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Pre war model 70 questions.
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December 21, 2023 - 7:47 pm
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Hi,

I recently acquired a 1946 Winchester model 70 in 30-06. This is my first model 70 so I have very limited knowledge or experience them. I’ve collected M1 Garands for awhile and could never resist the urge to correct them back to their original WW2 configuration. I’ve now run into the same “problem” with this rifle. 

Some Google and forum searches have answered the majority of my questions but a few remain, mainly in regards to collectability and originality. I’ve attached several pictures at the bottom to hopefully help. 

1. Is the stock in its original form? There’s what appears to be a plugged hole behind the current rear sling swivel. Is it safe to say someone cut the stock down and moved the sling swivel forward to its current location?

2. Is the current orange buttpad that’s on it a replacement or could the rifle originally been custom ordered that way in lieu of the metal butt plate?

3. It currently has an aftermarket Tilden safety on it. Do these hold more value than an original wing safety? I can easily find a wing safety for less than $50 but the one and only Tilden I found was going for $150. 

As with Garands, sometimes parts that aren’t typically considered original turn out to be. I don’t want to start ripping parts off this rifle and replace them with period correct parts (stock, butt plate, safety) if it’s actually authentic in its current state. Of course with the receiver being drilled and tapped and the front sight hood missing I realize that drastically cuts most collector value. I have a hunch replacing the parts may be a personal preference rather than increase any value but I figured I’d get the opinions of the experts on here. Appreciate any help and look forward to learning more about these classics.

Thanks, Troy

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December 22, 2023 - 3:17 pm
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Hi Troy-

Your rifle is an example of G7004C, Model 70 Standard Grade with regular sights chambered in 30 GOV’T’06 (Winchester’s designation for 30-06 at the time).  It was most likely assembled in early 1946 from pre-war parts, so would be considered a Type I-4 (pre-war) rifle.  There have been several modifications done over the years.

1. The stock has a non-factory recoil pad installed.  As you surmise, the rear swivel has been moved forward and the original hole plugged.  The standard factory LOP was 13.5″.

2. While it was possible, at the time, to order a Model 70 from the factory with any number of manufacturer’s recoil pads installed (they were listed in the catalogs as options), the most commonly used one was the Winchester solid red rubber pad.  This is the pad that was routinely installed only on Model 70s chambered for 375 H&H MAGNUM.  It is unusual to find Model 70s other than 375 Magnum with factory-installed pads, and highly likely that the pad was added aftermarket.  Winchester would not have moved the rear swivel and left a plugged hole.

3. The two holes drilled on top of the bridge are not factory.  They were put there later to accommodate a two-piece scope mount.  No doubt that’s why the original safety was replaced with the Tilden.  I don’t think that the Tilden safeties are particularly more or less valuable than the original “flag” safety, but if your restoration plans include mounting a vintage scope, then leaving the Tilden in place is probably the best idea.  FWIW… Tilden safeties were available at the time the rifle was made, so are contemporary.

4. You do not show the barrel sights (if there is one), but the rifle would originally had a Winchester 22G “sporting” rear sight with 4-step 3C elevator, and at this point in time a Winchester 103C silver (tinned) bead front sight 0.310″ tall.  The optional Lyman 48WJS receiver sight of the day required a square notch to be cut in the left side of the stock. SInce your rifle is not cut, it would have come with the barrel mounted 22G rear sight.

For reference, I’ll attach a couple photos of a G7004C that is in its original configuration.  This one is a little earlier, as it’s from 1937 (S/N 11162), but the rifle would have looked the same in 1946.

11162-1Acopy-copy.jpgImage Enlarger11162-4copy-copy.jpgImage Enlarger11162-2copy-copy.jpgImage Enlarger11162-6Acopy-copy.jpgImage Enlarger

Hope this helps!!!

Lou

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December 22, 2023 - 3:58 pm
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Troy952 said
2. Is the current orange buttpad that’s on it a replacement or could the rifle originally been custom ordered that way in lieu of the metal butt plate? 

The drilled bridge isn’t a “problem,” it’s the correction of factory negligence: failure to provide the customer an easy way to mount a scope.  Now you’re free to install a Lyman Alaskan, an excellent scope often seen on 70s of this era.

But that hideous pad…SUCH a problem, aesthetically at least, that really the only remedy is a replacement stock, which could be found.  Not pleasant to hear I’m aware, but tellin’ it like it is.  A repro factory pad could be installed, & would certainly be an improvement, but of course won’t correct the extreme stock shortening. 

