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 New Haven, Connecticut in the 1920s to a current production rifle (made in Columbia, South Carolina).
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, and feel.
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.
The walnut stock on the classic Featherweight is a little nicer than the wood stock on new rifles, 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.
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. (Newer Winchester rifles feature Winchester’s M.O.A. Trigger System, which boasts zero creep, zero overtravel and zero take-up.) 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 Winchester Featherweight isn’t a target gun, it’s a big game hunting rifle.
Enough beating around the bush, though. It’s time to get to what many oldtimers 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 claw 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.
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.
“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 benchrest shooter, it matters because the original Winchester Model 70 action is a Mauser action complete with CRFS.
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 old 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 bolt-action hunting rifle 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.
Some may argue that the .30-06 cartridge is too much power for such a lightweight rifle. Those people have never had to lug gear five miles to a tree-stand. The recoil from the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight 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 22-inch barrel, the Model 70’s shot groups 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.
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 zeroes 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.
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 this bolt-action rifle when you carry that 10-pointer back to your truck.
Barrel Length: 22″
Overall Length: 42 3/4″
Length of Pull: 13 3/4″
Weight: 7.0 lbs.
Drop at Comb: 1/2″
Drop at Heel: 3/4″
Magazine Capacity: 5
Twist Rate: 14″
Barrel Finish: Brushed Polish
Stock Finish: Satin
Wood Grade: Grade I
Receiver Finish: Brushed Polish
Chamber Finish: Polished Barrel
Barrel Contour: Featherweight
Stock: Black Walnut (with Schnabel fore-end and satin finish)
Recoil Pad: Pachmayr Decelerator
Pistol Grip Cap: Gloss Polymer
Checkering: Cut 20 LPIx
Safety: Three-position safety
Sling Swivel Studs: Gloss Blue
Receiver Material: Steel
Trigger Finish: Brushed Polish
Bolt Slide Finish: Jeweled (knurled bolt handle)
Magazine Type: Hinged Floorplate
Trigger Material: Stainless Steel
Trigger Guard Material: Alloy
Trigger Guard Engraving: None
Floor Plate Material: Steel
Drilled and Tapped for Scope: Yes
Available Chamberings: 22-250 Rem, 243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem, 308 Win, 270 WSM, 300 WSM, 325 WSM, 25-06 Rem, 270 Win, 30-06 Spfld, 264 Win Mag, 300 Win Mag
MSRP (new): $1,009.99
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style * * * * *
The Model 70 rocks a classic sporter rifle stock with attractive finish, clean, cut 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.
More from The Truth About Guns:
Gun Review: Remington Model 700 VS
Ahhh…..you have profiled an object of my desire…..
One of these in .270 is very possibly my next long gun purchase.
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).
Theres only one thing better than a brand-new Model 70, and that’s your grandfather’s Model 70.
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.
I bought one of the New Haven Model 70s in 243 WSSM and it does what I want in a rifle. Very accurate with a Vortex Crossfire 3X9X50 scope. It is the heat for coyotes using 55 grain, deer with 95 or 100 grain. Now that Winchester has started making the ammo again, I bought enough to last me the rest of my life. I am only 80 years old and love to shoot a versatile caliber.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
got ta say..the 1970’s model 70’s were a let down in terms of looks..pressed checkering(ugly),,but
the ones I’ve owned over the years never failed the function properly, were accurate, didn’t cause any
problems with the push feed action..after all knowbody complains about the Remington and savage
push feeds…I’ve owned them all…and when my money I’ve spent on expensive hunting is on the line
my 1980 pre-usra 30-06 featherweight(push-feed) 2×7 leupold is always my go to choice…
Years ago I owned a Winchester 670 in 300win mag. Very cheap looking with pressed checkering and all. The funny thing is, it would shoot 1/2 groups all day as long as I didn’t flinch. I think just for old times sake (45yrs later)), I going to buy a new Feather Weight in 22/250 to chase coyotes with……
A mani-peddi on the stock? Is this the womans perspective or is TTAG now participating in the feminization of the American male?
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.
DG, thank you for that screw-tightness tidbit. Cut & pasted for later reference. Cheers!
