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Earliest known model 70 super grade
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January 5, 2021 - 9:58 pm
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I am a newbie to Winchesters but not gun collecting. I have stumbled across a model 70 marked super grade with a low three digit serial number. The gun was produced in early 1936. I have contacted Winchester and the Cody museum and they assure me the records do not exist to authenticate the gun or ascertain where it falls in the order of super grades manufactured. 

 I hope that members here can help me and list the lowest serial numbered super grades they have encountered. The serial number of this gun is under 250.

Thank You for your help in advance.

BB

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January 6, 2021 - 6:12 pm
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Hi BB-

I’m afraid it won’t be much help, but the earliest SG that I have recorded thus far is S/N 19.   It goes against the popular wisdom that the first 100 or so M70s were all 30 GOV’T’06 standard rifles, but the gun does have all the correct early SG parts.  Of course, the fact that the first 100 were standard rifles also does not mean that the first 100 rifles assembled were S/Ns 1 thru 100.

Do you have any back story on your rifle?  If you could post a few photos we could at least tell you whether it has the parts one would expect on a 1936 SG.  As a guest you’d need to link photos via a third party host or e-mail them to me ([email protected]) to post for you.

Best of Luck!!!  Laugh

Lou 

** SORRY… If anybody saw this post in the first few minutes after I uploaded it, I initially said S/N 17, which was a miss recollection on my part.Embarassed S/N 17 is a 30 GOV’T’06 standard rifle pictured in Dean Whitaker’s book.  I meant to say S/N 19…

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January 6, 2021 - 6:41 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
It goes against the popular wisdom that the first 100 or so M70s were all 30 GOV’T’06 standard rifles, but the gun does have all the correct early SG parts.

Lou   

Seems reasonable to me the company would have wished to have a few SGs assembled early in production to show off to VIPs in the gun world, like Crossman & Whelen.

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January 6, 2021 - 7:10 pm
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Hi Clarence-

I honestly don’t know.  The rifle isn’t mine, but I have seen it first hand and it looks OK to me.  Of course it could be a non-factory upgrade, but if it is they used the correct parts, such as the stock with the front sling swivel base up close to the fore end tip that you most commonly see in SG rifle made before 1938.  Plausible?  Yes.  Proveable?  Nope. You’d have to examine it and make up your own mind.  Laugh

BTW… Not wanting to divert this thread from the OP’s question… But…  You’ve seen a lot of M70s (even if you did rush past them so fast in the NRA Museum that you didn’t noticeWink)… 

Have you ever seen a regular production pre-war M70 SG with the “extra fish tail” pistol grip checkering?  Yes, the 1937 Introductory (green) brochure pictures the SG that way and Rule’s book says they were made like that in 1937.  But even the earliest SG pictured in his book doesn’t have it and I’ve yet to see it on any of the 1936-37 SG rifles I’ve run across.  The only SG rifles I’ve seen with that pattern are somewhat later pre-war rifles made during the time that the “deluxe” pistol grip checkering was a cataloged extra cost option.  And those rifles have other special order features, like select walnut, leading me to think the fancier checkering was ordered.

If anyone has a 1936-37 SG with that grip checkering pattern I’d love to see photos of it…

Best,

Lou

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January 7, 2021 - 12:07 am
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Hey Limestone-

Got any higher resolution on those pics?  I’d like to get the action variation, could be a I-1 or I-2 or even I-3.  +/- squared magazine release button, +/- “pin” on the right flat of the bolt sleeve.

Thanks!!! Laugh

Lou

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January 8, 2021 - 12:55 am
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What make is the scope?

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January 8, 2021 - 1:08 am
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clarence said
What make is the scope?  

That’s a Weaver.

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January 9, 2021 - 12:34 am
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[email protected] said
Correct, it is a Weaver, and surprising to me, a Redfield base, for a mount! Evidently this former Sniper, was pretty comfortable with his set up, as I understand, he took a lot of Game with it!  

