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Model 70 action question?
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October 28, 2023 - 6:37 pm
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  I just bought a Model 70 mfg. in 1949, it’s a standard 06 rifle. When I drop a cartridge in the camber I can not close the bolt, if I put it in the magazine it works fine. The gun is in great shape with all the original blue, no sign of any tinkering. The barrel has never been off and marked 49 for the year and 1906 for the 06 caliber. The bolt is numbered to the gun. Is this normal? T/R 

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October 28, 2023 - 7:26 pm
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TR said
  I just bought a Model 70 mfg. in 1949, it’s a standard 06 rifle. When I drop a cartridge in the camber I can not close the bolt, if I put it in the magazine it works fine. The gun is in great shape with all the original blue, no sign of any tinkering. The barrel has never been off and marked 49 for the year and 1906 for the 06 caliber. The bolt is numbered to the gun. Is this normal? T/R 

  

As it comes up from the mag, the head slips under the extractor, but if the round is placed manually in the chamber, the extractor has to be pushed hard enough to snap over the head into the extractor groove. 

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October 28, 2023 - 8:59 pm
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  Clarence,

 You Are right but the extractor is very stiff as compared to my normal hunting gun that was made in 1953. If I push any harder I might do damage. I tried grease, no help. This gun is neat, crisp, and all machine marks clean unlike my well use used hunting gun. The man I bought the gun from got it from his father who bought it new. He said they just loaded the magazine which works fine but is this normal or do I have a problem that matters? Is this normal for a 1949 Model 70 30-06? I know my 1953 300H&H can be loaded by the chamber. T/R

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October 28, 2023 - 10:11 pm
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TR said
  Clarence,

 You Are right but the extractor is very stiff as compared to my normal hunting gun that was made in 1953. If I push any harder I might do damage. I tried grease, no help. This gun is neat, crisp, and all machine marks clean unlike my well use used hunting gun. The man I bought the gun from got it from his father who bought it new. He said they just loaded the magazine which works fine but is this normal or do I have a problem that matters? Is this normal for a 1949 Model 70 30-06? I know my 1953 300H&H can be loaded by the chamber. T/R

  

I’m sure it’s NOT normal, but you’ll have to wait for Lou to explain exactly what’s going on with your rifle.  I suspect it’s just “too new.”

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October 28, 2023 - 10:22 pm
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Hi TR-

The “Mauser-type” claw extractor of the pre-64 M70 is not supposed to slip over the rim of a cartridge already in the chamber.  The “controlled round feed” of the extractor is designed to slip under the rim as the cartridge is pushed out of the magazine.  When you single load it you were (back in the day) supposed to put the cartridge into the magazine and let the CRF extractor pick it up as you pushed the bolt forward. 

Chances are your gun is working perfectly.  DON’T try to force the extractor over a round already in the chamber… You can’t do it (or maybe you’ll break something)… 

This is why these guns are considered “great”, in contrast to 721/722/700 Remingtons, Weatherby MKVs, or post-63 Winchester M70s.  I don’t think you can force the extractor of a vintage Mauser or ’03 Springfield that way either…

Clarence… Am I right about the Springfields and Mausers?  I don’t have one handy to check…

Best,

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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October 28, 2023 - 10:33 pm
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  Lou,

 I have owned five model 70’s and never noticed this, but I don’t know if I tried before. I learned something today. Thanks for your help and wisdom.  T/R

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October 28, 2023 - 11:54 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Clarence… Am I right about the Springfields and Mausers?  I don’t have one handy to check…

Just tried it on an ’03, & bolt closed with minimal resistance.  Can’t get to my one remaining 70 without moving too many guns, but unless I’m loosing my mind, 70s have the same extractor.  Mauser is diff, & Spfd purposely changed design of extractor to allow single loading. Now I’m talking about a round not completely as far forward as it will go into the chamber, just laying on top of the follower & partially into the chamber, which was what I thought TR was talking about.  In single loading, you wouldn’t ordinarily shove the round completely into the chamber, but maybe doing so causes the problem TR describes.

