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Post 64 model 70s
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December 29, 2023 - 4:51 am
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Gentlemen, 

I know that post 64 M70s are not the most collected rifles out there but has anyone done any research as to caliber and configuration?

i am mostly interested in the pre USRAC era.

Today I stumbled across a very clean M70 “Varmint” in 225 Win and it got me thinking about the quantities of the different calibers.

Welcome the thoughts…

 Doug

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December 29, 2023 - 4:13 pm
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Doug-

There is a decent chapter at the end of Roger Rule’s M70 book that covers “The Successor”, i.e. the post-63 Model 70 from 1964 through the end of Olin ownership in 1981 (1981 is also the year Roger published the book).  It covers all of the variations made from 1964-1981, along with the design changes incorporated over those years. 

As far as I know, there is nothing in the way of production records for the period of USRACo ownership.  I guess one would have to compile a bunch of 1980s-1990s Winchester catalogs to tease that out…

That said, according to Rule’s book, 225 Winchester was offered in Standard Grade (1965-1972), Varmint (1965-1970), and Deluxe (1965-1970).  In Standard Grade it was the second least popular chambering (6594 made); in Varmint it was third most popular behind 243 WIN and 22-250 REM (2616 made), and in Deluxe it was the least popular chambering (136 made). So a Varmint rifle in 225 WIN is not exactly “rare”, compared to, say 220 SWIFT, of which only (75) were made post-1963. 

This is straight from Rule’s book.  I have no other source of information…

Hope this helps,

Lou

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December 29, 2023 - 7:09 pm
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Got it Lou

 I had forgotten about the chapter in Rule.

 It was just a nice clean rifle that i couldn’t pass up. It will look right at home with the other targets and varmints.

 Hopefully late next month i will get you a few more surveys on my 70s. 

 Doug

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December 29, 2023 - 7:27 pm
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DEEREHART said
Got it Lou

 I had forgotten about the chapter in Rule.

 It was just a nice clean rifle that i couldn’t pass up. It will look right at home with the other targets and varmints.

 Hopefully late next month i will get you a few more surveys on my 70s. 

 Doug

I am disappointed in you!Confused All this time I was thinking that you were learning & listening to my sage advice about buying & collecting Winchesters, but then you go lose your focus Grasshopper! Wink

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December 29, 2023 - 8:12 pm
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Bert H. said

DEEREHART said

Got it Lou

 I had forgotten about the chapter in Rule.

 It was just a nice clean rifle that i couldn’t pass up. It will look right at home with the other targets and varmints.

 Hopefully late next month i will get you a few more surveys on my 70s. 

 Doug

I am disappointed in you!Confused All this time I was thinking that you were learning & listening to my sage advice about buying & collecting Winchesters, but then you go lose your focus Grasshopper! Wink

  

Bert 

It is not totally out of the focus of the collection as I should have at least one Post 63 example in the mix. And if i listened to all of your “SAGE” advice you would have me driving a rig that says “dodge” on one side and “ram” ram on the other. Laugh

 Grasshopper Doug

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December 30, 2023 - 2:51 am
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DEEREHART said

Bert H. said

DEEREHART said

Got it Lou

 I had forgotten about the chapter in Rule.

 It was just a nice clean rifle that i couldn’t pass up. It will look right at home with the other targets and varmints.

 Hopefully late next month i will get you a few more surveys on my 70s. 

 Doug

I am disappointed in you!Confused All this time I was thinking that you were learning & listening to my sage advice about buying & collecting Winchesters, but then you go lose your focus Grasshopper! Wink

  

Bert 

It is not totally out of the focus of the collection as I should have at least one Post 63 example in the mix. And if i listened to all of your “SAGE” advice you would have me driving a rig that says “dodge” on one side and “ram” ram on the other. Laugh

 Grasshopper Doug

  

Hey now… that old Ram of mine turned 19-years old today (I drove it home from Kellog, ID exactly 19-years ago).  On my way home from town today, the odometer rolled over the 383,000 mile mark!  Other than a new clutch (@333,000 miles), (2) battery sets, a water pump, and (6) sets of tires, it has been a fantastic truck CoolLaughCool

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January 1, 2024 - 6:23 am
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If I were able, I’d be very tempted to post an audio clip of Sportin’ Life’s great solo from George Gershwin’s American opera, Porgy and Bess: It Ain’t Necessarily So (to wit, “It ain’t necessarily so; the things that you’re liable, to read ’bout in the Bible, it ain’t necessarily so….”)

