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Pre 64 westerner
August 19, 2021
8:27 pm
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I recently purchased a pre 64 model 70 264 mag with a 26 inch barrel. Is this a “westerner”?  It is not marked as such on the barrel, but I have read opinions that they were not marked but were marketed as westerners. 

August 19, 2021
8:36 pm
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I am of the belief that is a correct statement… the Model 70 rifles in 264 Magnum were classified as a “Westerner”.

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August 19, 2021
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Bert H. said
 the Model 70 rifles in 264 Magnum were classified as a “Westerner”.  

Also the .300 Win Mags.

August 19, 2021
9:37 pm
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Thanks for the answer, by the way I live in Kingston too.

August 19, 2021
10:55 pm
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Steve Johnson said
Thanks for the answer, by the way I live in Kingston too.  

In Kingston, WA ?

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August 19, 2021
11:15 pm
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Hi Steve-

The pre-64 M70 in 264 WIN MAGNUM was first cataloged in 1960 (though some of the early ones have ’59 PR date receivers).  It was always called the “Westerner”, which was a marketing ploy in that only the BOX LABEL said “Westerner”.  The guns themselves have the same “short magnum” barrel roll mark as the 338 WIN MAGNUM “Alaskans” or the 458 WIN MAGNUM “Africans”.

An interesting tidbit is that the early 264 WIN MAGNUM Westerners had matte finish stainless steel barrels and (late) hand checkering:

465895.jpgImage Enlarger

While the late ones had CMS barrels and narrow panel machine cut checkering:

571133.jpgImage Enlarger

The change from stainless to CMS barrels apparently happened during 1960, so the early ones are maybe a bit harder to find than the late ones.  Either way, there’s a lot of overlap, such that you will often run across a stainless barrel with narrow panel checkering or a CMS barrel with hand checkering.

As for the 300 WIN MAGNUMs…  They only made the catalog in 1963, and were listed in the catalog under the “Westerner-Alaskan” banner, without saying which it was supposed to be.  Since they were not uniquely marked (on the gun) either way, Roger Rule, in his book decided to call them “Westerner-Alaskans” and let you decide.

Hope this helps!!! Laugh

Lou

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August 20, 2021
6:31 am
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Thanks for quite interesting Thread! 

Perhaps restating… My ‘net’ understanding from the above information, “no actual barrel nomenclature terms “Westerner” or “Alaskan” on rifles themselves. My personal recollection also consistent with such conclusion in respect of my four ‘pre genre’: 264 Win Mags, two each Standard and two Featherweight; a couple of 338 Mags and single 300 Win Mag. (My ‘working’ photo files c. 2007-08 inconclusive.)

Also, ‘quickie’!  Any in-stock visually prominent indicator of “stainless” material .264 barrels? One of my standard models above, single-pix relevant “appearance” suggesting perhaps stainless. SN 491K = 1960, see below. 

Best! Thanks for perhaps ‘senior moment’ clarification requested and ‘other question’ info too!

Thanks & Best!

John

R416-13.jpgImage Enlarger

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August 20, 2021
6:09 pm
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Hi John-

Just going off memory here…  According to the information in Rule’s book, the 264 WIN MAGNUM Westerner barrels were originally stainless steel but the specification was changed to CMS sometime in mid-1960.  The stainless barrels, at least originally, were easy to identify b/c they had the bead blasted matte finish applied to other stainless barrels (hopefully these photos will be clear enough to see the difference):

465895-barrel.jpgImage Enlarger

According to my survey so far (and with the caveat that my record of barrel finish is often based on my “best guess” from on-line photos), pretty much all the Westerners between 465,000 and 482,000 had this matte finish stainless barrel.  From 482,000 to 581,000 the vast majority of Westerners have a polished blued barrel that looks like CMS, although the occasional one will have the matte stainless barrel:

571133-barrel.jpgImage Enlarger

What I DO NOT know, is whether any of the 264 WIN MAGNUM barrels in stainless steel were finished using the directly applied “blackening” process that Winchester eventually went to for the 26″ medium heavy (target weight) stainless barrels used on 220 SWIFT and 243 WIN target/varmint rifles.  You probably recall that late in production, the factory adopted a process to directly blacken stainless barrels, thereby omitting the bead blasting process that produced the familiar matte finish.  The changeover is easy to pick out on the varmint rifles b/c the barrels were ALL stainless steel, and around the 480,000-485,000 they went from matte finish to something that looks like polished blued finish.

It’s more complicated with the 264 WIN MAGNUM, of course, b/c there was a change in barrel steel that happened just about the time that Winchester was changing the stainless finish from bead blasted to polished.  To me, your photo looks like it could be a polished stainless barrel, as opposed to polished CMS, and the 491XXX serial number would put it in the time frame were all these changes were happening.

MAYBE… If these late polished stainless barrels are still stamped “ST” under the chamber, you could tell by pulling the stock, but I’m not 100% sure they were still so-marked.  I’ll need to take a couple guns apart that I haven’t gotten to yet.  One thing that DOESN’T help is the muzzle face.  On the matte finish barrels the muzzle face is in the white b/c the crown was covered during the iron plating needed to make the regular blue take.  However once the direct bluing process was adopted the muzzle face on the polished stainless barrels got blackened just like on the CMS barrels.  So you can’t use the muzzle face to tell a CMS barrel from a polished stainless barrel.  Another possible way to tell is that the finish on the polished stainless barrels was slightly “off” in color/luster compared to the regular blued CMS barrels.  Rule described this as a “smoky” blue finish, and I can definitely tell the difference with a bunch of guns (of known barrel steel) in front of me.  But I’d never want to make the call based on a photo.

Sorry about the long reply to a simple question…Wink

Lou

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August 21, 2021
2:47 pm
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Following up on the barrel roll marking for the pre-64 M70 short magnum chamberings.  Neither the African, Alaskan, Westerner, nor 300 WIN MAGNUM “Westerner-Alaskan” had the marketing moniker impressed onto the barrel.  However, the “short magnum” marking did differ from the standard rifle barrel marking in small ways.  By way of illustration (pics below cobbled from various sources, mostly pre64win.com):

The “standard” style 3C barrel marking, used for example on this 1961 vintage 30-06 SPFLD standard rifle, reads in part “Made in New Haven Conn. U. S. of America”.

Standard-534131.pngImage Enlarger

The African was the first to use what Roger Rule termed the “short magnum” roll mark, which differed only in the line “Made in U.S.A.”  The subsequent Alaskan and Westerner used the same marking.

1956 African:

African-381353.pngImage Enlarger

1960 Alaskan:

Alaskan-495029.pngImage Enlarger

1960 Westerner:

Westerner-494948.pngImage Enlarger

The 300 WIN. MAGNUM “Westerner-Alaskan” was a special case.  Only cataloged in 1963, it was not specifically denoted as either a Westerner or an Alaskan, while the others were so-named. 

300-Win-Magnum-1963.pngImage EnlargerWesterner-1963.pngImage Enlarger

FWIW… The BOX LABELS only read “Super Grade Rifle” (for the African) and “Standard Grade Rifle” (for the Alaskan/Westerner series).  

Many 300 WIN. MAGNUM barrels, I suspect the first batch made, carried the same “short magnum” marking as the African/Alaskan/Westerner, but 300 WIN. MAGNUM barrel marking was then changed such that the words “Trade Mark” were replaced by the (R) registered trademark symbol:

1963 Westerner-Alaskan #1:

Westerner-Alaskan-550997.pngImage Enlarger

1963 Westerner-Alaskan #2:

Westerner-Alaskan-560381.pngImage Enlarger

So that’s about the size of it…  Wink

Lou

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August 21, 2021
3:55 pm
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Lou,

Let me be the first to say… great post, and please get all of this in a new reference book soon!!

Bert

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August 21, 2021
4:54 pm
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Bert H. said
Lou,

Let me be the first to say… great post, and please get all of this in a new reference book soon!!

Bert  

Let me take “seconds.” 

About ready to go looking for a Westerner, Bert?  Though I think an Alaskan would actually suit you better.  Unless you’re ready to go African!

