Make: The receiver was made by Winchester and the rifle was customized by Griffen & Howe. Al Biesen checkered the stock.
Serial Number: 130590
Year of Manufacture: The receiver was made in 1949. We don’t know when the rifle was customized; Given we cannot establish the date of modification, the rifle is ATF classified Modern.
Caliber: .458 Winchester Magnum
Action Type: Bolt Action with Internal Hinged Floorplate Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “NO 2735 GRIFFIN & HOWE, INC. NEW YORK, N.Y.”. The left side of the barrel at the receiver is marked “.458 Win. Mag.”. The right side of the receiver’s chamber ring is marked “130590”. The floorplate of the magazine is engraved with trajectory information from 50 to 250 yards. The belly of the stock is inlet with brass or gold letters reading “RS duP”: our consigner indicated these initials were from a member of the famous du Pont family. The forward scope ring, the top of the bolt handle and the left rear of the bolt are marked “458”. The Leupold scope is marked “M8-6X COMPACT”.
Barrel Length: The heavy barrel is 0.796” in diameter at the muzzle and 22” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass bead held in a fore-aft slot in a ramped base which is integral with a barrel band at the muzzle. The ramp is finely stippled to create a matte finish and reduce glare. The rear sight is a shallow “V” notched express sight dovetailed into a quarter rib fixed to the top of the barrel. The rear face of the leaf is marked “100” on the left side and “YDS” on the right. The top of the quarter rib is scroll engraved in front of the leaf and finely stippled behind the leaf. The top of the receiver is drilled, tapped and filled for a scope mount. There is a quick-release scope mount fixed to the left side of the receiver. A Leupold M8 6 fixed power scope with duplex reticle, is mounted on rings which attach to a block with levers which allow it to be quickly slid off of the base of the mount fastened to the receiver. The block is a marked “GRIFFEN & HOWE INC. NEW YORK”. The flat on the underside of the scope turret block is marked “Y175969” and the ring at the front of the objective is marked “M8-6X COMPACT”. The reticle is a full duplex and the lenses are clear and free of distortion. The objective is about 34mm. The scope does not show any handling marks and is in about Excellent condition.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is a one piece marbled fancy walnut with a lacquered finish except for in the checkered areas. It has a pistol grip, crisply fit with checkered blued steel grip cap, a cheekpiece and a red solid rubber recoil pad with black spacer. The forend has an ebony tip and there are sling swivel studs mounted in the underside of the forend and in the belly of the stock. The grip and forend are checkered with smooth dark fleur-di-lis patterns in the bottom of the forend and in the front face and sides of the grip. Please see our pictures to see how beautiful this stock really is, with its dark marbling running light checkered areas contrasting with the dark smooth areas. There is what appears to be a repaired crack across both sides and the front of the forend tip. There is a tiny ding near the bottom center of the cheekpiece and a tiny ding and light drag line at its bottom rear edge. There are two light marks at the right rear of the buttstock and a few dings near the toe. There is a ding and drag lines on the right side below the front of the port opening, and a few very light scratches and a very shallow bruise on the left side of the forend at the receiver. The checkering is sharp with a spot of light wear near the center of the checkering on the left side of the forend. The LOP measures 13 5/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the recoil pad. The pad shows light wear at the heel and toe, and is becoming hard at the heel and toe, but is still soft in the center and on the edges. The pad is in about Very Good condition. The stock rates in about Very Good to Fine condition and would be excellent except for the forend tip.
Type of Finish: The finish is blued and the bolt, its extractor and the top right of the receiver are jeweled.
Finish Originality: The finish is not original to the receiver, but is probably original to the barrel.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp and pronounced rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 98% of its metal finish. There is thinning on the edges of the barrel band and a light mark in the top rear of the receiver. There is a tiny mark at the hinge pivot of the magazine floorplate and a light scratch near the “200” mark in the center of the floorplate. The bolt knob knurling is sharp. The screw heads are sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fine to Fine Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The rifle is equipped with a Griffin & Howe / Leupold M8-6X Compact duplex reticle scope; the scope is protected by the included rubber Durfee & Deming Inc. (of Beaverton, Ore) tethered cap set, described above in Optics.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “The . 458 Winchester Magnum is a belted, straight-taper cased, dangerous game rifle cartridge. It was introduced commercially in 1956 by Winchester and designed to compete against the .450 Nitro Express and the .470 Nitro Express cartridges found in big bore British double rifles. The .458 Winchester Magnum remains to this day one of the most popular dangerous game cartridges. Many guides in Alaska and Canada carry rifles chambered in this cartridge to provide a defense against the largest bear species for themselves and their clients.”. This is an exceptionally nice looking and well-made rifle. It started out in 1949 as a Winchester Model 70 and was later re-barreled and customized by Griffen & Howe of New York. The pre-1964 Winchester rifles were known for their smooth functioning and quality of manufacture. The rifle has a left-side receiver scope mount base for a quick-detachable offset scope mount and an engraved quarter rib mounted to the barrel with an express sight dovetailed into the rib. The stock was checkered by Al Biesen. known for his fleur-di-leis checkering pattern. He was made famous by author Jack O’Connor who wrote about him in magazine articles. The first rifle he restocked for O’Connor was considered “too pretty” by O’Connor, but the second became O’Connor’s favorite rifle. There are either gold or brass initials inlet into the belly of the stock reading “RS duP”, and our consigner believes this rifle was once owned by a member of the DuPont family. This rifle is in about Fine overall condition. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion. This rifle was featured in Page 92 of Rick Hacker’s “50 Famous Firearms You’ve Got to Own”. This rifle is really beautiful, so please see our pictures!! This will be great for hunting the big bears up in Alaska or any of the African “big five”. You might find a safari rifle that is newer than this one, but we doubt you will find one better looking or better made.