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Old January 16, 2017, 11:50 PM   #1
boltgun71
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Need help identifying gunsmith stamp "VP"

I recently acquired a Pre-64 Winchester model 70 that seems to have a unique history. It left the factory as a .243 Winchester in a heavy barrel contour but sometime early in its life it was re-bored and rifled to .25 caliber and chambered in 25-06 Improved (Ackley). I was able to caste the chamber and bore today, confirming a .257 bore, 25-06 Ackley Improved chamber, and measured the twist rate twice at 1 turn in 12". The barrel is stamped 26.06 IMP directly after the factory .243 Winchester marking and underneath the barrel in the same stamp font is the gunsmiths mark/stamp of 25 VP 12. The 25 stands for .25 caliber, the 12 for the twist rate, and I am assuming VP is the gunsmith who performed the work. Now I am just trying to figure out who VP is, are any of you familiar with this gunsmiths markings? The serial number for the receiver is from 1956 and the barrel is stamped 56 from the factory under the barrel as well, confirming the year and that the barrel is original to the rifle. The rifle also has a Canjar 70-1 trigger and Fajen stock. I purchased the rifle in NY from a man who had just recently acquired it himself locally, if the region may be of some assistance. So just trying to piece together the history of this great rifle and would appreciate any help.
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Old January 17, 2017, 08:32 AM   #2
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Are you sure on the 1-12 twist? The 243 Win was originally 1-10, and there's hardly enough room in a 243 barrel to completely bore out the rifling and put in a new one in 257, unless the rifling is very shallow. And 1-12 doesn't stabilize a lot of bullets for 257.
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Old January 17, 2017, 12:28 PM   #3
boltgun71
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Positive on the 1-12'' twist, I measured it twice yesterday. According to PO Ackley's book on his cartridges, for the 25-06, a 1 in 10'' twist is standard but 12" and 14" twist are special twists for it. They are the only three twist listed for the cartridge in his book.
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Old January 17, 2017, 07:29 PM   #4
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It's just odd that someone would use a 1-10 Winchester 243 barrel, completely drill out the rifling, and then still be able to cut grooves for a 257 bullet. Plus a lot of work instead of just putting in a new 257 barrel and selling the old one. If it would be the original twist you could see someone just running the right tool through the barrel and deepening the grooves on the 243.
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Old January 17, 2017, 09:46 PM   #5
boltgun71
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Not unusual at all for mid-1900's gunsmiths to rebore and rifle a barrel instead of simply replacing it. Many gunsmiths had the machinery to do so and either were gunsmiths during world war 2 or trained by ones that were. Those gunsmiths had no access to new barrels during the war and learned to modify the factory barrels. A reboring job was half the price of a new barrel which was incredibly important for a time when the average hourly wage was around a dollar. There are a few smiths that still offer reboring today.

Last edited by boltgun71; January 18, 2017 at 06:09 AM.
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Old January 17, 2017, 10:28 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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Had an old Gun Digest article by a guy who wanted a 6mm Rem on a Win M70.
So he had a well used .220 Swift rebored.
So a .243 to .25-06 AI seems a reasonable project... 50 years ago.

There are still specialists doing Smokeless reboring.
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Old January 19, 2017, 03:32 PM   #7
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Pretty sure VP is a proof stamp, not a gunsmith
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Old January 19, 2017, 06:48 PM   #8
boltgun71
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VP inside of an oval is a factory stamping for Violent Proofing. But this marking is not a factory stamping nor in a oval. This was certainly hand stamped when the caliber conversion was done.
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Old January 19, 2017, 08:37 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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Interesting.
I know Colt has applied the (triangle) VP for Verified Proof since 1904, never heard of a Violent Proof.
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Old January 27, 2017, 10:31 AM   #10
1BadF350
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Did they have to re-proof it after conversion?
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Old January 27, 2017, 10:40 AM   #11
Jim Watson
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There is no proof law or proof house in Pennsylvania. Or the rest of the USA.
Proof testing is whatever the manufacturer thinks will limit his liability.
Few gunsmiths would proof test for something as straightforward as reboring a bolt action.
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Old January 29, 2017, 04:26 PM   #12
James K
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"Not unusual at all for mid-1900's gunsmiths to rebore and rifle a barrel instead of simply replacing it. Many gunsmiths had the machinery to do so ..."

Well, not many. Barrel boring and rifling machinery was/is darned uncommon and expensive and very few ordinary gunsmiths had that equipment. What was normally done, then as now, was to send the work to specialists, but to leave the customer with the impression that the gunsmith did the work himself.

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Old February 7, 2017, 02:48 PM   #13
F. Guffey
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And then there was a company that would sell you one rifle that would last a life time, every time the barrel/throat wore out they would go to the next chamber. Great prices.

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Old February 7, 2017, 11:58 PM   #14
SHR970
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Here is a possibility for the V.P. stamp.

P.O. Ackley had a shop foreman named John W. Van Patten. He moved to Milford Pa. and had a rifling machine that was built while he still worked for Parker. He incorporated in PA. in 1953 as J. W. Van Patten Gunsmith.

That puts him in the right area at the right time and the connection to the A.I. Cartridge family.

Last edited by SHR970; February 8, 2017 at 04:52 PM.
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Old February 8, 2017, 06:00 AM   #15
boltgun71
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SHR970, Thank you, that is just the type of lead I was looking for. The type of work done, his connection to Ackley, and location all point to him being a strong contender for the gunsmith who performed the job on my rifle. A quick internet search of him shows him to be a highly regarded gunsmith of his time who did a-lot of reboring work.
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