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December 22, 2023 - 5:17 pm
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Here you go Clarence. You prefer your pre-war M70s with scopes… Laugh

This one is S/N 54204 (1946), so very close to Troy’s rifle.  It’s not D&T, so the scope is a Weaver G330 in Stith “Install-It-Yourself” mounts.  I agree that for shooting, the Lyman Alaskan would be a better choice than the G330 and equally period correct.

54204-composite-1.pngImage Enlarger54204-composite-2.pngImage Enlarger

Can you tell (from the holes) what scope mounts were once on Troy’s rifle?  Must be a two-piece mount, as the popular Redfield JR one-piece base used only a single hole in the back.  Maybe Weavers?

Cheers,

Lou

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December 22, 2023 - 6:01 pm
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December 22, 2023 - 6:57 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Can you tell (from the holes) what scope mounts were once on Troy’s rifle?  Must be a two-piece mount, as the popular Redfield JR one-piece base used only a single hole in the back.  Maybe Weavers?

Make-shift is preferable to no-shift, but far better is intelligent design straight from the factory.  Could be the 2-pc Redfield that preceded the Jr.  But if Troy wants a scope, I think the hands-down best choice is an Alaskan in the Jr. mount, which can often be bought on ebay WITH the mount attached for little more than the scope by itself.  Since the Jr. mount was attached with only one screw at the bridge, the single rear hole probably won’t line up with either of those in it now, but I THINK a new hole could be drilled in the mount.  I don’t have one to look at right away, but what do you think?

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December 22, 2023 - 8:27 pm
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Hi Clarence-

On a Redfield JR one-piece scope base (70A), the spacing between the rear receiver hole and the one hole on the bridge is about 3.80″ (crude measurement with dial calipers).  So it might (???) line up with the forward most hole already in the bridge.  But you’re right… If the rifle was drilled for two-piece base(s) there’s no a priori reason why anyone in the 1940s would have paid attention to maintaining that hole spacing (like the factory did when they finally decided to supply M70s with a factory D&T bridge).  Would just have to measure and try it…

Your thought about re-drilling a JR base to fit is a good one though.  It looks to me like that front hole is the bridge is terribly mis-aligned (off center).  Like someone failed to heed the time honored adage “don’t try this at home (with a hand held drill)”… So the best choice might be to get a period Redfield JR base, weld up the rear hole, and re-drill it off center to perfectly match the hole that’s already in the bridge.  Not a “do-it-yourself” project unless you happen to have a machine shop at home, but not that big a deal if you have a gunsmith for a friend.  Confused

IIRC (I may be mis-remembering), I think that the original Redfield two-piece bases (the pre-war ones that preceded the one-piece JR base) were the Godawful ones that attached to the receiver via two screws, one on each side, at a 45˚ angle.  On a M70 that avoided having to drill through the recessed/roll marked top of the bridge, but OUCH!!!  I’ve seen several poor M70s with pairs of 45˚ holes in both the bridge and breech end of the barrel.  Very SAD… Cry

It Troy does want to consider mounting a period scope and can give us the distances between the rear hole on the receiver and front hole on the bridge, as well as the distance between the two holes in the bridge, we might be able to make an educated guess about what period bases would work.  I’ve got most flavors of M70 scope mount (Redfield, Weaver, Buehler, etc.) lying around here that I can measure… 

Lou

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December 22, 2023 - 9:39 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
IIRC (I may be mis-remembering), I think that the original Redfield two-piece bases (the pre-war ones that preceded the one-piece JR base) were the Godawful ones that attached to the receiver via two screws, one on each side, at a 45˚ angle.  On a M70 that avoided having to drill through the recessed/roll marked top of the bridge, but OUCH!!!  I’ve seen several poor M70s with pairs of 45˚ holes in both the bridge and breech end of the barrel.  Very SAD… Cry

I’ve never seen one of these except in a catalog, but that is how it’s attached, to allow the tube to be turned off to one side as with the Jr.  Can’t see how they could be drilled accurately without a special jig.  Was there a standard hole spacing for Weaver rear mounts?  The only one I have to check is buried in a storage box.

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January 8, 2024 - 1:03 am
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Louis Luttrell said
Here you go Clarence. You prefer your pre-war M70s with scopes… Laugh

This one is S/N 54204 (1946), so very close to Troy’s rifle.  It’s not D&T, so the scope is a Weaver G330 in Stith “Install-It-Yourself” mounts.  I agree that for shooting, the Lyman Alaskan would be a better choice than the G330 and equally period correct.

54204-composite-1.pngImage Enlarger54204-composite-2.pngImage Enlarger

Can you tell (from the holes) what scope mounts were once on Troy’s rifle?  Must be a two-piece mount, as the popular Redfield JR one-piece base used only a single hole in the back.  Maybe Weavers?