The post-63 Model 70 rifles were ugly as a blister but quite accurate out of the box, at least the one I bought used off GB in 2002, after being slightly overserved at an earlier holiday party, was. My stepson now owns that 1966 Model 70 standard grade .243 WCF, which would deliver 3/4″ groups with boring regularity with good factory ammunition. McNamara’s Band delivered an obscene but accurate and very strong rifle. If one function of an outstanding collection of Winchester Model 70 rifles is to illustrate to the unwashed the past glories of the brand, what better evidence to convince them than a 1965 Model 70? 

As for the moribund 225 Winchester cartridge, a fairly obvious, slightly less tapered and semi-rimmed, revival of the 219 Ackley Improved Zipper, nobody has ever said the design was a bad one or less than very accurate in good barrels.  In the same way the .243 WCF in the Winchester Featherweight outsold the pants off the .244 in the Remington 722, ugly rifles kill otherwise good cartridge designs.  The post-63 Model 70 in 225 was overwhelmed by the very popular 22-250 in Remington’s 700 BDL.  For whatever reason, post-63 Winchesters in 225 seem to have a cult following and their relatively few owners are reluctant to let go of them.  There’s a fairly clean 1965 Model 70 chambered in 225 at auction on GB this evening, starting bid $1275 and somebody has placed that bid. Even if it closes on the starting bid, that’s a lot higher than what it takes to knock down your garden variety post-63 McNamara Special. 

- Bill 

 

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January 1, 2024 - 2:59 pm
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Since the “post-64” can of worms has been opened…. how about looking at the bottom of the desirability barrel… the “Sears ~ Ted Williams Model 54″… a post 64 “press-checkered”, gloss finished rifle?  It’s scarce to find one in dead mint condition, but I have one and now I need to find the “scarcer” collector of Model 70’s that would want one…  not holding my breath… my argument “no collection is complete without this variation” hasn’t worked yet….

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January 1, 2024 - 3:54 pm
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Zebulon said
McNamara’s Band delivered an obscene but accurate and very strong rifle. If one function of an outstanding collection of Winchester Model 70 rifles is to illustrate to the unwashed the past glories of the brand, what better evidence to convince them than a 1965 Model 70? 

  

Sic transit gloria mundi.  Frank de Hass (who wrote the best book on bolt-action design & function I’ve ever seen) spoke highly of those made from ’68 onward, with the anti-bind bolt & other improvements; about those made ’64-’68, he was less enthusiastic, but thought the new bolt design, functionally speaking, an improvement.

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January 1, 2024 - 4:18 pm
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My first hunting rifle was a Winchester 670 with a birch stock featuring pressed checkering. It would deliver MOA groups with standard RP ammo as soon as I was able to fire them but it took me more than a few years to learn how to load to that level. I enjoyed shooting and hunting with that rifle for years and didn’t care that it was ugly, even after a Birchwood Casey facelift. Eventually after thousands of rounds a bit of rifling let go and it went to see Jes for his 35 Whelen treatment. When it returned I had a beautiful walnut stock from Boyd’s and a bedding kit from Brownell’s waiting. It never did shoot as well as before but it is certainly more attractive. Yes, Winchester built some very good rifles after 1963 but they just didn’t appeal to the fans of earlier rifles. It seems some of today’s collectors are starting to get interested in them. We’ll see.

 

Mike

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TXGunNut said

Yes, Winchester built some very good rifles after 1963 but they just didn’t appeal to the fans of earlier rifles. It seems some of today’s collectors are starting to get interested in them. We’ll see.

I would have to agree mike. I was at several auctions recently where post-64 “Featherweights” and “Lightweights” were going for over a 1000$ some closer to 1500$ these rifles weren’t new in the box or in  extremely rare calibers either. Even some of the post-64 Model 94s in 357 or 44 mag have been up there as well. Could be just the auction setting but it seems to be trending in that direction the last few years.

 

Kendall 

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January 1, 2024 - 6:30 pm
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Ben said
Since the “post-64” can of worms has been opened…. how about looking at the bottom of the desirability barrel… the “Sears ~ Ted Williams Model 54″… a post 64 “press-checkered”, gloss finished rifle?  It’s scarce to find one in dead mint condition, but I have one and now I need to find the “scarcer” collector of Model 70’s that would want one…  not holding my breath… my argument “no collection is complete without this variation” hasn’t worked yet….

  

Don’t be hangin’ around my door tryin’ to pass it on. I actually held one of those in my hand at a Sears gun counter. My digestion went off track for several days afterward.  

- Bill 

 

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January 1, 2024 - 6:43 pm
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clarence said

Zebulon said

McNamara’s Band delivered an obscene but accurate and very strong rifle. If one function of an outstanding collection of Winchester Model 70 rifles is to illustrate to the unwashed the past glories of the brand, what better evidence to convince them than a 1965 Model 70? 

