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Winchester model 70 30.06 mfg date
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Gerald Burton
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August 7, 2023 - 10:27 pm
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The serial number on my rifle is G2350856. Can you tell me the mfg date of this rifle?

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August 7, 2023 - 11:12 pm
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Hello Gerald,

No, I cannot. Your Model 70 is not actually a “Winchester”. Instead, it was manufactured by the U.S. Repeating Arms Company using the TM Winchester name. The U.S.R.A.Co. did not release any of their production records before closing down the factory in March of 2006.

Bert

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August 8, 2023 - 2:24 am
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Bert H. said Your Model 70 is not actually a “Winchester”.
  

Think about that:  USRA guns were manufactured in the same factory, using the same eqpt, with substantially the same workforce, excepting execs.  How is that change of ownership–Olin to USRA–substantially different from Olin’s purchase of bankrupt WRA in 1931?   

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August 8, 2023 - 2:51 am
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Clarence,

The manufacturing USRA documentation probably was similar, or even better, than Winchester.  The difference is in how the subsequent transition/sale was handled.  And, apparently, the information we would like was not passed forward or retained.

A similar example I can offer is with Griffin and Howe (who I know you are familiar with ;-).  They were purchased by Abercrombie and Fitch in 1930 and the records were maintained concurrent with the A&F records until A&F was sold in 1976.  G&H bought back the sporting firearms division and received the historic A&F records for the previous 60+ years but the actual G&H records were lost in the sale.  Ironic since it was the original owner, recorder and promotor of the G&H records that was buying them back as part of the sale.

These things happen, unfortunately, TOO often for us researchers……

Best Regards,

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http://rimfirepublications.com/  

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August 8, 2023 - 4:03 am
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clarence said

Bert H. said Your Model 70 is not actually a “Winchester”.

  

Think about that:  USRA guns were manufactured in the same factory, using the same eqpt, with substantially the same workforce, excepting execs.  How is that change of ownership–Olin to USRA–substantially different from Olin’s purchase of bankrupt WRA in 1931?   

  

If you cannot understand the difference, then you need to better educate yourself.  Your inane arguing of nearly every subject concerning the differences between pre and post Winchester production is getting very tiresome to many of us.

The first thing you need to keep in mind, is that the WACA organization’s purpose is as stated… “Our members are devoted to the preservation, understanding and collecting of Winchester firearms and related products as well as the role these products had in forging America’s heritage.” 

The U.S. Repeating Arms Company had nothing to do with any of that.  They very simply purchased the original factory, and then leased the trademarked “Winchester” name to stamp on the firearms they manufactured. 

Bert

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August 8, 2023 - 5:15 am
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Bert H. said
The first thing you need to keep in mind, is that the WACA organization’s purpose is as stated… “Our members are devoted to the preservation, understanding and collecting of Winchester firearms and related products as well as the role these products had in forging America’s heritage.” 
The U.S. Repeating Arms Company had nothing to do with any of that.  They very simply purchased the original factory, and then leased the trademarked “Winchester” name to stamp on the firearms they manufactured. 

Bert

  

Then explain how the transfer of ownership of the factory to Olin in 1931 differs in principle from Olin’s transfer of the property to USRA.  Olin was a company having no previous business relationship to WRA except as a competitor in ammo production, whereas USRA was composed of the same workers employed by the Winchester Division of Olin. By your reasoning, production of “true” Winchesters ended in 1931.

You said a USRA-made gun was not a “Winchester.”  What does WACA’s purpose have to do with the legal question of the right to use that name & call their guns Winchesters? 

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August 8, 2023 - 7:23 am
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I think it’s a matter of Olin ownership being pre 1964 and USRA ownership being post 1964.  There’s just not the interest in post 1964 manufacture production.  And, in my case, I have limited interest in anything post WWII production and even anything pre WWI is preferable.  

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August 8, 2023 - 1:19 pm
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mrcvs said
I think it’s a matter of Olin ownership being pre 1964 and USRA ownership being post 1964.  There’s just not the interest in post 1964 manufacture production.  And, in my case, I have limited interest in anything post WWII production and even anything pre WWI is preferable.  

  

The production changes that occurred in ’64 are important to understand, but that’s a different issue.  What collectors are most interested in is a different issue.  The decline in quality that began after WW II (or WW I) is a different issue.  The relevant issue is “what guns qualify logically & legally to be called Winchesters.” 

Gun companies have been bought & sold repeatedly: Stevens acquired Maynard, Savage acquired Stevens, Marlin acquired Ballard, UMC acquired Rem, etc., but nobody challenged the rights of the new owners of those companies to continue calling their products by their previous trade-names.

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August 8, 2023 - 2:50 pm
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FWIW… USRA acquired the Winchester plant, name, etc. from Olin Corporation in 1981.  So all the “new” Model 70s from serial number 700,000 through about 1,525,000 (1964-1981) were manufactured under the Olin banner.  It wasn’t a change in Corporate ownership that caused people to dislike the rifles. 

I have no references from which to date Gerald’s rifle, unfortunately… Cry

Speaking for myself, the pre-64/post-63 bias of collectors, derives from the fact that the “Model 70” as originally designed in the 1930s ceased to be manufactured in 1963.  Even if the later (1950s-60s) pre-64 Model 70s were a pale imitation of the pre WWII product in terms of quality, they were the same design up through 1963. 

