View Full Version : 1952 Win 70 Featherweight 308

October 5, 2005, 04:56 PM
Saw a Win 70 Featherweight today. They claimed it was built in '52. I'd call it 95 to 98%.

Anyway, it has a solid bolt handle. I thought all Featherweights had a hollow bolt handle. Is this an incorrect gun?



October 5, 2005, 05:36 PM
I have a Win Model 70 Featherweight in .270 purchased new by my father in 1957. It has a hollow bolt handle (cylindrical hole in handle approx 1/2" deep). The action/barrel have never been modified. I have replaced scope, mounts, recoil pad, and restored finish on stock. It is a beautiful gun and never fails to provide many fond memories of my father and good times with him.

Good shooting and be safe.

October 5, 2005, 07:34 PM
My 243 FW has a hollow bolt handle naturally. I think after 'bout '55 ALL Model 70's had a hollow bolt handle.

The early 308 I saw today has me puzzled. I think it's incorrect. It was in a display case so I couldn't handle it. I'd like to pull the bolt and see if the SN's match up.


Mike Irwin
October 6, 2005, 10:35 AM

I'm not 100% certain, but isn't that about 2 to 3 years too early for commercial Winchesters chambered in .308?

Johnny Guest
October 6, 2005, 11:14 AM
It appears there are a number of rifles in circulation with such apparent irregularities. I've handled one .243 Featherweight with a serial number that seems to indicate it was produced a couple of years before .243 Win ctg was commercially introduced. No evidence I can see that it was rebarrelled.

It is my thought that Winchester produced a buncha actions, serially numbered them that simply went into parts bins or onto the racks, to be taken out and barrelled as needed. If the older ones got pushed to the back as newer ones were produced, there's no reason you mightn't see an action with a 1952 serial number which wasn't actually assembled and shipped until sometime in the sixties.

No insider information; pure conjecture. It's my theory and I'm sticking to it. ;)


James K
October 6, 2005, 02:17 PM
Not really too far out an idea. At that time, the Army was in the process of finalizing the 7.62 NATO design, but Winchester had preliminary data. I don't think it is too far fetched to think that they might have produced receivers with the information they had (mainly for feed rail design) and then set them aside, waiting for the final specs before producing completed rifles.

Pure speculation, of course, be it noted.

I will say that there is some kind of idea among collectors that gun factories, whether government or private, go off in the woods with an ax and cut down a tree for a piece of wood. Then they buy a steel bar, a chunk of steel and some springs and screws, and make a gun. Then they head for the woods again. That makes things nice and neat and the "experts" can say that such and such a gun was made at 11:20 AM on the 21st of October 1893.

But factories don't work that way at all, so the idea of making receivers at one point but not building the rifles until months or years later is not at all far-fetched.


October 6, 2005, 05:04 PM
I haven't checked the SN myself. I'm only going by the sales tag hanging off the rifle.

'52 seems early for a FW and early for a 308. The soild bolt handle ain't right either. I'm thinkin' it's a parts gun. A parts gun in nice shape but a parts gun nevertheless.


Mike Irwin
October 6, 2005, 09:05 PM
From Cartridges of the World by Frank Barnes, Winchester introduced the .308 to the shooting public in.....


Barnes normally has excellent data, so this could be a good gun.

And somewhere around here I have a 1980s vintage issue of Buns & Whammo that has IIRC a Rick Hacker article on Winchester's reintroduction of the Featherweight, which talks about the original issue guns.

I'll see if I can dig it up and glean any useful information.