Page 378 - 4090-BOOK3
P. 378

 Complete, Special Order, Factory Engraved, Documented “Ultra Set” of 11 Winchester Model 70 Ultra Grade Featherweight Rifles, All Made in a Different Caliber and Consecutively Serial Numbered
Rock Island Auction Company is pleased to offer this truly rare and exceptional set of eleven Winchester Model 70 rifles to the firearms collecting community. The Ultra Grade rifle set offered here is not only consecutively serial numbered, but all of the 11 rifles were manufactured in a different caliber! This set was never offered to the public and is only the fourth set we know of to ever come to the collector’s market.
the old storage building situated around the factory complex. During this inventory several thousand pieces of super deluxe American black walnut stock blanks were discovered. It was U.S. Repeating Arms' intention to make a big splash back in the manufacturing market and planned on doing so by offering a new and exclusive line of the famous Winchester Model 70.
The premise of this rifle line would be a 100% handmade, custom fit, limited edition and exclusive rifle, that would be factory engraved and gold inlaid. As the U.S. Repeating Arms Company states in the factory letter, “Congratulations on your selection of this Winchester Model 70 now a part of a unique set of 11 rifles consecutively serial numbered and chambered in 11 different calibers known as the ULTRA SET, surely
these rifles each to the above identical specifications. The Ultra Grade rifles offered to the public were manufactured only in .270 Winchester. Mr. Hugh Fletcher (shortly followed by Mr. Richard M. Pelton) was president at the time of initial production of the Model 70 Ultra Grade. The first catalog listing of the Model 70 Featherweight was in the 1981 distributor price list and the concept of the Ultra Grade soon followed. The Ultra Grade disappeared from all lists in 1984.
Fast forward a few years and sales were not as expected for the U.S. Repeating Arms Company. They had sold a very small number of their Ultra Grade rifles. In July of 1984 a U.S.R.A.C. Winchester distributor, was attending a benefit auction at the Buffalo Bill Historical Society. In attendance at the auction were high ranking executives of U.S. Repeating Arms Co., engineers and personnel of the custom shop.
The story behind this set of rifles is fascinating. The history of this
set dates back to the U.S. Repeating Arms Company's purchase of the rights to again manufacture firearms using the Winchester name from the Olin Corporation in the early 1980s. Upon purchasing the rights
to manufacture, U.S. Repeating Arms, funded on borrowed money, made it the first order of business to do a companywide inventory. The
376 inventory process entailed clearing out the “factory stores” which were
to be a treasure to your collection”. The plan was to make 1,000 of

   376   377   378   379   380