I own a dozen model 70s. The new ones are very bit as good as the old ones. tI have a 1942, a couple of 1985s, the rest are pretty current. I was a friend of Jack O’Connor. I have a JOC .270, a .257 Roberts, 30-06, the rest are .243. Several are Super Grades. The current rifles workmanship is exceptional.
Could you post some torque specs for those screws?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Savages are still better to me. Sorry.
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.
I have inherited both a model 54,(my grandfathers) and pre-64 M-70 30.06, and a featherweight .308 ( the .06 was dad’s and the .308 mom’s). I enjoyed many seasons hunting with all 3. Lately I’ve found the featherweight .308 to be a great gun for whitetail; a little easier to pack, and just as smooth and accurate as the others. I’ve never hunted with any other rifles, so I don’t have any thing to compare to. I just love these guns. I’ve climbed high country for mulies, and bushwhacked for whitetail. These rifles have never let me down in 44 years of hunting.
I own quite few rifles and was a friend of Jack O,Connor. I believe recessed target crown barrels look good and protect the rifling. Dakota recommends them! They are an expensive feature and regular gunshops cannot do this work.
Current Winchester Model 70 rifles are lazer cut checkering with a few exceptions. I
have from 1942 to current (2016) from JOC, Super Grade, Featherweight, High Grade Featherwieight Lightweight, etc. I own one Browning X Bolt and that too is a beauty. My firm conclusion is modern Winchester Model 70s are excellent. Compared to any rifle, anywhere. My only synthetic stocked model 70s are a Sporter 24 inch barrel 1985 and a pretty New but already no longer available .243 Ultimate Shadow Stainless Steel barrel and action. I own about 6 custom stocks for those two rifles. The Ultimate Shadow is the only synthetic stock I like. The Sporter should be stocked with a Boyd Stock Black Laminate but my son thinks the after market synthetic is more appropriate, bad call I think.
Yeah, I want one (Two actually, in diff calibers). They have been on back-order since Jan.
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!
The model 70 IS chambered in 7×57 Mauser this year: http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/catalog/detail.asp?family=001C&mid=535109
Further, you do know 7mm-08 essentially duplicates the ballistics of the 7×57 and is much more common, right?
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.
As to 7×57 I would look close at 7mm08 or 6.5 Creedmore. I myself prefer the .257 Roberts way over the 7×57 due to availability. I have an autographed copy of Jack O’Connor’s The Hunting Rifle published in 1970, JOC sent it to me when I got drafted
Out of Lewiston, Idaho.
“Controlled Round Push Feed”
This webiste keeps using that phrase, I do not think you know what it means.
is a controlled round push feed bolt.
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.
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.
My M70 is a post 2006 model made by FN and it has the CRPF bolt. (Actually I may have to check that, it may be a ’06 model but it is a FN made M70) It has the exact same action and bolt as my FN SPR A1. And they both came factory bedded (my winchester has a much cleaner bed job than the SPR though). They will both single load rounds.
I have to say I like alot of rifles out there but hands down the FN made Winchester M70’s are the best on the market today. They have one of the strongest actions with a thick integral recoil lug, great trigger and beautiful fit/finish. (all the wood stocked versions and the ones with the B&C stocks)
All those graceful curves ruined by a bolt that, the posterior of which, looks like an amputated pickle.
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.
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.
One word describes the Model 70: Practi-cool!
practi-cool is a MUCH better term and has functionality rather than the cringe worthy term of “tacti-cool”.
I cant stand how everything is “tactical” today. “Check out my tactical pants with my tactical pen and my dura-coated tactical toothbrush dudes!”
Don’t forget your Tactical Bacon to go with that!
(yes, there really is such a product–Google will prove this)
Gotta admit, that Winchester M70 is looking pretty good. It’s unfortunate that the push-feeds took such a publicity hit, because they seem just like the Rem 700’s that way, and Rem 700’s are good rifles. I tried out a Black Shadow, and it seemed to shoot pretty darn well, better than I can, anyhow (not that that’s saying much). The rifle also just felt very solid.
Maybe if I can find a used push-feed M70 for a good price, since people don’t seem to like ’em…that might be a good prospect!
