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Winchester model 70 Super Grade.
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Posts: 147
April 25, 2023 - 1:45 am

1sp_QuotePost

I am a little late to the ballgame. I have a question on Pre 64 model 70 Super Grade floorplates. Were they individually stamped up until production was halted in 1959? I purchased a Super Grade made in 1957. After studying the picture I am a little concerned that the floorplate maybe a later item. More like 458  floorplates. I will have a better idea when I receive the rifle. All is not lost as I have return rights.

Louis – Could you educate me on model 70 pre 64 Super Grade late production floorplates?

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NY
Posts: 6147
April 25, 2023 - 1:50 am

2sp_QuotePost

How can Lou arrive at an opinion without a photo of the plate in question?

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Posts: 147
April 25, 2023 - 2:19 am

3sp_QuotePost

Clarence- You are right, without a picture it makes the question a little tough. I thought that there might be some common knowledge that I was unaware of. 

I will take a picture when rifle arrives and put it on the forum.

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Posts: 483
April 25, 2023 - 3:13 pm

4sp_QuotePost

Straight dashes?

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 958
April 25, 2023 - 3:26 pm

5sp_QuotePost

Hi Win61-

The subject of M70 SUPER GRADE floor plates could be a chapter in itself…  IMHO there were three major variations and a bunch of minor variations within each, all of which are probably legit.  If you can post a photo when the gun arrives I’ll have a better chance of saying something useful.  In the meantime I’ll try to pull together a photo “chronology” to post.

In general, pre-64 SUPER GRADE floor plates were all individually stamped through the end of production.  FWIW… Although the Supers were cataloged through 1959 (excepting the African which stayed in the catalog), it appears that very few were assembled after 1958.  Even Africans with 1960 and later S/Ns are pretty scarce (and they only made 1200 of them total)…  

Where this may be relevant relates to the SG floor plates with “dashes” instead of “teardrops” at the ends.  They also differ slightly in font.  That style stamp was used post-63, and both Whitaker and Rule claim that it was ONLY used post-63.  But is that accurate?  I don’t know…  I can say that I’ve seen quite a few Supers, mostly later Africans and SG Featherweights, with “dashed” floor plates.  Both steel and aluminum, and definitely the milled pre-64 plates, not cast post-63 parts.  They turn up on rifles with 1957 or 1958 serial numbers, mixed in all the way to the end of production with the “teardrop” style.  I suspect, but cannot prove, that Winchester started using that style floor plate late in pre-64 production by which time they weren’t making many Supers. 

Of course the “flip side” would be that even if the “dashed” floor plates were made before 1964, there were probably a bunch of them that came out of the factory after pre-64 production had ceased that then got used to “upgrade” guns.  In other words, if I see a “dashed” floor plate on a 1950 Super Grade, I think it’s an upgraded (fake) gun, but if I see it on a 1957 or later Super Grade I think it might be legit… Confused

There’s a lot more to figuring out if a 1955 or later Super Grade is correct than just the floor plate stamp…  I look forward to seeing the pics, and would also like to know what seewin thinks about the “dashes” versus “teardrops” on late M70 Supers controversy… Laugh

Best,

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 958
April 25, 2023 - 8:19 pm

6sp_QuotePost

Hi Win61-

I’ll post a VERY superficial summary of SUPER GRADE floor plate stamps (made from photos saved from RIA catalogs).  The images aren’t great, but I can dig up better pics of the relevant ones later. 

M70-SG-floor-plate-composite-1.jpgImage Enlarger

The top image is a “typical” early floor plate, characterized by the Helvetica font “G” (with serif), the “P” and “A” that appear a little larger than the other letters, and “teardrops” that point outwards.  These were most common from 1937 until around 1948 or so.  There are several minor variations of this stamp, I suspect arising from different individual dies used to make “batches” of parts, including one where the “teardrops” point “in” instead of “out”, and one where the “A” in “GRADE” has little “feet” like the suffix of a M54 serial number…  This latter oddity shows up mainly on Supers in the 50,000-55,000 S/N range, and I think it’s a “real” variant.

The second image is the “typical” floor plate from the late 1940s until the end of production.  The “G” is now sans serif and the letters have a characteristic “stagger” to them such that they don’t appear in a perfect straight line.  The “teardrops” still point out.  My impression is that these 1950s floor plates are a little more consistent than the pre-war stamps insofar as “minor variations” go.

