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Model 70 Carbine Evaluation
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May 13, 2023 - 6:34 pm
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I purchased this Model 70 “Carbine”, back when Model 70’s were the “Hot Item”.  Not having the Model 70 Book as a guide I just took a chance.  Does the rifle seem correct?  If not what did I miss?  I still like the rifle and it is very accurate.  The barrel is dated ’48, Serial #253835.  Thanks for your help.  I don’t want to misrepresent it when it comes time to sell.

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May 14, 2023 - 5:01 pm
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Hi Roger-

You mean M70s are no longer the “hot item”???  Who knew!!! Wink

What is the chambering of your rifle?  I’m sure you know that “Super Grade Carbines” were never cataloged; the 1937 catalog even says “not available with 20″ barrel” in the Super Grade listing.  That said, some (unknown) number of them were made… The issue is that before 1955 the Standard and Super Grade M70s differed only in the stock, floor plate, and front sight.  All metal finishes were the same.  So anybody with a standard Carbine and the relevant period Super Grade parts could “make one” in about a half hour, and if the parts fit together decently it would be difficult/impossible to tell the “upgrade” from a factory rifle.  Hence ALL Super Grade Carbines are suspect unless they can be traced back to an original owner…

Your rifle has an interesting combination of parts.  It’s best if I just describe what’s there…

ACTION:  The receiver is a type III-2 (solid bolt knob), which would be appropriate for S/N 253835 (1953).  The bolt body and extractor are engine turned, which did not become a regular feature on Super Grades until 1955.  But it looks about right for factory jeweling and jeweled bolts could be ordered prior to 1955 (there are well documented authentic examples).  Do check that the bolt S/N is applied on top of the jeweling, as the bolts were not serialized to the gun until after they were test fired.  

BARREL:  This is interesting…  You said the barrel date is ’48.  The barrel has the right side (pre-war) roll mark on it.  What does the left side look like?  The forged front ramp looks good and the barrel appears to be rust blued, which was characteristic of pre-war barrels and 1955 and later Super Grades, but in 1953 the regular production Super Grades had the same Du-Lite blue as the standard grade rifles.  M70 carbines were last in the catalog in 1946, so a ’48 dated barrel with pre-war roll marking and finish is curious… That said, a fairly large number of carbines were assembled up until 1954 (barrel cleanup) and it’s possible (???) that a partly finished Carbine barrel blank could have been completed in ’48.  The barrels were dated when they were chambered, but I can’t explain the presence of a pre-war exposed roll mark.  In an odd way it (almost) makes the rifle seem more likely legit to me…  Is the barrel marked “SUPER” underneath (they typically were NOT prior to 1955)?

FLOOR PLATE:  Appears to be the earlier Super Grade plate with the Helvetica “G” and outsized “P”.  Unusual to find on a rifle this late, but nothing’s impossible.

STOCK:  This is a MC comb Super Grade stock and very nicely figured for a M70.  Possibly special ordered…  This stock style was introduced in 1952, so it is correct for the S/N of the gun.  Many of the earlier MC Super Grade stocks still had the hard rubber grip cap (factory using up old parts), but supposedly the switch from plastic to metal grip caps was rolled out first on the MC stocks while the plastic parts were used up on the Low Comb stocks (with “full fashioned” cheekpiece).  So no real worries.

SIGHTS:  The barrel sight appears to be a “low” Win 22K, which differs from the 22G only in the shape of the sliding sheet metal insert (I’m not certain).  This sight offered a slightly higher line of sight so it could be paired with a slightly taller front sight than on the pre-1952 guns (Win 103E on Standard rifles and FWTs, and Redfield 255 full gold on Super Grades).  What front sight is on the rifle? The slightly surprising thing is that the early MC stocks (both Standard and Super Grade) used a Marbles 69 folding rear sight, while the 22-series sight was used with the low comb.  Doesn’t mean much, the Carbines (back with they were cataloged) used the 22G paired with a Win 103C front.

