Winchester M70 question


October 24, 2005, 08:11 AM
I am interested in the Winchester M70 (along with several other options).

I absolutely love the scroll styling and checkering on the M70 Classic Featherweight ( ). Unfortunately, they are a couple hundred bucks more than I can spend anytime soon (they seem to be in the $650-750 range around here last I looked, and that was at least 6 months ago). Walmart has the M70 with the sythetic stock for pretty cheap most of the time ($300-400).

So I was thinking. Would it be possible to buy the Walmart special and later put on the nicer stock? If the Featherweight stock would even fit, where would I be able to buy just the stock? How much would they likely cost? In other words, is this a viable option?

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October 24, 2005, 08:48 AM
of course it would work, but there are other things, too... eg, the wal-mart guns have a very black finish, where the featherweights are polished blue. merely swapping out the stocks will get you closer, but isn't quite the same thing.

also, if you are going to go to the hassle and expense of replacing the stock w/ a nice stick, why not go the rest of the way and get nice wood (non-factory/custom), w/ the special checkering...?

if all you are interested in is the stock, there are many options available, ranging from relatively inexpensive factory take-offs, to high-end blanks and custom checkering...

October 24, 2005, 09:24 AM
if all you are interested in is the stock...

Well, I do love the overall look of the rifle. One of my concerns is since the Featherweight is, well, a featherweight version, would the barrel be thinner? The finish I assume would be nicer on the Featherweight Classic, but I didn't notice (I haven't looked carefully at the Walmart gun in a while) that it was a difference between a nice blue and a nearly black finish.

I do know that the feed system is different in the Walmart new style M70 feed and the more desirable Classic feed system (which I understand is more like, if not exactly like, the pre-64 Winchesters' feeding system). However, I haven't shot much in the way of bolt actions so I'm not sure I'd really notice at this point.

October 24, 2005, 10:06 AM
ok... i think we're getting somewhere, here!

let's start w/ the 'featherweight'... it is sort of a misnomer, because winchester's m70 featherweight really isn't very light. i'd have to look it up for specifics, but i think it weighs pretty close to the same as a 'regular' rem 700 bdl. whereas remington's and weatherby's (etc) 'featherweights' (m7, m700 mountain, for rem, and ultra-light for wby) are truly light guns, w/ a real possibility of coming in scoped and a bellyfull of cartridges at 6.5-7 pounds - even lighter w/ certain options (not uncommon to hear of remington titaniums in 4.5-6 pound range 'all-up'). all that to say, yes, the barrel on the fthwt may be a little thinner, and the gun a little lighter, but not much of either - so your concern of 'too light' shouldn't be.

the difference in finishes is very easy to see. the shadows (wal-mart winchesters are black shadows) have a black finish - sort of like, and may even be, parkerizing in some cases. the featherweights have a polished blued surface that is far more classy than the utilitarian (rifle is a tool) finish on the shadow.

you may not notice a lot w/ the feeding system. i have both a shadow (300 wsm) w/ the controlled round push feed and a classic (338 win mag) w/ the 'regular' controlled feed. the crpf is very jerky to operate - its just much easier to operate it as a true controlled feed. the push works, but is not smooth at all... given the two rifles you are comparing, this really is a non-issue - they both function just fine, and they both operate smoothly as controlled feed.

the winchester 'classics' are very different from the 'shadows' - there really is not a direct comparison between the two. one is inexpensive and utilitarian, the other is mid-priced and aesthetically pleasing. both shoot, and both shoot just fine, the question of intended purpose and importance of long term value will answer the question of which gun to get.

if you truly prefer the fthwt, use the layaway plan. never heard of a gunshop that wouldn't do it.

the purchase price of the gun is the easiest part to come up w/. buying good glass, rings/bases, sling, and whatever other accoutrement you require (dies, bipod, lens covers, recoil pad, powders, primers, bullets, cases, factory ammo) is what is painful.

October 24, 2005, 10:22 AM
the purchase price of the gun is the easiest part to come up w/. buying good glass, rings/bases, sling, and whatever other accoutrement you require (dies, bipod, lens covers, recoil pad, powders, primers, bullets, cases, factory ammo) is what is painful.

That more than the base price is part of the draw of the Walmart special. I'm pretty sure neither comes with iron sights, but at least some of the Walmart specials come with a cheap scope (and if they don't it won't feel "wrong" to put a cheap $40 Tasco on it temporarily as it might with the Featherweight Classic). My budget isn't huge so whatever gun I go with (Win M70, Howa, or CZ) may well be one of these combo packages (either that or it will be the CZ Lux so I can have iron sights) so I can take my time and pick up better rings, bases and scopes as the budget allows.

As for some of the other paraphanalia- I'm fine on slings, I don't (currently, and in the near future) reload rifle calibers. Depending on the caliber I go with I may need a better recoil pad, but I'm likely to be in the smaller caliber range (6.55 Swede, 7mm Mauser, 7mm-08, .243) so I won't need to worry about recoil as much.

