American Rifleman - April 2011 - 73

During this same period, the U.S. Army also considered procurement of a modified Model 70 for sniping
use as reflected in a memo from the chief of ordnance
dated Oct. 30, 1951, which states in part:
1. The Winchester Repeating Arms Company has
submitted to this office one of their Model 70 bolt action
rifles equipped with a six-power telescope and chambered
for caliber .30 M2 ammunition. The rifle has been modified to
feed from a detachable ten-round magazine. The Winchester
Company proposes the modified weapon for use as a snipers rifle.
2. This office has been advised by Winchester's representative that the modified Model 70 yields somewhat
better slow fire accuracy than the present standard M1C
Snipers Rifle. In the absence of a stated military requirement for a weapon of this type, no Ordnance tests have
been conducted.
Any further consideration of the Model 70 by the
Army was rejected. "It has been determined that the
increased accuracy of the Model 70 Winchester is
insufficient to justify its introduction into an already
overburdened supply system."
Although adoption of the Model 70 as a sniping arm
by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army remained elusive, the rifle did enjoy some measure of quasi-military
popularity throughout the mid- to late-1950s. After
World War II, George Van Orden, who had authored the
Marine Corps Equipment Board report in 1941 recommending adoption of the Model 70 as a sniper rifle,

started a firearms business named Evaluators, Ltd. Van
Orden (who had subsequently been promoted to colonel and, later, brigadier general), eventually concentrated on marketing the "Van Orden Sniper," which was
a Winchester Model 70 customized to the specifications
of his customers.
Van Orden was successful in selling the arms to
many clients, including the U.S. Coast Guard, which
purchased 10 of the rifles in June 1954. Van Orden's
rifles also enjoyed some measure of success on the
target range, as Marine Col. Walter Walsh won the
1952 National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, with
one of the "Van Orden Snipers."
The success of the Model 70 on the rifle range
attracted renewed interest from the U.S. Army as
evidenced by a Feb. 2, 1955, memo from the Office
of the Chief of Ordnance to the Chief of Army Field
Forces, which stated: "It is requested that this office be
furnished [with] your comments and recommendations relative to procurement of cal. .30-06 Winchester
Model 70 National Match Rifles equipped with a
medium heavy barrel for use during the 1955 National
Matches." The recipient of the memo replied on Feb. 7,
1955: "The total number of weapons required for the
1955 Matches is 204." It has been confirmed that the
U.S. Army purchased in excess of 200 Model 70 rifles
between 1954 and 1959, mainly from Van Orden's firm.
They were intended primarily as match rifles and
were not procured for use as sniper rifles.
continued on p. 83

U.S. Military Bolt Action Rifles

A

merican Rifleman Field Editor
Bruce N. Canfield has turned
his attention to an impressive
and comprehensive history of U.S.
Military Bolt Action Rifles, from which
the accompanying article is excerpted.
Starting with the Model of 1871 WardBurton, the U.S. Army Ordnance Dept.
worked through a series of early turnbolt
rifles, including the .45-70 WinchesterHotchkiss, the Remington Keene, the
Chaffee-Reece and the Remington-Lee
before settling on its first smallbore,
smokeless-powder bolt-action rifle in
1892, the Krag-Jorgensen. Of course, the
American bolt-action reached its pinnacle with the Model of 1903, and both it
and the Model 1917 are well-covered.
Particular attention is paid to bolt-

action sniping rifles, including the myriad '03 variants, M1903A4s, M40s and
the M24 SWS rifles used today. Canfield
also covers less well-known bolt guns
used by American troops, such as the
Lee-Navy, the Ross, the Berthier and
the Mosin-Nagant. The book includes
extremely helpful and forthright collector notes for each major model and
variation, as well as serial number data
(more than 80 pages) gleaned from
official records where available.
For enthusiasts and collectors of American martial arms, this is an extremely
valuable, readable reference.
The 8½"x11", 429-pp., hardbound
book includes more than 700 photographs. The price is $59.99, and it is
available from Mowbray Publishing

(Dept. AR), 54 E. School St.,
Woonsocket, RI 02895; (401) 597 5055;
www.gunandswordcollector.com
-Mark a. keefe, IV, edItor In ChIef
April 2011 AmericAn riflemAn

69


http://www.gunandswordcollector.com

American Rifleman - April 2011

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