The Redfield Jr. mount was by far the best of it’s time, & the one any astute rifleman would have chosen when this SG was built.  What looks out of place chronologically speaking is the much later Weaver scope.

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January 9, 2021 - 12:54 am
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Yep, the Weaver scopes with the external adjustments and brass retainers were marketed in the late 1940’s.

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January 9, 2021 - 6:24 pm
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All-

In the interest of trying to give a partial answer to the OP’s original question about pre-war SG serial numbers, I’m attaching below the interim results of a sub-survey I’ve been working on.  It’s a “screen shot” from an Excel spreadsheet, so I hope it’s legible:

SG-Stock-Survey-Interim.pngImage Enlarger

This sub-survey has been intended to answer a different question, namely when did Winchester change the position of the front sling swivel base on Super Grades from this:

Early-SG-Front-Swivel-Position.jpgImage Enlarger

To this:

Late-SG-Front-Swivel-Position.jpgImage Enlarger

The spreadsheet does not include all the cloverleaf tang (type I and II) M70 Super Grade serial numbers I’ve recorded, only those where I was clever enough to remember to record where the front swivel was placed.  I also cannot vouch for the authenticity of all these rifles, since most were recorded from on-line sources.  But it does give the S/Ns about about 150 early M70 SG rifles.  Assuming that the sample is random, it suggests that very few Super Grade rifles were made before around S/N 2000.  So the OP’s rifle, if legit, would indeed be a very early one.

Hopefully BB is still checking in b/c I’d like to see some photos of the rifle in question.

As for the question the survey is supposed to answer, it looks to me like the change in swivel position begins to appear in late 1937 to early 1938, after which there’s about a two-year overlap period where either might occur.  Presumably this reflects the time it took to use up existing stores of the older stocks.  On a survey of this type we expect “outliers” due to subsequent “upgrading” or the occasional assembly of early S/N receiver at a later date, but I would tend to question the authenticity of a pre-64 M70 Super Grade with a S/N below about 12,000 that had the later style stock. Wink

Best,

Lou

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January 11, 2021 - 6:21 am
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So we are a long way from what I needed to know. I suppose that no one on this forum has seen a Super Grade greater than 19 and less than 249? Not trying to be an ass but i have one earlier serial number and that is 19.

BB

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January 11, 2021 - 2:57 pm
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BB-

Unfortunately the factory production records you seek were destroyed long ago.  The anecdotal observations of collectors are all there is to go on.  I cannot even assure you that the two earlier S/Ns I’ve observed in SG style (S/Ns 19 and 123) were in fact “Super Grades” when they left the factory, as opposed to havng been “upgraded” at some later date.  Same thing goes for the rifle you’d like to establish as “The World’s First M70 Super Grade”.  Without the non-existent factory records or some unshakable chain of custody from 1937 to the present (documented provenance), you cannot know that is a “genuine” Super Grade either.  The most a M70 collector can hope for these days is to establish that any given example is a “period correct” gun.

In my limited records to date, I have recorded the present day configuration 14 of the first 270 pre-64 M70 serial numbers (5% of the total).  Not bad for survey purposes but a long way, as you put it, from the documentation you seek. 

Low-SN-M70s-1.pngImage Enlarger

I am sorry that I am unable to be of further assistance. Cry

Lou

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January 11, 2021 - 5:03 pm
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Louis Luttrell said  Without the non-existent factory records or some unshakable chain of custody from 1937 to the present (documented provenance), you cannot know that is a “genuine” Super Grade either.  The most a M70 collector can hope for these days is to establish that any given example is a “period correct” gun.

Lou  

And pragmatically, that should be enough.  Period correct stock, floorplate, markings?  If so, seeking further authentication seems to me to be carrying skepticism too far–requiring “proof” (like a sales receipt) that no longer exists.  (I don’t have a single sales receipt for any gun in my possession.)  The gun, I think, should be assumed to be factory original, unless positive evidence turns up to prove the contrary—like a sales receipt showing that same ser. no. previously sold as a Standard grade.

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January 11, 2021 - 7:48 pm
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Thank You all for your observations and thoughts.

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