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October 28, 2023 - 11:56 pm
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Hi TR-

FWIW… I’ve not owned a pre-64 M70 where you could close the bolt on a round already in the chamber… 

If you look at the way the extractor and the extractor slot in the barrel are milled, I do not see how it would/should be possible since you’d have to flex the extractor away from the rim of the chambered cartridge, where it would encounter the solid barrel steel.  Something (the extractor lip) would have to break and then the cartridge most likely would not extract.

Maybe I’m wrong… Just my take…  Please provide correction!!!

Best,

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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October 29, 2023 - 12:14 am
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi TR-

FWIW… I’ve not owned a pre-64 M70 where you could close the bolt on a round already in the chamber… 

If you look at the way the extractor and the extractor slot in the barrel are milled, I do not see how it would/should be possible since you’d have to flex the extractor away from the rim of the chambered cartridge, where it would encounter the solid barrel steel.  Something (the extractor lip) would have to break and then the cartridge most likely would not extract.

Maybe I’m wrong… Just my take…  Please provide correction!!!

Best,

Lou

  

You’re right, Lou, as it’s apparent now I misunderstood what TR was trying to do.  What I was visualizing was single-loading as described above, which is the way I would ordinarily shoot from the bench, as opposed to shooting from the mag.

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October 29, 2023 - 1:18 am
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 Lou,

 My hunting gun of 30 years is s/n 309xxx, 1954 in 300H&H. I just dropped a cartridge in the chamber and closed the bolt with ease and it ejects with ease. That’s why I asked. It is belted if that makes a difference. It is all original but well used and some burring and mars on bolt face. The bolt face is slightly different  than the 06 and the claw is not near as strong. Maybe because it’s a belted cartridge or maybe modified? T/R

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October 29, 2023 - 3:09 am
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I tried to push the bolt closed on one of my pre 64 70 with a head spacing gauge in the chamber. Broke the rim off of the head spacing gauge. Will NOT do it again. Some things are made to work a certain way.  RR

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October 29, 2023 - 4:02 am
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Win61 said
I tried to push the bolt closed on one of my pre 64 70 with a head spacing gauge in the chamber. Broke the rim off of the head spacing gauge. Will NOT do it again. Some things are made to work a certain way.  RR

I’m not sure a headspacing gauge substitutes for a cartridge, because I ran a round all the way into the chamber of an ’03 Spfd, this time making sure it was all the way forward as far as my finger could push it, & again the bolt closed easily & ejected normally. I intend to make the same test on my 70, but it will require moving a bunch of guns & will have to wait to tomorrow.

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October 29, 2023 - 4:40 am
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Rather than spend a sleepless night wondering about this amazingly controversial issue, I dug out my 1939 70 SG in .30-06, shoved a round all the way into the chamber, & closed the bolt.  Force required to do so was slightly more than with the ’03, but nothing broke & round ejected normally. Only explanation I can imagine to account for the discrepancy between what I found & Lou with his much greater experience reports is that some extractors are more flexible than others, or maybe the bevel is more or less conducive to slipping over the cartridge head. 

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October 29, 2023 - 3:57 pm
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Thank you Clarence and TR!!!

Thanks for doing the test, Clarence!!!  Amazingly controversial indeed!!! Wink I’m just a physical weakling or too cowardly to forcefully push a Mauser/Springfield/M70 type bolt closed over a chambered cartridge. LaughLaughLaugh  

As everyone knows, the Mauser type extractor doesn’t rotate with the bolt, instead riding in the right action rail.  As the cartridge comes up out of the magazine it encounters the bolt face below the extractor claw and as the cartridge comes up the extractor engages the extractor groove on the cartridge.  Even thought the extractor is itself a leaf spring, very little, if any, flexion of the extractor is involved.  You can take the bolt out, slip a loose cartridge under the extractor, and wave it around in the air.  The cartridge should not fall out.

