Gun Preview: Winchester Model 70 Featherweight .30-06

The Grants check out Winchester’s re-born legend. And like it.

comments

  1. avatar Cameron says:

    Can’t wait to read how it stacks up against newer rifles, and also previous models

  2. avatar jwm says:

    The .30-06 was one of my favorite rounds for years. It’s a very versetal round that comes close to being the one round does it all. If you were restricted to 1 center fire rifle it would be a good choice.

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      DG seems to like .30-06.

      From what I understand, it’s a .308 but longer case, right? Same bullets, though? So a reloader has even more leeway on tweaking rounds up and down.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The .30-06 uses the same bullets up to about 200 grains. A .30-06 bolt gun can use loads with bullets up to, oh, I dunno… 230 grains (or more), whereas I’ve never seen the .308 loaded with more than 190 or 200 grain pills.

        1. avatar Gyufygy says:

          Someday, I’d like to get a bolt action and a reloading setup to do some 300-600+ yard target shooting. Was figuring I’d go with a .308, but it sounds like .30-06 might be the way to go. Cool. Thanks.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          The heaviest factory loaded bullets for the .308 that I have seen were the 190 grainers. The case on the .308 is 51 mm long so that heavy bullet has to push into the case and take up room that could have been used for powder. The .30-06 has a case of 63 mm long. More room for heavier bullets and powder.

          The .30-06 was developed in 1906 for the Springfield military bolt action and the .308 was designed in the 1950’s to replace it. Just working from memory here but I believe the .308 was developed off the .300 savage round.

        3. avatar GS650G says:

          A longer case doesn’t automatically translate into more power or greater performance. The type of powder and relationship between the bullet and primer introduces a lot of variables. One advantage might be cancelled out by another disadvantage. While it’s reasonable to expect a heavier bullet with more powder means more performance it’s really up to the combination and the gun it’s in to deliver a result.

          The .308 has an excellent reputation for accuracy, and indeed some of the longest shots taken use the round. If there is a need for something bigger than a .308 consider one of the Really Big Rounds and use a shoulder pad.

        4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          For target shooting out to 600 yards, the differences between the .30-06 and the .308 will be very difficult to discern.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          My son recently bought his first hunting rifle. A Savage in .308. For a time he could not get ammo to sight in or practice with. The ammo situation is easing a little now. But during the worst of the draught .30-06 was available at the local stores. Something to consider.

        6. avatar Gyufygy says:

          Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

  3. avatar Barney says:

    You got a few things wrong:

    1. The current manufactured Winchester 70 is most definitely a controlled feed action. Loading straight to the chamber is accomplished by the extractor being beveled to pop over the rim. This DOES NOT make it controlled round push feed that is a different action entirely.

    2. FN brought the Model 70 back in 2008, so why do you make it sound like it just came out again?

    3. A controlled round push feed action does not have a mauser claw extractor, it has a “clip style” extractor, see a Sako bolt/action. The model 70 in your video is a full on controlled round feed action, just with a beveled extractor.

  4. avatar Haupt says:

    Yeah we have that puppy in the safe, collecting dust for a half a decade now

  5. avatar mp504 says:

    First off, The young lady in the picture has NOT been taught proper firearm procedure. To place a rifle in the hands of an inexpierenced shooter is just STUPID!
    A 30-06 is more than capable of knocking her flat on her posterior.
    Now, lets get the .308 part cleared up. The 30-06 was for many years the standard cartridge for the military. Back in the 50’s the military decided that they needed a new cartridge for the m-14. As a result the 7.62×54 was deveolped. It became known as a .308. It was in actualality a 30-06 short.

    Both were excellent for the purpose they served. The M-14 was a revamped M-1, with a detachable 20 rnd. box magazine. As a young soldier I was trained with the M-14. It was an excellent firearm, that could be fired after having been dropped in the mud. Weight in both the firearm and ammo was what helped kill it off as an infantry weapon.

    But none of this has anything to do with the post, other than my observation of the way in which the young lady was being improperly trained in the art of shooting.

    1. avatar Pat says:

      I think the .308 is 7.62 x 51 with the Ruskies using the 7.62 x 54 and the .30-06 being 7.62 x 63.
      Leaving out ammo weight (a far bigger issue than gun weight), the fact that you could not shoot the gun on full auto was another reason, as they tried to field a gun that could play many (too many) roles. It turned out to be a great firearm in its own right (squad designated marksman) that can work In tandem with a crew using the AR, which it can back up and support.

  6. avatar Ropingdown says:

    Having used a new-production controlled-feed Win Model 70 .30-06 for two seasons now, I’m impressed with the quality. The accuracy is very good and the action is smooth. The safety is the same as I’ve used for years. Fit and finish are high-quality. I have a heavier model, but I’m sure the action’s strength and smoothness will be the same on the Featherweight. I’ll keep it.

  7. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The “controlled round feed” feature starts back in the days of the Mauser 98.

    The Mauser, as designed by Peter Paul Mauser, actually started out with an extractor very much like the post-64 Winchester Model 70, a sliding, spring-loaded piece of tool steel in the face of the right bolt lug. The German armaments board wanted a more robust extractor, told Mauser to re-submit his rifle with a new extractor, and so we got the extractor now credited to Mauser.

