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  1. #1
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    Default Winchester Model 70 Prewar Features photos

    Because of the recent discussions concerning the early "Prewar" style of the Winchester Model 70, I thought it might be worthwhile to post some photos of the most salient prewar features. Generally, these features are ascribed to the Models 70 produced from 1937 to the interruption of production due to Winchester dedicating its resources to the war effort. Yet it is noteworthy that these 'prewar' features did not suddenly finish with the beginning of the Second World War. Rather, most of them extended into resumption of production in the early postwar period. Thus some older features melded with newer ones as inventory of older parts were first used before the newer postwar style parts were all fully integrated.

    [Please excuse the illogical photo sequencing due to my editing error.]

    THE LAST PHOTO Illustrates several unique prewar action features.
    The prewar receiver shows: a) only two scope Mounting screw holes atop the receiver; b) bridge clip loading guide slots (only used postwar in the National match & Target Rifles in 30-06 chambering); c) distinctive "flag" paddle style safety; d) the early "cloverleaf" pattern of receiver rear tang*.
    *Between comparable prewar and postwar Model 70 rifles, this feature causes differing stock inletting and precludes stock interchangeability.

    PHOTO 1 Illustrates the typical postwar action which lacks all of the described prewar features. (Some early postwar models had a three-screw scope configuration with only one hole in the receiver bridge.}

    PHOTO 2 Better illustrates the unique "flag" safety. This unit could interfere with some scope mountings and was modified in the postwar model. Thus note the high scope mounting AND the fact that the scope is not fastened at the top of the rear bridge.

    PHOTO 3 Shows the side attachment configuration of the Stith scope mount which utilizes factory side receiver sight mounting holes. This clever adaptation required no non-factory screw holes in the receiver.

    PHOTO 4 Shows an interesting Stith scope foremount variation. While Stith offered conventional foremounts that fastened to the front receiver ring holes, they also made the system shown that used the rear barrel dovetail to anchor the scope. Stiths were offered to accommodate 3/4", 7/8" and 1" diameter scope tubes.

    PHOTO 5 A complete Stith mount system view on this prewar 70.

    PHOTO 6. Yet another photo showing a prewar Super Grade with a Stith mount.

    PHOTO 7. Included, but not well illustrated in this photo, is the barrel front sight ramp which was integrally forged on prewar manufactured barrels as opposed to a silver solder affixed ramp on the later postwar versions. However, these prewar barrels, identified by the integral ramp, are to be found on quite a few early postwar rifles and even a few manufactured in the early nineteen fifties.

    This post is simply an overview and does not include every prewar feature, some of which are relatively minor. Also, please note that the prewar model photos here are not of a single rifle, but were simply selected as the best available illustrations of the features discussed.

    Perhaps the things that most characterizes the prewar Models 70 were the quality materials, fine workmanship, finish and smooth functioning. Some of the postwar model features truly did modernize the rifle and certainly newer chamberings kept pace with technology and further increased versatility. The end of this original classic rifle series came in 1963. Thus, their "Pre 64" designation for the entire genre from 1937-1963.

  2. #2
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    Default

    iskra:

    Thanks for the information. As promised, here are some pictures of my 1937 Model 70 in 22 Hornet. It is in beautiful shape for it's age, but now I'm wondering about the scope mounting. Someone did a quality job mounting it many, many years ago, when they probably did not have any idea that it could alter the value of the rifle. What do you think? What kind of hurt does this have on the value?

    Any value to this old scope?

    Thanks
    Dick

  3. #3
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    Default A Great Looking Prewar Win 70!!!

    Thanks for the pix Braino. I really know little concerning the scope or mounts. Other than a few general observations I'm sharing here, I'd quickly be in over my head. From what I can see in the photos, the rifle generally looks pristine. Also, this configuration with the rear scope mount on the receiver ring was the way Winchester contemplated a scope set up when they carried the system over from the earlier Model 54. Note also that with this configuration, bolt handle interference is a non-issue. Although I don't quite understand what I'm seeing in the view of the proof marks, (it looks like a groove between barrel and action.) I don't see anything like it in the other photos.