August 21, 2021
5:41 pm
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clarence said

Bert H. said
Lou,

Let me be the first to say… great post, and please get all of this in a new reference book soon!!

Bert  

Let me take “seconds.” 

About ready to go looking for a Westerner, Bert?  Though I think an Alaskan would actually suit you better.  Unless you’re ready to go African!  

Lou,

As you know, I already own the one and only Winchester hi-power bolt-action rifle anyone would ever need… my 1927 production Model 54 in 30-06 GOV’T.  CoolCool

Bert

p.s. and as an FYI, I only put one cartridge in it at a timeWink

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August 21, 2021
10:54 pm
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WOW!  First…  To offer great “Thanks!” for all that super information.  You do include citations from other sources.  But like most super experts, able to pull those citations together, make sense of them and construct an answer tailored to the question/issue under consideration.  As in crafting great decisions in Judicial Law or great theories in Physics, the accolades rightfully bestowed on the “synthesis” makers in application!  Moving from rhetorical prose here, just to say Lou…  Not just in this Thread, but in the many, in you ‘reposes’ the data and the brainpower to make sense of it all. Moreover the talent to convey sensibly!  

Bert’s ‘write a book’, suggestion, already ‘Seconded’; to ad my own “Here, Here!”  That with the notation of such recommendation in one of my prior posts, as being ever impressed with your storehouse of knowledge.  As I recall, your modest response then, reminiscent of the Simon and Garfunkel craft…  “The Sound of Silence”… 🙂  

And… Your Model 54 tongue in cheek aside Lou… My maybe, kinda, semi-serious one & only 70 challenger, 54 in 30 W.C.F., as legit candidate for independent high praise!  Set apart from oft common Model 54 view as “understudy” for subsequent chambering-catalogued Models 70!  The ‘thirty’, carbine & rifle, with their own rightful place and ‘uniqueness’ best manifest in its singular one-off chambered receiver. 🙂  

‘Pontification concluded… 🙂

Thanks again to all for a great Thread with due ‘original spark’ special thanks to O/P Steve J. 

Best & Stay Safe

John

August 22, 2021
2:37 am
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iskra said
  Set apart from oft common Model 54 view as “understudy” for subsequent chambering-catalogued Models 70!   

“Understudy” is good.  So long as we don’t confuse it with “the rifleman’s rifle.”

August 22, 2021
10:35 pm
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clarence… My age, I’m just working on remembering the difference between “understudy” and “undertaker”.  As deferring… “Dying to know!”  🙂 

As far as anyone suggesting upending ‘The Rule Book’, no such mutiny to my knowledge.  But we have certain experts in our midst and urging Lou on as a modest ‘board director’ candidate! Roger in his writing era didn’t have the huge resource of the Internet and particularly bringing of folks together in community of expertise.  “A great pyramid to be augmented now with modern tools, ‘besting’ stone and copper!  Flushing out details, curiosities!  Points… “pregnant with innuendo”…  (“Hamlet!” :))

And…  Returning to the the Westerner in .264, any opinions to share on comparison with the 7mm Rem Mag?  Winchester as first out of the gate by some years with ‘shorter mag is a better mag’ wonderworld. Seeming such great ‘new & improved’ format, ‘time’ and well received.  Notably, .264 a couple years ahead of the Rem 7mm Mag of 1962!  All seeming to suggest a marketing field, Winchester’s to lose!  I’d suppose perhaps advertising with Remington somehow taking the field. That and “7mm”, common name recognition. Comparisons?  Thoughts?

Again, thanks to all participating here. 

John

October 19, 2021
11:46 pm
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Thanks L L

I have a ’59 Winchester model 70 Westerner in .264 Mag. I did not know the real deal on the SS barrels. Your pics looked just like mine. My serial # is 447,xxx and the rifle appears to be correct with the exception of a recoil pad added. I got this rifle 35 years ago and it has been on one hunt to northern Quebec for Caribou. My son and I went on the hunt and he used the Westerner. I had it out today and wiped it down.  It has a couple marks on the stock but it still looks pretty good. Thanks again for the info. I always wondered if that bead blasted dark barrel was right.

Have a great day.

Jim

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