I've always wanted to build a copy/ close replica of Carlos Hathcock's Model 70 and about a month ago this rifle sort of fell into my lap! As it stands right now it's definitely not a replica by any means but I couldn't pass it up and I figured it would be a great way to kick my but into gear and actually build what I want. A starting point if you will.
The rifle is dated at 1946, which wasn't a year in the batch of rifles that were actually used but doesn't bother me any. It has a standard sporter weight 24" barrel chambered in good 'ol 30 Gov't 06 with decently clean and strong rifling.
The stock seems to have been refinished at some point(looks great) and obviously had a ground to fit recoil pad installed to replace the factory steel butt plate. I also own an all original 1953 Winchester Model 70 30-06 with the original steel butt plate and I am not ashamed to say that recoil pad is a very welcomed modification!
This rifle is a perfect starting point for a project like this, for me anyways, because I won't be destroying any collector value. This rifle was drilled at some point for a side scope mount, then the holes were welded back up. whoever did so did a nice job, but it's still noticeable. The bolt was also jeweled at some point. I own a few un-altered pre-64's, so I've been looking for something that has already been half chewed up to begin with.
It came with the Hi-Lux 8X USMC W.M. Malcom scope and it is very clear. The mounts are a little rough but they are repeatable and seems to be a decent scope. Since I would probably never find an original, this one will do me just fine.
The only things I want to upgrade is the barrel to the original "heavy" contour, get some better scope blocks from Steve Earl, and have the whole thing re-blued or perhaps a different finish.
My biggest question is can a stainless barrel be blued so as to match the rest of the rifle? If the answer to that is no, should I go with a chromoly barrel or stay with stainless and go a different finish route like a matte cerecote of some kind?
This is what I'm aiming to replicate( I know this isn't Hathcock):
Here's some more pics:
I loaded up a ladder test with Winchester brass, IMR4350, CCI br2's and 200gr SMK's. Started at 49grs and worked up to 56.0gr in 0.5gr increments and this was the result of the test.
I loaded over book max to find what the actual max would be but I didn't really see any pressure signs. The last 4 rounds, 54.5 55.0 55.5 and 56.0 had some very slight stiffness in the bolt lift. After measuring all the bases just above the web those last 4 expanded 0.001" more than the rest so I'm going to assume 54.0gr is max.
Some loaded rounds:
Any ideas you might have would be great or just let me know what ya think!