Gun Review: Winchester Model 70 Featherweight

 

Like a fine wine or Elle McPherson, some things just get better with age. Others, however, age with the gracefulness of Steven Seagal. With the assistance of Browning and FNH, the Winchester Model 70 has matured and grown into an excellent weapon platform for the nostalgic sportsman who doesn’t want to sacrifice functionality . . .

On rare occasions, being a resident of the Southeastern United States allows me to come into contact with purveyors of fine firearms (read: fellow hoplophiles). On one encounter I met a gentleman who owned an older 1927 Winchester Model 70 and figured it would be a hell of a thing to compare a Model 70 made in the ’20s to a current production rifle.

M70_008

I’m no engineer, so I decided to forego delving into the technical aspects of the rifles and instead focus on comparing their fit, finish, & feel.

Fit
Both the original and current Model 70s gets A+’s across the board. The crown on the older rifle is not as sharp but I doubt that has to do with inferior craftsmanship and more to do with decades of wear and tear. Hell this gun was 60-some years old when I was still in diapers.

M70_002

Finish
The furniture on the original Model 70 is a little nicer than the wood on current production models, but in all fairness, the original rifle had an aftermarket mani-pedi done by a local smith about 30 years ago. Did I mention the local ‘smith also regularly did restoration work for the Smithsonian? If modern production Winnies came with that kind of attention to detail, they’d be triple their current MSRP.

M70_009

Feel
The original Model 70 has, of course fired (tens of?) thousands of rounds through it, so the action has had a 70-year trigger and action job done to an already hand-polished rifle. It’s so smooth, the bolt may as well be resting in a teflon chamber dripping with Astroglide. The new model 70 is stronger but lighter by virtue of CNC machined superior steel. That translates into more recoil, but the Model 70 isn’t a target gun, it’s a hunting rifle.

Enough beating around the bush, though. It’s time to get to what many old-timers or bolt-gun enthusiasts are wanting to hear.

“What the hell is controlled round push feed (CRPFS)?”
It’s an amalgamation of a controlled round feed system (CRFS) and a push round feed system (PRFS). A CRFS gun’s extractor grabs the rim of the cartridge and “controls” it the entire way from the moment it leaves the magazine until it’s in the chamber of the rifle. Whereas a PRFS gun’s extractor doesn’t grab the round’s rim until the bolt is fully closed on a chambered round. The pros and cons of each system can get mind-numbingly technical. All you really need to know is that you can’t easily single load or short stroke a CRFS gun.

M70_004

Now you’re probably thinking,

How the hell can the rifle be both?
Technically it can’t. The CRPFS is basically the Post-1964 Winchester Model 70 action with the lower portion of its bolt face ground flat. This allows the extractor to slide over the cartridge rim without having to skip over it. In theory, you have the advantages of a secure CRFS extractor while being able to single-load like a PRFS gun.

Next question:

Why should I give a damn?
If you’re the average Joe Schmoe hunter, you shouldn’t. It basically doesn’t affect accuracy or the gun’s performance. If you’re a purist or a bench-rest shooter, it matters because the original Winchester Model 70 action is a Mauser action complete with CRFS.

M70_005

 

M70_006

Some people may argue that the weapon’s inability to single-load rounds was the reason it wasn’t adopted for use in official military service. Nevertheless, this reviewer could find no mention among government documents verifying the veracity of that rumor. Sorry guys, I love ya, but I’m not going to submit a FOIA request when I’m already on enough NSA watch lists for posting on this site. My guess would be that the enormous stacks of Springfield ‘03 rifles the military had on hand would have made deploying a whole new weapon system a tough sell to the penny-pinchers in D.C.

The Model 70 earned the title, “The Rifleman’s Rifle” back in its heyday but does it still deserve the moniker? Absolutely.

I took this hard-hitting lightweight blaster to my local range and tested the accuracy of both a cold bore and hot barrel (after 50 rounds). The gun’s point of impact shifted by such a small degree I would be hard-pressed to blame it on anything other than user error.

M70_010

Some may argue that the .30-06 cartridge is too much power for such a lightweight rifle. Those people have never hiked five miles with gear to a tree-stand. The recoil from the Winchester Model 70 can be punishing, but the rifle is designed for a hunter to hike with it all day and shoot sparingly. Not to say that the gun won’t keep ticking after countless (internal) magazine dumps. It will. In fact your shoulder will quit long before the time-tested Mauser action of the Model 70 will give out.

