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Q. about pre-war M70 carbine in .220 Swift
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Robert Foote
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February 14, 2017 - 2:19 pm
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Hello All.  I am looking for find information on a late 1937 mf’d M70 in .220 Swift.  I don’t have the rifle in hand yet for close inspection, but the seller reported a 23″ barrel and said this was a rare carbine model (at the price I paid, I’m not concerned if it is not original).  What I want to find out is, a). did the 1937-era M70 ever come in a 23″ carbine and b). is it possible to research such old factory records to find out what the original configuration of this rifle might have been?  I called Winchester and the refereed me to your association.  Any help is appreciated.  Thank you!

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February 14, 2017 - 4:18 pm
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Robert,

No, Winchester did not make a Model 70 in 220 Swift with a 23-inch barrel. No, there are no surviving records that can be used to research the original as built configuration.

Bert

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February 14, 2017 - 5:36 pm
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Hi Robert-

Bert is right, of course.  There are no existing data on M70s beyond the polishing room dates.

In 1937 the M70 .220 SWIFT in Standard or Super Grade configuration was catalogued only with a 26″ standard weight barrel with forged integral front sight ramp and in the Target Rifle with a 26″ Medium Heavy straight taper barrel, some of the earliest of which also had integral ramps.  An interesting thing to note is that these barrels were made in Chrome Moly Steel as well as Stainless up until sometime in ’36, so the barrel on a ’37 manufactured M70 could be either.

There MAY have been a handful of 20″ barrel Carbines made in 200 SWIFT, but there have been several “reproduction” (a.k.a. fake) short barreled .220 SWIFT M70s around, so I’d be suspicious. 

Most likely the barrel on your rifle was shortened from 26″ and a replacement front sight ramp silver soldered in place.  If you would like to post photos of the muzzle, ramp (with sight hood removed), exposed barrel markings (right and left side), and (if possible) the under chamber barrel inspection stamps, we could probably shed some light.

Best,

Lou

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Robert Foote
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February 14, 2017 - 6:47 pm
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Well, I just received a few pics from the seller.  The barrel has no sights so has definitely been cut down and turned to remove the rear sight band (all pre-64’s had raised ring around the barrel for the rear sight, I think?).  The barrel is factory marked from Winchester as a .220 Swift, but I guess it’s also possible that a newer take-off barrel was used on the old action.  It looks to be a good quality gunsmith job, “modernizing” a nice old M70.  The stock certainly looks like a beauty.  I paid $1k CDN for this rifle (about $750 USD) and think that’s still not to bad of a deal for a nice updated shooter(?). The seller said it is very accurate, so maybe I’ll just use it to slay a coyote or two and then (assuming I don’t fall deeply in love) trade it away for the next “must have”.

I tried to add pics, but I’m not allowed.

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February 14, 2017 - 8:45 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Robert-
 
 
There MAY have been a handful of 20″ barrel Carbines made in 200 SWIFT…Lou  

For shooters who felt the muzzle blast from a 26″ brl wasn’t severe enough?

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February 14, 2017 - 9:59 pm
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Clarence-

No kidding!!!  The Winchester literature of the time specifically indicated that the M70 short rifle, a.k.a. carbine, was NOT available in 220 Swift, 300 Magnum or 375 Magnum.  So only 6 of the 9 original chamberings were catalogued as available with 20″ barrels.  

Rule’s M70 book describes a 220 Swift with 20″ barrel (SN 33593) shown in photo 8-40.  So I suppose that MAYBE one or more original 220 Swift short rifles exist.  Presumably the factory in those days would make whatever you wanted to pay for.

But I would not have been the guy to order it!!! Laugh

Cheers…

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February 15, 2017 - 12:26 am
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FWIW, this is what a catalogued (26″ barrel) type I-1 M70 Standard rifle in 220 SWIFT would look like (Julia Auctions photo):

M70-220-Swift-4796-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Kind of a long whippy looking thing, but a configuration I kind of like with the flag safety, receiver sight and long barrel.Laugh

Best…

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February 15, 2017 - 12:59 am
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Louis Luttrell said 

Kind of a long whippy looking thing, but a configuration I kind of like with the flag safety, receiver sight and long barrel.Laugh

Best…  

Iron sights on a Swift; makes me wonder if factory technicians understood the purpose of a long-range varmint cartridge.  A 26″ bull-weight barrel with scope blocks attached should have been standard, and I’d have paid extra for a longer barrel.

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February 15, 2017 - 1:37 am
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Hi Clarence-

Funny you should say… The Winchester factory caught up with your thinking (220 Swift Varmint rifle with 26″ MH barrel) in 1959.   Only 22 years after the OP’s rifle was made.  Wink

FWIW… The top rifle in my ‘signature’ below (if real – all genuine M70 collectors are paranoid/suspicious people) is your gun!!!  A Medium Heavy straight taper 26″ barrel (CMS with ’36 barrel date) on a 1939 action in Standard stock.  Ready to mount a Lyman/Unertl scope.  The straight comb standard stock inlet for heavy barrel was a catalogued S/O part from 1937, but was never catalogued as part of a production rifle.

Best, Lou

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February 15, 2017 - 2:07 am
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Here’s Winchester’s (1959) cataloged version of your rifle:

450243-5.jpgImage Enlarger

Even so they only made 900+ of them before ’64.

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