Cheers,

Lou

  

I have Rifle 54102, it’s a factory target rifle.  Cool to see another so close.

Regarding mounting a scope on these beauties, you’ll need to post the measurements of the holes on your receiver or perhaps look for one of the Bausch and Lomb 2 piece mounts.  They used the 2 peep sight holes on the LH side of the rear receiver bridge.

WACA #12263

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January 8, 2024 - 2:48 am
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Hi CHolms-

S/N 54102 is new to my survey.  I’d like to add it.  Is it a Target Model with 24” Medium Heavy Straight Taper barrel and Marksman stock?

3789-1copy-copy-1.jpgImage Enlarger3789-4copy-copy-1.jpgImage Enlarger3789-6Acopy-copy-1.jpgImage Enlarger

For reference, here are a couple 30 GOV’T’06 Target Models. First is a very early one, S/N 3789, with integral front sight ramp, made only 1936 to early 1938.  Roger Rule says that <40 of these ramped target rifles are known, but I think that at least a couple hundred were made.

Next is a bit later rifle, S/N 87131.  This is a type II-2 rifle with cloverleaf tang but late style safety.

87131-1copy-copy-1.jpgImage Enlarger87131-4copy-copy-1.jpgImage Enlarger87131-6Acopy-copy-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Having a later pre-war 30 GOV’T’06 Target Model would be pretty neat.

Best,

Lou

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January 8, 2024 - 4:31 pm
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Lou,

It is a real pleasure to observe the depth of your Model 70 scholarship on display. I count myself lucky to have you and Clarence as friends and teachers. 

You’ve pointed out it was unusual for WRA to ship a pre-64 Model 70 fitted with a recoil pad except in 375 H&H caliber. I assume you were referring to Prewar rifles, although I had thought pads were also standard for the 300 Holland as well. (You would know, and it is likely the Super 30s I’ve seen all just got pads shortly after their proud new owners tried to sight them in.) Your remark reminded me of a question I wanted to ask you. My 1950 Super Grade 30 Govt 06 came to me with Lyman 48WJS-H receiver sight, proper fold down open rear sight, and Redfield Sourdough under a 3278 hood. Receiver scope mount plug screws and surrounding metal showed no signs of prior scope installation.  And an original WRA solid red pad. Gun had some minor wood dents but no scratches. The question: Did Winchester make these pads easily available for distribution to gunsmiths? I have no reason to think this was a special order. ( This piece had been a local physician’s hunting rifle until he fell ill and then remained in his safe for several years.)

Best,

Bill

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January 8, 2024 - 6:09 pm
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clarence said

Troy952 said

2. Is the current orange buttpad that’s on it a replacement or could the rifle originally been custom ordered that way in lieu of the metal butt plate? 

The drilled bridge isn’t a “problem,” it’s the correction of factory negligence: failure to provide the customer an easy way to mount a scope.  Now you’re free to install a Lyman Alaskan, an excellent scope often seen on 70s of this era.

But that hideous pad…SUCH a problem, aesthetically at least, that really the only remedy is a replacement stock, which could be found.  Not pleasant to hear I’m aware, but tellin’ it like it is.  A repro factory pad could be installed, & would certainly be an improvement, but of course won’t correct the extreme stock shortening. 

  

Clarence,  I think the simplest and least costly solution to the pad and LOP issue would be to acquire a reproduction WRA solid red pad and a composite, dull black spacer (not a Walnut splice that never works) of whatever thickness is required to enable a good gunsmith to return the LOP to factory.  I’ve seen a fair number of expensive rifles and shotguns (a 2″ chambered Holland 12 bore double, e.g.) that were either originally built with a short stock for a young person or diminuitive lady, or cut down, but later then re-lengthened with spacers. It’s noticeable, of course, but if the wood is nice and original to the gun, my personal preference would be to diminish the ugliness and restore some measure of dignity, without turning it into grandfather’s axe (which I’ve admittedly done to one M1892 that would have otherwise have been parted out.)  De gustibus non disputandum est, of course.  Several years ago, I found a minty little English stocked, 20 gauge Browning BPR in its box on the consignment rack at Larry’s Shooting Supply.  The stock was a youth model or had been cut down and a black, solid Kick-Eze pad installed that brought the LOP to about 12 1/2″.  Choke tubes and all the papers included and the thing was going for real cheap. My son-in-law needed a shotgun so I bought it and had Larry splice in a 1″ dull black composite spacer between the wood and the pad. He did a fine job of milling off the spacer to an almost seamless diameter. I almost hated to give it up..

