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Thread: A Sad Tale of Two Winchesters.

  1. #1

    A Sad Tale of Two Winchesters.

    I was rummaging around the Trading Post last Wednesday as one of the boys began bringing out rifles from their unclaimed pawn area. On one trip he came back with two seemingly identical Winchester Model 70 SA's and set them in a rack to be priced. Both were of the later vintage with the Mauser-style extractor, both were short actioned, and both carried the usual amount of Reservation dings and scratches in what were otherwise very nicely checkered walnut stocks. Both sporter over-sized, cheap scopes and both were pawned by the same person. One was a 308 and the other a 243. The 308 immediately caught my eye and my companion eyed the 243. Both were dusty and carrying the dirt and debris they were pawned with 4 years ago. My buddy tossed the 243 into the cleaning cradle and ran a rod down the bore to push the dust out and then relinquished the cradle so I could clean the 308. The patch went through the barrel with some drag. I put another patch on the rod and pushed it through. Same thing. Just barely a perceptible tug at the patch. Both patches came out charcoal black. I look at my buddy and he's holding the 243 at arm's length and looking at the barrel. We put it in the cradle and put a strong light in at the breech. A shadow appears just at the muzzle. The barrel was what we call 'blown'. Shot with some obstruction that bulged the barrel at the barrel at the muzzle.

    I take a look at the 308 and sure enough, a three-eights of an inch in from the muzzle there is a ring in the barrel. Additionally, I'm looking at the bolt face and there is a circular ring of pitting around the firing pin hole and some additional pitting on the lower edge of the bolt. Conclusion? Someone was using corrosive primed ammo in the 308 and failed to clean it. Probably the Russian steel cased hunting ammo that was so popular on the Reservation 10 years or so back. It is a common practice among some locals to drive around between deer hunting spots with their rifles loaded and the muzzles down on the floor board of the truck for "safety" reasons. Unfortunately, the muzzles pick up mud or snow and so it is common to see blown barrels in local rifles.

    Both rifles can be fixed. The 308 will be fine with a little TLC and a crown. The 243 needs a little trim to get rid of the belled muzzle. We made a collective offer on both after pointing out the problems. My friend needs a gun for his 10 year old and I need a loaner. We might end up with them if the price is right. It's a shame to see a pair of nice rifles so badly cared for. ~Muir
    Last edited by Muir; 08-03-2014 at 15:28.

  2. #2
    Muir, if the barrel on that .243 is salvageable your friend has bagged himself a nice rifle. I picked up a Mod 70 SA in .243 about 4 years ago now and I have been very pleased with it. My stalking is exclusively roe and muntjac and for deer of that size I've found the .243 to be perfect.
    You can't say muntjac without saying, Mmmmmm.

  3. #3
    I'll let him know. The rifle is absolutely salvageable and if the price is right, he'll have it. The 308 will need to be less in price than the 243 because the damage is more severe.~Muir

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    I'll let him know. The rifle is absolutely salvageable and if the price is right, he'll have it. The 308 will need to be less in price than the 243 because the damage is more severe.~Muir
    Hmmm, maybe 358 win or a 338 federal , that would be interesting........ and useful

    AB

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by alberta boy View Post
    Hmmm, maybe 358 win or a 338 federal , that would be interesting........ and useful

    AB
    I have a 358 in the works already on a small ring 98 Mauser!
    Once it's been cut and crowned the 308 will shoot fine, actually. The roughness in the bore is minor and shouldn't be a problem. It just needs to lose an inch of barrel compared to the 243 which needs only about half that. For practical purposes, the recrowning is the same amount of work, but the result is a rifle that looks more out of proportion with less barrel. I tell myself I need another loaner gun but I have that push feed M-70 308 with a sterling barrel and half MOA tenancies already. This "SA" would need to be pretty cheap for me to pounce on it.~Muir

  6. #6
    Hmmm...I may have to order a .308 blank now...BTW, hoping to get some threads cut in the next two weeks. ;-)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MarinePMI View Post
    Hmmm...I may have to order a .308 blank now...BTW, hoping to get some threads cut in the next two weeks. ;-)
    Nice. You up and about? The coffee's on. You should drop by. ~Muir

  8. #8
    Ha! Ha! Got the little one (who's not so little anymore) up and about. If they (the two occupier's of my time) go off for a walk later today, I'll give you a bell. The little one is wanting to learn how to reload ammo today...

    Apparently, God has an extreme sense of humor...

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