Interested in a pre-64 Model 1970? You don't have to pay as much as you'd think.
Once a hunter gets a rifle collection going it's kind of hard to stop, but there are often very good reasons to slow down.
We all tend to start out with a few rifles that were either bought fairly cheap or maybe even gifted to us from older hunters. The one thing that becomes painfully apparent as our collections grow is that some rifles are very desirable to include in our collections, but the price keeps climbing.
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One of these rifles that has had its price go through the ceiling in the past few years is the pre-64 Model 70 Winchester. The pre-64 in the moniker refers to the fact that these rifles were produced previous to 1964 when Winchester felt the need to lower its production costs and embarked on its experiment with push-feed actions for a decade or so.
The push-feed Winchesters proved less popular with shooters than the previous controlled-feed models, and this led to the value of pre-64s increasing considerably as a cult-like following began snatching them up.
Presently, Winchester produces a new controlled-feed rifle known as the Model 70 Classic, but the pre-64s are still the collectibles everyone chases and we'd all like to have one in our safe.
There are plenty of great reasons to want a pre-64 aside from harboring an aversion to push-feed rifles. For starters, the pre-64s are all excellent examples of the kind of hand craftsmanship that went into rifles in the "good old days." Before the advent of robots and CNC, machining guns were predominantly put together by hand - specifically the hands of people who spent their entire careers with the same company.
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These people put a lot of personal pride into their products and this is reflected in most of the pre-64s you'll find on the market. There are no burrs or tool marks on pre-64s, and the wood-to-metal fit on them is really something to see.
So you want one of these great guns in your collection but can't justify shelling out $2,000 for an old gun? The good news is that you don't necessarily have to pay a lot of money for a pre-64, as long as you're not too picky.
The main determining factor when it comes to the price of pre-64s is usually chambering. Naturally, the rare offerings like the 375 H&H or the 250-3000 are going to set you back quite a bit, but what about a more average caliber?
Winchester turned out roughly 700,000 Model 70s before 1964, and a large percentage of these were chambered for either the 30-06, because it's an American favorite, or .270 Winchester, because Jack O'Connor never tired of praising it.
Many of these more prevalent guns have all the attributes you could want in a Model 70 in addition to sporting 26-inch barrels for increased performance. These rifles can be found frequently on the used market in the neighborhood of $500-$600, depending on condition.
These more common pre-64s also have the added utility of allowing the owner to take them out hunting occasionally without throwing away a large investment.
Really, who wants to own a great rifle you can't take out hunting?
Featured image via imfdb