- Bill 

 

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January 8, 2024 - 6:11 pm
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From Lou’s post- IIRC (I may be mis-remembering), I think that the original Redfield two-piece bases (the pre-war ones that preceded the one-piece JR base) were the Godawful ones that attached to the receiver via two screws, one on each side, at a 45˚ angle.

I owned a model 70 30 GOV’T 06 S/N 1161 which had a Hensoldt 2 3/4 X scope mounted in Tilden mounts. These mounts required the 45 degree angle screw holes in the rear bridge. The Tilden mounts came out in the 50’s so was not period correct to this rifle and as Lou said Godawful type mounts.

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January 8, 2024 - 6:31 pm
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Win61 said
I owned a model 70 30 GOV’T 06 S/N 1161 which had a Hensoldt 2 3/4 X scope mounted in Tilden mounts. These mounts required the 45 degree angle screw holes in the rear bridge. The Tilden mounts came out in the 50’s so was not period correct to this rifle and as Lou said Godawful type mounts.

Did removing one of the screws allow the scope to be swung to one side, then lifted out of the front mount?  If so, it’s working on the principle of the original Redfield; supposedly, the scope retained its zero when replaced, close enough for big game hunting at least.

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January 8, 2024 - 6:33 pm
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Hi Bill-

To clarify, the only pre-64 M70s that were ROUTINELY furnished with recoil pads were the 375 (H&H) Magnum Standard and Super Grade (1936-1963), the 458 Win Magnum African (1955-1963), the 338 Win Magnum Alaskan (1959-1963), the 300 Win Magnum Westerner-Alaskan (1963), and the 264 Win Magnum FEATHERWEIGHT-Westerner (1963).  The 300 (H&H) Magnum and 264 Win Magnum Standard Westerner did not regularly come with recoil pads.

That said, even in early catalogs, Winchester offered to fit a recoil pad on special order.  Moreover, the pre-war catalogs went as far as to list all the different pads you could request (not just Winchester’s solid red pad, but Jostam, Mershon, etc.). The solid red pads were made for them by Seamless Rubber Company (makers of the Noshoc brand recoil pad).  In fact, June 6, 1922 patent date on the Winchester pad refers to a patent issued to Seamless. Winchester just had them made with their name moulded on the butt instead of “Noshoc”…  It’s doubtful that they provided these “proprietary” Winchester-marked pads as aftermarket accessories, but I don’t know…

US-Pat-1418532-1.pngImage EnlargerUS-Pat-1418532-2.pngImage EnlargerUS-Pat-1418532-3.pngImage Enlarger

At the end of the day it’s hard to know how many M70s were ordered with recoil pads from the factory.  The solid red pads have been reproduced and are commonly used to replace clearly non-factory pads so a seller can claim it’s an “original” pad. But the Galazan copies have a variation in the patent date that identifies them, i.e. the Galazan repros are marked June 6,<sp>1922, while the original pads are marked June 6,1922 (no <sp>).  If a vintage M70 has an original Winchester pad that is properly fitted to the stock it may very well have been put there by the factory.  But most “collectors” are skeptical…  In your case you have much better than usual provenance suggesting that the pad is factory.

Hope this helps,

Lou

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January 8, 2024 - 6:36 pm
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Zebulon said Clarence,  I think the simplest and least costly solution to the pad and LOP issue would be to acquire a reproduction WRA solid red pad and a composite, dull black spacer (not a Walnut splice that never works) of whatever thickness is required to enable a good gunsmith to return the LOP to factory.

Less costly for sure, but not cost-free, so before embarking on that plan, I’d find out from Lou the approx cost of a replacement stock.  Love that shapely steel factory BP!

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January 8, 2024 - 10:18 pm
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When faced with a similar problem of having A Pre-War Model 70 with an altered stock, I solved the problem this past summer by buying a great pre-war stock at the Cody, Wyoming WACA show from a WACA member.  Now the rifle is again a source of pride.

IMG_2910.jpegImage EnlargerIMG_2909.jpegImage EnlargerIMG_2905.jpegImage Enlarger

BRP

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January 8, 2024 - 10:27 pm
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Blue Ridge Parson said
When faced with a similar problem of having A Pre-War Model 70 with an altered stock, I solved the problem this past summer by buying a great pre-war stock at the Cody, Wyoming WACA show from a WACA member.  Now the rifle is again a source of pride. 

That IS a fine one; absolutely the best remedy!  May I ask the cost of that stock?  Never seen one priced, so have no idea.

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January 8, 2024 - 10:29 pm
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I paid $400 for that stock, which I was happy to do.

BRP

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January 8, 2024 - 10:44 pm
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Blue Ridge Parson said
I paid $400 for that stock, which I was happy to do.

GREAT deal!  I’d have paid $500 to restore a pre-war rifle to original cond.

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