Range Report Winchester M70 Classic LT .300 Win Mag


November 3, 2003, 11:35 AM
I recently bought my first Winchester rifle. Even though I was looking to buy a light-kicking rifle, I came out of the store with a Winchester Model 70 Classic LT in .300 Winchester magnum. It's not light-kicking. Before leaving the store I told the sales guy that if he really wanted a happy customer, he'd sell me a PAST recoil Shield for half price - one of my brighter moments.

The trigger is now four pounds, down from six, and has a little creep. It isn't noticeable until trying to get all of the bullets into an inch.

Yesterday was actually my second range day, with the first being wasted by my installation of the wrong rear scope mount. This caused me to change everything but the mounts before discovering the problem. (I bought a new Weaver K-4 and new Burrris rings.) By day before yesterday, I had the proper rear mount installed. I used my new Leupold Magnetic Boresighter (another bright moment) to get the bullets on paper, then sighted the M70 in.

Originally off by what I estimated to be four inches, the 16 clicks overcorrected. Even if the error were the scope's, I don't consider it serious, since for me the scope is "set and forget."

After getting the bullets where I wanted them, I fired two three-shot goups for accuracy. The first group, Remington Express CoreLokt 180 grain was one-an-an-eighth inches. The second, Federal Premium 180 grain Nosler Partition, was 31/32-inch (yes, I know, but it was less than an inch, and wasn't a "sixteenth").

Impressions to follow. First, the M70 performed better than I expected, and I'd have been somewhat satisfied with less accuracy. I would almost have preferred it, since I was looking for an excuse to cut the 26-inch barrel back to 24-inches. I can't now, of course. Second, a small amount of creep is definitely noticeable when awaiting the big boom to follow. I believe there is more accuracy here than I have tapped, as I recall the crosshair position on only about half of the shots. That implies to me that I was flinching half the time on the one-inch groups. Third, I found the Weaver K-4 fixed power very suitable to this rifle; it was clearly capable of delivering MOA performance, and I found I could get the shot off a little more quickly when I wasn't agonizing over the crosshair wiggle that's apparent at higher magnification. Finally, I may buy stock in the PAST Recoil Shield company.

I bought this rifle for its looks, but I've learned that Winchester is really making a quality product. I'm ready when someone invites me to hunt moose.


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November 3, 2003, 02:03 PM
My Featherweight had a similar trigger. Even after adjusting it as light as possible, it was a good 4lbs and creepy (kind of like a chihuahua).

I fixed mine by using a file, then ceramic stones to remove some of the trigger's engagement surface (I guess you'd call it the sear). You use strokes perpendicular to the part of the trigger you actually touch while firing (I'm sure it has a name too). After removing some of that section and polishing it (I guess you're reducing sear engagement?), I now have a wide range of usuable adjustment (6oz - 6lbs by rough guestimate instead of 4lbs-??). Plus, all creep is gone.

I used the "drop test" to determine that it's safe. That is, I cycled the bolt to cock the action, made sure the safety is off, and dropped it onto it's butt end a couple times (from about 6") to make sure it would not fire if dropped accidentally. I dropped it like this three times and gave up since it didn't fire after three.

120 rounds and about 40 dryfires later, the trigger pull is exactly where I set it.


November 3, 2003, 02:14 PM
So, horizontal strokes where the "trigger lever" (my term) is vertical?

Where did you find a place to shoot that M70 (the 6.5X55?) around here?


November 3, 2003, 03:01 PM
I tried to find a good picture of the trigger so you could see what I am talking about, but this is the best I can do.

You really can't see the sear engagement surface in this pic, but hopefully, it'll become obvious when you take it apart. Luckly, it's a $27 part if you completely screw it up (a big factor in my deciding to try it). You're in NoVa, right? I can show you what to do, but you have to make the actual changes. :uhoh:

I was able to adjust the trigger "scary light" and still have a positive enough engagement to pass the drop test. It would be fine for bench shooting, but no way in hell would I take it to the field that way.

I shoot over at the NRA range. It's only 50yds, but it's better than nothing.


November 3, 2003, 07:18 PM
Let the rifle break in a bit!

So, you're sub MOA with an unbroken in .300 Win Mag factory barrel with an inexpensive 4 power scope? Man, I'd give that rifle a good cleaning and a rub down with some premium carnuba wax and place that one high on the rack in the primo spot with a NOT FOR SALE sign.

A Winchester trigger requires precise engagement surfaces to function properly. If you just start hacking on it, you might get a lighter pull but you will be creating a potentially dangerous situation. Never cut the sear. You work on the trigger and then very carefully maintain the geometry.

November 3, 2003, 07:55 PM
DeBee, well, I may never clean it. No, I won't go that far, but it's sure I'll be cautious about changing anything. No more trigger work, at least, until after deer season. Maybe I can catch four of them lined up at once and save money on cartridges! :D From mtnbkr's pic, though, it doesn't look as if he alters any relationships or angles. As to breaking it in, it probably will never get completely broken in. Factory ammunition is expensive and having a "bearable" recoil isn't the same as "pleasant." I wonder how much other people's magnums get shot regularly... You're very right - this one's got a place in the cabinet. I'm no longer a one-rifle-man.

mtnbkr, I would appreciate a little OJT after deer season, if you wouldn't mind.


November 3, 2003, 08:38 PM
Doing what I did altered no angles, it simple reduced the amount of trigger the sear had to pass over to release, if that makes sense.

Jaywalker, no prob. Just let me know. I'll show you exactly what I did and the tools I used.


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