn and Winston both criticize the “flag” safety as an impediment to low scope mounting, neither happened to mention the fact that the bridge was not D&T for a top mount.  

One can argue that the Directors could have been more “visionary” in 1936 (the Redfield JR mount having been introduced just about that time) and pushed to incorporate a drilled bridge in the original design, although that type scope mount would have rendered the “usual” metallic sights inoperable.  OR they COULD have been more aggressive about partnering with somebody, e.g. G&H, to provide factory side mounts.  OR they COULD have designed/manufactured/cataloged their own side mount.  BUT they didn’t…  As you know, the “problem” wasn’t fixed until mid-1946 with the introduction of the type II (transition) receiver.

Still… While WWII kind of got in the way of implementation, at least the factory Execs were coming around to your point of view by 1942-43… Laugh

Lou

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January 17, 2022 - 12:30 am
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Clarence-

This is a little off tangent from the original post, but I know how strongly you feel about Winchester’s lack of foresight in designing the pre-war M70 in a way that could not accommodate a low top mount telescopic sight.  If you have not seen it, you might find this clip amusing (or validating)… Wink

Certainly a D&T bridge would have facilitated scope mounting, but lack of it was by no means an insurmountable barrier, if the owner really wanted a scope. In the first place, no shooter of the time would have had qualms about having a D&T job done by a gunsmith, & for a varmint rifle, the logical choice would have been brl blocks for mounting a target-type scope.  If for some reason, that owner preferred a more compact hunting scope, there were multiple good options: a Stith, or better yet the Redfield, or a side-mount.  In other words, it was no hard row to hoe, esp. for someone who’d previously gone to the trouble (allegedly) to special order this rifle.  So in this case, it’s the thinking of the original owner (that is, if the gun’s not a fake) that makes no sense to me.

The alleged difficulty of using the safety under a scope is exaggerated in the above discussion.  A more realistic concern would be interference from the bolt handle, but that would be no problem either if a higher-mounted target scope had been used.

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