Beautiful Old Rifle Pays for the Best Beer

Mustangs Rule

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Feb 4, 2021
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When Townsend Whelen first came up with the quote that “Only accurate rifles were interesting” almost all sporting rifles were also beautiful back then.



Always something about them said “class not crass”



Even many military rifles had qualities which were beautiful. It could have simply been the exceptional wood to metal fit or just the grain of the wood. It might also have been the crest stamping on the receiver as with Swedish Husquavarna rifles.



When one picked up those rifles ( or shotguns, or handguns) it was obvious that their production involved a joint effort between many highly trained men and machines, all working together to produce a product with a heritage of dignity and tradition.



My model 54, Winchesters’ first bolt action rifle, came out during the wealthy “Roaring 20’s”. Compared to the much lauded pre-64 Model 70 which came out during the great depression, the Model 54 was a work of art and the Model 70 was on its way to becoming a firearm fart.



I have had many model 70 Winchesters, maybe even too many. The only one I still “adore” was made in 1952 before Winchesters WW2 tooling equipment was getting sloppy and was not being replaced with new.



I have a 6.5 x 55 Swede in a later production controlled round feed Winchester which I keep only because of the rare caliber. Compared to my 1952 model 70 it feels cheap to the hand and eye.



Being retired, I go to the range about 3x/week. Rarely do I fire more that 12 rounds. Often just a half a dozen.



My rifle of choice, is my 1952 Model 70 standard weight in .270. I think it represents the golden age of model 70’s, which by the end of the 1950’s had gone into decline.



Those rifles, like many of it’s time had a screw that went into the barrel through the for-end.



Some people say it is finniky not allowing the barrel to be free floating.



Others say it allowed a fine tuning addressing barrel harmonics for the discriminating shooter.



I will again hunt with this rifle for this coming big game season,,,deer and elk. It is close to my 60th big game season. I am 73.



The checkering on my model 70 has gone from sharp to smooth after decades of not just carrying it, but also it going in out of a custom saddle scabbard.



The bluing on both rifle and it’s 4x Weaver scope is down to a patina in places with some bare metal on the scope.



Instead of accepting its 1” to 1.5” accuracy, I wanted to see what this old lady could really do with all the senior patience that I could now put into reloading for it and tunng it.



The results have been rather admirable, not in spite of, but because of it long smooth 3 pound trigger.



A friend mine, now 84 had two shooting careers. One as a young Marine and 30 years later as senior.



He has won 36 national and international shooting competitions, including the Marine Corps Cup, The Army Cup and the Dewers Trophy. His rifle????…. an early production model 70, with a smooth 3 pound trigger. He has been encouraging me to see just what I can get of of my sweet old Winchester.



He stated clearly the such rifles do much better with those slow old triggers, suggesting they are rather lady-like and prefer long and smooth to light and fast ones which go off too easily,,,,



A trigger pull he said, should be a journey, not hurried and rushed ignition.



Anyway, with his encouragement and following his many, often suble instructions in every detail, my old model 70, with that for-end screw properly adjusted too , will now shoot cloverleafs at 100 yards, and on occasion, just one big hole for three shot groups. At 300 yards my best group is 1 ¼ inches center to center, and usually just a tad over 1 ½ inches center to center, all with my vintage, but rebuild 4x El Paso, Texas Weaver scope.



My shooting range is on the windy sunny prairie by the way. It can really blow hard and have a lot of warm/hot air with mirage and bent light,,,,all of which I am getting very accustomed to. The 4x scope limits the mirage compared to much higher scopes.



Fine beer has gotten more expensive these days. Normally, I would not be buying the best, but then I get it paid for now,,,,by younger shooters, using their plastic ray gun rifles with huge scopes on top.



I often suggest that we have a little friendly “beer money match”,,,,and shoot for a $1 a point at 300 yards. They look at my old rifle with the funky looking scope and grin,,,,,



Mustangs Rule.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
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Only Mod 70 I've ever had is my 6.5x55 I have right now. Got it new about 2003. Beautiful rifle and I really haven't put in the time tuning the loads for it. Still shoot's right around an inch at 100 yds. Nice wood, beautiful shape to the stock, metal all blued. I don't like the newer plastic stocks. Can a rifle shoot better in plastic? Haven't a clue. I'm a hunter not a competitor. Yet all but one rifle will do a good bit better than 1". All are wood stocked and barrels that aren't blued, are black!
 

Mustangs Rule

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Feb 4, 2021
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289
Only Mod 70 I've ever had is my 6.5x55 I have right now. Got it new about 2003. Beautiful rifle and I really haven't put in the time tuning the loads for it. Still shoot's right around an inch at 100 yds. Nice wood, beautiful shape to the stock, metal all blued. I don't like the newer plastic stocks. Can a rifle shoot better in plastic? Haven't a clue. I'm a hunter not a competitor. Yet all but one rifle will do a good bit better than 1". All are wood stocked and barrels that aren't blued, are black!
Good Morning Don,

Good to hear from you. I have the same rifle/caliber as you do but in stainless. From the readings I gather it is safer rifle to be shooting in case there is case head separation. It would pass the gases filled with brass particles away from ones eyes better. This is a good thing for sure.

Oriiginal pre-64's are not good that way. early model 54's like mine did not even have the escapting vent hole drilled in the receiver. Never shoot any older winchester without glasses. When hungting with them I only use new brass for my reloads.

All those merits granted to the new model 70's here are some things I read/ orwas told which are different.