The Model 70 meets and exceeds expectations as a hunting rifle. Sporting a pencil-profile light barrel, the Model 70’s groupings barely grew as the barrel’s temperature increased. And boy did that barrel get hot. After 25 rounds the barrel was too hot to handle without gloves.

I ran two types of ammo through the rifle: Winchester Super-X 180 grain Power-Point and Greek HXP military surplus 152 grain lead core FMJ.

HXP_Surplus

Greek HXP Groupings

Even with surplus ammo the Model 70 was still an effective lead delivery system. This might not be a huge deal to the average hunter who zeros his rifle once a year right before deer season and leaves the gun/optic to gather dust until the following one. But for plinking it’s good to know that your shots are landing where they are supposed to.

WinSuperX

Winchester Super-X Groupings

After blasting away merrily thoroughly testing the firearm I had the bright idea of seeing how the light rifle felt during some off-hand shooting. I was impressed; the gun isn’t balanced like a fine over/under shotgun, but it points easily. I was able to blast bowling pins and plink my Practical Pinger with boring regularity. (Thanks Salute Products!)

The Winchester Model 70 is the quintessential deer rifle for the hunter with too much heavy gear. The Featherweight setup won’t do anything to soak up recoil, but you’ll be praising the weight of rifle when you carry that 10-pointer back to your truck.

Specifications:

Barrel Length:          22″
Overall Length:     42.75″
Length of Pull:       13.75″
Weight:                     7.0 lbs.
MSRP:                      $879.99

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * * *
The Model 70 rocks a classic sporter rifle stock with attractive finish, clean checkering, and beautifully jeweled bolt. The only thing that would have made this any better looking would have bit a deep blue hand-rubbed finish. But that’s a personal preference.

Ergonomics * * * * 1/2
The Model 70 offers a nice balance of functionality and aesthetics. The bolt knob and forearm feature aggressive yet handsome checkering. If the Model 70 sported an adjustable comb and LOP it would be flawless.

Reliability * * * * *
It’s a bolt gun and didn’t experience a single failure in the 300-odd rounds I put through her during the evaluation. I didn’t even manage to short-stroke the rifle while trying to “rapid fire” while plinking. Absolutely perfect.

Customizable * * * * 1/2
Mostly every conceivable accessory that exists for more popular bolt guns like the Remington 700 is available for the Model 70. There are a few exception such as the Accuracy International AICS stock. That said, McMillan makes functionally identical furniture that will work with the Model 70. Basically the only limit is your wallet.

Overall * * * * *
I was completely taken aback by the Model 70’s performance and handling. I had tried similar offerings from Remington, but they felt cheap and their actions weren’t nearly as smooth. If you’re looking for an easy-carrying, hard-hitting hunting rifle, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as handy as the Model 70.

46 Responses to Gun Review: Winchester Model 70 Featherweight

  1. avatarMike S says:

    Ahhh…..you have profiled an object of my desire…..
    One of these in .270 is very possibly my next long gun purchase.

    • avatarMr. Lighter says:

      I have an older (and heavier) model 70 in .270. It’s an absolutely wonderful rifle with a lot of history (it’s been handed down through three generations of family).

      • avatarMike S says:

        Theres only one thing better than a brand-new Model 70, and that’s your grandfather’s Model 70.

        • avatarMr. Lighter says:

          Actually, it was my great-grandfather’s Model 70.

          My AR-15 is fun, but the Model 70 just feels like a real rifle. Hopefully it’ll belong to some future son/daughter of mine one day.

  2. avatarTStanton says:

    Maybe I can’t read. Dan – how far out were you for those groups?

    I guess I should assume 100yds, but just in case….

    • The rifle was reviewed by James Grant. I’ve updated the byline. Pretty sure they were all shot at 100 yds.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        Is that a 6 round group of 3 inches plus at 100 yards? That looks pretty big. My Win 70 .30-06 will group 5 rounds into about 1 1/2 inches with the ocasional 3 round group at 3/4 of an inch or less.

        I’m glad to see that the 70 retains a pretty decent amount of its classic charm. It’s tough to keep up with all of the pre-64 / post 64 / etc. bolt faces. My understanding is that the new controlled feed with push feed is allegedly the best of both worlds. Regardless, it looks like they all still have substantial claws to grab that case rim.