So I don’t know if this helps or just adds to the confusion… Confused  Was there a “story” associated with this rifle?  As I said, a pretty fair number of carbines were put together between 1947 and 1954 (I estimate about 1/4 of them) even though they were no longer cataloged, and I could certainly imagine someone ordering a “Super Grade Carbine” in 1953, dressed up with fancy wood and engine turning.  It would have an older barrel, but could have a MC stock…  In fact one of the Hudson Sporting Goods ads for barrel cleanup Standard carbines in 1954 specifically offered them with MC stocks (in 35 REM no less!!!!).

August-1954.pngImage Enlarger

So anything is possible!!!  It’s an interesting rifle but I cannot say if it’s factory or not…

Lou

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May 14, 2023 - 6:18 pm
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Thank you, Lou.  Hope these pictures help.  I had forgotten that I removed the original rear sight to install the Lyman “Alaskan” scope that came with the gun. My eyesight is fading and I can no longer get a good sight picture with open sights.  The original sight is pictured.  The “Story” I got with the gun was that it was a “Parts Clean-up” at the end of carbine barrel production and was ordered with “Special Select Wood”, in caliber .270 W.C.F..  It does have the plain metal grip cap.  RDB

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May 14, 2023 - 6:52 pm
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Hi Roger-

The rear sight you are holding is a Win 22K.  Is the standing leaf taller than the one on the gun now?  If so, it’s the version of the 22K that was used on LC Featherweights (that were in production at the time).  If the leaf is the same height as what’s on the gun, it’s what I call the “low” 22K that replaced the 22G on LC standard contour barrels around this time.  The front sight is a Redfield full gold… I cannot tell if it’s a 255 (0.360″) or 256 (0.390″).  See pics… From left to right they are 0.260″ (unnumbered), 0.310″ (254), 0.360″ (255) and 0.390″ (256) height. The easiest way to tell the height is to count the horizontal striations on the back surface.

Redfield-Gold-Bead-1.jpgImage EnlargerRedfield-Gold-Bead-3.jpgImage Enlarger

It’s interesting that the exposed barrel markings are the Style 1 that was used up until 1941.  I would have expected a barrel date of ’41 or earlier. That would NOT have been a problem, obviously, it was the point of barrel cleanup.  Use up old parts…  How they got a ’48 date combined with a pre-1942 roll marking is a mystery to me.  But I’ve seen stranger!!!

The “cleanup” of Carbine barrels was certainly a real phenomenon, and your rifle certainly has MUCH better than typical wood.  A week or so ago in another thread I posted some of my “estimated” year-by-year M70 production analysis by style based on the Porter data (about 2% of total pre-64 M70 production). My longwinded disclaimer about the weaknesses of the approach was spelled out in that thread. But this is what I came up with for carbines.  

Carbine.pngImage Enlarger

Interestingly, column 11 would be 1946, the last year the Carbines were in the catalog.  So you can see that there were probably a bunch of them made well after they were discontinued.  The last “Hurrah” was 1954, the year that Hudson Sporting Goods was advertising “new production” Carbines in discontinued calibers.  After that they must have FINALLY used up all the old 20″ barrels…Laugh

Thanks,

Lou

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May 14, 2023 - 7:08 pm
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Roger-

One more question…  Looking at your enlarged photos, that looks like maybe it’s a stainless steel barrel???  That WOULD be special order!!!

What does the muzzle face look like?  The stainless barrels have a bright steel muzzle face as well as the distinctive “textured” matte finish that resulted from bead blasting the barrels prior to iron plating and bluing them.

Thanks,

Lou

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May 14, 2023 - 7:47 pm
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70-Muz-002.JPGImage Enlarger70-Muz-001.JPGImage EnlargerLou, I made an error in the “Barrel Date”.  It is ’41, not ’48.  Sorry for the error.  This probably explains the barrel markings.

It appears to be a standard barrel, not “Stainless”.  The front sight seems to be the .390″ (256).

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