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My favorite Winchester "Frankenchester"
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Santa Clara, CA
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March 19, 2021 - 7:17 pm
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Just for fun.  I got the Model 70 Bug just when Model 70’s prices were going up. (Normal for me)  I was looking for the 220 Swift caliber and found one.  I had no idea what I was buying (normal for me) when I found a Super Grade, Medium 26″ Barrel Varmint Rifle with the low serial number 526.  Bore was great and I could tell the rifle was refinished, but no matter I liked it.  It also had 1 1/4″ Super Grade swivels.  Apparently this gun was upgraded about 1948.  It’s a shooter not a collector.  Sorry Louis if I committed a sin.  RDB

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March 19, 2021 - 8:29 pm
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Hi Roger-

That’s a neat gun, though you’re correct that it is a melange of parts from the pre- and post-war periods!!!  Does it shoot as good as it looks?  Had I seen it at a gun show it would have grabbed my attention until I figured out what I was looking at!!! Laugh

The fun thing is that you could have special ordered a gun very much like that in 1937.  It would have looked pretty much like this, except with a Super Grade stock and floor plate:

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The earliest 220 SWIFT target weight barrels had the front sight ramp and most were made from CMS instead of the matte finished stainless steel with dovetailed muzzle.  Do you happen to know the barrel date on yours?  It’s got the Style 3A roll marking so is probably later than 1940. 

But the pre-war Winchester catalogs specifically stated that an NRA style stock could be had in place of the Marksman stock on target rifles, and both the standard NRA standard and Super Grade stocks inlet for the target weight barrel (and without a recoil pad) had part numbers in the parts catalog even though neither was used to assemble production M70s at the time. So you could have special ordered a target rifle in 1936-37 made up as a SG rifle or ordered the SG components and converted it yourself.

In fact, I once saw a pre-war 300 MAGNUM Super Grade with 26″ ramped straight taper barrel and no recoil pad.  It was probably ordered as a companion to one of the 24″ straight taper barrel 375 MAGNUMs of the day.  The gun wasn’t for sale, but I’d’ve probably bought it if it had been. Laugh

Cheers,

Lou

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WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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March 19, 2021 - 8:45 pm
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Forgot to include these.  One of the most important parts.  Has a ’48 barrel date and Type II Safety, so the bolt was altered too.  RDB

 

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March 19, 2021 - 8:58 pm
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rogertherelic said
  Sorry Louis if I committed a sin.  RDB
  

By buying it?  Hardly!  If you had it D&T for the scope mount, you merely corrected a factory error!

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March 19, 2021 - 9:03 pm
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That makes sense and all fits the back story.  Based on the barrel markings (Style 3A) it would have most likely been a ’41 to ’49 dated barrel.  The floor plate has the little Helvetica “G” in GRADE that was typical of pre-war and still commonplace in ’48. 

Could you tell whether the barrel channel inletting looked like it had been done by the factory, or was it opened up by an outside gunsmith?  Like I said, a customer could have ordered a cloverleaf tang SG stock (without recoil pad) directly from the factory that was already inlet for the heavy barrel.  So rather than being what I would call a “Frankenchester”, it might have been a rifle that was reconfigured to suit the owner using unaltered parts bought direct from the factory… 

Neat… 

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

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March 19, 2021 - 9:18 pm
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The stock channel looks factory and unaltered, with the exception of the front barrel channel cutout for the front stock screw mount.  I haven’t shot the gun in some time, but the last time out using 52 gr. BT HP bullets and 3031 powder it held 3/4″ 5 shot group measured outside to out side. 1/2″ center to center  RDB

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March 19, 2021 - 10:03 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
 So rather than being what I would call a “Frankenchester”, it might have been a rifle that was reconfigured to suit the owner using unaltered parts bought direct from the factory… 
  

Absolutely.  A Model 70 brl on a Model 70 rcvr–maybe not factory original, but certainly no “freak,” such as a Low Wall I once had with a Model 52 brl on it.  Not even sure that gun was a true freak, as all its parts were factory Winchester.  In fact, Model 52 brls were often used to rebarrel other makes by builders wanting a match-grade .22 brl.

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