In the 1950s, the sounds of rock and roll were filling the airwaves across the nation. Transistor radios were all the rage and one innovative shop at Winchester came up with an idea—why not combine two great American classics? So in 1955, they took a prototype .308 Model 70 and built a transistor radio into the right side of the buttstock.
While a novel idea, this Winchester Model 70 with a radio in the stock was never mass produced. Photo by Michael Ives
A series of holes were carved in a trademark “W” outline that allowed the sound to be heard. The inset radio was fitted with matched wood tuning and volume control knobs. The builders completed the look with a flashy chrome finish and marketed it at trade shows around the country.
Unfortunately, the radio received better reception than the radio rifle did, as sportsmen realized that “Hound Dog” blaring from a tree stand would scare off the deer. Others felt that the heavy recoil of some cartridges might quickly render the radio useless. Thus, Winchester decided not to go into full production with the concept, and this single prototype rifle was the only one ever made.
This gun, plus many other historic treasures, can be seen at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va., located on the first floor of NRA Headquarters.