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Pre 64 Model 70 dated 1941 30-06 41,000-50,000 Serial Range
October 7, 2019
7:59 pm
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First post here but figured this would be a great way to get some more information on a Pre-64 model 70 I recently acquired. Since I am a new guy I cannot post pictures yet to the thread, but i have copied a link to a a drive account for viewing.

The rifle I just acquired Serial number 42453 is said to be dated to 1941. It features a 24 inch medium heavy barrel, chambered in 30-06 ,matching Winchester proof marks, and what appears to be a Winchester target stock that the action was bedded in. The rifle looks identical to a rifle housed in the NRA Museum case 42 with exception to the "US Property" etched on the action. The optic on top of that rifle in case 42 is of the same type currently sitting on top of my rifle with the exception that it appears to have had the "USMC property" moniker appears to have been ground off. Please see link listed below.

NRA museum Case 42 Model 70

I know it is a long shot that is was part of the allotment sent to the USMC but any information regarding the rifle would be greatly appreciated.

Pictures of the rifle can be viewed via google drive link below.

google drive pics

 

Thanks.

October 8, 2019
12:13 am
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Charleston, SC
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Dear amwhilite-

Boyo!!!  Is that ever a loaded question that requires a longer answer than most folks want to endure...  I'm sure you didn't mean to open this can of worms, but...

The action on your rifle (as best as I can tell) is S/N 42453 (thanks for linking the pics BTW...Laugh).  This falls within the S/N range of M70 standard (not target) rifles bought by the US Military at the advent of WWII for Stateside duty, but it is not on the (admittedly very partial) list of S/Ns in Chandler's DFA Vol I.  So no Joy there except that it MIGHT have been acquired by the US military, as a standard rifle, in '42...

As the saga continues (unfortunately this saga is NOT secret so it can - and often does - give rise to fakery...) SOME of those pre-war M70 standard rifles got arsenal rebuilt in the mid-1950's as sniper rifles, and a subset of them found their way into service in RVN.  The famous weapon the late Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock is most often associated with was one of these arsenal rebuilt pre-wars with a 1950's target barrel and modified standard stock...

These are the guns many people want, and thus the ones that are often faked.  They got rebarreled with either 24" Winchester target barrels (your '56 dated M70 barrel would fall into the range) or with 26" Douglas barrels of the same contour (not Winchester marked, of course)...  If the standard stock was considered salvageable (as on Hathcock's gun) the barrel channel was opened up and it was retained.  If the stock was trash in the eyes of the armorer, it got replaced with a Marksman (target) stock bought form Winchester (as a component part like the barrels).  This much is documentable, although it still boggles my mind that Winchester had many cloverleaf tang inlet Marksman stock still in the parts inventory in the mid-50's to sell. Maybe they made some more???...

As for your rifle...  I think it would be difficult to prove either way.  I can be pretty confident saying that the recoil pad is not US Military mid-1950's (although Pachmayr pads were available at the time I am unaware that the USMC ever used one on a service gun - Marines are not wimps after all - ask Big Larry!!! Laugh).  I can also be confident that the bedding in the stock is not US Military mid-1950's.  Some Bisonite, maybe...  But not Acraglas...  Of course it might have been done up that way later, either by a subsequent owner or even the military in the 1970's or later.  Hard to know for sure...

Do you have any claimed history on the gun?  Like DCM paperwork?  Could go a long way...  Hopefully you do not have too much $$$ sunk into this piece.  It's worth researching, but not a guaranteed treasure by any means...

Best,

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

October 8, 2019
9:09 pm
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Louis,

I bought the rifle as part of an estate with a few other guns. The previous owner was a USMC veteran who died many years. I'm working to track down more information from the family. I did not sink very much money into rifle. It really just piqued my interest when I saw how low the serial number was on the action and its configuration.

Doing some internet sleuthing led me to the range of serial numbers for the USMC guns. Eventually I was referred to the forum by a local Winchester collector who told me about WACA.

If the gun was purchased through DCM can the serial number be tracked back?

What other means of research can be done other than family history?

Any advice it greatly appreciated. Like I said I know this is a long shot at best.

Thanks.

October 9, 2019
12:01 am
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Charleston, SC
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Hi amwhilhite-

I'm NOT the expert in this area...  

The S/N range and presence of a '56 dated Winchester target barrel are in your favor. The presence of what appears to be a rack number (???) stamped in the bottom of the pistol grip might also point to time in the service.  Your photos look like maybe the left side of the receiver ring was polished out for a refinish (weak proof mark), which suggests  that (maybe) the gun was at one time marked as "US Property".  Some folks back in the post GCA '68 day (if not earlier) would do what they could to obliterate such markings.  So I, for one, would not exclude the possibility that your gun is a legit retired USMC sniper...

As for how you might support that, I do not know unless you have some history on the gun that might lead you to documentation.  I don't own a single DCM gun and do not know what sort of records might be attainable.  But it's worth asking IMHO...  

For example, consider the gun in the attached link that sold in the last Ward's auction.  It has a copy of DCM paperwork.  What it is (although not described as such by the auction house) is a genuine Van Orden M70 "Sniper" rifle (independently documented as-such by S/N in shop records).  Hope the link works...

https://www.wardscollectibles.com/viewitem.php?item=5084

These VO guns are yet another story... But somebody probably got a pretty good buy on that one (wasn't me)...  These milsurp "sniper" guns are out there, and I cannot exclude the possibility that yours is one of them.  But it'll be up to you to do the digging, since as far as I know there are no complete records on the '42 purchase that make them as easy to identify as the VO guns...

Good Luck and Keep us posted... Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

October 16, 2019
1:32 am
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Louis,

I learned a little bit more about the previous owner who was a veteran of both WWII and Korea.

On the left side of the receiver ring that was been polished I can make out "property" although its extremely faint under light it is there. I'm going to take it to a local jeweler that I know and have him put it under the microscope to see if "US" can be made out.

Otherwise I'm waiting to see if CMP is able to track down a serial number if it is a DCM gun.

I appreciate your assistance and will keep you posted.

Adam

October 16, 2019
10:40 pm
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Charleston, SC
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Hi Adam-

Very interesting...  Keep us posted on what you discover!!!

As I've said, your gun could be a legit US Military M70 originally acquired in the '42 purchase, and rebuilt in the mid-1950s.  The (partially) obliterated "US Property" marking, if present, is another item in your favor.  

If ANYBODY has a more complete list of the S/Ns of those pre-wars, please share it!!!  It won't add to the number of fakes unless somebody is unscrupulous enough to (illegally) alter a S/N. Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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