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Model 54 Carbine 35-Whelen
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Bo Rich
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March 18, 2024 - 1:08 pm
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Interestingly, I own a very early three digit S/N Model 70 chambered in .35 Whelen that I purchased back in the late 1990’s.  It is marked 36 for the year it was made, and 35 for the caliber on the under barrel.  

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March 19, 2024 - 1:06 am
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Bo Rich said
Interestingly, I own a very early three digit S/N Model 70 chambered in .35 Whelen that I purchased back in the late 1990’s.  It is marked 36 for the year it was made, and 35 for the caliber on the under barrel.  

  

I would be very interested in seeing pictures of that rifle if you’re so inclined! A model 70 in 35-whelen would be extremely rare too! . I’ve heard of a man who lived in Montana who had two in his connection, one in a Standard Rifle and the other was a carbine pre-64 model 70. I’ll see if I can find his name! The mans name was Jerry Marsh lived around Kalispell Montana.

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March 19, 2024 - 1:43 pm
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Has anyone ever seen Winchester catalogs or any other factory literature indicating the availability of M54 Special Order chamberings?

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March 19, 2024 - 3:27 pm
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Ted-

The earliest catalog (reprint) I have available is the 1929 WWSG&A full catalog (166 pages).  The material on the Model 54, besides listing the style/caliber offerings by catalog symbol, includes about (3) pages of narrative touting the advantages of the rifle and its available chamberings.  It does not specifically state that “non-standard” calibers (or barrel lengths) were available on special order.

Under the later (generic) “Extras for Winchester Rifles” section of the same catalog, numerous options for extra stock work are listed; special dimensions, checkering, recoil pads, pistol grip caps, etc., as are metal embellishments like engraving and gold/silver/chrome plating…  They do not mention non-standard chamberings.

The more concise 1936 (last for the M54) and 1937 (first for the M70) “Wholesale and Retail Price List” catalogs likewise confine themselves to products with catalog symbols.  The “Extras” section in these catalogs includes the same options as the 1929 full line catalog. 

So… I do not have any literature specifically offering non-standard chamberings in the M54/70…  I guess that, even during the Depression, Winchester was reticent to advertise the lengths to which they would go to satisfy a customer with money… Wink

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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Bo Rich
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March 20, 2024 - 1:50 pm
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Wyatt,  Being a Guest I can not post pictures.  The rifle is a Standard Grade.  It is pictures in 2000 Winchester Price book, as well as the 2000 Krause Price Guide.  Interestingly last Saturday I visited with Wayne Miller who is the aficionado on the Model 54, along with the other bolt action Winchesters.  I got to hold the first .270 Rifle that was made,   Model 54 serial number 4.  Wayne won a NRA best gun metal in 2010 for this rifle at the NRA Collector show.  I believe that he told me that there are 25 non cataloged chambering that are known in the Model 54.  That is a big number since the gun was made in relatively low numbers during the depression.

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March 20, 2024 - 3:07 pm
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FWIW… Which is not much… Cry The M70 survey to date has recorded (14) rifles in 35 Whelen (out of >20,000 entries).  Both Standard rifles (8) and Carbines (6).  The earliest of these is S/N 977, a standard rifle only noted to have been sold at auction in September 1998.

I try my best to exclude rifles with obviously fake barrels from the survey, recording the action type (standard versus magnum, etc.) and serial number while mentioning chambering only in the “Notes” column, so the fakes won’t “sort” into my chambering list.  Still there is ZERO guarantee that any of these are factory original specimens.  I can only say that the (6) I’ve gotten to handle looked OK to me at the time (to external examination only). Confused  I do not own a M70 in this chambering, so no pics… Frown

Of the (14) recorded 35 Whelen serial numbers, (6) have a record of existence dating to 1998 or earlier, while the other (8) seem to have “surfaced” only recently.  Whether they’ve been “in hiding” or are of “recent manufacture” is unknown to me. 

Just “be careful out there” (as is always the case with pre-64 M70s). Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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Bo Rich
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March 22, 2024 - 8:01 pm
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Louis,  As you may have guest.  That is in fact my rifle.  Serial number 977.

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March 22, 2024 - 8:25 pm
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Bo-

I wanted to send you a PM, but I guess that option is not open to Forum “Guests”.  If you’d like, send me an e-mail at [email protected] so I can reply… 

Your rifle was recorded by Bob Porter, who kept a card file with pretty much every pre-64 M70 he saw between about 1975 and 2010.  That’s where the info came from… Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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