My intended use is range time punching paper. I don't hunt, I've neglected rifles for a couple years (I only get to the rifle range a couple times a year). I want something for developing some skills and technique, starting on the 100-200 yard range. Eventually I'd like to shoot longer range (500-600 yds) but for now that isn't necessary.

October 24, 2005, 10:53 AM
whatever your final choice, do spend the $30 for a limbsaver or decelerator. it is money well spent, even in the lighter kickers. the factory recoil pads just flat out suck, and even the lighter kickers will bruise you pretty good in a short period. exception being some of the remingtons, which are coming equipped w/ limbsavers (note: i said 'some' remingtons... some come w/ the standard garbage needs-to-be-replaced-before-the-scope-goes-on pads like the rest of the makers).

edit: my shadow did not come w/ irons. all remington adl's came w/ irons... to me it is a non-issue because the first thing i do is pull the irons.

Essex County
October 24, 2005, 02:26 PM
I bought a like NIB featherweight classic for 535.00 less than two weeks ago. Have you been checking the used market at all? I feel that this is where the bargains reside. I tend to take whatever I Save and put it into optics. Just a suggestion..........Essex County

October 24, 2005, 02:59 PM
My intended use is range time punching paper.
You don't want a Featherweight then. The thin barrel heats up and your groups start to open. It's fine for hunting, but it's not a good bench gun.

If you buy another gun and put the FWT stock on it, keep in mind that the barrel channel may need opening and that Winchester wants nearly $200 for the stock. Other sources might have it for less.

Even though it's not as light as other "Featherweights", it's still lighter in the hand than other M70s.

Regarding accuracy, with tailored handloads, mine put 5 shots into .35" and later .42" at 50yds (all I had access to) Friday night. The first group was on a cold, but dirty barrel, the second group was from a warm barrel about 5 minutes later. I have, in the past, shot groups as small as .7" at 100yds.

Mine is chambered in 6.5x55.


October 24, 2005, 05:03 PM
Chris - If you EVER want to sell that gun, please let me claim dibs. Not that I'd need it, but ... damn ... that is nice.

October 24, 2005, 11:09 PM

I was seriously tempted at the last gun show. Seriously tempted. It was a Winchester model 70 classic featherweight with a gorgeous dark walnut stock and very nice grain. That stock set off the matte stainless barrel & action so very effectively it wasn't funny. Even though it was subject to that inherent quality control issue, I drooled. Dang, if they'd just put the bolt on the correct side of the action, Id'a exercised the plastic, owned it, and paid the penalties on the home front.

Why is it they can only get the bolts on correctly about one percent of the time?

:banghead: 900F

October 24, 2005, 11:27 PM
I got lucky. My first good gun that I went out and bought with my own money for deer hunting was a

M 70 Featherweight Classic BOSS in .280.

I went to the gun store wanting to buy a new winchester like dad's. Been really pleased with my purchase time and again since then.

October 25, 2005, 12:24 AM
Winchester Model 70 is a fine rifle. Bought one for a song from an old man a while back. Since I have bought 3 more. Great rifles, and better than the Remington 700 in my opinion.

October 25, 2005, 07:22 AM
If anyone is interested, I have all the parts from a Winchester Model 70 CRF Featherweight just like Chris' in 6.5x55, that I took off from the rifle, for which I only needed the action to build an Target Rifle. Parts include: Stock, Barrel, trigger, and all the bottom metal except the magazine box which can be bought cheaply at Brownell's. The barrel has about 100 rounds thru it.


October 25, 2005, 10:50 AM
USSR - Do you know if it's reasonably easy to get a left handed action for that. If so, talk about a perfect rifle for my wife.

October 25, 2005, 11:08 AM
Chris - If you EVER want to sell that gun, please let me claim dibs. Not that I'd need it, but ... damn ... that is nice.
Sorry, but it's going to my daughter if/when she decides she wants a rifle. Until then, I'm going to shoot the snot out of it. :)

It took a lot of work to get it shooting like that. I had to FF the barrel, put a pressure pad at the forend tip, tweak the trigger, glassbed the action, and develop a load it liked. It took nearly a year of work to go from 1.5-2" at 100yds with factory ammo (and very sensitive to the barrel heating up) to less than 1" and somewhat temp insensitive (thought not as insensitive as a heavier barrel).

For a walkin' around, huntin' rifle, the FWT series is my favorite.


October 25, 2005, 11:28 AM

As far as I know, Winchester only makes a left-handed Featherweight model in 300 WSM, 270WSM, and 7mmWSM.


October 26, 2005, 10:38 PM

I'd suggest contacting Montana Rifle Company. They do make LHB actions & would be able to tell you if the Winchester parts will fit up to their unit. I'd think it's highly possible as their action follows the Winchester classic pretty darn closely.


October 27, 2005, 01:51 AM
900F - Do you know a ballpark of what they'd charge? Money's kinda tight with our second child due in late May, but if USSR and Montana were inexpensive enough it might be worth scraping up the loose change to do it.

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