    The upside of the original Mauser (and then Springfield ’03, Winchester 70 and a couple other rifles) using controlled round feed was that you could slow-cycle the bolt while standing on your head doing a somersault and the rifle would feed. The top of the cartridge rim is grabbed under the extractor, against the front of the bolt, before the round clears the magazine. By the time the nose of the round is entering the chamber, the case is clearing the magazine rails, and the case rim is now held securely against the bolt face by the extractor.

    Another upside of the Mauser 98 extractor (but not necessarily Mauser style extractors) is that the design of the extractor and the half-dovetail cut in the bolt near the nose means that the harder you try to extract a round, the harder the extractor is pushed into the cartridge. Not too many other extractors increase their gripping force the harder you try to extract.

    The downside of the CRF setup used to be that you couldn’t put a round in the chamber and slam the bolt home – the extractor wouldn’t jump over the rim. Well, that was solved decades ago by gunsmiths. They put a bevel on the front of the extractor, as depicted in the video above, and they modified the extractor tension spring – that’s the part of the extractor in the middle of the bolt. If that part of the extractor is made a bit thinner (by judicious use of polishing cloth or a small grinding drum on a Foredom or Dremel tool), you can make the extractor spring weak enough to allow it to jump over a case head in front of the bolt when you close it.

    Another downside of CRF is having to make a provision for the extractor. Either the breech of the barrel needs an extractor cut made into it (Springfield ’03 or Win70), or you need some provision like the C-ring on the Mauser 98 action. Either way, it involves a bit more machining in the rifle’s receiver (in the Mauser) or the barrel (’03 or Win70) above and beyond what you see in push-feed rifles like the Rem 700.

    1. avatar Ropingdown says:

      Dyspeptic: Do you think the ability to directly chamber a round with the current Model 70 and then extract it successfully is reliable enough for use under (bear) pressure? I’m no gunsmith! (Yes, I realize the rounds in the magazine should suffice. Laugh.)

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I can’t speak to the recent Model 70’s, because I haven’t bought one. I have older Model 70’s and a rifle from about, oh, 1995 or so that was the “re-introduction” of the Model 70.

        In a dangerous game situation, why would you want to mess about with dropping a round into the chamber, rather than feeding from the magazine?

        1. avatar Ropingdown says:

          -Speed, because I’ve used up what’s in the magazine, may need one more, and, who knows, may need on more than that. Especially in the .375, which has a capacity of 3. No big deal. Just fishing for free expertise on the effectiveness of the innovation you described. I don’t expect to need the technique, but then I don’t expect lots of things… I enjoy your posts when you get down to the metal. Thanks.

        2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          In that situation, you could probably cram one into the magazine as fast as you could stuff it into the chamber. The bolt has to be full open either way.

          The best way to reload a bolt gun quickly is with a stripper clip, but that’s a technique gone by the wayside for some time now. If you have access to pre-war Model 70’s, you’ll notice that some of them still had the guides for reloading the magazine from stripper clips.

    2. avatar Jim B says:

      A push feed will feed standing on your head, upside down and all too. That is a myth as to why Mauser invented the controlled feed action. It’s real purpose, besides being smoother feeding, is that it prevents double feed jams.

      On a push feed gun if you start to chamber a round and it pops out of the magazine then pull the bolt back again and try to chamber another the two will wedge together in what is known as a double feed jam. In some cases it takes a tool to clear the rifle.

      If you do the same thing with a controlled feed action, the first round will eject and the second round will chamber. This was seen as a huge advantage in war when panic and double feed jams happen. The same with dangerous game hunting.

      The reason controlled feed actions disappeared for years is that they are more expensive to make. For decades none were being made in the US or in the so called Free World for that matter. When CNC machinery came along it was a game changer. Before CNC people had no choice but to buy a push feed rifle unless they could somehow get their hands on a BRNO.

      That of course has changed. Now there are more controlled feed rifles being mad than I can count. All of them to my knowledge will feed a single round dropped in the chamber, no problem. Why the Mauser couldn’t unless altered is a mystery to me. I have heard it was a requirement of the German military that it be built so. To what purpose, I can’t say. It is interesting that the Springfield, which is a Mauser copy, not only could feed single rounds dropped in the chamber, it was designed with a magazine cut-off to facilitate just that. The idea being a soldier could single load and keep his magazine full in case he needed it.

      Oh, and between the 30-06 and the .308 there isn’t much difference when using the bullets they were designed for, 150 grain. The .308 is theoretically more accurate but individual rifles have more to do with accuracy that the cartridge. When it comes to heavier bullets the 30-06 wins. So if you want a rifle for everything the 30-06 is the way to go. If you want a rifle for only deer the .308 will work fine with slightly less recoil due to less ejecta in the form of powder.

      I have both.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        As I noted above, it is entirely possible (and frequently done by gunsmiths) to modify a Mauser extractor to pop over a single-fed round. All that is necessary is to a) grind the bevel on the front of the claw, and b) thin the spring area of the extractor (mid-bolt, rear of the retention collar) to allow the spring to flex inwards as the claw goes over the rim.

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