        • avatarJames Grant says:

          That is my mistake, I meant to mention that the groups are at 215 yards (longest available at my range) shot off a sand-bag. I accidently fired a 6th shot because I had topped the gun off. I figured in the spirit of The Truth About Guns I would leave it in, even if it was a flyer.

  3. avatarjwm says:

    I normally shoot heavy milsurp rifles, so recoil really isn’t a problem and I have slip on recoil pads for extended sessions. As for recoil in a hunting rifle? It’s been many years since I hunted. But I very rarely fired more than 2 shots at a given animal. Our hunting rifles were not used as plinkers and once we sighted them in they only got used during season. .22s were our practice rifles.

    We shot much more with our rimfires and our shotguns. Knowing Squirrel, rabbit, duck, geese, pheasant, grouse, quail all were taken with the shotgun. Seasons and limits allowed much more use of shotguns than center fire rifles.

    Knowing what I know now if I was to resume center fire hunting I would buy the lightest rifle possible, probably a single shot like the TC, and put a decent scope on it and call it a done deal.

  4. avatarensitue says:

    As a former collector of M-70′s and a current owner of an original 1938 win. M-70 Super Grade I am ecstatic that the JUNK Winchesters of the 1970′s is over!

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Didn’t it break your heart to see what they did in the 70′s to such a well designed and executed rifle?

      All they needed to do was raise their price a bit to keep up with inflation and then market their rifle as being a step up from the other stuff in the market, particularly the Rem 700. But nope, they couldn’t do that. Had to follow Remington into the basement on quality and cost.

      That said, for an accuracy rifle, the post-68 M70′s are a useful receiver as a starting point. Forget everything but the action, bolt and trigger.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        You are probably the guy to ask this question: what are the comparisons between the M70, the Remington 700 and the Savage action/barrels? All fall into the same price ranges, the major price differentials being in the quality of the stocks–but I am sure there is more to it than that. Care to write about it sometime?

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          It would take a rather lengthy post to fully detail the differences between these actions. I’ll try to write something up, but I don’t have a Savage rifle kicking around the shop to take photos of for detail illustration just now. It’ll be some time before I can have something prepared.

          The biggest differences I’d say are that both Remington and Savage do their utmost to strip out every possible dime of COGS from the product. One of the reasons why Winchester gave up the pre-64 action and level of finish was that their management thought that they couldn’t compete with the Remington 700 product, which uses all manner of tricks (many not seen or noticed by the gun buying public) to reduce COGS. What Winchester’s management failed to realize is that the Remington 700 was such a cheap rifle, with cheap finish, a insufficient extractor and future trigger issues, wasn’t really in the same league as the pre-64 M70. The fit, finish, function, etc on the early 50′s M70′s was quite nice, and they should have marketed it as “the rifle for the discriminating rifleman” instead of trying to compete with a cheap rifle meant for people who only wanted something that went “bang.”

          People who are interested in making a serious study of bolt actions and their attributes, upsides and deficits should start by reading Stuart Otteson’s two-volume set, Bolt Action Rifle, Volume 1 & 2. These are now out of print, but you can get them in CD-ROM form from either Brownells or MidwayUSA.

  5. avatarJustsomeguy says:

    A mani-peddi on the stock? Is this the womans perspective or is TTAG now participating in the feminization of the American male?

  6. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    One of the attentions to detail for accuracy on a M-70 are the guard screws. The front should be tight, the rear snug “enough” but the middle screw should be just snug enough to keep it from backing out. People who really tighten down the middle screw can alter the ability of the rifle to put down good groups.

    As far as I’m concerned, the pre-64 Winchester, especially those made in the early 50′s, are the best of the hunting bolt guns until you get into custom rifles. Many custom rifles continue to be made on Win70 pre-64 actions to this day.

  7. avatarRLC2 says:

    Inherited a 1971 version in .270, with a Weaver 2.5×7 scope and lightened trigger.
    Holds zero all year (pig season in CA) long. Shoots better than me.

    Good info here: http://www.americanrifleman.org/ArticlePage.aspx?id=2046&cid=3

  8. avatarAvid Reader says:

    I have a pre-64 Model 70 in .30-06 that belonged to my father. It’s one of my most cherished possessions. He’s still around (in his late 80s) and although I don’t see him as much as I would like, I feel a special connection with him whenever I get it out of the safe.