Where is the barrel of the new Model 70 manufactured? Thanks
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.
It did. Ask some of the fellows that Gunny Hathcock reached out to
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
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.”
i have a model 70 featherweight in the classic 6.5×55 love the rifle.I have taken black bear in Maine and deer here in York county Pa. . I wouldn’t trade it for the world it has been my go to rifle since 1991. This is a rifle and caliber combo that deserves more attention from American hunters.
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.
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
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.
However, as we are all aware, nothing is perfect.
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
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”.
The Winchester Model 70 is a fine rifle. Although I like the Ruger better in my rifle collection. I owned Rugers, Winchesters, and Remingtons. I always got Sub-MOA with all my Rugers; Ruger M77 Mark II .223 Remington, Ruger M77 Mark II .270 Winchester, Ruger M77 Mark II .30-06 Springfield, Ruger M77 Mark II .338 Winchester Magnum, and last but not least, Ruger M77 All Weather .22 Hornet (best on the .22 Hornet was 1″ MOA), and all my rifles are always Stainless Steel, because I’m from Alaska where it is cold, humid, and winter most of the year, and the black finish rifles rust easily in Alaska. I own a Winchester Model 70 .270 Winchester, and I bought it for $400 with a VX-II Leupold 3x9x40 (I bought the rifle for the scope price alone!!!). I went to check the zero on it, and I could not zero it. I rebuilt the whole rifle; installed a Hogue Full-Bed stock, brand new Leupold VX-II 3x9x40, replaced low rings with medium rings, glass bedded the action, and free-floated the barrel. I went to the shooting range with two different factory ammo; Remington Core-Lokt 150 Grain Soft Points, and Winchester Super-X 130 Grain Power Points, at a 75-100 yard range. I zeroed it in with the 130s, and the best I got at 75 yards was 1″ MOA, with a few fliers. I tried a 100 yard zero, and there was more fliers, and I only hit the target once, the rest were fliers (I checked groupings without adjusting zero on scope, there was fliers). Wind was only 4MPH and I was shooting against the wind. At about 75 yards, I tried the Winchester Model 70 .270 on a ‘STOP’ sign, and I aimed in the middle of the O, and I shot about 1″ low and 1″ left from the middle of the O. I like the Winchester Model 70. 270 because it has a longer barrel than the Rugers, but I can not zero it to Sub-MOA. In my opinion, I guess my Winchester Model 70 .270 is a picky eater for bullets, maybe some hand loads would improve it to Sub-MOA? Someday I will get a reloading kit and try out hand loads on my Winchester Model 70. 270. The best rifle I own is my Ruger M77 Mark II .30-06 Springfield. It can shoot in the same bullet hole twice at 75-100 yards. When I put my new VX-I 3x9x40 Leupold on my Ruger M77 Mark II .30-06, I bore sighted it and went to check the range at 100 yards to zero it, and on the first shot, I shot the target! I checked a 3 shot grouping, and all 3 hit the target, 2/3 shots in the same hole. I did not need to adjust the zero after I bore sighted my rifle (major luck out!). My Remington Model 700 .30-06 is a biased rifle towards me, or it is a poorly made rifle (Remingtons are good, but this one is no good)! I bought so much ammo for this, both factory and hand load ammo from friends and family. Also glass bedded the action, and went through 3 new scopes through this, and couldn’t zero it. The trigger was such a trigger creep! The most heaviest trigger I ever felt. If there was an uploader on this website to upload photos, I would show all my pictures of my zeros and MOAs of all my rifles. The Rugers are the best, most reliable, most accurate rifle ever made! And the Ruger M77 Mark II (NOT the Hawekeyes) Stainless Steel finish is the king of kings of all Stainless Steel rifles! I owned a Ruger M77 Mark II .270 Stainless Steel since the day they were made, and there is not a rust or scratch on it! I also owned a Ruger All-Weather HAWKEYE, and it was a piece of JUNK. The first day I went to zero it (summer time in Alaska), it already rusted up on the barrel. I sold it, and I never even owned it for a week. Few years later, I seen the All-Weather Hawkeye first time since I sold it, and it was all rusted up. My Winchester Model 70. 270’s Stainless finish is way better than the Hawkeye, and my Winchester has very little rust and scratches for an 8 year old rifle (I looked at serial # online, its a 2006 Model). Here in Alaska, we hunt all kinds of animals; seals, moose, whales, walrus, etc. And a good, reliable, life-time guarantee rifle is a must have for every man who loves hunting. The Rugers and Winchester Stainless Steel rifles are the best to own in Alaska because of their accuracy and their reliable rust resistant Stainless finish rifles. In my opinion, the Ruger is the way to go because they will zero in with most any type of ammo without affecting the MOA or zero adjustment. With any of my Ruger rifles, if you want to shoot a seal in the eye at 100 yards, you will hit it in the eye guaranteed. I’m so glad I own these rifles, they are not apple to apple shooters, but coin to coin shooters! Boom, eye-shot you!
