Model 70 or Model 7?


December 17, 2009, 04:55 PM

I am starting to ponder what rifle I will buy for my son as his first "deer rifle". From the research I have been doing, I believe I have narrowed the choice of calibers down to either a .260 Rem. or a 7mm-08. For some reason, I seemed to have narrowed down the rifle to either a Model 7 or a "new" Model 70 Featherweight.

The Model 7 is available in both calibers and the Model 70 Featherweight is available only in 7mm-08. According to the MSRPs listed on their respective websites, it looks like the Model 70 will be a bit less expensive, but I haven't begun to look at actual street prices.

I'll probably make this a birthday or Christmas gift, and I am hoping that it will be a rifle that my son will use for a long time to come.

Any suggestions, especially from those who have personal experience with these rifles, are appreciated.


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Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 05:50 PM
Model 70 Winchester in 7mm-08.

The Model 7 is way, way too costly for what your going to be getting, also the accuracy is not going to be nearly as good as the Featherweight from what I have heard for the past several years from customers who have bought the Model 7.

Funny, I have two Model 7's and one is a tack driver, the other just wont shoot no matter what I feed it. But is accurate enough for deer work.

Personally, the deciding factor would be the cost of the unit and the caliber I desired.

There is nothing wrong with the 260, I feel the 7mm-08 is a little more hearty for deer work. Forget all the hype about versatility, chances are you'll settle on one load, sight in for that, and that will be it.

The Remingtons just cost way too much! Even dealer pricing is scary high! Hard to make a buck on a rifle that costs more than its worth before you mark it up for retail sale!

December 17, 2009, 06:02 PM
I have both model rifles and have taken lots of deer with both. Both are excellent rifles. Here's my thoughts:

-Model 7 would be better when he is younger. Lighter, shorter length of pull (larger than a youth model, but not quite a full size.)
-Model 70 would be better when he gets older because it has a full size stock.
-I'd go with the 7mm-08 over the .260.
-When I am still hunting woods or using a climbing treestand I grab the Model 7.
-When I am planning to hunt a blind or sit over an open area I grab a Model 70.

Both are excellent rifles, but I tend to like the Model 70 action and 3 position safety better. I tend to like the way the Model 7 handles, however.

December 17, 2009, 08:26 PM
Thanks. A few months ago, I saw a segment on American Rifleman TV regarding FN's entry into the auto pistol market. The FN factory guy made it a point to say that the FN pistol's workmanship and materials really warrant a much higher price (comparable to Sig prices) than what they are selling them for, but because they are trying to build a following for their new pistols, they are selling them at a lower price.

I saw a similar program recently where they toured the FN plant and showed the new Model 70 manufacturing operation. The process, especially the state-of-the-art barrel making machinery, looked fairly impressive. I didn't hear the factory rep make a similar argument regarding the Model 70 prices, but I remember thinking that maybe they would adopt the same philosophy with respect to the rifle's price.

Granted, I know their job is to sell guns, and they are not going to come on TV and say that their guns are overpriced, but their point sort of made sense to me at the time. Perhaps it's wishful thinking on my part, but I'm sort of hoping that the Model 70 is equal to the Model 7 as far as quality goes, yet can be had at a significantly lower price.

Maybe the money that I save will be enough to purchase a relatively decent scope.

December 17, 2009, 08:31 PM
The Model 70 over a Model 7 any day of the week, at the same price, but they're not even the same price. The $100 that Remington wants for the CDL over the Featherweight is laughable; it should be the other way around, at the least -- and I still wouldn't even consider the Remington, myself.

The only reason to get the Model 7 is that it's available in a youth model.

If you want a youth model, this one is at least as good as a Remington, with a bolt-lock safety, for a better price, and it has an adaptable stock for a growing kid.

(Remingtons don't have bolt locks. I wouldn't have a hunting rifle without one, to say nothing of an overpriced hunting rifle.)

