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MODEL 70 in 348 WCF ?
March 30, 2021
2:14 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Clarence-

For the Type 1, 2 and 3A barrel markings on the M70 (using Roger Rule’s nomenclature), the Winchester Name and Barrel Address parts were done with roll marking dies.  These were the same regardless of chambering.  The caliber stamp was a hand struck die, applied after the barrel had been chambered (at which time the under chamber stamps were applied) and polished twice, but before the final polishing and bluing.

They may have used some sort of jig to help align caliber stamp the before whacking it with a hammer, but given the observed degree of misalignment between the roll mark and caliber stamp, it looks like they may have been struck “free hand”.  This is based on common calibers, like 30-06, where fakery is unnecessary/unlikely.  Either way, variable spacing between the end hyphen of the roll die and the separate caliber stamp, differences in depth of impression between the two, etc. are par for the course.  No worries…  Have to look elsewhere for evidence of refinishing/rechambering.

Most of the caliber hand stamp dies incorporated the caliber stamp, e.g. “.270 W.C.F.”, in a single die.  This would tend to apply even if the caliber was not “standard” for a M70, as long as it was chambered in something else the factory was making at the time.  So it’s valid to compare the “348 WIN.” stamp on the subject gun with that on contemporary Model 71 Winchesters.

OTOH…  Occasionally with one-off chamberings, the caliber stamp may have been applied using individual number stamps, or even individual numbers plus a single “W.C.F.” stamp.  I’ve seen any/all of the above.  These MIGHT be legit, you just have to decide.  It’s YOUR money…

Finally, for completeness sake, the style 3B marking used separate ROLL MARK dies for address and caliber.  Whatever Roger says, to date I’ve only seen “30 GOV’T’06 –” and “300 SAVAGE –“ in style 3B.  They’re distinguished by the hyphen after the caliber.  The alignment between the barrel address stamp and caliber stamp is variable (they were separate steps, after all).  Finally, the standard Style 3C (adopted after the number of available calibers was reduced), Featherweight, Short Magnum, and Short Magnum variant with the ® symbol replacing the words “Trade Mark’ (on 300 WIN. MAGNUM barrels only) were one-piece dies incorporating Winchester/Address/Caliber) in a single die.  These, which began circa 1950 for style 3C, are more consistent gun-to-gun than the earlier stamps.

Hope this helps… Laugh

Lou  

I don’t have a copy of Roger Rule’s book, so it is hard for me to refute anything in it. That said, if Mr. Rule didn’t provide any supporting evidence for such statements, I would consider them his opinion and not necessarily cold hard facts.

I’ve come to the opinion that Winchester didn’t do practically anything without having a written procedure or factory blueprint or specification for doing said procedure. I see no reason why Winchester couldn’t have done as Bert suggests, in having a separate roll die for each caliber. And / Or as I have suggested having a master roll die with interchangeable inserts for each specific caliber. Especially in the time frame we are talking, Post-1900 or post Trade Mark years. I believe any procedure using “Hand Stamps” would have stopped being used by this time frame when the 2-digit model nomenclature is in use. Anything I saw that appeared to be Hand Stamped I’d find highly suspect concerning caliber markings on the later models. This is regarding the upper barrel markings, as I do believe the under barrel markings were hand stamped. 

Winchester would have made Roll Die drawings for each particular model the Roll Die was to be in use for. I have yet to come across anything for the Model 70. That said, I’ve come across some for the Model 92. I see no reason why a procedure used to mark the 92 couldn’t have been used for marking the Model 70 or any other later production models. The drawing below is dated June 21st, 1926, only ten years before the first Model 70s were produced. G92CoctagonBarrelInscriptionRollDwg-Overall.jpgImage EnlargerRollDieInsertCloseUp.jpgImage EnlargerRollDieInsertMarkingCloseUp.jpgImage Enlarger

If you take the Model 92 for example, I don’t see why they couldn’t have made a run of 100 or so 92 Barrels in 32 WCF, then switched to making a run of 44 WCF barrels. The master roll die could have stayed on the machine and you simply switched the insert from the 32 to 44 and keep on trucking. 

Why wouldn’t this have worked for other Models?

Sincerely,

Maverick

March 30, 2021
2:43 pm
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Maverick said

I believe any procedure using “Hand Stamps” would have stopped being used by this time frame when the 2-digit model nomenclature is in use.

Especially for marking round brls.  The flat surface & parallel edges of an oct. brl. provide good reference points for hand-stamping, but a round surface offers no similar guidelines.

The blueprint instructions to cut “staggered” letters in the Winchester name is interesting–have never read how the factory referred to this special marking.

