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Model 70 vs Model 54 bolt parts interchangability?
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Posts: 7
October 4, 2021 - 3:23 pm

1sp_QuotePost

I am hoping that someone can tell me if the Model 54’s bolt shroud & safety assemblies can be swapped to the pre-war Model 70 flag safety style to assist in mounting optics?  I’ve consulted “the Book” i.e. the Rifleman’s Rifle but this is not addressed.  Numerous searches of the WACA forum & other forums also turned up no definite answer.  Short of acquiring a rifle of both types and physically trying the pieces, I am hoping another on here can provide me the answer.  Thanks!

WACA #12263

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Canada
Posts: 28
October 4, 2021 - 7:52 pm

2sp_QuotePost

What you are asking would call for modifying the bolt handle as it is too high for modern scope.unless this has been done already if so would be easier to find a different after market safety . I believe one was made by buehler .

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Posts: 347
October 4, 2021 - 10:45 pm

3sp_QuotePost

I also can’t answer your question.  Just commentary offered.  First, as “plus 1” to the above remarks.  Second that the “flag safety elevated dimension” on the Model 70 has been condemned too, for interference with scope mountings.  Third that IF your Model 54 is original & decent condition, you might wish to consider leaving it as such in terms of contemplated alteration; depreciating it.  “Collectible”, relegated to “shooter” context!

The other perspective…  Considering the Model 70 is a clean sheet design ‘more than’ an improved 54, in terms of: striker group different, trigger group different, bolt release design different… Not leaving much ‘similarity’ of components at all! IF the sizing were to miraculously fit! There’s also the “fiddling factor” even in apparent like assemblies, as adapting, the cascade of ‘also required’ adjustments…

My belief that the Stith firm (now defunct) ‘possibly’ made their “Stith no drill” scope mount to accommodate the Model 54.  It would necessarily either to have been an elevated mounting or one placing the scope forward of the bolt handle rotational plane.  Other mounts could also accomplish the same alternative goals as more scope type flexible, although requiring receiver bridge drilling & tapping. Final shoe in this vein.  Stith mounts re the Model 70 also functionally relegate scope utilization, limited to same era models.   

Exhausting my “What if…” commodity! 🙂

Good luck on gaining your answer; moreover, your project!  I believe it will be a “no” in terms of merely any idea of simply swapping striker groups.  OR the efficacy of even that achieved!

Best!

John

Addendum:  Per some Googling…  Might want to look at this prior WCA Forum Thread.  Not re your questions, but if interested in following the scoping matter re Win 54.

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-rifles/model-54-30wcf-should-i-buy/

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NY
Posts: 6083
October 4, 2021 - 11:10 pm

4sp_QuotePost

A low power, long eye-relief scope, like a Lyman Alaskan mounted ahead of the bolt handle would eliminate both the safety & bolt-handle problems.  Brownell’s used to sell a replacement safety lever for military-type safeties, so check their site–maybe it’s still available.  

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 925
October 5, 2021 - 2:01 pm

5sp_QuotePost

Hi CHolms10-

I’m afraid that the answer to your question is “not without considerable difficulty”… Cry

The M54 and M70 differ substantially in the design of the bolt stop/release, trigger assembly, and ejector.  So a M70 bolt will indeed go into a M54 receiver, but it will not engage the trigger and turn (cocking the striker), and it will come right back out (since it doesn’t engage the bolt stop).  You can see some of the differences externally in the photos below:

M54-vs-M70-bolt-top.jpgImage EnlargerM54-vs-M70-bolt-bottom.jpgImage EnlargerM54-vs-M70-bolt-sleeve-striker.jpgImage Enlarger

That said, it is possible to modify a M70 bolt body to work in a M54.  In fact, some of the last M54s produced by Winchester, after the M70 was introduced, were assembled using M70 bolts milled on the bottom to catch the M54 bolt stop.  This provided the turned down M70 bolt handle, but you still needed the M54 bolt sleeve/striker assembly (and its cumbersome swing over safety).  The following photos are of a M54 Sniper’s Match rifle built using a M70 bolt body:

M54-Snipers-Match-1.jpgImage EnlargerM70-54-hybrid-bolt-1.jpgImage EnlargerM54-70-hybrid-bolt-2.jpgImage Enlarger

The additional problem, besides having to mill the M70 bolt to work, is that the M54 stock then needs to be relieved to accommodate the bolt handle.  So if the goal is to preserve the integrity of an unaltered M54 bolt and stock by adapting a M70 bolt, I suppose you’d also need a replacement (altered) stock:

M54-vs-M70-stock-inletting.jpgImage Enlarger

An alternative that I’ve always thought of trying is to modify a Stith mount to place the ocular bell of a longer eye relief scope forward of the M54 bolt handle.  The old G&H side mounts (with their requisite holes in the receiver) combined with something like a Lyman Alaskan would do the trick.  Problem with modifying a no-drill Stith is that you need a pretty short OAL scope such that the front sleeve of the mount will allow it far enough forward.