It’s not like, say, the Model 1886/86 versus the Model 71, where the Model number was changed but the design was basically the same. The post-63 “Model 70” was a different product being marketed under the same name…  

Just my take…

Lou

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August 8, 2023 - 3:27 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Speaking for myself, the pre-64/post-63 bias of collectors, derives from the fact that the “Model 70” as originally designed in the 1930s ceased to be manufactured in 1963.  Even if the later (1950s-60s) pre-64 Model 70s were a pale imitation of the pre WWII product in terms of quality, they were the same design up through 1963.

True, though nobody ever asserted a post-’63 was “not a Winchester,” as Bert said about the USRA guns.  Put that statement in print during the time USRA was still operating, & a lawsuit would ensue; one the author of such a statement would assuredly loose.

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August 8, 2023 - 5:05 pm
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clarence said

True, though nobody ever asserted a post-’63 was “not a Winchester,” as Bert said about the USRA guns.  Put that statement in print during the time USRA was still operating, & a lawsuit would ensue; one the author of such a statement would assuredly loose.

You are still blindly missing the point. 

If the USRACo had tried suing anyone for the statement that they were not “Winchester”, they would have been laughed out of the court room, and Olin Industries’ attorneys would have laughed all the way to the bank.

Olin Industries purchased the original Winchester Repeating Arms Company (WRACo) in its entirety out of Bankruptcy in 1931.  As such, they owned 100% of the original WRACo and all of its subsidiary businesses and patents.  No changes were made other than trimming down the number of models that were being manufactured and then adding a few new models in the next few years.

When the USRACo formed, they only purchased they old factory and the machinery in it… nothing else.  Olin retained ownership of the “Winchester” name, and then leased the TM Winchester name to the USRACo for a 25-year time period (which expired in early 2006, coincident with the USRACo shutting down the old New Haven, CT factory).  The USRACo did not purchase or own anything else with the Winchester name on it.  Olin Industries continued to manufacture all other Winchester (non-firearm) brand products just as they had since 1931, and still do to this very day.

In summary, only one company can make the claim that they are “WINCHESTER“… and it sure as heck wasn’t the USRACo (or today, the current BACO)!

Bert

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August 8, 2023 - 7:12 pm
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While the surest way to catch a haymaker is to get between two guys having a fist fight, I will wade into the fray to say that Clarence has a point.  When the same people, in the same factory, with the same machinery are making the same items, then the only real difference is the entity for whom those rifles were made.  I would contend there isn’t enough difference between Model 70’s made in 1979 and 1981 to actually matter.  I own rifles on both sides of that timeline so this is not mere speculation on my part.

As one who owns dozens of Model 70 rifles, both pre and post 64, and both pre and post 1981, I would contend that my Winchester Model 70 rifles made in the 1980’s and 1990’s are worthy of the name “Winchester” whether the name was owned by USRAC or merely “licensed” to them by Olin.  In more succinct phrasing, the mere ownership of the name does not, for me, constitute a difference worthy of note nor is it the defining characteristic of a “Winchester.”  For me, the sine qua non of a real Winchester is who made it (the worker) not the manager for whom that worker works. 

Now the present so-called Winchesters, made in South Carolina, or Portugal, or Japan are another matter entirely.  For me, the defining characteristic of the “real” Winchester rifles is not dependent on the corporate ownership of the name, but rather by whom and where those rifles were made. When made in New Haven by employees who worked first for Olin, then later for USRAC, those rifles are true Winchesters to me. 

Of course Bert, and others, are entitled to a different opinion.  That’s why Baskin & Robbins makes 31 flavors.

BRP

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August 8, 2023 - 7:36 pm
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Here’s a USRA ad from 1995.  The gun is advertised as a WINCHESTER.  Count the number of times Winchester is repeated in this ad.  Yes, “licensee” also appears in the small print, but that doesn’t alter the salient point of the ad, which is that USRA is making & selling WINCHESTERS, not USRAs. 

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August 8, 2023 - 8:38 pm
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Bert H. said

clarence said

True, though nobody ever asserted a post-’63 was “not a Winchester,” as Bert said about the USRA guns.  Put that statement in print during the time USRA was still operating, & a lawsuit would ensue; one the author of such a statement would assuredly loose.

Olin Industries purchased the original Winchester Repeating Arms Company (WRACo) in its entirety out of Bankruptcy in 1931.  As such, they owned 100% of the original WRACo and all of its subsidiary businesses and patents.  No changes were made other than trimming down the number of models that were being manufactured and then adding a few new models in the next few years.

Bert  

I never thought of this until now.  So, the purchase by Olin seems to have led to the demise of, among other things, the 1894 rifle, the Model 1886, and the Model 1892.  And the end of the Model 53 and 55 rifles.  But the creation of the Model 65, 64, and 71.  All not necessarily better than their parent models.  However, I suppose the silver lining is the Olin creation of the Model 21 shotgun, which is regarded as one of the finest double shotguns ever manufactured.

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August 8, 2023 - 9:24 pm
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mrcvs said

However, I suppose the silver lining is the Olin creation of the Model 21 shotgun, which is regarded as one of the finest double shotguns ever manufactured.

Thanks to Olin himself being an ardent bird hunter, owner of Nilo Farms, & one of the most famous shooting dogs of all time, King Buck.

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August 9, 2023 - 9:08 pm
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Gerald Burton said
The serial number on my rifle is G2350856. Can you tell me the mfg date of this rifle?

  

Midwest Gun Works (MGW) lists the last serial number of 1991 as G2037985. Another private source lists the last number being around ~G3010000 when USRA production ended. Later “FN” Model 70s follow the FN/Browning serialization scheme and do not use the GX……series.

MGW suggests calling “Winchester” (Browning) Support at 800-333-3288 and asking them.

SWAG for your rifle: about 1996; based upon average # produced each year from 1992 through 2006. 

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