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Winchester Pre-64 Model 70 Experts, Your Thoughts?

Fairlane66Fairlane66 Member Posts: 335 ✭✭

I've owned a Winchester Pre-64 Model 70 for years and it's heritage has always puzzled me. I'd like some thoughts from you experts.

Here are the details. The rifle, a Featherweight chambered in 243 Winchester, was produced in August 1963. Therefore, according to Roger Rule's book, The Rifleman's Rifle, it was among the last 4,000 produced. By late production, Winchester's stock finish was poor, most were in very light walnut and relatively slab-sided, and the checkering pattern was much smaller than previous generations. As you can see from the pictures, the stock on my rifle is much different. It has dark wood with nice figure, a Winchester recoil pad that only came standard on Featherweights in 264 Win Mag, and the checkering is very similar to Winchester Pigeon-grade shotguns in my collection. Checkering on the forend wraps around and is all one piece. This rifle's stock dimensions are according to standard Winchester specs.

Given the special checkering, dark finish and figure in the wood, and a Winchester recoil pad, could this be a custom ordered rifle from Winchester? Conversely, could someone have taken a featherweight stock, cut it down and added the pad, and altered the checkering pattern as seen in the pics? I know there's no definitive way to tell in either case. However, if this was all done after-market, why not just purchase a stock from Fajen or some other source? Why keep the factory'-produced Winchester stock? On the other hand, as you can see, the bolt and extractor are machine turned. Whoever did it erased the serial number electro-penciled into the bottom of the bolt. So, perhaps some skilled gunsmith did all the work and altered a factory stock.

I hope the pictures adequately represent my description. I apologize for the dark pics.

In any event, I'd like to get some other opinions as to what I have, a Winchester special order rifle or an aftermarket customization. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


  • toad67toad67 Member Posts: 12,210 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21

    No expert on the pre-64's by any means. But from what I remember, if it came with a pad, it would be solid and not vented. What is the LOP on the rifle, it looks long to me (14 1/2" or so) by the distance between the back of the M/C and the end of the pad? Here is a model 70 fwt in 243 from 1962. I wouldn't think that they would do a custom shop one when they were planning to switch things over. Never say never though. Interesting to see what the smart people have to say. Very nice looking gun though!

  • Fairlane66Fairlane66 Member Posts: 335 ✭✭

    The recoil pad on this rifle is correct for the period. According to Rule (Page 153), "A webbed recoil pad started replacing the solid rubber ones in late 1959, at approximately number 460,000, Only one version was used for standard production. This was red with horizontal lines [and] the Winchester trademark." The paragraph goes on to state, " It was installed with two spacers, a white one against the pad and a black one against the wood. These were made for Winchester by Packmayr Gun Works, Los Angeles, California."

    However, as stated in the original post, these recoil pads weren't standard on most Featherweight rifles. Only Featherweights chambered in 264 Win Mag came from the factory with recoil pads.

  • BobJudyBobJudy Member Posts: 5,730 ✭✭✭✭

    A little hard to tell from your pics, but that checkering appears to be the Safari grade pattern. It may have been special ordered or it could be a case of Winchester using up all of the parts they had on hand towards the end of production. They were kind of famous for not wasting anything. Perhaps you could contact the Cody museum and get some definite information. Last I knew a factory record search and letter runs about $75. Regardless it is a good looking rifle. Bob

  • Okie743Okie743 Member Posts: 2,273 ✭✭✭
    edited February 22

    Winchester factory mods?????????????

    I've got a really nice Winchester Model 94 30/30 that has a late pre 64 serial number (just slightly before the 65 switch) and this rifle is factory and is a Frankenstein, has parts for both 64 and 65.

    I've also heard of just the opposite, some early serial number 1965 Winchesters having few pre64 parts.

    Go figure.

  • TANK78ZTANK78Z Member Posts: 1,300 ✭✭✭

    First you need to remember that when Winchester , or any other manufacturer was transitioning to changes in models they always had some stock of current model parts that would not change and would still fit the "new" models. I would speculate that even some newer style parts might have been mixed into the then current production to prove fit and function or just because they were needed due to a stopping of the older parts before complete conversion to the new.

    Second is that back then no one was thinking that such collector frenzy would occur in the far future over this minor (at the time) use of perfectly good parts that might be slightly different in appearance or standard on the old and unavailable on the majority of the newer models.

    It was just good business sense to use parts that worked and not store them for possible future parts sales.

    It was not as it is today , the manufacturers always had plenty of parts on hand, it was not like today when parts are only made or stocked in most cases in an as needed mentality . This is one reason parts for so many things today are hard to source, think automobile parts, OEM parts are usually much harder to get than aftermarket.

    Never say never on how ,with what, or when a particular older vintage firearm was or was not manufactured , even serial numbers are not always a help, the best way to help authenticate as new specs is with provenance that can be searched out and trusted, sometimes a very difficult job.

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