Hope this helps!!! Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Posts: 474
October 5, 2021 - 11:44 pm

6sp_QuotePost

Awesome Lou

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Posts: 347
October 6, 2021 - 5:02 am

7sp_QuotePost

Oh my! 🙂 🙂 🙂  Point of order please!

Hi Lou and appreciation from an ever fan of your great expertise as others responding here.  After reading your Post, I returned to view my own.  I believe this thread collectively largely missed the O/Ps actual point in question.  Quoting as:

“I am hoping that someone can tell me if the Model 54’s bolt shroud & safety assemblies can be swapped to the pre-war Model 70 flag safety style to assist in mounting optics?”

just as I dedicated only a single intro “disclaimer” sentence regarding ability to answer that question.  Then moving to highlight principal action differences suggesting his proposed component swap ‘wouldn’t likely work’. Just as as you considerably more eloquently detailed in terms of actual bolt swap!

A lot of other points and definitely useful knowledge pinging on relevant considerations relating to his wider issue.  Quite possibly in our O/P’s opinion now rendering his original point moot.  But not to assume.  I believe his original questions, yet remains unanswered. Kindly don’t shoot the messenger! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Just my take!

Best! John

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Posts: 7
October 6, 2021 - 1:49 pm

8sp_QuotePost

To all that have responded: Thank you!  This thread is closer to answering a question I’ve had for many years. But the core curiosity persists.

A bit of background on my inquiry. . . I do not currently own a Model 54.  I am actively on the hunt for one of the ‘A’ suffix 30 WCF Model 54’s produced at the end of 30WCF production in 1930.  I do however own 3 pre-war Model 70’s, all three with the flag safety.  I’m sure I am in the minority, perhaps not in this crowd however – but I truly love the flag safety over the later and earlier iterations.  My request stems from a curiosity to have a 30 WCF Model 70.  While such an animal does exist, the chances of me finding one is slim to none.  Next best, a Model 54, using the shroud and safety of the Model 70.

Before I am charged, tried and sentenced by the collector community, I’d like to say that I am not willing to permanently modify any rifles, just looking to satisfy a curiosity about if these components will interchange to a point.  It seems kind of outside the norm for Winchester to modify the thread & pitch of the Bolt shroud, considering the Model 70 was likely produced on the same lines as the Model 54 just a few years earlier.

So here is the revised request:  Is it possible to assemble a functional bolt using the following parts?

Model 54 cocking assembly, bolt body (with handle)

Model 70 prewar shroud & flag safety

The pictures seem to show that this may be possible, however I am not sure if either model’s firing pin with function.  The model 70’s FP will likely be too short for the cocking assembly.  It would appear that Model 70 cocking assembly could be utilized based on the pictures, but the geometry of the sear may be off.

Apologies in advance if this seems like a ridiculous and frivolous request, but I’m trying to settle a curiosity that has persisted for quite awhile.  I finally joined the WACA about a month ago and figured I should ask the question.  Thanks again all!

WACA #12263

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NY
Posts: 6083
October 6, 2021 - 5:14 pm

9sp_QuotePost

CHolms10 said   I do however own 3 pre-war Model 70’s, all three with the flag safety.  I’m sure I am in the minority, perhaps not in this crowd however – but I truly love the flag safety over the later and earlier iterations.  

Include me in that minority.  No problem using it with a scope either. 

But you’re contemplating what seems to be an awful lot of work that could be avoided by mounting a scope as has been suggested.  (Assuming that mounting a scope is your intention.)  With not much practice, the military safety can be operated as easily as any other, using, as the DIs always used to say, only your thumb.

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 925
October 6, 2021 - 6:06 pm

10sp_QuotePost

CHolms10-

Stay tuned and I’ll try the experiment for you…  May take a little time, since first I have to go dig out a kind of rough M54 standard rifle that’s at my Dad’s house.  I don’t want to disassemble the bolt sleeve/firing pin/striker assembly of the M54 30 WCF standard carbine I used for illustration above, as it’s a fairly nice gun.

There’s no doubt that a pre-war M70 bolt shroud will go into a M54 bolt body just fine.  What I’ll need to do is pull the firing pin/striker assembly out of a M54 bolt sleeve and put it into a M70 bolt sleeve, put the M70 bolt sleeve into the M54 bolt, and then see what does/doesn’t work.  I have some doubt that the safety will function properly, but who knows???  It may even be possible to modify a M54 firing pin to engage the M70 safety, but until I pull a M54 pin out of the bolt sleeve I can only guess… Embarassed

If anyone already knows the answer, please save us the trouble of the experiment.  LaughLaughLaugh

Best,

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Posts: 7
October 6, 2021 - 6:58 pm

11sp_QuotePost

Thanks Lou! I appreciate your willingness to see this experiment through to the end.

WACA #12263

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Posts: 347
October 6, 2021 - 10:54 pm

12sp_QuotePost

Well…  If men climb mountains because “They’re there…”  I suppose sitting back with a rifle on your lap, beer at hand, playing with striker components…  IS a lot easier!  No “great leap for mankind” likely, but as long as not spilling the beer…  Something to be said for ‘experimentation’!  Shooting it…  Maybe more visions of Young Frankenstein…  “It’s Alive!!!”  🙂 🙂 :)! 

Your overall idea is…  Err…. Different! 🙂

I do really enjoy the Model 54 in “30 WCF”.  Concerning you “A” suffix preference, just for info…  My highest non “A” suffix is SN 199xx.  My lowest “A” suffix is 221xx.  Coincidentally, identical 30 WCF Carbines!  From Winchester info, my simplistic interpolation, suggesting about Jan 29 to Mar 29 conversion period!  While I understand that the Factory was casual about actual build out dates in any kind of SN chronology, I believe it likely they marked the serial numbers pretty much chronologically. All said, I’m not really sure the “A” or non “A” rimless round extractor configuration is the same as used in a flat-faced breech rifle accommodating a rimmed round!  

Good luck & I do await ‘the grand experiment’.  

Best!

John

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 925
October 10, 2021 - 6:38 pm

13sp_QuotePost

Hah Hah!!! Laugh John, you’re too funny… Laugh

For my part, provided that there is NO live ammunition involved, I’d rather have a glass of bourbon than a beer in my hand when sitting back with a rifle in my lap playing with trigger/sear/safety components…  If one is going “to boldly go where no Bubba has gone before” it’s better to be prepared…

CHolms10-

All kidding aside…  I am NOT a gunsmith, so take my comments below with appropriate skepticism.  I partially disassembled two rifles:  M70 S/N 24688 and “A” series M54 S/N 24233A, played with some of the components and tried to take photos that illustrate the challenges related to your questions.  Note that this M54 has the two-piece firing pin/striker, not the later one-piece version. 

There were two “experiments”.  First is what happens if you take a M54 bolt body and insert a M70 bolt sleeve/striker assembly (all M70 parts except the M54 bolt body).  You can easily assemble this conglomeration by removing the M70 bolt sleeve/striker from the M70 bolt body with the safety in the middle position and threading it into the M54 bolt body.  Everything fits fine.  The two firing pins are the same length:

M54-and-M70-bolt-sleeve-striker.jpgImage Enlarger

But the M54 sear will not engage the M70 striker, so you have no trigger.  Essentially, you have a “thumb trigger” M54 since taking the M70 bolt sleeve “off safe” would fire the rifle.  DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!!  Moreover, while the M54 bolt will open it does not move the M70 striker back far enough to let you re-engage the safety. So you have a “single shot thumb trigger” M54… Cry

The trigger geometry is just too different for this to work:

M54-trigger-sear.jpgImage EnlargerM70-trigger-sear.jpgImage Enlarger M54-and-M70-sear-comparison.jpgImage Enlarger

The second experiment is what happens if you put a M70 bolt sleeve together with a M54 firing pin/striker and bolt body.  Still not much joy… The parts will go together and the striker and trigger are now compatible.  But the safety (not surprisingly) does not work.  As you know, the M70 safety rotates on a VERTICAL cylindrical shaft that when “on-safe” engages a semi-circular cut-out on the RIGHT SIDE of the firing pin/striker.  When the M70 safety is rotated to “off safe”, a semi-circular cut away in the vertical shaft of the safety allows the firing pin to be driven forward when the trigger is pulled:

M70-bolt-sleeve-and-striker.jpgImage Enlarger

OTOH… The M54 safety is a rather simple affair that rotates on a HORIZONTAL shaft, such that when in the “on-safe” position a flange in the front surface of the safety engages a semi-circular notch in the TOP of the striker: 

M54-and-M70-safeties.jpgImage Enlarger

So there’s no way to mix and match unmodified parts of the M54 and M70 and achieve both a working trigger and a working safety.  It MIGHT be possible to mill a semi-circular notch in the right side of a spare M54 striker such that the M70 safety would engage and give you what you want.  But that is a question for a QUALIFIED gunsmith, which I am most certainly NOT. 

