The story of this website begins long ago - long before anyone imagined the internet.
It was late August and the sun was not yet up as I labored up the rugged mountain trail leading into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State.
50 yards ahead of me, my dad was taking long, strong strides, oblivious to the mile-high air and the steepness of the trail. Just inches behind me, my uncle urged me to pick up the pace, ignoring the fact my legs were only half as long as his. I didn't mind being rushed; we were all eager to get high up on the ridge above us and tucked into our favorite perches before daylight.
It was bear hunting season and the south face of Tonga Ridge was an uninterrupted square mile of blueberry meadow. The long summer days had turned the meadow a flavor of red so brilliant it seemed more dream than reality - a sure sign the berries were ripe and would bring in the bears. This climb, into this special spot was our weekly fall ritual. Every weekend, for as far back as I can remember, Sundays were reserved for church, but Saturdays were devoted to hunting.
These countless excursions into the wilderness helped in many ways to shape the person I would become. They were a catalyst for a closeness with my dad that helped us survive my hard teenage years and forged a friendship which endures to this day. Endless hours in the mountains gave me a deep appreciation for nature and the magnificence of God's creative handiwork. The solitude of being alone with only a rifle and my thoughts afforded me time to learn who I was. Less important, but perhaps more relevant to the visitors of this website, those early years spent in the woods gave me a love for Winchester rifles.
When I was finally old enough to carry a rifle, my dad selected an ancient model 94 chambered in .32 Winchester Special for me to hunt with. The rifle was older than my dad by a couple of decades. It had a chunk of wood missing from the forestock and what little bluing remained had begun to patina into a drab brown. I was around 10 years old at the time and I absolutely loved that gun. During the lazy mid-day hours of the hunt, I imagined the things my rifle must have seen. My mind took me to dusty towns in the grips of lawless villains, or into perilous canyons where my .32 would defend some hapless stage coach by raining fire onto the threat in the cliffs above. My boyhood daydreaming didn't help my success as a hunter, as I never took an animal with that old model 94. However, that rifle captured a piece of my young heart; I had decided I would be a life-long Winchester man.
As young hunters do, I loved to talk with my dad about guns. And as Winchester men, our conversations invariably went to the legendary "Rifleman's Rifle" - the pre-1964 Winchester model 70. As much as I loved my model 94, the model 70 was the rifle I longed to own and hunt with. In my mid-teens, I purchased my first high-power rifle - a 1969 Winchester Model 70 chambered in .30-06. I was elated, believing I finally owned the legendary "Rifleman's Rifle". In fairness, it was a fine rifle; accurate and reliable, earning my trust and giving me many great hunts. It wasn't long, however, before I realized the rifle I had purchased was just a shadow of its predecessor and not really the Rifleman's Rifle at all.
As the years went by, the safe slowly filled with the pre-64 treasures I desired. My own son, Drew, took up use of the post-64 rifle, while I mated a 1955 model 70 action to a Lilja barrel to create the hunting rifle of my dreams. College, marriage, a career and kids had changed many things, but my friendship with my dad and my fixation with the pre-64 model 70 was undiminished.
Years of collecting and restoration projects, as well as custom builds resulted in a stockpile of parts which we began selling off on eBay. As convenient as eBay is, the idea was already incubating in our minds to create a more comprehensive online resource for pre-64 model 70 enthusiasts. Well, life never really takes the course we might choose, and plans to launch this venture were sidelined more than once by the busyness of our careers and then again while my son battled cancer. With my son's cancer now behind us, and my dad having finally sold his business and retired, at long last the time seems right for us to pull the trigger on this new project. My hunting partner has become my business partner and you are reading my ramblings, so the website has evidently launched! Our business philosophy is a simple one: Treat our customers the way we hope to be treated, with honesty, fairness and integrity.
We hope you find this site an interesting, informative and even entertaining place to visit. If you are here looking for a hard-to-find part or two, we'd be thrilled if we can help you complete your rifle. Even if you are just here out of curiosity, we're glad you came and hope you'll shoot us a note to share your thoughts about our new site. Whatever your reason for visiting, we are certainly glad to welcome you here and invite to explore the website.
On behalf of us both,
About the owners:
Andy and Justin Hale are co-owners of pre64win.com.
Andy lives near Seattle in Washington State with his wife Virginia, where they have been married for over 50 years. Andy and Virginia retired in 2015 after 45 years jointly owning and operating a landscape design and maintenance company. Andy and Virginia have two adult children, seven grandchildren and one great grandson. Andy is a lifelong hunter, an avid outdoorsman, and a collector of antique Winchester rifles. Andy is also a vintage Chevy enthusiast and an overseer in his church.
Justin (everyone calls him Jut) lives in Washington and has been married to his wife Kathy for nearly 30 years. Justin and Kathy have 4 children and one grandchild. Justin works for Boeing where he has held roles in aircraft design and in international sales. Justin enjoys most outdoor activities, other than landscaping (Andy cured him of this as a child). He loves to fish and hunt, and enjoys building custom rifles.
Some important details:
pre64win.com is a federally licensed type 1 firearms dealer and is also licensed to sell firearms by the state of Washington. We love God, love America, pay our taxes, and work hard to do everything by the book. This means we charge sales tax for our customers who live in Washington state. We apologize for this added charge to our closest customers, but you can rest assured this money goes directly into Washington State's general fund.
The best thing you will find on this website:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.