    Excepting the necessary barrel located scope mount holes, if the rifle is otherwise original, you have a wonderful and valuable piece. The scope and mounts seem almost certainly contemporary to the vintage of the rifle. I would think that rather than detracting from value, this set up should probably add substantially to the overall collector value of the piece. I believe also that the scope and mounts probably have substantial independent value. However, if the they were ever separated from the rifle, the extra barrel holes could be a substantial value negative.

    If you cannot find all the information you want from gunboards forums, you might consider contacting the Winchester Collector's Association about the piece.

    Congratulations on an apparently great piece and thanks again for the photos!

  4. #4
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    Default Side mount model 70

    I think I have read all the post on this. I have a few questions...I have a 1941 model 70 .270 super-grade 22 inch barrel (if I measured correctly.) I am piecing it together. The receiver, on the left side has 2 additional drilled holes for a side mount. Does this bring the value down severely? The stock ,barrel ,blueing all pretty good shape. Sights with hood all there. Those top holes are filled with screws. I can give more particulars if you want. Do I measure the barrel all the way to the bulge or include it? I am a novice having fun with this and trying to figure out if I have a 500 dollar gun or a 1500 dollar gun. I love a see thru mount or side mount myself. I have missed a few shots due to lighting with guns with a scope and no iron sites. I am sure a purest looking for museum quality pieces does not want 2 extra holes drilled on the side. I would like a few opinions. Thanks

  5. #5
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    Default Barrel length measured from bolt face.

    Easiest way to do this is to close the bolt with an empty chamber and insert your cleaning rod from the muzzel; mark the rod with a piece of tape at the end and then remove and measure length. If the barrel was shortened, this would be more serious than having the two extra holes for a sidemount. Hunters still didn't trust scopes in 1941 and it was well into the fifty's before low, top mounting of scopes became the norm. Jack O'Connor in particular advocated sidemounts and auxillary sights and no doubt convinced many of the desireability of this option. It took quite a while for the big companies to offer drilled front and rear receivers as standard- even longer before rifles left the factory with no sights on the barrel.

  6. #6
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    Default Mod 70 question

    Was the rifle shown a match rifle? I noticed the receiver bridge cut-out for an '03 stripper clip. Was it a standard feature of the pre-war mod 70's?

  7. #7
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    Default 24 inches

    Measuring as you suggested I have a 24 inch barrel.I agree with your reasoning, In 1941 not a lot of scopes installed for average guy. A side mount may have been more common.Keeping those iron sites open is important. I am not sure if I will sell this gun or keep it. EĆ­ther way I want it too have maximum value. Do you think, re-install a side mount onto it or fill the threaded holes up with screws is best ? One of the threaded holes is right in the middle of the Winchester stamping. I am still confused of the top scope mount threaded holes. All 4 look factory. However, the pics at the top of this thread suggest only the front 2 were drilled at time of production. Right now I have over 600 invested. I am not sure if the value is more or less than that, I know I do not want to harm the value.

  8. #8
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    Default Winchester Model 70 prewar and postwar comparison

    Thanks IsKra!!!!!!!. Thanks for this very informative study of the prewar Winchester Model 70 through pictures. I am stoked to say the least.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up had two Super Grades 270"S

    one had a prewar receiver Win. used up after WW2 to start commercial production, with no holes drilled in the top of action ring, but holes on top the rear ring.
    i was told that the front mount used the back sight grove, maybe Seth mounts? memory weak on spelling.
    other transitional model 1958 I BELIEVE. BUT IT HAD Griffin Howell side mounts alaskan all weather 4x, bought both from original owners one had box, and receipt from company store.<><DK

  10. #10
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    Default 1949 Super Grade 300 H&H Magnum

    Back in 1985 I got a Model 70 from my grandfather when he died. On the barrel it is marked 300 Magnum but takes a 300 H&H shell. Does anyone no why? Also it has a side mount I assume for a scope. I have attached photos and was wondering if anyone has ever seen this mount before and can it still be used today for a scope?

    brgds.sm

  11. #11
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    Default

    The .300 H & H Magnum was the common .30 magnum chambering for the Model 70 for most of it's pre-64 existence. Only in 1963 was the .300 Winchester Magnum introduced, so few pre-64 Model 70s show up so chambered.