    And incidentally, it’s still a tack driver.

  9. avatarRalph says:

    Hell this gun was 60-some years old when I was still in diapers.

    And it will be 100 years old when you’re in diapers again.

    Great review.

  10. avatartdiinva says:

    I have two model 70′s. A 300 winmag Sporter and 243 Featherweight. I was a Remington guy until I bought the Featherweight. It’s the best bolt gun on the market.

  11. avatarjimmyjames says:

    Would love to have one. I sighted in a friend’s bosses gun for him before he headed out on a antelope hunt. 270Win with a cheap ass Simmons scope. Damn if the thing didn’t have one of the nicest triggers out the box I ever seen and it printed a sub 1″ group with Federal Premium ballistic tips. He took a pronghorn at about 150 yds after tracking him about five miles. Sweet gun.

  12. avatarCraig says:

    Savages are still better to me. Sorry.

  13. avatarBlehtastic says:

    Want.

  14. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    One nit to pick: The M70′s first production year (as I recall) was 1937. I think you have a typo there with the “1927.”

    The M70 was preceded in the Winchester inventory by the Model 54, which had many of the same features, just not as attractively presented to the user. The Model 54 was basically a slicked-up 1903 Springfield, with the magazine cutoff removed, the safety changed and the receiver profile cleaned up a bit. The cone breech, Mauser-style extractor and drop-bottom magazine features were retained.

    After 12 years of the M54, the M70 came out in ’37. The big changes were that the front screw was moved out of the recoil lug, the bottom profile of the receiver became flat, with very simple sides, and therefore very simple to inlet, the safety was changed to the horizontally-swinging safety we know today (and three position), as a result the bolt shroud contour could be made much more elegant and simple, the gas dump port was added (the hole on the right side of the front ring, used for dumping blowback gas from a punched primer or failure of the case), and one of the big reasons for the M70′s success (IMO) was that the removed the bolt stop function from the trigger group. A new bolt stop mechanism was added on the left side of the receiver, which enabled Winchester to come up with the M70 trigger mechanism, which was easy to tune and slick up. The M70 trigger is very easy to stone and adjust to make it a very reliable, crisp single-stage trigger.

    Some salient issues to notice between an older (especially pre-WWII) M70 and a new production M70:

    1. The rear sight on the pre-64 M70′s were dovetailed into a feature on the barrel known either as the “wedding band” or “the egg.” Today’s M70′s barrel profiles are smooth from receiver face to muzzle. There was a screw on the bottom side of the wedding band, and sometimes accuracy could be changed by how tightly that screw was snugged down.

    2. Old M70′s almost always came with iron sights. Scopes could be mounted, but most all 70′s I’ve seen prior to ’64 had iron sights from the factory. The Winchester custom shop could produce a rifle without them, however. Old M70′s had two screws on the left side of the action for the mounting of a rear peep sight. I don’t know if the new production M70′s retain the two pre-drilled/tapped screw holes on the left side of the receiver for Williams/Redfield/Lyman peeps. I’d guess that with a slick barrel with no front sight that there’s no provision for peeps without taking it to a ‘smith for mounting a front sight as well.

    3. The pre-war M70′s (and into 1947, as Winchester worked off pre-war inventory – up to about s/n 80,000, with some exceptions afterwards) had a rear tang with what was known as a “cloverleaf” outline. I’d need to find a picture to make this clear to people. Winchester eliminated the cloverleaf tang because under hard recoil, it caused some stocks to split in the grip area.

    One of the reasons why the pre-64 M70′s command a premium is the woodwork. The barrel channel on the post-64 M70′s was large enough to get crap wedged in there. They called them “free floating barrels – just like on the accuracy rifles!” Yea, well, when I float a barrel, you can fit a couple sheets of paper between the barrel and the stock. On a post-64 M70, you can stuff a fat piece of cardboard in between the barrel and the wood. It looked ridiculous.

