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I have a "network" of pawnbrokers I have befriended, and sometimes they'll hook me up with something nice. I had asked one of them a couple of weeks ago to keep an eye out for a nice .30-06 bolt action -- nothing fancy, I just wanted something inexpensive that I could scope and use for the fairly rare occaisions when I hunt an area that offers powerline and gas line right-of-way shooting. He called me this morning and said he had just had something traded in that I might be interested in.

When I got there, he hauled out a Ted Williams Model 53. For those not familiar, this is a Sears-marketed post-'64 Winchester Model 70, a solid rifle, to be sure, but not one I would ordinarily get too excited about. This one, though was unusual --- it was a brand-new-in-the-box 30+ year-old rifle! Not a ding, scratch, or rust spot on it, and absolutely no sign it had ever been fired! He told me it had been traded in right at closing time yesterday, and he could "do me right" if I wanted it. How right? $275! I nearly ripped the seat out of my jeans going for my wallet.

When I got it home, I took the barreled action our of the stock to check for rust. No rust at all, but I got a surprise. The shiny brown finish had me convinced that the stock was "hardwood", but lo and behold, the inside revealed that it is walnut! Very plain walnut, to be sure, and with a pretty unappetizing and cheap-looking stain/finish, but walnut nonetheless.

There was no way I could get out to the range today, but I had to get some idea of how it would shoot. I rummaged in my junk box and -- surprise, again! -- found a two-piece Weaver base and rings that fit perfectly, and mounted an old but reliable Bushnell Sportview 3X9 scope I had on hand.

I have a side-yard 25-yard range next to my house, but if I go across the road (being careful no traffic is coming!) I can get right at 75 yards from the target, and there is a handy power pole right there that I can brace against. I loaded 3 Remington 180 gr. Corelokt rounds, got settled, and fired them at the oversized target I had posted.

Lordy, lordy! I will need to take it to the range to get the zero fine-tuned, but those three Corelokts formed a single-hole perfect cloverleaf!. Folks, this is a homely rifle, but there is no question whatsoever that it is going to be a shooter.

Am I pleased? Guess!:D:D
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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You should be arrested for theft.;) Man what a steal. Long ago are the days when I used to look at guns like this at the Sears Roebuck store. My mom used to have to drag me out of the sporting good section.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Kinda like finding a diamond in a box of rocks! Congrats on the great find.
 

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Nice Going, pisgah!!

No kidding, Davers! Opening that box was sort of like opening a time capsule.:D
THAT IS FANTASTIC!!! Bet it was like opening a time capsule. :) PLEASE keep the box, hanging tags & what ever came with the rifle. You might want to sell it someday and these will make it more valuable.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No question box and papers could add value to it in the future -- but I doubt, even then, the value will be very high. We all know the discount that a Sears stamp imposes on a gun, regardless of who made it, and we all know the knocks against the Post-'64 Model 70 vs. the pre-'64 -- the pushfeed action, the rather clunky stock with its pressed checkering, the cheezy-looking aluminum bottom metal. All true.

But this example has opened my eyes to it's pluses, namely the famous old-style adjustable Model 70 trigger and the very decent Winchester barrel. Put those two together and suddenly she don't look so bad!

If you are like me and believe that beauty is as beauty does, you may want to consider putting a Model 53 on your "cheap sleeper" list.
 

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i still kick myself for a old sears rifle i passed on about 18 yrs ago. it was a belgian made mauser action 30-06 made for sears in around the 50's i think. action was like glass and i could have had it for 175.00. blueing was perfect and only had half a box of shells through it, th eother half came with the rifle. oooooh the heartache of it all.
 

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i still kick myself for a old sears rifle i passed on about 18 yrs ago. it was a belgian made mauser action 30-06 made for sears in around the 50's i think. action was like glass and i could have had it for 175.00. blueing was perfect and only had half a box of shells through it, th eother half came with the rifle. oooooh the heartache of it all.
I could "Kick" myself too, Jim. I once had a Pre '64 Winchester Model 70 Featherweight (Unfired In Carton including tags & such) that I traded for another rifle.
 

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Just picked up a model 53 in 300 win mag for a hunting gun. I was amazed at the accuraccy!!! It shoots groups as tight as my colt/sauer!!!
 

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Good snag, Pisgah!

I am NOT surprised that the wood is walnut. The Ted Williams editions were Sear's "top of the line" offerings, whether they were top of the line of the manufacturer or not. You could get a Savage at Sears, or you could step up and get a Ted Williams edition, kindly like an Eddie Bauer edition of yesteryear or a King Ranch edition of a Ford today or something.

You know, I never really considered Sears rifles a discount item. I'd snag a rifle made for Sears in a heartbeat, especially if it was like yours or a Marlin. As a kid, at least in our household, Sears was a "jewel" in the department store arena. It wasn;t like going to K-Mart or Gibsons (there was no Walmart, remember that??), no, it was more upscale, made all the more memorable by the infrequency of the visits. :D
 

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I have a ted williams 30-06 model 53 in mint condition for sale.. never had a scope on it.. don't appear to ever been shot.. not sure a good asking price so any help would be great.. thanks
 

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Congratulations on the purchase as it's beautiful and you basically stole it. There were a lot of great rifles private labeled by gun manufacturers for Sears, H&R and S&W and others that were real sleepers and few people knew what the were or how great they shot.
 

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As others say, the Sears sporting goods department was where my Mom left me when she went shopping. She knew I wouldn't wander! That 30-06 is the same rifle my Dad bought in 1965 upon returning to the USA from Japan. He still has it, but I don't think he's shot it for several years now. Many deer and many good memories there. Maybe not a collector piece, but it is a family heirloom now. You did good.
 

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accurate rifles live here, ugly dont count, I want shooters. Great purchase
 
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