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Thread: Model 70 question...

  1. #1
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Default Model 70 question...

    A friend of mine approached me yesterday and asked if I would take a look at his fathers rifle. His dad died in 1988 and his mother gave him this rifle. My friend, (Mike) doesn't shoot but wanted the rifle cleaned up and checked for proper function. I was more than happy to accept the request.

    Mike brought the rifle over, I took a quick look and new I was holding an old rifle. This rifle is at first glance a pre-64 model 70 chambered in 30-06. I told him he had a fine piece and I would start on it in a few days.

    This morning after a closer look I noticed the "Gov" stamp on the barrel. I did a quick serial number (4298X) search and found that it was manufactured in 1942. The following information is cut from an article I found on the net.

    The pre-'64 Model 70's were manufactured from 1936 through 1963 after which time significant changes in the design and manufacture of the rifles were made. Pre-'64 Model 70s bring a substantial price premium due to a public perception that they were better, as they had several desirable features (Mauser-type controlled round feed, cut checkering) that the post-'64 version did not. Pre-'64 Model 70 Winchester rifles can best be identified by serial number and the presence of a fore-end screw to secure the barrel to the stock.[4] Model 70 rifles with serial numbers below 700,000[5] are the pre-'64 variety.

    The United States Marine Corps purchased 373 Model 70 rifles in May, 1942. Although the Marine Corps officially used only the M1 Garand and the 1903 Springfield as sniper rifles during the Second World War, "many Winchester Model 70s showed up at training camps and in actual field use during the Pacific campaign."[10] These rifles had 24-inch sporter barrels chambered for .30-06 Springfield. These rifles had serial numbers in the 41000 to 50000 range and were fitted with leaf sights and checkered stocks with steel butt plates, one-inch sling swivels, and leather slings. It has been reported that some of these rifles were equipped with 8X Unertl telescopic sights for limited unofficial use as sniper weapons on Guadalcanal and during the Korean War.

    This rifle's serial number fits in the Marine issue range and has the steel but plate, fore end screw, swivels and 1" leather sling. There are dove tails for the leaf sights but the sights are missing. The scope base is a REDFIELD. The optics name is worn away. The power is fixed 2.5 with a fine reticle. The stock has wear but no cracks and there is some wear on the bluing near the crown.

    Overall I think the rifle is in great shape for an issued firearm that has survived 70 years. Any ideas on a value for a piece like this?

    I'm not an authority on Winchester or military weapons. I would like to work a deal on this rifle but I'm doubting he would sell it since it was his fathers.

    1942 Model 70 2.jpg 1942 Model 70.jpg

  2. #2
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    That looks to me like a plain vanilla M70 STD in pretty darn nice shape. The barrel hold down screw, buttplate, and swivels are all normal and as issued items for a pre 64 from that period, later they would change to composition buttplates. STD and supergrades had the barrel screw and either the checkered steel butt or an optional pad, lots of magnums came with a pad, featherweight rifles were fitted with aluminum and later composition buttplates and no barrel hold down screw, they also had a much thinner lighter contour barrel.

    The scope mount looks to be an old Redfield Jr, Unertal scopes of the Ww2 era would have been mounted on blocks, one on the front receiver ring and one on the barrel. Those scopes were external adjusting, IE the mount does the adjusting instead of the reticule the scope on the rifle in question looks like a Lyman Alaskan, first waterproof scopes if I remember right, could also be an early Leupold, seems like they may have had an eyepiece shape similar to the one pictured.

    For a gun like that, in that shape, with no cracks, no extra holes for side mounts etc, and the period sling scope and mounts, I would expect someone to pay between 700$-1000$ ballpark retail

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Is the “Gov” stamp your referring to the “.30 GOVT’06” or is there another stamp too? The caliber was called “.30 Government 1906” early on then later became just called “30-06” so this stamping seems like a transitional thing to me.

    If it was Marine issue from 42/43 the gun faired the Pacific campaign better than imaginable. Everything the Marines had there was run hard and put up wet over and over. Marines often had to steel Army supplies in the Pacific to get anything so I don‘t see a rifle coming home not rusted, banged, and bashed. Maybe one of the 373 and it was never issued out because 70s weren’t officially used but I doubt it sense they didn‘t have enough of anything.

    I think "many Winchester Model 70s showed up at training camps and in actual field use during the Pacific campaign." may be referring to personal arms from the civilian market that wouldn’t be government owned or marked. Lots of civilian guns went island hopping with Jarheads like my Dad though mostly sidearms, my Dad’s Colt Police never came back from Okinawa where he got all shot up.

    The 1942 production year is interesting regardless, very early M70 and war time production too. Value I’d guess at around a grand but I haven’t been watching M70 values as close as I bet The Kid has. The production year is a good sales point that I think does drive the price up over non-war year 70s.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If it had a fixed 12X it could have been one of our VietNam sniper rifles.We also had some Remingtons.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input guys. I was thinking the 1942 production date and the fact that the serial number is in the range of the Marine issue Model 70's gave it major cool factor.

    I did confirm Mike's dad was a marine and he served in WW-II. However, he was a doctor. Probably doubtful he would have been issued a bolt rifle. Unfortunately the story of this rifle dies with him as Mike has no details other than the rifle has been in his family since before he was born.