When he reaches his full height, you can celebrate with a Model 70.:D

December 17, 2009, 08:55 PM
I hate to say it...I've been a LOYAL Remington customer for a loooong time. They used to be the best...used to be.

Quality control has went south, offerings (production models available) have went even further south, triangle barrels :barf:, cheap...just plain cheap made.

Get the Model 70 and don't look back.

December 17, 2009, 08:58 PM
CDNN has M70 short action youth stocks for $69.99. You could get the M70 Featherweight, put the youth stock on for a few years, then switch back when he's bigger.

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 09:01 PM
I'm sort of hoping that the Model 70 is equal to the Model 7 as far as quality goes, yet can be had at a significantly lower price.

The model 70 is definitely equal to and is better in quality than the model 7.

I am not a model 70 fan, nor a Winchester fan, but I call it like it is, and the above is true, as far as the whole rifle, stock is concerned.

Not knowing the stature of your son, I assumed that since you were considering the Model 70 at all, that he is big enough to handle it utilizing the proper rifle hold, cheek weld et cetra.

If your son is not now, or will not be in the near future, big enough to correctly use the full size stock of the Model 70, then by all means get the Model 7.

Like I said, the Model 7 is not a bad rifle, but compared to the Model 70, it is not as good and the price Remington has put on this rifle is extremely high as compared to its worth.

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 09:05 PM
It would be better for you to use the Model 7 and your son not develop any wrong shooting habits because of the ill fit of the rifle, than to get a Model 70 and have your son have to un-learn, or worse yet, continue bad shooting habits.

December 17, 2009, 09:09 PM
Model 70 by a longshot.

I handled the new FN ones at my local funstore and just the feel of it was far superior to my 700

December 17, 2009, 09:54 PM
It would be better for you to use the Model 7 and your son not develop any wrong shooting habits because of the ill fit of the rifle, than to get a Model 70 and have your son have to un-learn, or worse yet, continue bad shooting habits.
My son will be 11 years old in about two months. He is probably about average height, compared with his classmates, but he looks as though we only feed him once or twice per week. I was thinking about getting him a rifle for his upcoming birthday, but I may wait until next Christmas to see if he'll have a growth spurt.

Because he is so thin, I have the Remingtom "managed recoil" loads in mind for the 7mm-08. I'm reluctant to spend a lot of money on a youth model rifle because, if he is anything like me, he'll go from being less than 5'0" tall at the age of twelve to 6'0" tall by the age of 15 or 16.

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 10:06 PM
Sounds like you are on the right track, my daughter was thin as a rail and pretty much stayed that way, I bought her a Model 7, back in the day when the Model 7's were of any count, in 7mm-08.

She began her shooting carer with pellet guns at age 4 and by 6 I had gotten her a 22LR bolt action. At 12 she bagged her first deer with the 7mm-08 and has used it ever since.

She uses the Horandy Light Magnum ammo with the 139gr. BTSP.

I would not worry about recoil, it is an expected part of shooting, teach that.
Learn to handle the recoil correctly, and it's not bad at all.

You may not want to handicap yourself with the Remington Managed recoil stuff, like I say, the 7mm-08 ain't a kicker. If my skinny little 12 year old daughter put up with it.....

December 17, 2009, 10:27 PM
I know a lot of kids start off with a .243 as their first deer rifle. I'd be curious to compare the ballistics, especially energy, of the 7mm-08 managed recoild loads with standard factory .243 loads. I was thinking that they would be an option for the first year or two.

December 17, 2009, 10:35 PM
a friend of mine has a model 7 in .260.. compact little rifle with great ballistics and enough pop to know you let one fly... I would definitely recommend it over the model 70 for what you mentioned.

Uncle Mike
December 17, 2009, 10:39 PM
Those 'Managed Recoil' loads work great, so I've been told.

Have you looked at the Ruger compact and youth rifles yet?

December 17, 2009, 10:51 PM
I didn't give much thought to the Ruger. For as long as I remember, I have always been under the impression that their triggers are terrible and their accuracy is only so-so.

