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Posted: 11/15/2011 5:23:39 PM EDT
Is this the correct rifle to use for a Viet Nam era sniper rifle? It is a 308.

Link Posted: 11/15/2011 5:44:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/15/2011 6:37:03 PM EDT by TexasRifleman]
For a USMC Model 70 Vietnam Era, it needs to be a Pre-'64 action. The reason they adopted the M40 was because of the 1964 Winchester "product improvements," the Model 70 no longer met USMC standards.

The M70 wasn't officially adopted, but all the USMC M70 sniper rifles were pretty much built the same way.

Most were Pre-WWII, which have a different tang and safety than the post war, pre-'64 rifles. The M70 sniper was chambered in .30-'06 Springfield, with a very heavy (for the era)  barrel. Today we call the contour medium heavy.

The stock was plain walnut, cut checkering 20 LPI on the sides of the fore end and the sides of the pistol grip. Later stocks had 18 LPI checkering. Winchester called the stock "standard grade," and it had a shiny laquer finish over an English Red stain. The comb was flat and plain. The receiver ring was drilled and tapped for the rear Unertl scope mount base. The receiver bridge was not. The forward Unertl scope base was about 7 inches forward of the receiver.

The most common scope was the Unertl 8x with the 1-1/4” Occular. The Marines used the Unertl 8x on the converted M1903 sniper rifles and Model 70s in WWII. There are actual USMC issue Unertl 8x scopes, and they're marked USMC from Unertl. Very rare, though. The return spring was almost always removed. The Unertl rings contained the elevation and windage adjustment. The rings were anodized black.

Vietnam era M70s most often had regular cotton web M1 slings. They had standard metal buttplates and all steel was polished blued, except for the receiver, which was black oxide coated.

If you want a simple yes or no, I'll need decent pictures, a serial number, or more info.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2011 6:43:44 PM EDT
Thanks for the excellent information. The only other description I have is that it was made in 1954.
Link Posted: 11/15/2011 7:22:09 PM EDT
A 1954 rifle will have a serial number between 282,736 and 323,530. The model 70 featherweight and the .308 Winchester caliber was announced to dealers in a letter dated August 4, 1952. It's hard to tell from your photo, but the stock looks more like a mid '60's stock.
Link Posted: 11/15/2011 7:32:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/15/2011 7:33:13 PM EDT by Joker_from_TN]
One other bit to add; the above info is correct for the Marine sniper rifle version of the Winchester Model 70. But don't forget that the US Army also used some of these early in the war, and some of the very first ones had commercial scopes like the Bushnell Scopechief Command Post 3x9 mounted on them. Some were pre-WWII rifles, and some were relatively "new" rifles (but still pre-1964 made) acquired where able to fill the need. There is a website that has some photos of one of these being used by the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry of the 101st around 1966.

Vietnam sniper rifles

Lee Broll's photo page showing the rifle being used

I also spoke with Jerry Rodgers about it who carried one of these there as a sniper and confirmed which scope it was. I even found one and had it mounted on a really nice pre-64 Winchester Model 70 .30-06 Standard rifle, set up just like the one in the photos for a while. A guy at a recent gun show bought the rifle but I kept the scope and currently have it mounted on my AR-10B.

Here's a photo of mine on the bottom before I mounted the scope on it (along with my XM-21 and M40 clone builds).

Link Posted: 11/16/2011 4:05:13 AM EDT
My two cents would be, I'd think long and hard before busting up a Featherweight in the wrong caliber to build a faux M70 target rifle.  Featherweights are somewhat more desireable than the "standard" M70 to the collector crowd.  Probably you would be better off just finding a pre-64 30-06 to begin with, and cheaper in the long run.

This assuming the gun hasn't been mucked with, and you don't care about the caliber being wrong.  The action would be the right length, but you'd need to change the mag box, spring and follower, and modify the little extension on the extractor ring that keeps the bolt from going too far back, all of which introduce additional complications to your life.

My gut reaction is, by the time you finish the project, you'd probably have less time, money and efforting just getting a pre-64 target rifle to start with in the first place.  Then you'd have something.  Or, start with a post-64 gun and settle for the "retro-sniper" look.  Your mileage, it may vary.
Link Posted: 11/16/2011 4:43:55 AM EDT
The above advice is good.

We won't convert a collectable Model 70 to a USMC sniper rifle. Mostly just pre-'64, post war standard grades in .30-'06 or .270. The common rifles.

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Link Posted: 11/16/2011 7:42:03 AM EDT
And one more thing I'd like to add- if "Texas Rifleman" is Mike at Texas Brigade Armory, then you would be VERY happy with one of his Model 70 builds. He was the one who did the receiver work on my M40 clone project in the picture above, and it was a REALLY nice job on machining the clip slotting on it. I'd highly recommend him to anyone, and have to others already.
Link Posted: 11/16/2011 9:06:32 AM EDT
I'm not Mike Lau. But I've been apprenticing under him for about three years.

We do a lot of Model 70s, we're way backed up right now with conversions and builds.
Link Posted: 11/16/2011 9:23:07 AM EDT
I happily accept your advice Sirs. Thanks again.
Link Posted: 11/16/2011 1:05:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TexasRifleman:
I'm not Mike Lau. But I've been apprenticing under him for about three years.

We do a lot of Model 70s, we're way backed up right now with conversions and builds.


Well, it might have been you then that did the mill work on my M40 clone receiver, or it might have been Mike. Either way; someone down there did an excellent job on it. Thank you.
Link Posted: 11/16/2011 4:25:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TexasRifleman:
I'm not Mike Lau. But I've been apprenticing under him for about three years.

We do a lot of Model 70s, we're way backed up right now with conversions and builds.


That explains some things.  I have been wondering where someone of your apparently tender age (from the pics of the GF) acquired such strong retro-fu and knowledge.  My compliments, Sir.  There may yet be hope for the future.
Link Posted: 11/18/2011 4:21:30 PM EDT
The girlfriend you mentioned also works on the Model 70s. Mike does most of the checkering, but my girlfriend does it when she's around. I don't have the patience for it, but she's actually better than Mike. She picked it up in an afternoon. We just point her at a stock and she does it.






Link Posted: 11/18/2011 5:57:27 PM EDT
All this, and checkers stocks, too.  Choi oi.

Keep her.  Just sayin'.
Link Posted: 11/19/2011 1:08:33 PM EDT
This gives me hope for the future of mankind...and womankind. I've met quite a few hard working. talented youngsters lately. Just when I thought the gene pool was getting too shallow to sustain life...
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