The third one down is the controversial “dashed” floor plate.  I’m sorry the picture is really poor.  Besides having “dashes” instead of “teardrops”, the font is a little different, especially in the length of the “legs” on the “P” and “R”s. Like I said, I’ve seen quite a few of these, typically on 1957-58 PR date guns. Especially Africans and SG Featherweights, but also late production regular Supers.  Both steel and aluminum milled, i.e. pre-64, floor plates.  They never supplant the second floor plate stamp, but IMHO are not “rare”.  Whether they’re genuine pre-64 parts used to assemble genuine pre-64 M70s before 1964 would be the question.  I think probably yes, but Rule and Whitaker both disagree… Laugh

The last image is the post-63 “dashed” SUPER GRADE stamp.  You can tell that stamp in on a cast (not milled) floor plate, but it resembles the one above it pretty closely.  

Last two pics are just my attempt to show the dimensions of the typical SUPER GRADE stamp.  Length, including “teardrops”, is about 1.57″ and letter height is about 0.10″.

SG-Stamp-1-copy.jpgImage EnlargerSG-Stamp-2-copy.jpgImage Enlarger

Hope this helps!!!  I look forward to seeing your photos… Laugh

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Posts: 147
April 25, 2023 - 8:40 pm

7sp_QuotePost

Louis-

I thank you for your comments. Your expertise and vast knowledge is a great help in the collecting of Model 70s.

I also was wondering about the lettering on later pre 64 model floorplates. I recently passed on an excellent 1958 super grade 375 caliber due to dashes instead of teardrops on the floorplate, also the letters were somewhat more in line and more consistent in size, more like a roll on type however it was a milled floorplate not cast.

The rifle that I was asking the question about was on the internet and the pictures were not the best so I decided to roll the dice on this one. I have a non fire three day inspection period to evaluate the rifle. When I get it in my hands I will take pictures and put them on the forum for you to view and comment.

A few years back I observed a new in the box 1961 African with what appeared to have rolled lettering. 

A photo chronology would be very interesting.

Thanks again.

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Posts: 483
April 25, 2023 - 9:32 pm

8sp_QuotePost

Good stuff Lou

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 958
April 25, 2023 - 9:48 pm

9sp_QuotePost

Hi Win61-

IIRC one of my Africans has a dashed floor plate stamp…  Excepting the (???) stamp it’s a completely correct gun in nice condition but not a “virgin”…  I wouldn’t include the “???” were it not for what’s written in Rule and Whitaker.  Because of what they wrote, I think you’d get “pushback” from a M70 “expert” schooled in the “Rule book”, but unless seewin has the factory blueprint for that roll die with a post-63 earliest date on it, I’m inclined to think they’re legit on late guns… Wink

Thing with M70 Africans, of course, is that it’s hard to date their assembly based on the PR date of the receiver, since Winchester seems to have made up a bunch more short magnum receivers than they ever got to use up on Africans due to their poor sales.  It’s why a goodly number of early Alaskans (338 WIN MAGNUM) have late ’56 or ’57 receivers, even though the Alaskan wasn’t available before mid-1959 and wasn’t even cataloged until 1960.  My “dashed” African is S/N 392161 (early 1957 PR date), but looking at the surveys those 390K short magnum receivers ended up being used about half-and-half on Africans and Alaskans (randomly mixed S/Ns), and I doubt there were many Alaskans assembled before late 1958 or early 1959…  So assuming that “dashed” floor plates are legit, it seems to me that a 390K African (short magnum receiver) could represent 1958-1959 assembly despite the “early” S/N…

I expect to get pushback on this, at least from Folks who take Rule as Gospel… But maybe both the 1958 375 H&H and the 1961 African you were looking at were legit…

Lou

WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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NY
Posts: 6147
April 25, 2023 - 11:18 pm

10sp_QuotePost

Louis Luttrell said
The last image is the post-63 “dashed” SUPER GRADE stamp.  You can tell that stamp in on a cast (not milled) floor plate, but it resembles the one above it pretty closely.   

Ironic:  THIS–neat & regular lettering–is how the marking should have looked from the beginning of production, as opposed to sloppy & irregular, as if applied by a first-day-on-the-job worker.  I clearly remember showing the first SG I contemplated buying 50 yrs ago to a 70 expert at the show where it was for sale.  Referring to the crude lettering job, I said “this can’t be right,” & was told “but it is.”

