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M70 Target 220 Swift
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November 22, 2017 - 7:03 pm
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I’ve had this M70 for 30 years and now I am looking for some help from the experts here to see if this is an authentic Target Gun. Serial number 141637 built in 1950. The scope is modern but works great on this rifle. Photos attached.

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November 23, 2017 - 12:13 am
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It certainly look’s like a M70 Target model to me. Based on s/n it was made in 1950, and should have a barrel date on bottom of barrel just in front of receiver. Number should be a 49 or 50 designating when the barrel was actually made. Stock appears to have been refinished, and it almost look’s like an extra piece of wood might have been grafted to side of forearm on RH side. Also, the engine turning (jeweling) on bolt is not original. These Swift target rifles were very popular for varmint hunting, and due to this popularity, Winchester introduced a Varmint model chambered for Swift in 1959. It was identical to your Target rifle, however stock was the standard sporter style instead of the Marksman target version as is on your rifle. The 220 Swift was the absolute “hot rod” of all production varmint cartridges during 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and in my opinion is still hard to beat.

Steve

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November 23, 2017 - 5:45 pm
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Hi JC-

I agree with Steve, of course.  Nice looking rifle and I suspect its very accurate.  Over the years I’ve had the chance to shoot three M70 Target rifles, two Varmint rifles, and a Standard rifle in 220 SWIFT and every one of them was well under 1 MOA with hand loads. 

A couple of observations.  The M70 target model was cataloged in a variety of chamberings from ’36-’52, then mysteriously dropped from the ’53-’54 catalogs.  When reinstated in ’55 it was only cataloged in 30-06 and 243 WIN.  As Steve says, the heavy barrel 220 SWIFT was brought back into the line-up when the chambering was added to the Varmint rifle in ’59.  

Now here’s the thing…  M70 medium heavy target barrels prior to ’53 had a dovetail at the muzzle end for attaching a front sight block.  The two tapped 6-48 holes came along with the reintroduction target rifle (and introduction of the 243 WIN chambering) in ’55.  Given that your rifle is a 1950 gun, it is possible (???) that the barrel was replaced sometime after ’55 (???).  Since the rifle clearly has a M70 220 SWIFT target barrel on it, and by the ’50s Winchester was requiring that barrels be replaced at the factory, it is also possible that the barrel was replaced by Winchester (???). Like Steve, I’d be curious about whether there is a date stamped under the chamber, as that would clear up a lot.

I agree with Steve that the bolt/extractor/follower of Target rifles was not routinely jewelled, and that the stock has been refinished.  It may be a trick of the camera angle, but you might check that the width of the beavertail forearm is the same (about 2 3/8″) along its length.  If it tapers toward the muzzle, then it was reshaped when it was refinished.  I could certainly see someone doing that with a rifle they used in the field, as it might be more handy than the full beavertail fore end.  Then again, it might just be the camera lens that’s fooling me.  The second picture looks fine while the ninth picture looks like the fore end tapers (???)

Hope this helps,

Lou

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November 24, 2017 - 11:31 pm
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Seem to recall that cartridge had a reputation for being hard on barrel throats, could explain a replacement barrel. Nice rifle!

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November 25, 2017 - 5:39 am
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I have a special affinity for the heavy barrel rifles, in all of their various forms, and yours looks to be a good one.  Congrats for that!

Adding to what Lou and Steve have said – looking for a date under the barrel may not be all that useful.  If this were a standard rifle, no stamp would indicate a post 1956 barrel.  However, in my experience, the heavier barrels often were not date stamped – even in the earlier years.  I am not sure why this is the case, but I believe it to be true.  Your best chance at dating the barrel will be from the barrel stamp and sight arrangement.

Regardless of whether or not the barrel has been replaced, it looks like you have a really good shooter there – take it out and enjoy it!

Justin

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November 25, 2017 - 4:22 pm
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I removed the stock and found an alignment mark but no date stamp. The stock is 2 7/16″ wide full length until the rounded end. I found the brass trigger shim interesting. 20171125_044328.jpgImage Enlarger20171125_044339.jpgImage Enlarger20171125_050707.jpgImage Enlarger20171125_044433.jpgImage Enlarger20171125_044507.jpgImage Enlarger20171125_044523.jpgImage Enlarger

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November 25, 2017 - 9:37 pm
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Yes, I’m betting that barrel has been replaced. It should have a date on it. As mentioned earlier, Winchester quit date stamping the barrels around 1956. In fact, that is the latest date I have ever seen on a Winchester 70 or 52 barrel. I have owned probably 75 Targets/Bull’s and and all were date stamped if made before 1957. Later, Winchester would just stamp the caliber and sometimes not even that. I have a couple very late Bull Guns in 500XXX range, and even they have a “300” on bottom of barrel. 

      The 220 Swift did get a bad reputation for being tough on barrels, but in reality, it was no worse than a 22 Gebby Varminter  (22-250) or any number of high capacity 22 CF varmint rounds. It’s just the physics involved with putting a bunch of powder through a small hole. 243’s were pretty tough also, when used as a varmint round. 

Steve

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November 26, 2017 - 3:58 am
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Going by memory of the sale, the old timer I bought it from told me the rifle was used at camp Perry and it possibly was rebarrelled at the factory. The owner who used it at camp Perry and the year is now lost unless the factory has records of rebarreling this gun. One final photo of what a 220 swift factory round can do to 3/8″ plate steel at 125 yards.20171125_044614.jpgImage Enlarger20171125_044622.jpgImage Enlarger

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November 29, 2017 - 4:52 pm
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For insurance purposes, can anyone put an estimated value on this rifle?

 

JC

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November 30, 2017 - 2:38 am
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JC-

I HATE to get into questions about values – on this forum I usually get yelled at – but I’m just dumb enough to do it anyway… 

Just from watching recent auction sale prices…   It’s a curious thing that M70 220 SWIFT target rifles in original condition do not bring real strong prices, even though they are supposed to be less common that the 243 target rifles of which reportedly only 683 were made.

IMHO and FWIW… A post war 220 SWIFT target rifle in original trim is probably a $2500-2750 rifle.  Once refinished and with non-factory jeweled action it loses much of its collector value, while retaining its value as a top-of-the-line rifle for the shooter (as your silhouette target proves).  So I’d say $1500 to $1750???  

Take that as just one person’s opinion…

Lou

Also FWIW… Bottom gun below is a transition Swift target in original dress.  The one on top is a late Bull Gun with the crummy lighter colored stain/filler.  Apologize for the cell phone pic – nothing better loaded on this computer.

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December 1, 2017 - 1:47 pm
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Thanks Louis 

Those are couple of nice looking M70 swifts you have.

JC

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