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Presenting the Vietnam era USMC Scout-Sniper
Winchester Model 70 in caliber .30-06 with Unertl telescope
Click for larger view of the Winchester M70

Marine Scout-Sniper Carlos Hathcock was credited with over 80 confirmed kills during his first tour of the Republic of Vietnam between 1966 and 1967. Except for the use of a .50 caliber M2 machine gun, with his 8x Unertl scope mounted on it, the majority of these kills were made with his caliber .30-06 Winchester Model 70 and the Unertl telescope. In Charles Henderson’s book, MARINE SNIPER, 93 Confirmed Kills, Carlos Hathcock describes in Chapter 17 his return for a second tour of duty to RVN in May 1969. As the platoon sergeant of the 7th Marines sniper platoon, he was surprised to find the unit still equipped with Winchester M70s, M-1Ds, and a couple of M40X (Remington 40X) prototype rifles. He expected to see the new M40 Remington 700 rifles because they were being delivered in-country back in ’67. Carlos had his platoon armorer, SSG Ron McAbee, recondition all the “old sticks” from their “pretty humble shape” to finely tuned weapons. The sniper platoon soon became one of the most effective in RVN and received a Presidential Unit Citation for their achievements. On 10 July 1969, Carlos Hathcock and Ron McAbee were providing security for convoys along Western Route 4. For this operation, Carlos selected a .30-06 Winchester Model 70 mounting a Lyman 8X telescope that McAbee had fine-tuned. With this rifle, Carlos describes killing 7 more Viet Cong soldiers and shared the 8th VC with McAbee. Carlos eventually received an M40 sniper rifle and made his last few confirmed KIA’s with this new rifle. Carlos’ M40 rifle was later destroyed when the AMTRAC Carlos was riding on hit a land mine that also seriously injured him. When accounting for all of Carlos’ 93 confirmed kills, the majority was with the .30-06 Winchester Model 70.

Texas Brigade Armory is currently reproducing the Vietnam era USMC Scout-Sniper Winchester Model 70 sniper rifle in caliber .30-06 with Unertl telescope for collectors and target shooters. Specifications for the TBA rifle include:
 

  • Original pre-1964 or pre-WWII Winchester Model 70 action

  • Caliber .30-06 Springfield cartridge

  • Douglas air gauged 24” chrome moly steel barrel in medium heavy contour (Winchester dimension) with flat crown, no markings

  • Standard grade checkered Winchester Model 70 stock inletted for larger barrel, straight comb, lacquer finish

  • Checkered steel M70 buttplate, M70 floorplate and trigger guard

  • Winchester M70 standard grade 1-1/4” sling swivels

  • Action glass bedded into stock, barrel free floating

  • Factory trigger is completely reworked and tuned

  • Unertl telescope (8x in 1-1/4” Combination telescope if available)
    May or may not be USMC marked.

  • Black anodized Unertl telescope mounting rings

  • Unertl type telescope mounting bases of the correct height and spacing

  • Metal parts left with original blue/black finish or blued to duplicate original luster Winchester metal finish

  • Rifle system guaranteed to shoot ˝ moa with Federal or Black Hills Match ammunition

A complete rifle system as described with Unertl telescope will be priced on request depending on the availability of Winchester rifles and Unertl telescopes. Pricing will be as low as $815 if you provide the rifle and telescope. We will install the .30-06 match grade barrel, blue the barrel, inlet the stock, bed the action, drill and tap the barrel, install Unertl telescope mounting blocks, and tune the trigger.

Click for larger view of the Winchester M70

Just a few of the other ways we can build a USMC Winchester Model 70 sniper rifle for you if you don’t have quite the right components are as follows:

  • post-war pre-64 Model 70 with Monte Carlo stock are also Vietnam era

  • alter post-war pre-64 safety and bolt sleeve to look like a pre-war

  • alter curved tang of post-war pre-64 to “figure 8” pre-war configuration

  • replace your modified or custom stock with the correct style stock

  • alter your Monte Carlo stock to a straight comb style

  • fit a steel checkered Winchester buttplate and correct swivels to your stock

  • refinish your stock, recut checkering

  • reblue your metal parts

  • black anodize your aluminum Unertl scope rings

  • dovetail cut in barrel for front iron sight base and install base

  • build the sniper system on a post-1964 Model 70 action

  • Winchester M70 barreled action only

  • Any early type Unertl or Lyman target telescope will be acceptable for the Vietnam era


A note about the Model 70 Winchester rifle by Mike Lau:
With the announcement that Winchester Model 70’s would no longer be produced at this time, prices on pre-1964 and post-1964 rifles have gone up. As a collector and custom riflesmith of pre-1964 Winchester Model 70s, I noticed that there are still a reasonable number of good Model 70s available that are not truly collectable and do not bring a premium price. Some of the ways to find one are as follows. First, the least collectible M70s are the .30-06 and .270 Winchester standard grades. These were produced in large numbers and their market values are lower than other M70’s, somewhere between $500 to $1200 range. Second, because of their popularity as hunting rifles, many have seen a lot of use and many have also been “customized” with extra holes drilled and tapped in the receiver, original buttplates replaced by rubber butt pads causing cut down stocks, custom barrels installed, barrels cut shorter, etc.. Collectors stay away from these, but are fine for creating the USMC rifle. Third, look for rifles with worn finish, worn bores, or even slight damage on both metal and stock. Pre-1964 and even some pre-war M70s in the above conditions will sell for under $1000. Rifles like these can sometimes be found on the Internet and in periodicals such as gunbroker.com, gunsamerica.com, the Cabelas website, the Shotgun News, and the Gun Digest Magazine (formerly the Gun List). Don’t be discouraged by the higher priced listings as these are usually the better collectible examples. Thousands of non-collectable pre-64 Model 70s are out there and will never be listed anywhere because the owners know the alterations and wear won’t get them the higher prices. Ask local gun collectors and dealers because they would refuse many of these rifles and may know who still might have them. Ask your friends and fellow shooters because they too may have one and never use them. I may also take any Model 70 for credit or trade for any of my USMC sniper rifles. Please note that I will not alter any truly collectable Winchester M70.  


Dig out your M70 “safe queen” or find a Model 70 for upgrade. I guarantee that your USMC scout-sniper Winchester 70 rifle will be one of those you will enjoy taking to the range or field to show-off and shoot right alongside with your synthetic stock, stainless steel, custom long range target and sporting rifles. No sniper rifle collection, or a complete M70 rifle collection, should be without an example of the USMC M70 sniper rifle. Feel and adore the looks of the pre-1964 Model 70 with it’s classic wood stock, period telescope, and the all time favorite Caliber .30 Model 1906 cartridge. Relive the by-gone era of the 1960’s and early 70’s, in places like Hill 55 and the Ca De Song river valley, where the USMC scout-sniper, the Winchester Model 70, and Unertl telescope became more than history, where they became legend.
 

 
 

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Texas Brigade Armory, 34280 N. State Hwy 108, Mingus, TX 76463
Mike Lau, President    Phone: 254.968.5894 

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