    His mother has a poor memory as she is also up in her years. Mike is going to call his uncle to see if he can get any information about the time frame the rifle was acquired and perhaps where his father served during the war.

    Back in the day was it possible for Marines to bring their issued weapons home or buy them for personal use after the war?

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Back in the day was it possible for Marines to bring their issued weapons home or buy them for personal use after the war?
    Well, there was policy and reality....and the two often diverged.

    I have my grandfather's revolver from WWII- a S&W acquired in France and brought home in a sea bag.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Well, there was policy and reality....and the two often diverged.

    I have my grandfather's revolver from WWII- a S&W acquired in France and brought home in a sea bag.
    Yep, I should have taken a moment to think before I asked that question.

    I have my Dads S&W 38 Special revolver. I know it's old but I don't know it's mfg date or details. He went in the Navy in 1938 and served on a battleship. He became a Seabee after Pearl and stayed until 1946.

    He hit Alaska as a civilian contractor in 1948 and did a lot of bulldozer work in the territory to earn a living. After he settled in Anchorage he opened a few businesses and lived happily ever after. He died in 1978. I was only thirteen so I hadn't inquired about the hand guns history. It is the first weapon I ever shot and I did it at the end of Klatt road in a gravel pit when I was around ten years old, good memories for sure. A few days after that he bought me a 22LR Browning Semi auto rifle, I still have that Belgium made gem.

    Here is a picture of Dad operating a Cat working on a government building site in 1948. The location is Kodiak. The picture is stamped on the back. Department of the Army, The Pentagon, Washington 25, D.C.


    The other picture is the S&W in question. Any takers out there on a S&W revolver history?

    Bottom of grip frame and loading end of the cylinder: C 1949XX

    On frame in front of the cylinder: 4H 124XX The 4 in front of the H is a different shape than the 4 in the string of numbers.


    Dad Cat.jpg Dads 38.jpg

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    Marshall, that S&W .38 Special -- to me at least -- appears to be a commercial rather than the military version, although there were apparently several different variations. I have a military one, Model 10 or Victory model, that is parkerized and has several other different features. including different shape grip frame, lanyard loop and smooth grips.

    You'd have to check it out further, but this suggests to me that your dad might have acquired it for personal use outside of official sources. I know many Vietnam and earlier vets bought knives through the PX. I think that all Randall knives were personal purchases or gifts.

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    Marshall, looking through my "Standard cataloge of Smith & Wesson" and based on the picture and info provided, that revolver is a .38 Military & Police Airweight model 12-4, but there are variations. Maunfacurting dates according to the book and the C 1949XX put it between 1948-51 production run.

    I can not find anything else in the cataloge that is very close other than a Model 10, and according to the cataloge was manufactured mainly for the British Commonwealth countries, they commonly have a lanyard ring on the butt and the serial and production numbers for those revolvers are completley different series.

  10. #10
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Thanks for checking on the 38. Dad died back in 1978, I didn't really get the skinny on the hand gun at the ripe old age of thirteen. I found some info that also suggests it's production date around 1948. I'm assuming he may have acquired it in Kodiak. He lived there after the war until the late 50's before moving to Anchorage. The hand gun is in great shape and it will be passed down to my son who is named after my dad.

    As far as the rifle in the original question is concerned. I have broke it down and thoroughly cleaned, oiled and reassembled it for the owner. I plan on developing period correct ammo and sighting it in for him. If he ever sells it I will be standing in line.

    I'm flying up to Anchorage tonight, looks like I need a jacket...

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    +1 on The Kids reply about the Mod 70. Looks like a plain jane Standard model, but all pre-64s are nice rifles! BTW, there are no Marine doctors. The USMC is an integral force of the Dept of the Navy and all medical personnel are assigned from the Navy to the Marines. That includes Doctors and corpsmen (medics).

  12. #12

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    My Dad was a doctor with a MASH unit in Korea. When the wounded were brought in, the first thing they did was strip them of all weapons and ammo. Dad said he had the best shooting .45's and full auto weapons that they acquired. Unfortunately he was not able to bring them back with him. He also said they would have some much ammo that the Quatermaster came over to get more from them. Dad was one of the best pistol shots I ever saw, he said that was all they had to do, practice shooting while waiting for the next operation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish_stix View Post
    +1 on The Kids reply about the Mod 70. Looks like a plain jane Standard model, but all pre-64s are nice rifles! BTW, there are no Marine doctors. The USMC is an integral force of the Dept of the Navy and all medical personnel are assigned from the Navy to the Marines. That includes Doctors and corpsmen (medics).

    The serial number checks out to be a 1942 manufacture date. It also fits in the serial number range of the Model 70's issued to the Marines at that time. It may or may not have been an issued rifle but it is an old rifle of that time period. His dad was a Marine in WW-II, not doubt about that. He said he was a doctor, I'm assuming he was a doctor at that time. Perhaps he became a doctor after the war, I don't know.

    I'm currently working up a period correct load for him to shoot. I already disassembled , cleaned and oiled the rifle. I also set the trigger to a measured 3 pounds and touched up the stock and blued rubs. I looks nice and will provide him some pleasure. If he sells it I will be first in line.

    Since I can't confirm it's an actual WW-II weapon I would have it trued and set up with a heavy barrel and McMillan stock. It would live out it's remaining years as a M40A1 and live happily ever after.

    M40A1.jpg

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