    That is a side mount scope base of some sort but I don't recognize it. It would be usable if suitable rings could be located or adapted to it.

  12. #12
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    Default The .300 H&H WAS the 300 Magnum until 1963

    For Winchester anyway. The Holland and Holland firm introduced the .300 H &H in 1925 and Winchester chambered it (and the .375 H &H) in the Model 70 when it was introduced in 1937. The .300 Winchester Magnum was introduced in 1963, just before the revision of the Model 70 and most of the Winchester firearms line. The Weatherby .300 Magnum was brought out in the 1940's but these were a custom shop rifle/cartridge for many years. The mount appears to be a Griffin and Howe which was "top of the line" for big game rifles at the time and would have been a first cabin scope mounting system on a Super grade Model 70 in 1949. Very nice outfit!

  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by semcniff View Post
    Back in 1985 I got a Model 70 from my grandfather when he died. On the barrel it is marked 300 Magnum but takes a 300 H&H shell. Does anyone no why? Also it has a side mount I assume for a scope. I have attached photos and was wondering if anyone has ever seen this mount before and can it still be used today for a scope?

    brgds.sm
    Without a closer photo of the scope base it sure looks like a Griffin & Howe quick release scope base. These are quite common and if I recall correctly the name should be on the base. Parts can easily be found online used. When the 300 H&H came out it was the only magnum caliber so Winchester simply wrote 300 Magnum on their barrels.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Braino View Post
    iskra:

    Thanks for the information. As promised, here are some pictures of my 1937 Model 70 in 22 Hornet. It is in beautiful shape for it's age, but now I'm wondering about the scope mounting. Someone did a quality job mounting it many, many years ago, when they probably did not have any idea that it could alter the value of the rifle. What do you think? What kind of hurt does this have on the value?

    Any value to this old scope?

    Thanks
    Dick
    The scope base does directly affect value however what you have is a very desireable caliber and though altered a classic scope and base setup. I would never alter an original firearm and seldom will purchace a altered firearm no matter how slightly altered. That being said I would purchase your in a heartbeat. A very nice classic hunting combo.

  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vikingsoftpaw View Post
    Was the rifle shown a match rifle? I noticed the receiver bridge cut-out for an '03 stripper clip. Was it a standard feature of the pre-war mod 70's?
    Yes pre-war model 70's were cut for stripper clips.

  16. #16
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    Default Model 70 Stripper Clip Application

    Just catching up here, I'm surprised to see some posts I hadn't previously noted. So just a couple of belated comments.
    I believe that as a good general rule, extra receiver holes or other significant modificaitons do materially depreciate pre 64 Models 70 value. But I also agree there can be exceptions when high quality components and workmanship are evident. A material consideration is whether the affected rifle is simply ordinary or a rare sub-model or chambering. In the later case, the value may still be substantially depreciated despite any number or quality of aftermarket features.

    The moel 70 rear bridge stripper clip feature was offered on all prewar models except in the 30 WCF chambering, as I discussed above. Also, this feature IS to be found on postwar Models 70, but limited to the "National Match" rifle. This feature separates the real NM rifles and pretenders assembled with an NM stock and sights. If the clip recess isn't present, in all probability it never left the factory as an NM model.

  17. #17
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    Default

    I cant see the pictures, have they been removed or am I doing something wrong.

    John

  18. #18
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    Default Photos Gone Missing...