I own a number of Model. 70s. They all are incredibly accurate. I have enough Rugers to say they are accurate too. But Model 70s that far off Rugers? Not my experience or that of many others. Many used rifles were mistreated and finally got sold as they just didn’t. Have what it took. My favorite Ruger is the Super Blackhawk .357 Magnum. I have seen rifles that weren’t even close to that accurate. It is though heavier than my .45 Long Colt Ruger Vaqueros,of which I had a matched set, until I decide I preferred the single holster set up.
Try a bit of upward pressure on the barrel at the end of the stock to bring your .270 into MOA accuracy. A rubber sheet, 1/16 thick cut so you don’t see it when installed and then tighten the action into the stock. I have seen it work wonders.
wow. that sure is interesting. does the rubber stabilise the barrel till the projectile is out.
I have a .243 Winchester Model 70, what kind of a scope would you recommend me ?, without being a very expensive one.
I’d recommend a Redfield Revolution, or a Leupold VX-1, either in 3-9×40. At $199 for either one, they’re fine riflescopes, lifetime warranty, and won’t break the bank.
If you want higher magnification, consider one of the Simmons Whitetail Classics in 6.5-20×50. Those things are $109 over a MidwayUSA and are a solid scope for the money.
Either of these choices should do very well on your .243 Win.
To bad this is so later than your post. I use both Leupold and Nikon Prostaff five or sevens…..they are all very good scopes and the Winchester Model 70s Rae about my best rifles. I do own Tia Remington Model 700s that are wonderful…..but I prefer them as the older models….new rifles? Dealers, buyers, and serious riflemen seem to have a decided preference for the Model 70. Just helped a few friends get new Model 70s from Featerweight to Suoer Grade. Every rifle was quality through and through. I own a couple of very new Ruger M77…..they are nice! Still if I had to pick just one bolt action rifle it would be a Model 70. One comment though……try to get one with a good wood stock. Synthetic stocks are not my thing and I do not think they hold up any better. And yes I own several of them. If I wanted an after market stock, I’d get the Black laminate (birch) Boyd stock which is tougher and really pretty, this is one lovely stock!
Thank you, I’ll look them up and see distributors.
After being ask to a range to grade and comments on some new hand weapons that was on the market or soon would be coming to the market I met a group of Rifleman that some had a very nice collection of hand and arm weapons.
I have a simple set of rules for firearms for myself”
Multilevel target systems, and straight flat line shooting, or open choke and fishing sinkers broke in half for home defense that lays in a blanket under my bed..
I was trained with a side mount scopes and steel sites. And even today all the new tech that’s out there I can say with no doubt that the feather lite model 70 in 7/62 either in the brush or in the open range in any weather is not something you want to come against, especially if the shooter is trained in head shots. For game hunting in standard hunting,
I prefer that old lucky 303 Brit infield I Bought at Big G 35 years ago for 79 dollars, My brother has a Woodmaster 742 that I understand you get a goodone or a lemon I had no problem with it I jump three one ,morning and filled all my tags right then
Winchester is one of those weapons that fit certain people that allows them to make above amazing shots and do some amazing shooting and that is with a standard bolt riffle action.30 cal
There are some awsome stuff out there Barrett, Fnar, Morgan, Lau pau, auw siut, and the list is huge
As for Remington I’ve got a couple for friends to use but they don’t smell right to me and we just don’t hit it off, I was trained with colts and S-W Beretta but Glock just don’t work for me, I would use if had to butt had much rather use my 92 FS, or some good custom hot hot round in my 357 mag.