That great mauser style extractor claw was forged in the old model 70's and is envestment cast in newer ones. Also the old Model 70's, and true mausers could not be operated "push feed". The newer ones I have been told can. There is space milled out in the back of the chamber for some needed "give" to accept the claw extractor while the casing is being "pushed" in.

There is merit to that, yet at the same time the original tighness of the mauser design, which allows the most reliable extraction, has been comprpmised.

Does all thie make any diference,,,it does to me.

Also on the older model 70's they came with iron sites and were factory drill for peep sites.

Again, does all this make any diference, it does to me,

Hmm anything else, The older model 70's have a smoother, quieter and lighter 3 positin safety. That took some extra honing to have it still be positive. Newer model 70's safetys are harder, with a noisy snap unpon release.
 

Mustangs Rule

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Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
289
Only Mod 70 I've ever had is my 6.5x55 I have right now. Got it new about 2003. Beautiful rifle and I really haven't put in the time tuning the loads for it. Still shoot's right around an inch at 100 yds. Nice wood, beautiful shape to the stock, metal all blued. I don't like the newer plastic stocks. Can a rifle shoot better in plastic? Haven't a clue. I'm a hunter not a competitor. Yet all but one rifle will do a good bit better than 1". All are wood stocked and barrels that aren't blued, are black!
A few more thoughts about Model 70's old and new. No brand of rifle is more dear to me. I grew up visiting the Winchester museum. Also I have read every article possible about the model 70.

The problem with Winchester was not simply that thier pre WW2 machinery was wearing out, but also that thier team of master gunsmiths and machinists were aging out. Without sufficient replacemnets to maintain the quality of the work done before. Virtually every rifle barrel once upon a time on a model 70 was at or near match grade quality with those masters adding their hand skills and attention with what the machines were doing.

Next, model 70 actions are a bear to bed properly and if not done well, they will not shoot well. Those actions have so many facets to them, rounds and flats, starts and stops. Remington actions are basically a tube with a recoil lug, as easy to bed as beer can.

I had two model 70's made towards the end of the 1950' and I let them go,,,,they could shoot an 1" but no better,

My .270 made in 1952 that I kept, can actually shoot one big hole somtimes and 3/8 to 1/4" center center groups are pretty regular on windless days now that I have given it all the TLC it needed, and all with my fixed 4X scope

The modern model 70's rely so much on automation and do a better job than Winchester did when quality was waning for sure. That said, they are not able to repeat the quality before master gunmiths and machinists became ghosts in the Winchester plant.

I just looked at my .270 and appreaciated the wavy groves forged right into the tops of the receiver. Very artistic, and functional too. Any rain water that will ALWAYS bleed into the space between the top of the receiver and the botton of the mounts can better evaporate out easier.


Always is a shame to take off the scope mounts and see rust.

Anyway, time to head to the range and see if I can get some young guys with thier plastic ray gun rifles to pay for my beer today.

Mustangs rule.
 

Mustangs Rule

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We’re having this conversation without photos?
Sorry Sir, but I do not know how to send picrures, would if I could. Let me offer this description.

If a wise bull elk took one careful look at it, saw all the checking worn smooth, all totally original, even the milled steel butt plate, saw the no nonsence straight grain walnut stock covered with decades worth of a dull oil finish,,,,,and if he saw that rifle coming out of it's handmade harness grade leather saddle scabbard,,,,,,well Mr. Elk would probably get so wisely scared that he would hide in the Black Timber till the season was over.

Fun Sharing all this with you guys,,,,,,anybody wanna shoot for ,,,,,,,,$1 a point.

Mustangs Rule
 

std7mag

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Aug 23, 2016
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Location
central pa
If you ever find yourself in PA, i'll be your huckle berry. :D
If you don't mind shooting against this new fangled 250-3000 Savage cartridge.
Built on a Stevens 200 with factory trigger & stock (albeit plastic).
I use variable powered scopes though. That rifle has the Redfield Revenge 4-12X40.

I'll be nice & leave my benchrest rifle at home. ;)

Say $1 a point, IBS targets (1 round per target, 5 targets on a paper) 100-600 yards. Then roll a die to see what distance for smallest 5 shot group?
 
Last edited:

Mustangs Rule

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
289
If you ever find yourself in PA, i'll be your huckle berry. :D
If you don't mind shooting against this new fangled 250-3000 Savage cartridge.
Built on a Stevens 200 with factory trigger & stock (albeit plastic).
I use variable powered scopes though. That rifle has the Redfield Revenge 4-12X40.

I'll be nice & leave my benchrest rifle at home. ;)

Say $1 a point, IBS targets (1 round per target, 5 targets on a paper) 100-600 yards. Then roll a die to see what distance for smallest 5 shot group?
Sounds like fun,,,but in all fairness i only use a vintage restored 4X weaver, so you would have to set your scope at 4x. Also, my rifle is a hunting rifle,,,,we would have to go for three shot groups. And my old eyes stop working past 300 yards. I shoot without my spectacles too.

I do love you your choice of caliber. We could have two or three challenges too. Off a bench, in the field with a whelen sling, and on a moving target.

Ohh last thought,,,any man who would use a 250-3000, win, lose or draw, I would be happy to buy a beer or two for.

I live on the grasslands in sight of the Rocky Mountains. Inhave not seen a traffic light for almost two years. The naerest one is 72 miles away.

I think the original untralight mountain rifle was made by Savage/Stevens It was a tiny little thing chambered ony in 300 Savage and the ever so sweet 250-3000.


Thanks for the response.

MUstangs Rue
 

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