Do I have a Van Orden M70?

Copper BB
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:50 pm
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:14 pm

I recently purchased a pre 64 era M70 off of Gunbroker. It interested me because it already had the mounts for a Vintage Unertl scope and it was chambered in 30-06.

I found the page from "Death from Afar" book last night listing the Van Orden M70 sniper rifles sold to individuals. As I half heartedly looked at it, I found the serial number of my rifle!

The rifle was sold to Barry T. Conway of N. Syracuse, NY in May 1955.

I see no electropencil markings anywhere on the receiver but it does have the clip slot in the top. It also has a Winchester Medium Heavy Barrel. The Stock seems to be correct but there are no sights nor scope. It does have evidence of Ironsights on the receiver which fits with competition micrometer sights as issued (I think that was right).

This is already my favorite rifle - no it is not for sale.

How would I know if it is actually the Van Orden rifle?

Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:28 am
Location: San Diego Area
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 12:25 am
First the serial number matter. Absent a very unlikely, quite expensive and highly sophisticated serial renumbering, statistically if the serial number on such as your Model 70 appears original to an experienced eye, it is almost assuredly original. Whether your source material attesting to a Van Orden serial number is reliable is a question extrinsic to the rifle itself, but presumably you've validated your citations.

Regarding the lack of electro-pencil markings. A significant question is the permanency (often reflected in depth) of the markings. Winchester Model 70 bolt serialization is a prime example of such electro-pencil markings simply wearing off. That would be one apparent explanation. Yet an even more presumptive one would be of refinishing. Often just an old sprucing up for general esthetics, or more recently a ‘spiffing up with intent’; such being to unethically purvey such a rifle as an ‘original’ in superior condition. Sometimes such recent refinish is reflected in a ‘too good to be true’ condition - which is literally that!

Also just the general comment, possibly relevant: To the extent that any small fungible parts can be replaced with period and sub-model correct factory originals without 'doing violence' to the rifle, that simply becomes a resulting ethical "originality" issue.
Not trying to address every point here and generalizing as well with generic comments...
My take.
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 8:51 pm
Thanks for the input on that question iskra !!

Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:28 am
Location: San Diego Area
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 12:41 am
SHOOTER13 wrote:Thanks for the input on that question iskra !!

And what was the quotation... "Thoughts unseasoned are thoughts unreasoned." :)

And yes, some of us are still mulling the rumors of British boots on the ground in Concord! There shall be no conclusions before their time! :) :)

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