To finish I will leave you with something that I feel was that thing I was told, never loose your skill with steel sites and never accept a mount that takes them away from the Riffle that alone is stupid” Plus side mounts are a sign of real skill
Skill and talent isn’t what get the job done it is a great bid blessing from GOD ALMIGHTY of LUCK You fire that round off right when every thing was in your favor.
Sign Brougan$$$ 714
I bought two of these Win 70’s in lightweight about two years ago. One for my grandson and one for myself. I will agree with everything positive and good said about this rifle. I love mine like a pig loves watermelon. The one thing I found out about these new guns made in SC is that the one piece scope mount screw holes will not line up. This is a minor issue, the two piece work fine. I called the maker of these (I can’t remember the brand now) and told them of the issue so they might have started making them by now. At the time, I would not be deprived of mine, so I cut and welded the thing back together. It turned out fine, though I will tell you that welding will make a piece of metal curl up like a potato chip if you aren’t very careful. I believe the new Win 70’s are better than the pre 1964 models because their trigger is better. The trigger with the M.O.A. is unbelievable. It doesn’t seem to move at all and since it doesn’t, not knowing the instant it is going to fire will make your shots more accurate.
Winchester 70 lightweight is this a good rifle for hog hunting
model 70 was introduced in 1936 not 1927 that’s a Winchester model 52 .
I have two pre 64 modle 70’s. One in 308 which I have killed an elk with and one 270 which was my grandfather’s and to the best of my knowledge hasn’t been shot since before I was born”about 40 years” I just haven’t got around to it. I also have a 1970 something 223 which I have killed several mule deer with and few thousand ground squirrels. I bought a 7mm wsm a few years back it is a 2001 and is a controlled round push feed. I just looked on the winchester site they dont chamber the 7mm wsm any more but they drop the pre 64 action in every sentence. I dont think they do the controlled round push feed anymore if so its only in the three other wsm which they will probably drop soon.
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I have a model 70 Winchester ultra light and am having difficulty putting the safety off and on. Does anyone have a suggestion?
The three position Model 70 safety takes some getting used to! Make sure the bolt is completely closed and the rifle empty, then grab the safety fairly vigoursly and push it thru each of the three positions….it starts to get a little easier to peddle thru the three positions after you get used to it and the rifle does too. Fact is it is a really great safety. But it does take some force and dexterity to get it in the three positions, mostly until you get the hang of it! One problem I had at first was the Remington 700 safeties which are quite different. The Model 70 three position safety and all other features is when you get used to it…..perfect. I never saw a Model 70 rifle which was less than perfect. I have them from built in 1942 (the first rifle I ever used) to very recent. The new ones are awesome and a value which I find hard to believe in this day and age. Still I really do search for the nicest wooden stocks…..some are very nice. The synthetic stocks I like the least…..but I have a very new Ultimate Shadow Stainless that I can hardly bear to put the Boyd black laminate custom stock I got fir it…as the Ultimate Shadow synthetic is very nice!
I love the Model 70 and truly wanted to buy in 270 unfortunately I am left handed. So I have come up with a conclusion and buying Browning xbolt in 270. unless some one knows something different Winchester Model 70 is only made in right handed bolt….Correct?
Left handers have a fair challenge facing them. There are few Model 70s out there with that. My brother Kermit, is a lefty…..he uses Weatherby because of that. I see some older ones available once in a while. Presently I do not know of a solution. I would call Winchester Service Center in Arnold Missouri and ask them. I am CERTAIN they will be able to get one. Then sell the stock right handed stock!
I love this model 70, my grandfather has this type of gun and he always cleans it and oils it. I love it because it reminds me of fond memories.
I have a Winchester Model 70 .308 heavy varmint barrel… Serial no. 8634xx i am trying to find out what year my 308 was made but not sure if i found the right information… i found two different result one was between 1913 and 1914 and one was between 1967 and 1968 … Would someone be so kind to let me know the exact production date….
