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Building a pre 64 model 70
September 20, 2019
5:43 pm
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LSUfan
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Hi everyone, first time on this sight.   I’m interested in building a customized pre 64 model 70.   I have not built anything like what I want to do yet, but I know I can and will acquire the skills over time.  

 

What i I wish to avoid is ruining a good rifle that has some collector value, as well as I’d like to avoid paying more money than I need to. 

 

Ive discovered a website called pre64.com that sells vintage bare actions.   Can anyone here vouch for the legitimacy of this sight?

 

Any tips for a first time builder/restorer?

 

Thanks

September 21, 2019
2:56 am
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Charleston, SC
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Hi LSU-

Justin Hale and his Dad Andy (pre64win.com) are friends of mine, so my opinion is be colored by that fact. 

However, I'd suggest you give them a call and discuss your project goals.  Justin knows what is/is not a collectable gun, and can guide you on the most cost effective way of getting what you want without paying too much or trashing something that might have collector value.

Just my opinion... Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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September 21, 2019
3:25 am
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Legitimacy?  Do you mean is it legit to break up usable, shootable, guns for their component parts?  I don't think so, but it's been going on a long time & can't be stopped, so my opinion is irrelevant.  Or do you mean, do they really have the parts listed for sale?  Don't know that, but it would be easy to find out.  As for the legitimacy of the major parts, I don't know how you can fake a receiver.  (Their descriptions suggest they know what they're talking about.)

One thing is obvious: this is an impressive website. 

September 21, 2019
4:00 pm
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Caution! Dissertation 'my take' following!
pre64.com is a firm which sells complete pre 64 Model 70 rifles as well as components/parts. "Cannibalization", by some folks. A perfectly legitimate firm providing valuable service in keeping other such rifles "on the road", for owner/enthusiasts. I've not done business with them, but that my view as useful resource to collectors & shooters.
As far as desecrating a valuable collector item, I differ from some views. With over a half million such "pre" 70 rifles made, there are yet quite a lot of the 'garden variety', principally Standard Models in such as 30-06 chambering. Also a fair amount of those with their battle scars attesting to field deployment as designed & intended. Most yet good usable rifles due to such great design, materials and workmanship. The same thing which justifiably creates the 'aura'. Yet made to be used and capable of considerable abuse.
I don't personally consider it desecration to customize such 'garden variety' model, which I describe by common chambering, common model and condition relative to 'deployment' factor. I have one such almost surely customization accomplished in Germany, with such flavor, and interesting result (purchased inexpensively).
Others, simply by condition, a customization would seem a rescue service! Common rifles, stocks in poor condition, non-original recoil pads. Nothing 'special' about the gun other than stalwart veteran. Such rifles to me, great fabric for making handsome & useful. Moreover, whatever route pleased.
Much of what I'm saying, envisioning the postwar generation. As we move back in time, less ability to rotely brand one "customization material" without some wider consideration. First, to the early fifties, the (to me) great era of forged -integral barrel front sight ramps, a definite plus requiring only such as even .270 Win chambering to give me pause. Earlier, the transition models, and considerably less likely to propose conversion. Then the (to me hallowed) prewar models. Duly noting a misnomer, since that version extending to early postwar production.
Here, perhaps myself toward other extreme. While perhaps too typical 'extra bridge top sight equipment holes', where otherwise such as pristine 'prewar' model even with such as bridge-top holes, easily turning the other cheek. To happily accept... For a price. Still to value such specimen for all the virtues I appreciate in such prewar craftsmanship.
So, my rule... No fixed rule. To evaluate each rifle on it's merits balancing originality-scarcity against modifications-commonness; condition a common denominator. The synthesis: There can certainly be some quite fine, beautiful, custom 'pre 64' based models.
Moving from generalizations-philosophy to your specific rifle. The 257 Roberts to me is one of those 'swing chamberings'. Inherently valuable in original context and moving the 'fickle finger' a few clicks toward maintaining originality. Such noting the (perhaps irony) that even quality refinishing metal and wood, ostensibly restoring beauty; the rifle rendered inevitably & forever "non-original". Such to the condemnation and disdain of many ardent collectors. Becoming simply "another pretty face". Yet such views, leaving the non-beauties in something of no-mans-land. Cringing to view, yet with the point "still original".
Conclusion. (Yes, there really IS one! Hooray! 🙂 ) I'm with several of these great rifles in 257 Roberts. A prewar 15K SN, transition 67K SN and third model 137K. Former two, both Supergrades, earliest with Stith mounted Weaver 3/4" tube scope. Both SGs with red Winchester recoil pads. 'Pre' semi-supple and definitely replacement. 'Trans', hardened & flaking. 'Third', 'organic' original Standard rifle in all respects. But bluing & stock such only a mother could love! Restoration candidate only to increase value in my estimation. Simply not on this old man's watch.
And so! As ever Louis, the necessary thanks for your invaluable contributions to this Forum and note of respect for your collector view Clarence! No hard single answers here, but a spectrum and many times 'economics/market forces' perhaps setting the most objective measure. Such absent the 'purists', which I can neither afford, nor wish to be.
Just another 'dissertation' take! 🙂
Best to all!
John

September 21, 2019
7:10 pm
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Charleston, SC
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John-

You're a hoot!!! Laugh I always enjoy your dissertations.