March 30, 2021
3:34 pm
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Hi Maverick-

I apologize… Cry I was merely trying to respond to Clarence’s question with information as I understand it, not to disagree with your prior post that caliber stamps on M70s were never hand stamped.

Perhaps it would be constructive if I were to post photographs of the left side roll mark + caliber stamp of each “style” M70 barrel marking and avoid comment about how they were made.  I’m using images from 30-06 standard rifles to reduce the chances that any of these are fake (the dates each style was in use are approximate but appear validated by my survey).

Style 1 and 2 (1936 – 1940)

Style-1-and-2-30-GOVT06.pngImage Enlarger

Style 3A (1941-1950)

Style-3A-30-GOVT06.pngImage Enlarger

Style 3B (1947-1950 only some calibers)

Style-3B-30-GOVT06–.pngImage Enlarger

Style 3C (1950-1963)

Style-3C-30-06-SPRG–.pngImage EnlargerStyle-3C-30-06-SPFLD–.pngImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou

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March 30, 2021
3:53 pm
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Lou,

Based on the great pictures you posted of the various caliber markings for the 30-06, I would assert that the upper barrel markings are 100% machine stamped (roll marked).  In my study of several other models, I am nearly 100% certain (of the opinion) that Winchester did not ever hand stamp a factory caliber marking on upper side of any barrel.  The quality of the alignment, and the nearly perfect depth of the stamped markings very strongly suggests that they could not have been struck & imprinted by hand.

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March 30, 2021
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When it comes to oddball stuff like M54’s and M70’s in one-of-a-kind or very rare chamberings, it seems one can’t embrace caveat emptor and be a serious bidder.  To put it another way, if all the other bidders also embraced caveat emptor, the playing field would be more flat.  But, if one is bidding against others who, “take the plunge” without doing their homework – and bid as though they had – there is just no point to getting involved. 

I see this over and over on suspect guns auctioned by the big auction houses.  Granted, it’s great for sellers and auction houses.  Sometimes, I see suspect rifles hammer exorbitantly high, only to be flipped for even more!   I think sometimes the top bidders of a highly suspect rifle know what they are buying.  And, they know that most of the collectors on this site wouldn’t be interested in the rifle.  But that doesn’t bother them as they know there’s others out there who don’t practice caveat emptor.  In an odd way, these bidders are sort of proxy bidders for the non-caveat emptor bidders Confused

March 30, 2021
4:13 pm
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Hi Bert-

FWIW… In Rule‘s book (Fig 6-9) there is a blue print dated 4/20/1936 and amended 5/4/1944 showing the “hand stamped calibers” for the M70, as written on the blue print.  I believe that I once found a similar document in the McCracken library digital archives, but it’s not saved on this computer. 

Perhaps I misunderstand the meaning of “hand stamped”?

The barrel address part was always a roll marking die. The contention has been that Styles 1, 2 and 3A used separate “hand stamps” for the caliber, while 3B (with the hyphen at the end of the caliber) used separate roll dies for barrel address and caliber, and 3C was the first style that used a one-piece roll die incorporating both barrel address and caliber.

Curiously, Fig 6-22 in Rule shows a blueprint for the hand stamp die blank, as a background for two roll dies, one being the caliber only (style 3B) and the other being the complete one-piece die (style 3C).

Cheers, Laugh

Lou

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March 30, 2021
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Bert-

FWIW… In Rule‘s book (Fig 6-9) there is a blue print dated 4/20/1936 and amended 5/4/1944 showing the “hand stamped calibers” for the M70, as written on the blue print.  I believe that I once found a similar document in the McCracken library digital archives, but it’s not saved on this computer. 

Perhaps I misunderstand the meaning of “hand stamped”?

The barrel address part was always a roll marking die. The contention has been that Styles 1, 2 and 3A used separate “hand stamps” for the caliber, while 3B (with the hyphen at the end of the caliber) used separate roll dies for barrel address and caliber, and 3C was the first style that used a one-piece roll die incorporating both barrel address and caliber.

Curiously, Fig 6-22 in Rule shows a blueprint for the hand stamp die blank, as a background for two roll dies, one being the caliber only (style 3B) and the other being the complete one-piece die (style 3C).

Cheers, Laugh

Lou  

Hmmm… interesting.  Is it possible that it is referring to the under-barrel hand stamps?

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March 30, 2021
5:32 pm
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Hi Bert-

The hand stamp shown in the Fig 6-22 blueprint was drawn for “300 MAGNUM” and “375 MAGNUM”, which were the exposed caliber designations.  In those days the caliber was generally not stamped under the barrel on the H&H MAGNUMs.  When it was, the barrels were marked “300M” or “375M” underneath.

Curious…

***

Hi Maverick-

Pure speculation on my part, but as for the reason that the M70 barrel marking process early on (before 1950) may have differed from the M92, I think it had to do with the sheer number of different calibers planned for the M70.

