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Any Way to Determine if a Pre-64 Model 70 Was Special Ordered?
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May 19, 2022 - 1:14 am
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I recently came into possession of a 1963-vintage Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 Featherweight chambered in 243 Win.  Bluing is flawless.  Looks like it never had a scope mounted.  Bolt and rifling show no signs of use or wear.  The stock has the late 63-vintage contour, but has features that leave me wondering if it was a special order gun.  First, the stock has the classic dark brown Winchester finish, but features some amazing figure and fiddleback.  Second, it is fitted with the late Winchester ventilated recoil pad that was found on 300 Win Mags and 264 Win Mag Featherweight guns.  Pad is expertly fitted and provides the correct factory length of pull.  Third, the checkering is nonstandard, both on the pistol grip and forend.  In fact, it looks exactly like the checkering found on Winchester Model 50 Pigeon Grade shotguns.  The forend checkering wraps entirely around the stock.  Based on comparison with other featherweights I own, the checkering pattern on this rifle is larger than the late small-pattern style of checkering, and it doesn’t look like the original factory checkering was enlarged or expanded upon.  So, overall, this rifle looks like new.  However, the stock definitely stands out as nonstandard. 

So, having said all that, I’m curious as to what I have.  Is there a way, perhaps by writing to the Cody Museum, I can find out if this rifle was special ordered from Winchester?  It has enough special features to suggest that might be the case.  However, it could have been spruced up by an enterprising stock maker after it left the factory.  However, even then, I’ve never seen a factory stock, even on a Super Grade, match the figure on this rifle.   Overall, it’s factory in configuration and almost unused, but has quite a few nonstandard features.

Any thoughts on how to research this particular rifle?  Thanks in advance for any advice.

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May 19, 2022 - 1:39 am
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Unfortunately, Cody does not have any information for the Model 70 rifles.  My suggestion is to first post a batch of clear detailed pictures of the stock and checkering so that our Model 70 Guru’s Lou and Steve can get a look at it.

Bert

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May 19, 2022 - 2:19 pm
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Hi Fairlane66-

As Bert said, there are no known surviving records of M70 Special Orders to consult for proof.  Cry  Pauline Muerrle has the engraver’s log books for all the factory engravers after George Ulrich, but I gather that the rifle isn’t engraved, only fitted with a deluxe stock.

Probably the best way of determining whether the stock was factory made would be close examination of the inletting.  I would understand if you did not want to remove the stock (turn screws) on a new condition gun, but FWIW M70 factory stocks were inlet on a duplicating machine that always made the same router cuts of the same radius, in the same direction, etc.  A custom stockmaker would not inlet that way.  As I understand it even the recent production repro M70 stocks offered for sale by Custom Shop, while duplicating the exterior shape, differ in the inletting.

Steve (seewin) is very good at identifying M70 factory inletting (much moreso than me)…  So photos, if available, might help.

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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