I was responding to LSUfan, who stated he is thinking about "building a customized pre-64 Model 70".  He asked if anyone had any dealings with pre64win.com, and I have so I said so.  Their main interest is in building customized pre-64 Model 70s and they seem to be as well equipped to do this as anybody.  For a price, of course, you can get anything from the component parts (receiver and stripped bolt body) to a complete blueprinted action ready for barrel installation.  Of course, they'll build the whole rifle for you if you want to pay for it.  What they won't do is the sort of "full restoration", i.e. trying exactly duplicate factory finishes, that most of us would call creating "fakes".

As for the philosophical point, i.e. whether "parting out" pre-64 M70s is a sin...  Interesting topic, of course...

I consider myself a "M70 collector" (of sorts).  Meaning that for my "collection" guns, the usual standards of originality, condition, rarity, and desirability apply.  In fact, I'm one of those freaks whose (post-war, anyway) M70s have to be all correct, not refinished, and 98% or better condition.  Then, of course, I won't shoot them. Confused So the hunters/shooters out there who aren't "condition freaks" like me can rightfully condemn me for denying these rifles the opportunity to be used for their intended purpose... Confused  

IMHO... All pre-64 M70s in the kind of condition that I (and many others or else they wouldn't be so blasted expensive!!!) seek, are collectable, and I would not advocate using a nice original as the basis for a customized rifle.  Not only would that decrease the number of good collectable guns/shootable originals out there, it would simply cost too much money up front to make sense. 

But the majority of pre-64 M70s have seen (often considerable) field use, and I'd venture that a majority of those have already been subjected to "owner customization".  So if it was fine for the original purchaser (hunter/shooter) to "customize" their rifle (which, of course it is) by installing a recoil pad for comfort, adding holes to adapt it for scope use, glass bedding it for accuracy, installing QD swivel studs for convenience, whatever, then why would it be wrong for the next generation of owner, like LSUfan, to do the same?  A well worn 1950 30-06 standard rifle with a recoil pad is not a collector gun.  Customizing it is not like using a Ming vase to grow seedlings in a potting shed...  If the new owner wants a different barrel, different style stock, different optics, they why not?  It's keeps these old guns in the field or on the range.  IMHO...The fact that a gun, in it's current beat up form, might still be usable and shootable, doesn't mean it can't be made more usable and shootable for its current owner through a custom build.

If the objection is that people who "part out" Winchesters do it to make money, well I guess that's exactly why they do it!!!  I'm glad they do, as I always seem to be looking for some part or other, and eBay sellers or custom shops like pre64win.com are often able to help me out (so I don't have to cannibalize a gun myself to get some particular sight or other)...  

Just my take, as well....  Smile

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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September 24, 2019
5:39 pm
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Well Lou...
First point, "hoot", probably a misnomer (possibly even 'fungible' misnomer). "Coot" not just more descriptive, but factually accurate and in context of the 'mature' variety! 🙂
Second simply to say Plus 1 to your above post. I think we're largely on the same page philosophically. Where we differ, is your far more extensive knowledge base concerning the pre '64 Model 70 genre and potentially opinions which follow.
One opinion that I do hold, is that regarding a 70 in decent condition, "blueprinting" seeming to 'gild the Lily' unless perhaps starting just with action and 'full monte' of target quality barrel and well fitted stock. To my mind even in such context, the virtue of the 70 we so highly regard, is of quality, strength, reliability and decent accuracy. I do believe those virtues including such as the big claw extractor, reflect purposes 'other than' pure target arm. Even as most closely cast, in the very 70 target models, that virtue dated. Progress of time and design in turnbolt rifles, the push-feeds, seeming to me to take the absolute accuracy field. Coming down nowadays to just which virtues most important. Personally, for instance, still figuratively conjuring as 'practice', 'Bulls & baseball bats...' Most any 70 in decent condition more capable than this shooter and I'd opine such with many of us. US Army sniper Hathcock, likely exploiting the 'tuned' 70 to maximum. Nowadays, no benchrest shooter to my understanding using a CRF Model 70 action!
"Restoration". Legitimate when "motive & intent" legitimate. Fact of some possible charlatan purveyor downstream, no ethical duty/responsibility arising for a present 'innocent' owner to deprive themselves of a nicely restored gun, or painting or widget, because of concern for submitting such to the vagaries of future possessors.
And that, a 'terse' comment! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Best
John

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