  

Sic transit gloria mundi.  Frank de Hass (who wrote the best book on bolt-action design & function I’ve ever seen) spoke highly of those made from ’68 onward, with the anti-bind bolt & other improvements; about those made ’64-’68, he was less enthusiastic, but thought the new bolt design, functionally speaking, an improvement.

  

Clarence, Concur on de Haas.  I still have a 98% 1980 African I bought for cheap, about which more later. USRAC didn’t continue the model because its woodwork was subcontracted out and made and finished like the pre-64 version. The late Harry Selby bought one for backup and liked it well enough to sell off his Rigby 416 when it’s barrel began to go. By 1980 the post 63 rifles were looking much better. 

- Bill 

 

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January 1, 2024 - 8:57 pm
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I personally feel that some of the prevailing conventions pertaining to desirability and value in M70 collecting can be bit narrow in focus.

Before I go further, let me state that I am biased toward and consider target rifles the most desirable. To my mind, the target variations (M54, pre & post M70) are the most interesting, accurate, rare and best built.

I’ll stick to the post 63’s for now.

I feel the pre 64 precept is unfortunate when it comes to the M70 target rifles. They languish unfairly under the post 64 dark cloud. Yet they do not exhibit the undesirable qualities that befell sporting rifles. To the contrary, one could argue that they were an improvement.

Case in point.  In the past I’ve discussed the post 63 bolt design. It was not initially conceived to reduce cost. It was conceived as an improved design. Created years earlier (1959) based on feedback from the US Army Marksmanship Unit. The design objectives at the time were reduced lock time, increased strength and accuracy. The fully enclosed cartridge head was considered superior for both strength & accuracy.

To me, the three Palma’s, the Utramatch and Intl Army Match target variations really stand out.

Distinguishing factors such as being special order builds from the custom shop! Historical significance in competition! Limited production numbers!  And features such as action bedding, adjustable triggers and nicely crowned muzzles.

I like them and happily own at least one of each.

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January 1, 2024 - 9:05 pm
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I feel the pre 64 precept is unfortunate when it comes to the M70 target rifles. They languish unfairly under the post 64 dark cloud.1ned1 said  

Better keep quiet about that if you’re in the market for others!

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January 1, 2024 - 10:45 pm
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clarence said

I feel the pre 64 precept is unfortunate when it comes to the M70 target rifles. They languish unfairly under the post 64 dark cloud.1ned1 said  

Better keep quiet about that if you’re in the market for others!

  

Didn’t WRA make a post 63 Olympic class Free Rifle style Model 70, toward the end of Olin’s ownership? Or, maybe it was a 52D rimfire?

- Bill 

 

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January 1, 2024 - 11:23 pm
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Zebulon said

Didn’t WRA make a post 63 Olympic class Free Rifle style Model 70, toward the end of Olin’s ownership? Or, maybe it was a 52D rimfire? 

The 52D & E International Match were being built through 1980; the D was an all out free-rifle, the E intended for prone comp only.

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January 2, 2024 - 12:34 am
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In regards to the”E” serial numbered 52 Internationals, there were actually 2 completely different models manufactured from 1970 until 1980. They were the International Match (approximately 500 manufactured), and the International Prone (37) manufactured. These were all made in the custom shop and all had to meet very rigid quality requirements including accuracy standards above the standard production 52’s. The IM was a 3P match rifle with a thumbhole stock manufactured by Freeland and equipped with Freeland accessories. The IP was a purpose built rifle for prone competition with a very high cheek piece which was removable for cleaning purposes. They all had E serial numbers, although Winchester never referred to them as E models. They were always advertised as D models by the factory right up until the end of production.

Steve

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January 2, 2024 - 12:56 am
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In regards to the”E” serial numbered 52 Internationals, there were actually 2 completely different models manufactured from 1970 until 1980. They were the International Match (approximately 500 manufactured), and the International Prone (37) manufactured. seewin said

  

Appreciate the correction, Steve; Houze wrote that Es were built in the prone configuration only, & made no distinction between the IP & IM models. 

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January 2, 2024 - 1:22 am
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clarence said

In regards to the”E” serial numbered 52 Internationals, there were actually 2 completely different models manufactured from 1970 until 1980. They were the International Match (approximately 500 manufactured), and the International Prone (37) manufactured. seewin said

  

Appreciate the correction, Steve; Houze wrote that Es were built in the prone configuration only, & made no distinction between the IP & IM models. 

  

Yes, that was a major mistake in his book. It has created a good deal of confusion over the years. I believe Herb got in a bit of a hurry to finish the book and didn’t do a very thorough job on the D/E models.

Steve

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