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Posts: 483
April 25, 2023 - 11:25 pm

11sp_QuotePost

The post-63 SUPER GRADE plates lack the cachet of the earlier examples

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NY
Posts: 6147
April 26, 2023 - 12:12 am

12sp_QuotePost

Tedk said
The post-63 SUPER GRADE plates lack the cachet of the earlier examples

Of course, because of the cost-cutting redesign of the rifle.  But my point was, where was pride of workmanship on the earlier plates?  And on the company’s flagship product, mind you, not one of the economy models like a 43.  

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Posts: 25
April 26, 2023 - 3:42 pm

13sp_QuotePost

I too have often thought it a bit funny that Winchester was so inconsistent in the stamping of the words proclaiming the upscale version of the M70. Here’s a particularly sloppy one from a nice honest fairly early post war .257 Roberts(S/N 59820) with pre-war features. Notice the feet on the “R”. Although samples for reference are rare, the M54’s SG stamps seem to present more neatly.SG257IMG_1705.JPGImage Enlarger

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NY
Posts: 6147
April 26, 2023 - 4:16 pm

14sp_QuotePost

 Here’s a particularly sloppy one from a nice honest fairly early post war .257 Roberts(S/N 59820) with pre-war features.1ned1 said

  

Looks like the printing of a First Grader.

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Winchester, VA
Posts: 958
April 26, 2023 - 6:05 pm

15sp_QuotePost

Hi Ned-

I think (maybe) I’ve seen another SG floor plate with that italic “R” with feet, but I can’t recall where.  I’ve seen maybe a half dozen SG floor plates with feet on the “A”, like in this photo (not a real good pic but I think it can be made out).  Most of these fall into the 50K serial number range (this is S/N 56593) so I suspect that there was one die made that way that was used to mark a batch of floor plates. 

SN-56593-copy.jpgImage Enlarger

Hi Clarence-

I just can’t resist grossing you out. Laugh  This floor plate was on a well worn 30 GOV’T’06 Super Grade (S/N 99086) that otherwise looked OK.  See if you can spot the “problem”… Wink

SN-99086.jpgImage Enlarger

Does anyone know for sure how these floor plates stamps were constructed?  I’ve assumed that the first two styles were applied using one-piece “stamps” (like the M70 caliber designation stamps before 1950) and that some of the minor variation resulted from the stamps being cut by different factory engravers before hardening.  But some things are inexplicable, like the above image or the ones where the two “teardrops” point in the same direction (one teardrop facing “in” and the other facing “out”).  I could see that sort of thing occurring if the dies were “pieced together” from individual letter/number stamps (like the serial numbers – which don’t line up either)…

Best

Lou

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WACA 9519; Studying Pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters

WACA-Signauture-3.jpg

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Posts: 455
April 26, 2023 - 6:18 pm

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Lou, I believe these were made with individual character stamps placed in a master holder. This holder was put into a press, most likely an arbor press and then a jig was made up to locate the floorplate and support it due to the force required to impress the characters. This is all speculation, but I’m these were not done with a single stamps until post 64. I have attached a picture of a similar holder. We used the same thing years ago at my shop to stamp part numbers on the different parts we made. This would explain the upside down “A”, but not the lack of quality control.

Steve

Stamp-Holder.pngImage Enlarger

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Posts: 483
April 26, 2023 - 6:38 pm

17sp_QuotePost

All one needs to know about Super Grade plates

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NY
Posts: 6147
April 26, 2023 - 6:38 pm

18sp_QuotePost

Louis Luttrell said
I just can’t resist grossing you out. Laugh  This floor plate was on a well worn 30 GOV’T’06 Super Grade (S/N 99086) that otherwise looked OK.  See if you can spot the “problem”… Wink

 

No literacy test required for this job! 

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NY
Posts: 6147
April 26, 2023 - 6:52 pm

19sp_QuotePost

Lou, I believe these were made with individual character stamps placed in a master holder.seewin said

Brownell’s sells similar die holders for use by small shops or individual gunsmiths, but incredible that any major factory would resort to the use of one.  Esp. a factory with die-cutters & engravers already on the payroll.  And on top of that mix up different fonts? 

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Posts: 147
April 27, 2023 - 1:46 am

20sp_QuotePost

20180930_205458.jpgImage EnlargerAttached is a picture of a Super Grade floorplate that I saw at a Denver Gun Show back in the late 1990s. It was a milled steel plate. Fake, I do not know. I will let the Model 70 collectors judge.

I knew I had this picture. Just took some time finding it in my file system.

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