Thank you so much for your time
Looks like late 1966, according to Winchester. See:
I have 2 m70s in 30-06,my fathers and my own. my dads is a 1963 modle feather wt. customized with a 18 in. barrel and custom stock. mine is a pre-64 action stainless with a 24 in. barrel. both shot straight as an arrow with both 150-grain or 180s.As a hunter they don t miss moose 5caribou and enough whitetails to be proud of and a wall full of hornes.I wont be selling them as I have 2 grandsons to hand them down to.
This is the dream. This will be my pride and joy if I ever get one.
has anybody herd of a Winchester mld#71A
Prior to 1937, Winchesters bolt-gun was the famous 54.
I also own one of these 7X57 Featherweights. I believe they were introduced at the 2013 Shot Show. Only a few made it north to Canada and I was fortunate to get one. I killed a 5X5 Whitetail with it here in British Columbia in September 2016. Great rifle.
This writer is clueless. Nothing shown here is CRPF. Stop talking about stuff you don’t understand.
It is apparent that you need a lot more research time as you have made a lot of mistakes in your review. This is one of the reasons that the old wives tales and mis-information abound in todays society.
I have a Model 70 Featherweight in .243 made in 1993. It is a beautiful gun and I have taken nearly three dozen deer with it. That being said, it has cost me a couple of deer due to jamming issues on the follow-up shot. I don’t know about all this controlled round feed, controlled round with push feed, etc., I just know it has jammed on a couple of occasions — using the same type of ammo for 20 years. I switched to a Remington Model 700 in .243 with true push feed and haven’t had any jamming issues on 2nd shots–on deer or at the range. The Model 70 may be a prettier gun but the Remington is more reliable in my opinion.
I own both Remington Model 700s and Winchester Model 70s. Both load flawlessly under any conditions. The reason I own more Model 70s is that recent Model 700s seem to have cheapened, the Model 70s seem to really have it together. Also all the dealers see it this way too! Many of my .243 are Winchesters, my Remington’s are .222 and .280. The .Model 70 .243s reallynare amazing so Imam surprised at this last post. But despite the fact that I never saw a singke bad Model 70, and recent Model 700s are trending less attractive….Not all rifjes from any manufacturer are perfect!
My grandfather bought me a Model 70 308 for my first deer hunt at 14 on the mesa in Colorado. We packed in on horse back. I am 72 so you know how old my Model 70 is today. I shot my first deer and thankfully the scope and rifle made up for my inexperience.
So like a dummy I sold it when I was in financial problems. To this day I regret that. If you have an early one DO NOT ever sell it. One of the most amazing rifles ever produced.
Bought one in .243 in the early 90’s and have used it to kill about three dozen deer. Very accurate but sometimes there was jamming on follow up shot and I never have liked a three stage trigger. I now use a Remington in same caliber. The bolts on Remingtons are better and I love a quiet easy two stage trigger.
I still have a Winchester Model 70 in 3006 that my father got for me in 1956 from Abercrombie and Fitch in NYC. At the time we were on home leave from India where I first learned to hunt. Since one could see and be confronted by dangerous game such as tigers and leopards even when hunting antelope, I once had a tiger cross a trail in front of me at 10 yards while carrying a twenty-two, both my father and I felt it was time for me to have a larger caliber rifle. This rifle has served me well for many years and still is a joy to shoot.
Thank you for all the information you have in this website . but couple thing confused me abut this beautiful rifle .maybe some one can help me
1- why in this rifle you cant find 7mm magnum and never made it
2- why in this list you don’t see 7mm Mauser ( 7×57) and 280 Caliber .
i have 3 different caliber of Winchester model 70 featherweight 30.06 and 7×57 Mauser also 280 Remington but never they said abut those caliber why is that
Will the Winchester Featherweight be coming out in
I’ve owned several bolt action rifles but have collected Savage 99’s over the years. Recently, I purchased a Model 70 (1986 manufacture) in a 6.5×55 Swedish. This is first Winchester 70 that I’ve owned and I absolutely love this rifle. I regret being so late to the party and understanding what a wonderful rifle this is.
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I have one in a 270 and I’m having trouble with it firing when I take it off safety then it won’t set the trigger when I put another cartridge in.I was wondering if they had a recall on them