But to close the bolt on a chambered cartridge the extractor must flex enough to slip over the rim at a point where the cartridge is nearly (or completely) seated in the chamber where it can’t move (much).  Over the last 3/8″ or so of bolt travel, the forward part of the extractor is surrounded by the extractor cut on the barrel, which leaves very little room for it to move as well.  I suspect that if the extractor lip is sufficiently worn, or only has modest engagement with the extractor groove (caused by a “loose” extractor collar) it can be done.  I’d just be concerned that doing it repeatedly would produce excessive wear (or possibly break) the extractor lip.  

OTOH… The little extractor on a push feed action rotates with the bolt and is spring loaded such that the little claw part can retract into the bolt body enough to pop over the rim as the bolt is closed.  It doesn’t even engage the cartridge until the bolt is closed so it doesn’t matter if the cartridge came out of the magazine or not.

I don’t know if it helps, but the images below are from the M70 Assembly Diagrams and M70 Service Notes put together by A.A. Arnold in 1958. The disassembly part of this document has been published several times, but these assembly/troubleshooting drawings/notes are from the whole document in the McCracken Library digital files (MS20.62.08 if anyone wants to download it).  They’re not quite relevant to this discussion (failure to close bolt over a chambered cartridge is not listed as a problem) but they do kind of show how the thing goes together. Laugh

Best, Lou

Arnold-Extractor-Assembly-1.pngImage EnlargerArnold-Extractor-Assembly-2.pngImage EnlargerArnold-Troubkleshooting-1.pngImage EnlargerArnold-Troubleshooting-2.pngImage Enlarger

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October 29, 2023 - 4:59 pm
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Folks, reading of what Clarence did in testing his controlled round feed rifles, I decided to do likewise.  First my US Rifle Model 1903 easily closed on a single round feed cartridge and then extracted and ejected the case.  I did not feel the claw extractor pop over the rim, and if any effort was required the camming of the bolt as it closed probably took care of adding the force.  Ditto with my Remington made US Rifle Model 03-A3.  Then I got my 1954 version of a Winchester Model 70 in .270 Win.  I strongly suspect the claw extractor popped over the rim even before the bolt cammed closed, but it took about zero effort.  Now an observation and opinion.  All three of my controlled round feed center fire rifles are “well experienced” if you know what I am saying.  Would a NEW condition rifle be as easy to pop over the rim?  No idea.  However I’ve learned over the years by experience to not use FORCE on most things as usually something breaks!  I used to use my model 70 to hunt with and seem to recall pushing several rounds into the box magazine, then putting one in the chamber and closing the bolt (naturally I used a finger to depress the top cartridge so not to try chambering two rounds!).  Hunting in Germany with the Model 70 I also needed to be quiet from the start and would QUIETLY chamber a round.  Feeding from the magazine isn’t nearly as quiet.  Whether all this helps or just muddies the waters, I’ve no idea, but hope it helps at least some!  Tim  PS.  Looking at the bolt and claw extractor of my Model 70, the claw extractor has a slight, polished angle to help it pop over the rim.  Was this by intent?  I suspect so.  

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October 29, 2023 - 5:03 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Thanks for doing the test, Clarence!!!  Amazingly controversial indeed!!! Wink I’m just a physical weakling or too cowardly to forcefully push a Mauser/Springfield/M70 type bolt closed over a chambered cartridge. LaughLaughLaugh  

Big diff between the Mauser & Spfd/M70 cartridge feed designs.  US Army felt at the time a Mauser-type replacement for the Krag was being considered that a design facilitating single-loading, allowing a full mag to be held in reserve, was essential; the doctrine of putting the maximum weight of un-aimed lead in the air had not yet been conceived. Which is why the ’03 has a mag cut-off, which the Mauser, feeding only from the mag, lacked.  Smooth feeding from the mag was also important to the ’03 designers, leading to another deviation from Mauser design, the coned breech; doesn’t support the cartridge head as well as the fully-enclosed Mauser breech, but was considered to be a worth-while trade-off, & Winchester’s designers evidently agreed, for the same idea was incorporated into the Model 54, minus the mag cut-off.  (Which also served as the ’03 bolt-release; probably omitted to reduce cost, like the stamped floor-plate.)