    Hi jmaston.
    The photos do seem to have gone missing! I reduced their size before original submission so I don' think it was a case of pixel file hogging. Oh well...
    I can't easily describe the content the photos showed. But if I can answer any specific questions for you, I shall try.
    Regards!

  19. #19
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    Default

    i have a model 70 300 H&H super grade from 1951 it says 300H&H on the barrel not sure but maybe that is about the time they changed the stamping
    Last edited by many guns; 09-02-2011 at 05:33 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default

    I also have a 1937 Hornet (s/n 134xx). But mine is not in very good condition. When acquired it had a plastic shotgun buttplate that does not fit at all. I do not know what the original buttplate should look like. The stock is rather straight down at the rear. There is no indention at the top of the stock where one of the pointed top buttplates had been fitted. I have attached a pic.

    Thought you might email me some buttplate pics so I could better determine the correct buttplate. Any info regarding this old Model 70 will be appreciated.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #21
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    Default

    Dumbo, Within my photo files I have few Model 70 buttplate photos and none of these would have been part of the illustrations associated with my original post. I do have a few of the steel model photoss (see below), but I can't locate any of the plastic style. Likely I don't have any of them to photo since my comparatively recent Pre 64 models are in the mag chamberings only and all have factory recoil pads.
    From the appearance of your stock, the factory buttplate would not fit without proper inletting and re-contouring of the butt. To my recollection the Model 70 should have a length of pull (measurement from the center of the trigger to the butt end of the rifle) of about 13 1/4 - 13 1/2. If you have less, there may be ergonomic problems.
    If your rifle is not original or the condition problems are considerable, absent finding an entire prewar stock to fit it, you might consider just adding a thin aftermarket pad. An actual recoil pad on a 22 Hornet might seem a bit strange, but that also could be a fix.
    My take.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails R95-14U.jpg  

  22. #22
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    Default The clip slotted receivers...

    were also standard in post-war Target models (except those in .300 H&H), as well as the National Match type.
    The Magnum receivers (.300 and .375 H&H) did not have clip slots, either pre-or post-war.

    Quote Originally Posted by iskra View Post
    Just catching up here, I'm surprised to see some posts I hadn't previously noted. So just a couple of belated comments.
    I believe that as a good general rule, extra receiver holes or other significant modificaitons do materially depreciate pre 64 Models 70 value. But I also agree there can be exceptions when high quality components and workmanship are evident. A material consideration is whether the affected rifle is simply ordinary or a rare sub-model or chambering. In the later case, the value may still be substantially depreciated despite any number or quality of aftermarket features.

    The moel 70 rear bridge stripper clip feature was offered on all prewar models except in the 30 WCF chambering, as I discussed above. Also, this feature IS to be found on postwar Models 70, but limited to the "National Match" rifle. This feature separates the real NM rifles and pretenders assembled with an NM stock and sights. If the clip recess isn't present, in all probability it never left the factory as an NM model.
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike

  23. #23
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    Default

    Thank you PRD1, I stand corrected of my oversights. Of course throughout Model 70 production, the H&H Magnum chamberings had no clip slots for obvious reasons. My omission of that fact is indeed a 'duhhh...'. Yet ironically, the prewar 22 Hornet chambered rifles do wear the clip slot; such absolutely useless but simply a production accommodation in utilizing the contemporary standard action.
    Further, it is quite correct that postwar (Type II & III) target models did utilize the clip loading feature, but such was limited to the 30-06 chambering. This according to Roger Rule in "The Rifleman's Rifle" @ Page 182. (Yet could special order configurations exist incorporating such feature? Quite probably yes.)
    I should have particularly remembered the clip loading feature of the postwar Target model since I have a Type II "Transition" Target Model in 30-06. Photos below. (Here documenting scope mount hole; the sole aftermarket alteration of an otherwise nice original rifle.)
    Again thank you for bringing these omissions to my attention.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails R275-2.jpg   R275-17U.jpg  

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