    Winchester also went from nice woodwork (nice checkering, such as you see above) to pressed checkering, covered with high-gloss, sprayed-on finish. It looked like congealed crap. Custom stockmakers did a booming business in post-64 rifles. The rifles shot well, but their stocks looked like something out of an amateur’s hack shop, they were so bad. The bottom metal on the post-64 M70′s went to an aluminum floor plate and trigger loop, and as I’ve said before: One of the requirements of a “nice gun” is that there be no aluminum on the gun – anywhere. Post-64′s had aluminum in the sights and bottom metal, and that, coupled with the crappy checkering filled with spray-on high-gloss finish, earned Winchester a boatload of wrath from the American gun buying public.

    Today’s M70′s got rid of the crappy finish and they now used cut (albeit machine cut) checkering instead of the pressed-in checkering, and their finish is vastly improved.

    I have to say, however, that the modern barrel crown in the picture above is horrific, an aesthetic disaster. But that’s just me. Others might not object.

  15. avatarBobS says:

    Yeah, I want one (Two actually, in diff calibers). They have been on back-order since Jan.

  16. It’s lamentable the new and improved Winchester Model 70 isn’t chambered
    in 7mm Mauser (7×57); this perhaps remains the finest dual purpose deer/
    elk caliber extant. Originally developed in 1892 by Paul Mauser of Germany
    the 7mm Mauser or 7×57 was formerly the standard military caliber of
    Spain, Mexico, Central America, and half of South American governments.
    These Latin American countries, including Spain (1893), equipped their
    Armies with 7mm Mauser bolt action rifles to arm soldiers. The 7mm
    Mauser is historical, versatile, classic, and venerable and would qualify
    on all counts for the annual deer/elk hunter who desires to fill the family
    freezer with vension and elk meat. Even for moose and caribou. Naturally
    both the .30-06 Springfield and .270 Winchester qualify as well. Why so
    many different rifle calibers today? Many originated after World War II
    (1939-1945). Obviously improved modern smokeless powders, better
    primers, and superior bullet design made sense. But again, why so damned
    many rifle calibers today , many of which duplicate and overlap in ballistics?
    Why not “keep it simple stupid!”

    A modern bolt action sporter rifle chambered in 7mm Mauser (7×57) and
    fitted with a quality 4x scope is all the average North American big game
    hunter needs. Remember bullet placement, not caliber, kills!

      • avatarBarney says:

        Further, you do know 7mm-08 essentially duplicates the ballistics of the 7×57 and is much more common, right?

    • avatarMartin B says:

      That’s funny. My Model 70 Black Shadow (the cheapie) is in 7mm08 (=7 X 51) which is a short variant of the 7 X 57, based on the Win .308 round. I picked my rifle as it was the only Model 70 in stock at the time of a sale, and I hung on to it grimly until a salesman hove into view to complete the sale. The plastic stock might be a bit nasty, with rubberised hand and forward grip areas. I read of a guy who changed his stock for the wood featherlight version, but noticed a sunstantial increase in recoil as a result. The ballistic profile of the 7mm08 is such that beyond 200 yards it flies faster and therefore hits harder than the .308, and is also flatter shooting. But as soon as I ran the bolt I knew that this was a piece of exceptional quality, regardless of external appearance. No regrets at all. And it fits a 4X Nikon scope as well! There ya go.

  17. avatarBarney says:

    “Controlled Round Push Feed”

    This webiste keeps using that phrase, I do not think you know what it means.

    THIS: http://www.gunblast.com/images/FN-PBR/DSC04231.jpg
    is a controlled round push feed bolt.

    THIS: http://huntforever.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/5-jrs.jpg
    is a controlled round feed bolt.

    Now which one looks like what is featured on the rifle you reviewed? That’s right, current model 70s are CONTROLLED ROUND FEED.

    • avatarScott says:

      Yup, I was thinking the same thing. The CRPF bolts are from the New Haven-era M70s (1992-2006).

      True CRF bolts are the bomb.

  18. avatarAl Bondigas says:

    All those graceful curves ruined by a bolt that, the posterior of which, looks like an amputated pickle.

  19. avatarfanfare ends says:

    Another potentially interesting TTAG review ruined with dumb, snarky writing.

    You know what they say about guys who brag about their sexual exploits?

    Here’s a hot tip. Writers who name drop hot models and mention sodomy lubricant certainly aren’t getting anywhere near the former, and their writing deserves the latter.

    REVIEW THE DAMN GUNS – keep your gutter mind to yourself.

  20. avatarDon says:

    Such a poor review on so many levels. While I know nothing of the author, I’d guess from the article that the majority of their experience and tastes in rifles lies with shooting .223 AR’s. I question how the author can feel qualified to write such a review.