Referring to the blueprint mentioned above, which is dated from 1936 and lists “70” as the Model, there were eleven (11) calibers being contemplated:  22 HORNET, 220 SWIFT, 250-3000 SAV., 257 ROBERTS, 270 WCF, 7 M/M, 30 GOV’T’06, 300 MAGNUM, 375 MAGNUM plus 7.65 M/M and 9 M/M.  The latter two, which were cataloged M54 chamberings, never made it into regular M70 production but apparently were being considered.

Perhaps the factory thought that amounted to too many dies to make/maintain as one-piece caliber specific dies, so they opted to apply the common part of the marking (barrel address/Winchester/Model) with a roll marking die while using a single flat faced die for the “hand stamped” caliber part.

I would presume (do not know) that these “hand stamps” were imprinted using some sort of jig/fixture to maintain alignment and some sort of hydraulic press device to apply pressure.  I was only using the phrase “hand stamped” because that was the factory term for it, not to suggest they were applied free hand with a hand held hammer like the proof marks or under barrel stamps.

By 1950 the number of cataloged chamberings had fallen from 11 (including the 35 REM and 300 SAVAGE that were added to the original 9) to 7 and post-war production was in full swing, and apparently it was then considered more sensible to use one-piece (Style 3C) roll marking dies

Plausible?

Best,

Lou

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March 30, 2021
5:53 pm
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Lou,

Plausible… Yes, and your explanation of “hand stamped” makes sense as well. I would further interpret to mean that the caliber markings were stamped at a later time than the rest of the barrel marking, requiring manually setting up the device used to stamp the barrel “by hand”.

Bert

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March 30, 2021
7:39 pm
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Hi Bert-

I’ll toss out one more thing for you to look at.  This is one of the blueprints reproduced in Rule’s book: 

Caliber-Stamp-Blueprint.jpgImage Enlarger

Sorry for the poor snapshot of the image in the paperback edition of Rule, but may be legible enough to make out the words “Used for G70C barrel –.375 MAGNUM–“ which was the exposed caliber marking.

375-MAGNUM-Barrel.jpgImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou

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March 30, 2021
9:39 pm
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Lou,

Very interesting… and the picture of the barrel marking does appear to have an uneven (non-equal) stamped caliber impression.  That stated, I am still having a hard time believing that Winchester employees hand stamped the calibers on the barrels of all the Model 70 rifles (or other models for that matter) through 1950. It would have required a very highly practiced hand and physical coordination to hand stamp thousands of barrels without making discernible errors… possible, but I think unlikely.

I will continue to ponder this, and please keep educating me (us)!

Bert

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March 30, 2021
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Hi Bert-

I hope we’re having fun here!!!LaughI had no idea that the M92 marking system from 1926 that Maverick was talking about was that different from what may have been used on the M70.  Thanks!!!

If I can ask a question…  How were serial numbers applied?  Certainly not with roll marking dies, since each is supposed to be unique.  On M70’s at least the vertical (and sometimes horizontal spacing of the digits) can appear downright sloppy.  Presumably some kind of die fixture that held individual number stamps in a horizontal row that was impressed on the receiver…  So Winchester must have had a procedure/process for using a flat die to impress numbers onto a rounded surface that did not involve roll marks, right?

Here’s an odd one.  Looks like there was a “spacer” in the S/N die fixture that got left in between two of the digits?  This gun is also a 30-06, but it is a Super Grade (not mine).

SN-129610.pngImage Enlarger

Finally, for fun, I’ll show two more M70 “375 MAGNUM” caliber markings from pre-war rifles with the 24″ medium heavy straight taper barrel (not mine either, I just “collect” photos).  The first of these S/N 27021 is a high condition original rifle that was tragically rechambered to 375 Weatherby and so stamped at the breech.  The second is S/N 13288, an all original gun in rough condition:

SN-27021.pngImage EnlargerSN-13288.pngImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou

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March 30, 2021
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Lou,

I do not know what type of machinery Winchester used to stamp the serial numbers on the receiver frames of the bolt-action rifles.  What I believe that I know, is that in the years preceding WW II, the individual numeral digits in the serial number stamping machinery were manually indexed after each receiver or lower tang was stamped, and that sometime during WW II, Winchester developed an “automatic” indexing device. 

In the early years after WW II, the serial numbers stamped on the Model 94 receivers exhibited numerous slight to moderate misalignment of the numerals.  Prior to WW II, it is extremely rare to find a misaligned serial number on a Model 94/55/64.  The following pictures are typical of the early post-WW II serial number markings on the Model 94.