So considering the 54/70 design inheritance from the ’03, I would conclude that closing the bolt on a chambered cartridge was assumed to be normal operating procedure.  If it were not, but was considered potentially damaging to the extractor, don’t you think a warning against doing it would have been included in the operating instructions included with new rifles?

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October 29, 2023 - 5:10 pm
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tim tomlinson said   Looking at the bolt and claw extractor of my Model 70, the claw extractor has a slight, polished angle to help it pop over the rim.  Was this by intent?  I suspect so.  
  

Absolutely it was!  The Mauser extractor is not beveled like this.

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October 29, 2023 - 5:26 pm
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I suspect that the above comments about the subject rifle having seen little use might explain TR’s loading difficulty. Although I wouldn’t expect it to be excessive.

The bevel and flex on the extractor should facilitate the ability to single load.

Since I have examined this subject on a number of single shot M70’s, I thought I would share a bit of information on how Winchester addressed single shot loading.

As far as 03 Springfield’s are concerned, they were built with a magazine cut off which required single cartridge loading to conserve ammo use. I’ve fired a number of them and found they single shot chamber with ease.

The first group of M70 Olympic SS’s had a neatly machined cartridge shape in the loading area of the receiver which allowed the case head to dip down slightly. This helped the extractor to glide over and load smoothly. (See photos)

Winchester executive Max Thompson had employees build a single shot action by welding a block into the bottom of a pre 64 receiver magazine well. (S/N 429240). The loading area has a curved profile. (See photos). I have put many rounds through this rifle and it has always functioned well.

The AMU Free Rifles also have a curved loading profile. (See photo)

If you look very closely at the bolt faces of a standard rifle and the three mentioned single shots, differences in the extractor profiles are noticeable. (See photo).

NedOlympic-loading-area-2.jpgImage EnlargerOlympiic-loading-area1-2.jpgImage Enlarger429240-Receiver-bottom-2.jpgImage Enlarger429240-loading-area-2.jpgImage EnlargerAMU-Free-Loading-area-2.jpgImage Enlarger4bolts1-2.jpgImage Enlarger

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October 29, 2023 - 5:45 pm
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Hi Clarence-

As usual, you raise an EXCELLENT point!!! Laugh  What did WINCHESTER say about how to load a M70?  So I went to “the source”…

Below are scans of the early Instruction Manual that came with the rifles.  Under “To Load the Gun” it says (even in Portuguese… Laugh) that the sixth cartridge is to be dropped into the chamber and the bolt closed over it while depressing the rounds in the magazine to let the bolt slide over top without engaging one like Tim said!!!

M70-Early-Manual-1.JPGImage EnlargerM70-Early-Manual-2.JPGImage Enlarger

I stand corrected!!!  LaughLaughLaugh

OTOH… I still don’t think there is a “problem” with TR’s rifle like-new condition M70. Maybe the extractor is a little too tight or the lip isn’t filed down as much as on some.  If it were vital to be able to single load, I suppose that a gunsmith could follow A.A. Arnold’s recommendations and loosen up the extractor tolerances enough to make it work with very little effort.  Personally, I’d leave it alone.

FWIW… I recall that a couple years ago I took my Van Orden Sniper up to the Savage Rendezvous in Noxen PA.  Even though they’re Savage Collectors, the rendezvous crowd is remarkably broad minded when it comes to other manufacturers, and maybe a half dozen folks wanted to shoot the rifle on the range.  Reason I bring this up is that everyone who tried to single load it couldn’t close the bolt.  Typical of my experience with pre-64 M70s.  Of course my VO rifle was civilian owned and doesn’t have a lot of rounds through it either…

Live and Learn!!!

Lou

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October 29, 2023 - 6:15 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Reason I bring this up is that everyone who tried to single load it couldn’t close the bolt.
  

Don’t imagine any of them wanted to break your rare sniper rifle!  I think the way to close the bolt on a gun not broken-in is “with authority,” the way I learned to close the bolt on Slow-Lock 52s which cock on closing; if you try to close it gently as I always do with other bolt-actions, it seems to require undue force, but if you “slam” it shut, it closes much easier.

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