Is/was this the case, or is this one of those old rumors that aren't deserved but won't go away?

How hard would it be to change the stock to a youth model? I'm no gunsmith, and so I don't know how difficult it would be. I'd also be concerned that I would never get it back together the way it came from the factory, and that accuracy would be affected.

December 18, 2009, 12:04 AM
the model 7, in both 243, and 7.08 , are maybe two of the best ammo/rifle combos going, for kids or adults who like a short rifle. Just fabulous really, the mod 7 is proly the top rated for the small rifle/kids rifle right now. But that was all for older mod 7's, I have no idea what is going on now
with them.
So I would def check out the winny 70, FN does not make a crap product.
Only thing that I would maybe like better would be a mossberg superbantam, with add on, super soft recoil buttpad/spacers to the back.

Uncle Mike
December 18, 2009, 12:35 AM
The Rugers are pretty good iron nowadays.

I know what you mean concerning the bad reputation Ruger has. But Ruger has indeed cleaned up their act and are producing good rifles now...the barrels are made by Ruger(most of them)and the stocks have been improved.

As for swamping stocks, no biggie, check for clearance problems, torque the action screws to the correct amount of torque and go shootin'.

I just gave a stock to a friend of mine so he could swap from the youth to the adult length stock on a Model 7.
He went from a wood youth stock to a full size camo synthetic stock.

The Model 7 is not bedded, no blocks, liners, wedges or anything....drop the action into the stock and tighten the action bolts...done!

You can get an extra stock fairly cheap and have it on hand...right now Numrich Arms is selling a replacement Model 7 stock, black synthetic.

Brian Williams
December 18, 2009, 05:12 AM
I had both in 7mm-08, I still have the Winchester, Mine is a Compact Classic model. I have a Leupold 3x9 compact scope on it that I wish I had bought the 2x7 compact instead.

Russ Jackson
December 18, 2009, 11:25 AM
I am thinking about getting one of these for my son in 7mm - 08 do you think it would be comparable to the 70?


December 18, 2009, 11:43 AM

Not even close. However, kids grow up fast. I wouldn't spend too much on a youth-specific rifle, any more than I'd buy a kid an Armani suit to go to a wedding when he's in the middle of a growth spurt.:)

Do take a look at the Weatherby Youth model I linked to, above. Not too expensive, accurate, durable, well-made, and adaptable to a growing kid.

Uncle Mike
December 18, 2009, 12:10 PM
You know AB...I totally forgot about the Vanguard Youth...
This is the one-
Cost is great, accurate enough and the stock is one of the things that gets good comments from customers that pick it up and shoulder it.

December 18, 2009, 12:25 PM
If I spent about $500 on the Vanguard youth, what do you think I could get out of it in a few years if I decided to sell/trade it?

December 18, 2009, 12:30 PM
Both of my boys started with a handi in 243.
I worked the triggers, put a Leupold on them.
Those suckers had a real heavy barrel, large surface pad- thick and ventilated - and were the "youth" model.
I picked the 243 because of recoil alone; I reload quite a few calibers and love to get range time with a 24-26" barreled 243. It is a pleasure to shoot.
Using 75 gr Hornady hollow points and an adult charge of powder still resulted in very low perceived recoil by both of the little guys.
They were both easy 2moa at 250 yards, which is incredibly accurate when converted to minute -of-deer.
I believe the lowest recoil coupled with the highest velocity gives the younger shooter an advantage. 75gr bullets are a minimum self imposed requirement.
They both neck shot their first 2 deer -each,
Re: 70 vs. 7..... the way this is stacking out - I'm ALL ABOUT PROPER FIT.
I'd personally pick the 70 for me, but the youth 7 for a kid.

December 18, 2009, 12:56 PM
Skook- Weatherby does make an adult stock to fit that barreled action: So does Hogue.