    “With the assistance of Browning and FNH, the Winchester Model 70 has matured and grown into an excellent weapon platform for the nostalgic sportsman who doesn’t want to sacrifice functionality . . .” Do you really think it took Browning and FHN to “mature” the M70 into a decent “weapon platform”? Hmmm, makes me wonder about the pre 64′s, that are revered by so many. While even the standard production ’64 to 2006 rifles disappointed a number of people (when comparing them to per 64′s) they were still better built rifles than much of the competition. They just couldn’t live up to their previous reputation.

    “I’m no engineer, so I decided to forego delving into the technical aspects of the rifles and instead focus on comparing their fit, finish, & feel.” Well this is a gun review right? You don’t need to be and “engineer” to understand some of the most important aspects of a rifle. You’d think the gas ports, barrel shroud, 3 postion safety, one piece bolt design, full length extractor, intergral recoil lug, etc, etc, etc, would all be very important aspects of a rifle to consider when doing an actual “review”. The article did get into CRF vs. push feed, but there’s significant inaccuracies with that portion of the article.

    Oh yeah, did you know that first year production of M70 was in 1936? I don’t know where the 1927 model came from.

    “Ergonomics * * * * 1/2
    The Model 70 offers a nice balance of functionality and aesthetics. The bolt knob and forearm feature aggressive yet handsome checkering. If the Model 70 sported an adjustable comb and LOP it would be flawless.” Aggressive?? Does that accurately describe it? I don’t think so. However, here’s the real offending comment… It should have an adjustable comb and LOP??? Oh my, that would absolutely ruin such a rifle. What can I say here, this writer doesn’t get it, and it seems obvious to me they aren’t a hunter either when I read comments about “carrying” game from the field. I also mention that lighter, slightly compact rifles without 24″ barrels are not just for hunters that have “too much heavy gear”.

    I’ll briefly mention that rifles are not suppose to be “balanced like a fine over under shotgun”.

    “The recoil from the Winchester Model 70 can be punishing” Hmmm… You never mentioned that the gun you reviewed weighs in at 7 lbs, which is NOT a 6ish pound ultralight rifle these days. You also never mentioned the Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad that helps to mitigate felt recoil. I’m really disappointed when someone writes about “punishing recoil” from a .30-06 in a 7 lb rifle with a premium recoil pad. This isn’t a man up comment… but a person needs to learn how to shoot a hunting rifle with a very common cartridge first, before feeling qualified to make such a comment. Those words demonstrate a real lack of experience IMO.

    Yes, my words are strong here, but this article does little for me in terms of adding to any credibility of this website. Yes… I’m disappointed. …and I didn’t even get into my thoughts on the authors comments referencing a sex lubricant when trying to describe the old rifles action.

    I will say that it might have been worthy to actually do a comparison of the two models triggers and then even mention something at all about what the trigger felt like on the current production rifle. … The use terms that mean something to gun people like “creep” “takeup” “overtravel” crisp vs mushy” etc would have been useful.

    Lastly, while it never saw standard issuance, the Mod 70 did indeed see some military use as a sniper rifle, even though many people are only aware of the Rem M700 seeing this use.

    Like I said, lots of problems with this article.

  21. avatarKingHayes173 says:

    One word describes the Model 70: Practi-cool!

  22. avatarPLHDZ says:

    Where is the barrel of the new Model 70 manufactured? Thanks

  23. avatarAbraham says:

    I served in the US army and I could have sworn that the M70 served in the Vietnam war special forces snipers I thought used it.

    • avatarJames P Barnett Jr says:

      It did. Ask some of the fellows that Gunny Hathcock reached out to

      • avatarAbraham says:

        Oohh cool thanks man :-) I also saw on the history channel they where going through sniper rifles and all and they mentioned that the Model 70 served in Vietnam and special forces used it. I have one :-) and it’s sssooooo cooooooll lol
        I have the synthetic black stock on her and I’ll tell you what it sure does let you know you pulled the trigger haha thanks for the reply man

  24. avatarJames P Barnett Jr says:

    I own a pre war Model 70 stamped .30 GOV’T 06. It is a killing machine. The action has been cycled so many times the lugs are truly hand lapped. I also own a Model 70 featherweight Classic from the early 1990s. This rifle is chambered in 6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. This rifle too is incredibly accurate and reliable. It also has the benefit of being virtually recoil free. It is not hand made like my pre-war one is but it’s is an outstanding rifle. I did remove the “new” Winchester trigger and put a fine Timney trigger in it with about 2+ lbs pull. My pre-war Model seventy wears a 2×7 Weaver Widefield from the early 1960s with a Redfield Jr base. The newer Model 70 is fitted with a Zeiss using S & K bases and rings. As my old Daddy would say “…it’s slicker’n a mink.”

