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MODEL 70 in 348 WCF ?
April 6, 2021
12:44 am
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Have been lurking here for a while and reading this and other threads about special order model 54’s and 70’s in rare non-catalogued calibers.

Doing a little research on the auction guns trying to figure out the barrel source.

How would Winchester accommodate requests for a non standard barrel caliber? Thinking they would produce the closest cataloged barrel, refine it further, then proof fire. Wouldn’t Winchester want to test a non-cataloged caliber before selling one to a customer?

Appreciate any insight, going to see what Rule has to say since I rarely if ever look in the special order section.

Noticed the Model 54 carbines has swivels.

April 6, 2021
3:55 pm
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Hi mfivefour-

A few thoughts on barrel specifications for chamberings that are rare and/or uncataloged in the M54/70.  Some rare M70 chamberings were cataloged M54 chamberings, e.g. 30 WCF, 7.65 M/M, and 9 M/M.  So they had developed barrel specifications for those.  In fact, the 7.65 M/M and 9 M/M M54s were made after 1932, so they even had M54/70 pattern CMS barrel blanks in those calibers that could be repurposed to build a M70 if so ordered.  The 30 WCF, even on M70s I’ve seen that I believe genuine, used a different rate of twist and a flat breech system, so those barrels had to have been made special.

Other rare (or non-existent, depending on your point of viewLaugh) calibers in the M70 were chambered in other Winchester models, e.g. 348 WCF (M71) and 405 WCF (M95).  So M70 pattern barrels would have to be made special, but the barrel specifications were known, so no R&D/testing would be needed before filling an order.

Still other possible chamberings, e.g. 280 Ross, 303 British, had been developed elsewhere.  But given that WRACo. and Winchester-Western manufactured ammunition as well as firearms, they no doubt had velocity/pressure/accuracy barrels for a great many cartridges that they didn’t routinely offer in rifles (or even load commercially).  After the M70 came along, M70 receivers were the test bed for ammunition development.  So again, they likely already had established barrel specs for a multitude of obscure chamberings.  For interest, below are a couple photos I got from Justin Hale (pre64win.com) of a tool room M70 test barrel in 303 British that he ran across during a recent trip to Montana.  This is not a rifle, just a test barrel with hand stamped caliber designation.  But note the way the breech was machined to handle the rimmed cartridge:

303-British-bbl-1.jpegImage Enlarger303-British-bbl-2.jpegImage Enlarger

OTOH, engineering the M70 action to feed/fire/extract some of these cartridges using adaptations of existing magazine/follower/extractor, would have likely taken some fiddling on a case-by-case basis, which is one thing that makes some weird chamberings less plausible than others.  But if you could make a M70 work with the 30 WCF family of cartridges, I suppose you could make it work with just about anything.

Hope this helps Laugh

Lou

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WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

April 6, 2021
5:27 pm
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Very interesting and thought-provoking.

Thanks Lou!

April 27, 2021
7:14 pm
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Looks like the hammer fell onsite at $16,000.00!!!

April 27, 2021
7:53 pm
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Can you post the link?

April 27, 2021
11:59 pm
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I suppose that puts it at over $20k with the juice 

April 28, 2021
12:30 am
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jsgwoodsman said
I suppose that puts it at over $20k with the juice   

“Internet premium” of 26%… plus sales tax… plus packing and shipping (assuming you weren’t physically present)… some people are spending some serious money!

April 28, 2021
12:31 am
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi mfivefour-

A few thoughts on barrel specifications for chamberings that are rare and/or uncataloged in the M54/70.  Some rare M70 chamberings were cataloged M54 chamberings, e.g. 30 WCF, 7.65 M/M, and 9 M/M.  So they had developed barrel specifications for those.  In fact, the 7.65 M/M and 9 M/M M54s were made after 1932, so they even had M54/70 pattern CMS barrel blanks in those calibers that could be repurposed to build a M70 if so ordered.  The 30 WCF, even on M70s I’ve seen that I believe genuine, used a different rate of twist and a flat breech system, so those barrels had to have been made special.

Other rare (or non-existent, depending on your point of viewLaugh) calibers in the M70 were chambered in other Winchester models, e.g. 348 WCF (M71) and 405 WCF (M95).  So M70 pattern barrels would have to be made special, but the barrel specifications were known, so no R&D/testing would be needed before filling an order.

Still other possible chamberings, e.g. 280 Ross, 303 British, had been developed elsewhere.  But given that WRACo. and Winchester-Western manufactured ammunition as well as firearms, they no doubt had velocity/pressure/accuracy barrels for a great many cartridges that they didn’t routinely offer in rifles (or even load commercially).  After the M70 came along, M70 receivers were the test bed for ammunition development.  So again, they likely already had established barrel specs for a multitude of obscure chamberings.  For interest, below are a couple photos I got from Justin Hale (pre64win.com) of a tool room M70 test barrel in 303 British that he ran across during a recent trip to Montana.  This is not a rifle, just a test barrel with hand stamped caliber designation.  But note the way the breech was machined to handle the rimmed cartridge:

303-British-bbl-1.jpegImage Enlarger303-British-bbl-2.jpegImage Enlarger

OTOH, engineering the M70 action to feed/fire/extract some of these cartridges using adaptations of existing magazine/follower/extractor, would have likely taken some fiddling on a case-by-case basis, which is one thing that makes some weird chamberings less plausible than others.  But if you could make a M70 work with the 30 WCF family of cartridges, I suppose you could make it work with just about anything.

Hope this helps Laugh

Lou  

Thanks Lou, very informative info as always. 

IMG_0805-Copy-Copy-Copy.JPG

Winchester Model 1873 44-40 circa 1886

May 4, 2021
1:54 am
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Lou,

Sorry for the slow reply, lots going on plus chasing a non bolt action Winchester carbine.

Appreciate the barrel explanation. Went back and read the special order section in Rule’s book. David Bichrest’s model 54 book was also very helpful. Can’t speak to auction rifles, but someone had a good or bad depending on one’s viewpoint. A cool 100k give or take.

Here are some better pictures of proof markings. 1 looks a little off compared to the others, but have learned a lot in this and other threads.

Model 54’s

BCB02148-8497-456F-871B-02AD454ED6F4.jpegImage Enlarger6DC24F28-1BB5-4D29-BCC5-60EFF4E22E43.jpegImage EnlargerA8B1C2AC-8775-442E-95BC-3D4A476A0D9A.jpegImage Enlarger

Model 70

A309ECFA-875D-44A2-B239-3D11118FA0D1.jpegImage Enlarger

Anyway, hopefully others will find these pictures useful.

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