You wouldn't HAVE to sell if, if you wanted a basic 20" bolt gun for something. It's a quality "forever" bolt action, very similar in design to a 700 (even uses the same scope bases), not something like a Remington 770 or even the XS7. I have a Vanguard Sporter (walnut 24" .30-06 version of the same rifle design) and I don't plan to sell it, even though I just bought another .30-06 that I plan to "replace" it with as a primary hunting gun. The Vanguard is a pretty decent rifle, accurate, solid and well-built, not some semi-disposable POS like some others in the lower price ranges.

As far as resale value of a youth gun, that would depend on whether people still have children, or just hole up in their bomb shelters with their stash of gold bars...:)

December 18, 2009, 01:02 PM
**or just hole up in their bomb shelters with their stash of gold bars...**
ArmedBear is always thinkin.....
good one.

Uncle Mike
December 18, 2009, 05:33 PM
If I spent about $500 on the Vanguard youth, what do you think I could get out of it in a few years if I decided to sell/trade it?

$250 to $350.

But you could always swap the stock for a full sized stock...and keep truckin'.

December 18, 2009, 07:46 PM
There's another short, light rifle to consider that's available in both calibers...The Ruger M-77 compact. But if you've already researched and discarded the Ruger, I'd go with the M-70 in a heartbeat.

December 18, 2009, 08:14 PM
I'm all ears if there is a good case to be made for the Ruger, or any other rifle such as the Weatherby Vanguard.

I suspect that any modern rifle is more than serviceable for a 12 year-old boy's first deer rifle. I still have the rifle my dad gave me nearly 35 years ago. It's a pre-64 Model 70 in .270 Win. I'm hoping that my son will keep and appreciate this rifle like I have mine over the years.

Edit: I just checked out Ruger's website. Wouldn't I be sacrificing a lot of performance with a 16.5" barrel? I live in PA where whitetails are the number one game in town. However, we have the opportunity to hunt fairly large black bears (bear in the 600+ lb. range are taken annually). Believe it or not, we also have a chance at elk, but getting a tag is like hitting the lottery, literally.

Although, I guess I would have a good excuse to buy another rifle if he were lucky enough to draw an elk tag :)

December 18, 2009, 08:59 PM
My choice would be a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight chambered in 7mm-08 (only because they refuse to offer the .260Rem.), but I'm not a kid...and I don't think it would be ideal for a 12YO boy, and would probably go with the Ruger M-77 Compact chambered in .260Rem for that purpose. The .260Rem closely approximates the power of the 6.5x55Swede which those crazy Europeans use for small game such as brown bear and moose. So I think it should be fine for black bear or elk even with the short barrel.


December 18, 2009, 09:21 PM
One of my main concerns is the 12 year-old boy dilema. By the time hunting season rolls around that year, he will be 12 1/2. I can really envision him going from less than 5' tall to perhaps nearly a foot taller in a year or two after that. Money is an object, and so I can't really afford to buy a new rifle every few years or lose a few hundred $ on a trade.

The Ruger Hawkeye Compact really has me intrigued. The 12.5" length of pull is considerably less than the Model 70. Thanks to those who brought it to my attention.

December 18, 2009, 09:30 PM
The Ruger Hawkeye Compact really has me intrigued. The 12.5" length of pull is considerably less than the Model 70. Thanks to those who brought it to my attention.

BTW, I'm 6'2", and the longest LOP rifle I own is 14". I prefer 13, and have one with 12" LOP. With a light recoiling caliber like .243, .257Bob or .260rem, there's really no problem, especially since you're generally adding some thickness of cold weather wear. The short barrel will maybe cost a couple hundred FPS, but I guarantee the deer or bear won't notice a thing...

December 18, 2009, 10:24 PM
Sure wish my dad would have bought me either one of the guns you are contemplating for your son. He is lucky to have you for his father.