  25. avatarJosh says:

    I read all your comments and liked them all. I have to say my old man has a 70 featherweight chambered in the BOB and with out a doubt that piece of weapondry is like a very very fine lady. I am 40 years old and in the deer season of 2012 I was getting ready to go out to hunt in northern michigan with my 30-30 my old man said take the BOB I said no , he said yes, ill take my 1917 enfield in 30-06. I said ok and when I walked out the door he said”if you put a scratch on that ill kick your ass” I shot a deer 2 hours later. No scratches.

    • avatarJames P Barnett Jr says:

      My pre-war Model is all milled steel. The Classic Featherweight has some “issues”. The bolt release is stamped steel. It pivots about one of the pins that holds the trigger in place. The hole stamped in the bolt release is too large and the Spring a little weak. And do the bolt release tended to wobble. I tweaked this when I replaces the trigger with two nylon washers. I drilled the holes in the washers a few thousandths undersized. I put one washer on either side of the bolt release. No more wobble.

      The bottom metal on my pre-war is known as two piece an dustily uses three machined bolts/screws. See note above re same. The bottom metal on the Classic is one piece. It is steel but not machined to save weight I have heard. New steel bottom metal can be breathtakingly expensive. It can easily run $450.00. But it is beautiful and sounds do much better when closed. The Oberndorf release is more appealing to me also.

      I put a Dakota grip cap on the pistol grip but left it unblued. I always polishing it. I also installed a Pachmayr decelarator. It increases the length of pull slightly and frankly there is virtually no felt recoil. I like the S & K Scope Mounts and Rings. I put a David Tubb firing pin and silicone spring in the bolt. You must also purchase another bolt shroud. With the 2 pound Timney Trigger and the Tubb firing pin and spring the lockup is frighteningly quick. For my purposes instantaneous. Been using Norma brass Remington large rifle primer and IMR 4831 pushing Nosler 140 grain partitions right at 2,800. These rounds when well placed are devastating one hit wonders on Texas Whitetails,hogs & coyotes. My father built some kind of rifle for beach grandson then shot the hell out of it so that by the time grandson received it was in his words slick as a mink. That’s the path I am taking with the Classic Featherweight in 6,5×55 SE for my Grandson Jameson Brooks Barnett.

      I am 64 6’3″ and go about 247. I shot the pre-war Model 70 in ’06 with the Neidner style steel butt plate for 25 years. Recoil is not an issue. She’s my baby and smooth as silk it has the old model 70 trigger that has been worked over by a very competent trigger smith. I have no gauge but guessing it breaks about 2 lbs possibly just less. I have been 3 years building a new stock. Except for power drill to drill the holes for the action screws.

      I rebuilding the pre-war model right now. Started with a “nice” piece of walnut. Three years later using hand tools only it is really starting to look nice. Will post
      Pictures of both as I learn how to do so

  26. avatarJerry says:

    I’ve owned a model 70 Lightweight for since the early 90s. I traded a 9mm pistol for it. I mounted a Redfield Tracker 3x9x40, that my father gave me in 1983. I still hunt with this same set up. Rarely have I had to fine tune the accuracy of this combination. When I put the cross hairs on a deer and pull the trigger, we’re eating meat. I love this rifle.

  27. However, as we are all aware, nothing is perfect.

  28. avatarAnthony Huskey says:

    I have a 1981 model 70 featherweight in .270, that i have over 200 kills with-it’s priceless to me-my go to rig…..also bought a vault queen last year-a 1982 model 70 featherweight for my wife in .270 after she tried to take mine from me-we take the twins when we talk serious bullet placement-drop them in their tracks

  29. avatardale race says:

    Don got it right. The review is full of the kind of inaccuracies that betray a superficial knowledge of firearms. At least the author didn’t refer to “winnies”.

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