The pre-war / pre-64 standard grade M70’s as you know came with 1 inch sling swivels. I put a 1-inch m1907 sling (by Hunter) on one and it looks a bit flimsy. I feel like a rifle of this heft should have 1 1/4 slings but I’m the furthest from an expert.
Any insights on what [1 inch] slings were generally put on vintage M70’s in standard grade? Mostly lightweight carrying straps?
Would it be a bad idea to try to install 1 1/4 swivels on one? Would that mess up the wood when one removed the old non detachable ones and tries to screw in a new swivel?
Ron P said
Would it be a bad idea to try to install 1 1/4 swivels on one?
I’d say that depends on the age & overall condition of your 70. If it’s a late post-war gun in so-so cond., I don’t believe non-original swivels would cause a significant loss of value. A pre-war, or an early post-war 70 in excellent cond., or in a rare caliber, should be left alone.
But you’re absolutely right that 1″ swivels were an utterly stupid choice (just like the factory’s failure to D&T pre-war rcvrs. for easy scope mounting) when 1-1/4″ had been the gold-standard since the US Army adopted the M1907 sling–still in production over a century later. Anyone desiring a 1″ sling or light wt. carry strap, such as the flimsy factory sling, could install it on 1-1/4″ swivels, so there was no good reason for making them that narrow.
August 27, 2014
Ron P said I was not aware of this – if you know where one can buy such (or similar) 1 1/4 sling swivels please let me know!
1 1/4” sling swivels were also supplied on pre-war Standard Grade M70’s.
Only on target rifles, as far as I can determine from my 1939 catalog. Stock dimension specs for standard models don’t include swivel widths, but 1-1/4″ is specified for all the target models. Leads me to believe 1″ was considered “standard” by the factory.
Here’s a strange curiosity I discovered when I tried to fit a M1907 sling to a mid ’20s Model 52: the fore-end swivel was 1-1/4″, but the rear swivel was 1″! I had to replace it with a musket swivel to fit that sling. Only early 52 I’ve ever had, so don’t know what to make of this anomaly.
October 29, 2011
Both 1″ and 1 1/4″ STANDARD non-detachable sling swivels were available from the outset of pre-64 M70 manufacture in 1936. In the 1939 Component Parts Catalog, Part 13470 was “Stock screw eye with swivel bow for 1″ or 1 1/4″ bows, for Reg. gun” (“regular” in this case meaning the Standard rifle). Part 13570 was “Forearm screw eye swivel complete for 1″ or 1 1/4″ bows, for Reg. gun”. The part descriptions are confusing, but they refer to illustrations in the back of the catalog that show these to be the standard front/rear fixed swivels as used on the M70 Standard Grade. FWIW… Both 1″ and 1 1/4″ “Sling Strap Snap Swivels” (what Winchester called the detachable swivels used on Super Grades) were available as Part 13670.
Winchester appears to have supplied the 1 1/4″ fixed swivels as factory equipment on at least some of the heavy barrel rifles in standard stocks, e.g. the 375 MAGNUM standard rifles with 24″ straight taper barrels (the target weight/contour). Otherwise they could be had on order or simply ordered as separate parts.
If you get original Winchester 1 1/4″ swivels they will differ only the width of the bow, so will go right in with no modification to the stock. The only thing to be aware of is that even contemporary (as well as recent) manufacturers of aftermarket 1 1/4″ swivels used a different thread on the fore end machine screw than Winchester. These used a knurled nut inside the stock and they will not engage the Winchester swivel escutcheon. So, if possible, try to find swivels with the escutcheon still attached so you know you’re getting the right part.
These swivels are not rare… I’ve seen them on eBay several times…
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters
There was a very informative discussion on the forum a couple years ago about Winchester slings, their distinguishing characteristics, etc. Jeff (JWA) posted some great information and photos. He also covers the topic in depth in his M69 Book if you have a copy handy. Hopefully this internal link will work:
There were basically two types of Winchester leather sling available for the pre-war M70. One was basically the two piece M1907 style with two frogs, which could be had in 1″ and 1 1/4″ width. The other was what the 1939 parts catalog called the “Improved NRA Leather Gun Sling”, which was basically a 1″ Whelen type 1-piece sling with a single frog. I believe that the M1907 style was the one that was factory supplied back when they included a sling with the rifle.
Check out JWA’s information in the post above and I think you’ll know what to look for…
WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters