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Aperture sights for various 1955 rifles
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December 4, 2023 - 4:10 pm
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I have four 1955 dated rifles and was wondering where I could get information on what aperture sights/front sights Winchester would have installed on a factory gun and what might be good alternatives. I was born in 1955 want to keep stuff relatively period correct.

I have a Model 70 in 30-06 that already has a Lyman 48 WSJ with target sights on it.  I read somewhere that the 48 WJS would not have been a factory installed sight, what would have been?

Next is a Model 70 in .243 Winchester that was just bought with a modern scope on it. I am reluctant to get a period scope unless I was sure it was functional.   I think I would like to go with an aperture sight.  Would going with another  48 WJS be a good choice or go a different route?

Candidate number three is a Model 94 in 30-30.  Open to suggestions as to sights.  

The last is a Winchester 62A.  I assume, it would have to be a tang sight. It would be used as a plinker or possible attempts at squirrels. 

I have almost entirely shot with scopes and don’t have a lot of experience with aperture sights. Are there any good information sources as far as books or web pages?

Thanks for any help.

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December 4, 2023 - 4:45 pm
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Richard Saloom said I have a Model 70 in 30-06 that already has a Lyman 48 WSJ with target sights on it.  I read somewhere that the 48 WJS would not have been a factory installed sight, what would have been?
  

The ’49 Stoeger’s offers 70s priced with this sight option.  For hunting, no better rcvr. sight.

IF your 94 is drilled for a tang sight, that would be my choice, & also for the 62A; plenty to be found on ebay.  If not drilled, a rcvr. sight like the Lyman 66A could be used, or a Williams 5D. 

Use of ap sights is as natural as falling off a log, & any intro book on shooting should explain the little you need to know.  Main thing to remember is, use a LARGE diameter ap; the pinhole aps on some sights are unusable by anyone lacking exceptional vision.

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December 4, 2023 - 4:52 pm
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Next is a Model 70 in .243 Winchester that was just bought with a modern scope on it. I am reluctant to get a period scope unless I was sure it was functional. Richard Saloom said

Scopes available by ’55 are fully “functional” if you can live without variable power & all the other space-age gimmicks on current scopes.  My first choice would be any of the K-model Weavers, all having blued steel tubes. 

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December 4, 2023 - 8:22 pm
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Hi Richard-

Regarding cataloged receiver sights on the Model 70 Standard rifle, there were initially (1937) two options; the Lyman 48WJS and the Lyman 57W. I am assuming that we’re not talking about Featherweights b/c the they were never cataloged with receiver sights.  FWIW… 243 WIN and 30-06 SPRG were added to the Featherweight line in 1955, so it’s possible I’m talking abut the wrong guns… 

In any event, the Lyman 57W (which is NOT a 57WJS) option was last cataloged in 1946, so it’s irrelevant. 

The Lyman 48WJS option was last cataloged in 1949, EXCEPT for rifles in 270 WIN and 30-06 SPRG, where it remained in the catalog in 1950 and 1951.  Long story there, but the gist of Winchester’s “1950 Firearm Simplification Program” document was that by that time they were selling very few rifles with factory receiver sights b/c people were turning to scopes and those who wanted a receiver sight tended to buy it aftermarket.  For the 1950-51 rifles, one could have either Target or “Stayset” knobs, as the latter were introduced in/around 1950 and the last Winchester catalogs to show the M70 with factory Lyman 48WJS actually show it with Stayset knobs (which surprised me when I noticed it)…

So more than likely, the receiver sight on the 1955 M70 30-06 SPRG was owner installed.  But IF it had been ordered that way, the sight would have been a half block (no inletting required) Lyman 48WJS with internal coil return spring and either type of knob.  Which, thankfully, is also the easiest Lyman 48WJS to find as they were made up until about 1975… 

As for the 1955 M70 243 WIN.  They all had Monte Carlo stocks (Standard and Featherweight) and were never listed in the catalog with a receiver sight option.  So if I really wanted the receiver sight I’d probably choose to go with the 48WJS (like the 30-06), knowing it would be period correct.  The only “downside” to that plan is the bottom edge of the sight base will sometimes come into contact with the side of the stock and leave a nasty linear impression in the wood if tightened down.  If that is an issue and you don’t want to deface the stock, you could use a Lyman 57WJS, as the base does not overlie the stock wood.  These were introduced in/around 1950 and were never factory installed as a cataloged option, but they are period correct for 1955.  It’s just that the 48WJS is a better sight…

As for scopes (which is what I’d do with the 243 WIN b/c of the MC stock), I agree with Clarence.  A vintage steel tube Weaver K4 or K6 is a rugged scope that would be period correct.  By the mid-1950s, I think you could even go with the 60B series that gave you a constantly centered reticle and still be period (Clarence can correct me).

Longwinded, I know… But I hope this helps…

Lou 

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December 4, 2023 - 9:49 pm
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clarence said

Richard Saloom said I have a Model 70 in 30-06 that already has a Lyman 48 WSJ with target sights on it.  I read somewhere that the 48 WJS would not have been a factory installed sight, what would have been?

  

The ’49 Stoeger’s offers 70s priced with this sight option.  For hunting, no better rcvr. sight.

IF your 94 is drilled for a tang sight, that would be my choice, & also for the 62A; plenty to be found on ebay.  If not drilled, a rcvr. sight like the Lyman 66A could be used, or a Williams 5D. 

Use of ap sights is as natural as falling off a log, & any intro book on shooting should explain the little you need to know.  Main thing to remember is, use a LARGE diameter ap; the pinhole aps on some sights are unusable by anyone lacking exceptional vision.

  

What sizes would you suggest and do you have a source other than EBay?  They seem to be $10-15 dollars each on there.

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December 4, 2023 - 10:09 pm
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Richard Saloom said

What sizes would you suggest and do you have a source other than EBay?  They seem to be $10-15 dollars each on there. 

Ebay is where about 99% of old sights are listed for sale, but a member here, Ben Tolson, deals in them, too.  Any rcvr sight you buy will have an ap on it, unless it was lost, so just buy one that’s complete.  If you find the diameter too small, just drill it out, as I do all the time; a 7/64″ bit is what I usually use.

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December 4, 2023 - 10:20 pm
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Richard-

Regarding cataloged receiver sights on the Model 70 Standard rifle, there were initially (1937) two options; the Lyman 48WJS and the Lyman 57W. I am assuming that we’re not talking about Featherweights b/c the they were never cataloged with receiver sights.  FWIW… 243 WIN and 30-06 SPRG were added to the Featherweight line in 1955, so it’s possible I’m talking abut the wrong guns… 

In any event, the Lyman 57W (which is NOT a 57WJS) option was last cataloged in 1946, so it’s irrelevant. 

The Lyman 48WJS option was last cataloged in 1949, EXCEPT for rifles in 270 WIN and 30-06 SPRG, where it remained in the catalog in 1950 and 1951.  Long story there, but the gist of Winchester’s “1950 Firearm Simplification Program” document was that by that time they were selling very few rifles with factory receiver sights b/c people were turning to scopes and those who wanted a receiver sight tended to buy it aftermarket.  For the 1950-51 rifles, one could have either Target or “Stayset” knobs, as the latter were introduced in/around 1950 and the last Winchester catalogs to show the M70 with factory Lyman 48WJS actually show it with Stayset knobs (which surprised me when I noticed it)…

So more than likely, the receiver sight on the 1955 M70 30-06 SPRG was owner installed.  But IF it had been ordered that way, the sight would have been a half block (no inletting required) Lyman 48WJS with internal coil return spring and either type of knob.  Which, thankfully, is also the easiest Lyman 48WJS to find as they were made up until about 1975… 

As for the 1955 M70 243 WIN.  They all had Monte Carlo stocks (Standard and Featherweight) and were never listed in the catalog with a receiver sight option.  So if I really wanted the receiver sight I’d probably choose to go with the 48WJS (like the 30-06), knowing it would be period correct.  The only “downside” to that plan is the bottom edge of the sight base will sometimes come into contact with the side of the stock and leave a nasty linear impression in the wood if tightened down.  If that is an issue and you don’t want to deface the stock, you could use a Lyman 57WJS, as the base does not overlie the stock wood.  These were introduced in/around 1950 and were never factory installed as a cataloged option, but they are period correct for 1955.  It’s just that the 48WJS is a better sight…

As for scopes (which is what I’d do with the 243 WIN b/c of the MC stock), I agree with Clarence.  A vintage steel tube Weaver K4 or K6 is a rugged scope that would be period correct.  By the mid-1950s, I think you could even go with the 60B series that gave you a constantly centered reticle and still be period (Clarence can correct me).

Longwinded, I know… But I hope this helps…

Lou 

  

Thank you for the response.  

I may try the 243 with an aperture sight since some of the receiver’s wear pattern looks like it may have had one.  

I had a Weaver K4 at one time, I believe it went the way of my Redfield Widefield.  I will try to get one that looks good and has a return policy.  The 243 currently has Weaver style bases on it.  Would that be appropriate rings and bases for the mid ‘50’s?

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December 4, 2023 - 10:52 pm
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IIRC… The Lyman factory-supplied aperture for the 48WJS was 0.625″ diameter with a 0.046″ aperture.  Most people just changed aperture as needed for their shooting requirements…  LOTS of options then and now…

Lou

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December 4, 2023 - 11:06 pm
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Richard Saloom said I had a Weaver K4 at one time, I believe it went the way of my Redfield Widefield.  I will try to get one that looks good and has a return policy.  The 243 currently has Weaver style bases on it.  Would that be appropriate rings and bases for the mid ‘50’s?

Weaver & Redfield Jr. bases were the most popular at that time.  LOTS of Weaver scopes on ebay. 

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December 5, 2023 - 12:25 am
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A 1955 production Model 94 would have been equipped with a Lyman No. 66A receiver mounted peep sight. That stated, unless you used the Resource tool on this (WACA) website to date your Model 94, it most likely was not manufactured in the year 1955. The serial number will tell me when it was manufactured.

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December 5, 2023 - 1:04 am
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Bert H. said
A 1955 production Model 94 would have been equipped with a Lyman No. 66A receiver mounted peep sight. That stated, unless you used the Resource tool on this (WACA) website to date your Model 94, it most likely was not manufactured in the year 1955. The serial number will tell me when it was manufactured.

Bert

  

The serial number is 21445XX.  I appreciate your help.

Just looked it up—it is 1955.  I was getting worried!

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December 5, 2023 - 3:19 am
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Richard Saloom said

The serial number is 21445XX.  I appreciate your help.Just looked it up—it is 1955.  I was getting worried!

If yours has two screws about 3/4″ apart in the upper right corner of the left side of the rcvr, they are for mounting a rcvr sight.  A rcvr sight on a lever-action just doesn’t look right, in my opinion, but that’s what you’re stuck with, unless you want to have the upper tang drilled for a tang sight.

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December 5, 2023 - 4:58 am
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clarence said

Richard Saloom said

The serial number is 21445XX.  I appreciate your help.Just looked it up—it is 1955.  I was getting worried!

If yours has two screws about 3/4″ apart in the upper right corner of the left side of the rcvr, they are for mounting a rcvr sight.  A rcvr sight on a lever-action just doesn’t look right, in my opinion, but that’s what you’re stuck with, unless you want to have the upper tang drilled for a tang sight.

  

Beginning in December 1952 (s/n 1917500), all Model 94 Carbines were factory drilled & tapped for a receiver mounted peep sight.  Winchester provided a Lyman No. 56 through 1953, then offered a Lyman No. 66A thereafter.

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December 6, 2023 - 8:40 pm
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Clarence and I grew up in the Fifties when the Model 70 Featherweight came out. Any 1955 Model 70 would look just right with a Weaver K4 in Weaver rings and bases. Personally I’d make it a 60-D, even though that’s a few years later, if you’re going to hunt with it. 

As for the 94s, the 1951 longwood I was talked out of last year wasn’t drilled and tapped for a receiver sight, but the 1955 shortwood I once owned did and I put a fine Redfield 70EH on it .. with Clarence’s 7/64   aperture.  Over the years I’ve seen more Redfield 70s and Williams 5Ds than Lymans on postwar Winchester and Marlin lever actions, at least in North Texas shows. Just to say both are period correct and familiar on a 1955 30/30. 

I don’t think you can beat a Redfield Sourdough up front on any hunting rifle to be used with an aperture rear sight.

- Bill 

 

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December 6, 2023 - 9:25 pm
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Zebulon said I don’t think you can beat a Redfield Sourdough up front on any hunting rifle to be used with an aperture rear sight.
  

You can’t beat it!  My favorite hunting front sight, but not sure they’re still in production; available on ebay, about $50.  When I was using one regularly, I’d always polish the brass insert with silver polish; makes big diff in low light visibility!

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