By this point I’m sure John and all the qualified gunsmiths out there are having a good laugh at my expense…  EmbarassedEmbarassed

But what the heck, it’s raining!!!  And there’s bourbon in the cupboard… Laugh

Hope this helps…

Lou 

P.S.  Yes John…  I did get the guns put back together without the aid of either beer or bourbon (or even help from another Bubba)…  Laugh

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Northern edge of the D/FW Metromess
Posts: 4814
October 10, 2021 - 11:00 pm

14sp_QuotePost

Thanks for taking the time to explore this, Lou. I’ve encountered similar questions in over 40 years of the auto parts business and my best answer was always “yes, but….”. Now a significant part of my job is engineering drivelines for people who take similar answers as a challenge. 

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
BBHC Member, TGCA Member
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
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Posts: 7
October 20, 2021 - 11:32 am

15sp_QuotePost

Lou,

Thank you for taking the time to attempt my experiment.  It has more than satisfied my curiosity.  As an aside, this thread and your excellent photography skills finally pushed me over the edge and I ended up purchasing a very nice 30WCF Model 54 yesterday.  

WACA #12263

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 925
October 20, 2021 - 1:25 pm

16sp_QuotePost

Hi CHolms10-

It was raining that day, so I was just playing “mix and match” (without much success)… Laugh

Congrats in the M54 30 WCF!!!  I am a big fan of the M54 1st standard rifles, although I only have two that are high condition unmolested originals, a 30 GOV’T’06 (like Bert), and a 30 WCF.

Given your original curiosity…  It might be worth consulting with a good gunsmith about whether the sear engagement surface of the M70 firing pin striker could be changed to that of a M54 (right hand picture in the row of three above).  The later M54s used a one-piece firing pin/striker that as far as I can tell from images in the contemporary parts catalogs looked like a M70 firing pin/striker except for the sear engagement.  I’m not sure that the camming surface of the M54 bolt body would necessarily permit the thing to cock properly when the bolt was opened, but if it did you might be in business!!!

Obviously, converting the M70 part (with its safety notch) to work with a M54 trigger, would involve welding up the sear engagement surface, milling to shape, fitting, and hardening so you’d have a safe trigger mechanism. Definitely not a job for an amateur.  But if it worked, you could have a M70 bolt sleeve/striker assembly that could be popped into your M54 bolt (without tools) when headed for the range/field, and the original M54 bolt sleeve/striker that could be put back into the bolt (again without tools) for display at home.

Good Luck!!!  Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Posts: 3
December 5, 2021 - 4:56 pm

17sp_QuotePost

Consistent with this topic, I am confused about a recently purchased model 54 in 257 Roberts with a peep sight.  The bolt is milled on the bottom which may be factory work as the gun is at the end of the 54 model.  However I cannot remove the bolt because there seems to be a stop inside the receiver near the peep sight mount.  The front peepsight screw is messed up and before I start milling away the screw I would like to know how the stop is mounted.  Any help would be appreciated.

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 925
December 5, 2021 - 5:36 pm

18sp_QuotePost

Hi Greg-

I guess the first question is the obvious one…  Did you pull the trigger all the way back while attempting to withdraw the bolt?  The M54 and M70 bolt stops are quite different, and there’s no little bolt release lever at the left rear of the receiver like on a M70.  On the M54 pulling the trigger retracts the bolt stop in the bottom of the receiver.

That said, the underside of the M54 bolt has a flat milled to engage the bolt stop:

19.jpegImage Enlarger

Even when M70 bolt bodies were modified to assemble M54s at the very end of production, the M70 part had to have this cut made for the bolt stop to work.  I suppose it might be possible to remove the bottom metal and magazine follower/spring to get at the M54 bolt stop from underneath, but I haven’t tried it.  Pulling the trigger should be enough to disengage.

I guess that if the bolt is retracting past the stop and still won’t withdraw, it could be hanging up in the left lug raceway if one of the receiver sight screws is too long???

Hope this is helpful… Smile

Lou

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WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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NY
Posts: 6083
December 5, 2021 - 5:43 pm

19sp_QuotePost

Bolt is removed by moving safety to straight up position & pulling back on the trigger.  Is that what you’re doing?

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Posts: 474
December 5, 2021 - 6:05 pm

20sp_QuotePost

I’d remove the barreled action and reinstall.

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