1467109.jpgImage Enlarger1501427.jpgImage Enlarger1511836.jpgImage Enlarger

This batch of pictures show the much more precisely located numerals on the serial numbers in the years immediately preceding WW II…

1230568-W.jpgImage Enlarger1231853-W.jpgImage Enlarger1233304-W.jpgImage Enlarger

I have observed the exact same pre versus post WW II S/N marking irregularities on several other Winchester models.  Additionally, prior to WW II it is very rare to find duplicate serial numbers (with the “X” stamped after the S/N), but after WW II, they were frequent.  Apparently the “automatic” indexing machine was not always so “automatic”, resulting in frequent duplicate numbers (see the pictures below).

1416262X.jpgImage Enlarger1419765X.jpgImage Enlarger1440474X.jpgImage Enlarger1482235X-M64-Sptg-Rifle.jpgImage Enlarger1515186X.jpgImage Enlarger1544906X.jpgImage Enlarger1896622X.jpgImage Enlarger1901268X.jpgImage Enlarger2138386X.JPGImage Enlarger2138816X.jpgImage Enlarger2296769X.jpgImage Enlarger

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March 31, 2021
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WOW, Bert!!!

That’s pretty neat!!!  Thanks for taking the time to do such a detailed post!!! Laugh Anybody have a photo or diagram of the S/N indexing machine?  I’ve never (yet) looked into that aspect of things.  I could troll back through my photo “collection” to see if S/N misalignment got worse post WWII (change in equipment?), but it’ll probably agree with your conclusions.

I’m sure you noticed that one the last two “375 MAGNUM” barrel stamp photos I posted that the vertical alignment between the address stamp and caliber stamp was not perfect.  One is “a little too high” and the other is “a little too low”…  Not consistent with a one-piece roll marking die.  On those two examples, I’d be willing to argue that while the caliber stamp may have been made by the same die (differing only in the amount of pressure applied), the Winchester/Model roll dies were different (look at the length of the dashes).

Oh the joys of high resolution photography and OCD collectors (like us)… Wink

Lou

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April 3, 2021
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Bert-

I’ll toss out one more thing for you to look at.  This is one of the blueprints reproduced in Rule’s book: 

Caliber-Stamp-Blueprint.jpgImage Enlarger

Sorry for the poor snapshot of the image in the paperback edition of Rule, but may be legible enough to make out the words “Used for G70C barrel –.375 MAGNUM–“ which was the exposed caliber marking.

375-MAGNUM-Barrel.jpgImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou  

Lou,

On the actual barrel caliber marking, what are the dimensions of the caliber marking? Height & Width?

Sincerely,

Maverick

April 3, 2021
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Bert H. said

1467109.jpgImage Enlarger1501427.jpgImage Enlarger1511836.jpgImage Enlarger
 

Looks like each numeral was individually hand struck!  But how would a die holder fit around such a curved surface?

April 3, 2021
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Hi Maverick-

The numbers/letters of the caliber mark on the barrel are 0.10″ tall.  For visual reference that’s the same height as the words “MODEL 70” in the roll marked part.  Length of the “375 MAGNUM” marking is about 0.90″ (drawing says 0.92″ but I can’t measure that accurately).  I’ll go with “a little under an inch”…

All of the caliber designation dies for the original nine calibers on the pre-war M70s used the same height numbers/letters.  

Best,

Lou

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April 3, 2021
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Here’s a strange bit of barrel stamping.  I ran across this loose barrel at an outdoor flea market (sorry about the flea market photos).  It was a “mail order proof” barrel dated 1939, which would be a MODEL 70 barrel.  However the model number designation was a hand stamped (clearly by hand and not altogether neatly) “54”.  No visual evidence that a “70” was ground off or over stamped, or that the barrel had been reblued.  

Mail-Order-Proof-1.jpegImage EnlargerMail-Order-Proof-3.jpegImage EnlargerMail-Order-Proof-4.jpegImage Enlarger

Anyone see anything like this on a “factory” barrel (in any model) that wasn’t subjected to aftermarket grinding or filling and over stamping?  This is just a “mail order” barrel in 30 GOV’T’06, not an “ultra-rare” .303 BRITISH or some such. Wink  Could it have been cobbled together by the factory to fill an order for a M54 barrel in 1939 after such barrels were no longer being made, and maybe no longer in the parts inventory? Confused

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April 3, 2021
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The overwhelming evidence suggests this rifle, and others in this collection, is faked.  I suspected as much when I located this being offered for sale at auction.  Collectively, we all have come to the same conclusion.  The lone bidder so far, with a $6000 bid, suspects otherwise.

Caveat emptor!!!

April 3, 2021
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mrcvs said
The lone bidder so far, with a $6000 bid, suspects otherwise.

A shill, perhaps?  Anyway, most serious bidders hold off untill near the end.

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