I have recently aquired a pre 64 model 70 Winchester Featherweight in 264 Win Mag. It has a 22 inch barrel with no sights. I was told by the original owners son that he (his father) was told when he bought it that it was a "Gopher Special". Does anyone know anything about these guns. I don't have either one of the model 70 books (any one got an extra for sale?), so haven't been able to figure out what calibers a "Gopher special" came in, and how many of each caliber were made. Any help appreciated. Ron
If it's the Gopher I'm thinking of, it would have been Gopher's Shooters Supply in Faribault, Minnesota. I have a 1982 catalog and they list a Gopher Shooters only, win 94 big bore, exclusively from them.....so the .264 most likely came from there. I'm pretty sure they are gone now but the last phone # was 507-334-5581. Good luck with your research.
Page 90, Sept., 1961 American Rifleman: "SOMETHING SPECIAL! We have asked Winchester's Custom Gun Department to make up a few model 70 Featherweight Rifles without front or rear sights and without rear sight dove tail slot. After waiting over a year we are pleased to announce that we have them in stock with 22" barrels in calibers 30'06, 270 and 243. Price, $134.95. When ordering give name of your nearest dealer.
GOPHER SHOOTERER'S SUPPLY
Your rifle came along a little later than this, of course, but these came to be known as "Gopher Specials". REM41 was on the right track but just didn't go back far enough.
Rusty Trifle is 100% right- read Roger Rule's great bible on the M70 "The Rifleman's Rifle" as he details the "Gopher Special" and the dealer in MN that sold them. If you don't want the .264, you'd have no problem selling it- I have a .264 Win. Mag "Westerner" but it is a Std. wt. Model 70 with 25" barrel- the Featherweights first came out in l953 in >308Win and had a shorter 22" lighter wt. barrel, no front stock screw, and a "cheap-o" aluminum floorplate, trigger guard assy. and alum. buttplate. Winchester's great idea was that a guy who shot a std. M70 would but a Featherweight for his teenage son to start with I guess.
I bet it is like some of the limeted addition Rugers that were made just for Buckeye Sports. 10mm-38-40 wcf convertable blackhawk and the 32-20-32mag convertables. I remember Gopher Shooters Supply back in the old days. Kinda like a FORD pocket watch. Henry wasn't making watches but gave them to people for advertisement, maybe they would come by and buy an other model T some other time.
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