I have a Remington 700 BDL that I purchased new about 25 years ago. I have a Winchester Featherweight that I purchased 3 years ago. I realize there is a difference between the 700 and the 7, but the action is still the same. The Winchester was produced in New Haven prior to it being shut down. I have read many disparaging remarks about the poor quality of these rifles. From my experience with my M70, I would take it over 10 M700s any day of the week. I don't think Remington ever even envisioned an action as silky smooth as the Winchester. No comparison. And the ones being produce by FN are even reported to be good!!!! ;)

One more possibility to think about. Either gun could be purchased, and the stock shortened to fit him. A new stock could then be purchased later to "restore" the gun back to a full size. I just purchased a brand new factory stock for my M70 from for $110. Pretty cheap for a factory walnut Featherweight stock.

December 18, 2009, 10:27 PM
I say model 70 in 7mm. If it were something else though I'd also throw in the remington 700 and the .243- in either rifle.

December 18, 2009, 10:33 PM
I wouldn't buy a rifle with a 16.5 inch barrel for big game hunting. 20" minimum, in my opinion. Too much velocity loss. Might as well just get a 30-30!

FWIW, I have a M7 youth in 7mm-08. We killed two deer with it this year with managed recoil loads. They work great. Its like shooting a 30-30 energy with less recoil and flatter trajectory. Its a nice little rifle, but not as nice as a new M70. I bought it for a small 11yr old to use, who also will likely be a relatively small adult, based on his adult family members. So, he will likely be able to use it for a long time, hence the 7mm-08 over the 243. 7mm-08 is much better for black bear, elk, etc. If I were planning to buy a rifle now for a child who will likely be tall, and grow very soon, I'd probably buy an adult rifle and drop it into a youth stock. I went to Cabelas and several other gun stores several months back and fondled lots of rifles, primarily ss/synthetic, but also blued/walnut, and the M70 was clearly heads and shoulders above the rest IMO. Its the nicest rifle out there in that price range, hands down.

Uncle Mike
December 18, 2009, 11:25 PM
I'd stay away from that stubby 16.5" bbl. Ruger.

Get the Model 7 in 7mm-08.... after several years swap the stock, for an additional $60 or so dollars and hunt forever more with it after that....pretty simple!

The Vanguard will save you money now, but obtaining a Full size stock may be difficult!

I looked for extra stocks for the vanguard....not too hard, but no luck, I was going to offer the price, but...

December 18, 2009, 11:56 PM
I'd stay away from that stubby 16.5" bbl. Ruger.That is really short, and honestly I originally thought it was an 18" bbl, which would have been more to my liking for that cartridge (or rather case size).


December 19, 2009, 01:51 AM
If I spent about $500 on the Vanguard youth, what do you think I could get out of it in a few years if I decided to sell/trade it?

Or keep it. I've got my youth rifle from 20+ years ago and let me tell you, it is still an excellent coyote and tree stand rifle. Just set the scope forward an inch or two. I've killed truckloads of deer with it when I was a kid. Also, my wife and I are trying for a kid and you can bet that that rifle will be with he/she when she goes deer hunting the first time.

My point is- don't look at a youth rifle as something your kid will grow out of. Look at it as something he will pass down to his children. It will give you an excuse to buy yourself a new rifle when you pass one of your full size rifles down to him when he is big enough for an adult rifle.

December 19, 2009, 03:19 AM
I know it's tough to beat weatherbys new $399 rifle with a guarantee of 1-1/2 moa accuracy, but I don't think you can go wrong with a Model 70. Get him a top of the line hunting rifle (Model 70) in featherweight. Let me tell you if you decide to sell the rifle down the road (which I highly doubt) you will get more money back than 90 percent of the hunting rifles out there. I haven't come across one owner of a m70 that doesn't love it. They are just good quality rifles...simple.

December 19, 2009, 10:00 AM
You can also buy a rifle with both stocks already included:

Aside: maybe I'm old-school, but in my world, 11-year-olds don't get top-of-the-line, paid for by dear old Dad. They get something they can drop, rust, etc., so they can learn. Everyone learns something the hard way. A new Model 70 or higher-priced rifle is for someone who has paid his dues, at least to some extent.

Also, if you are thinking about needing to sell the gun to get the money back in a few years, get the kid something really cheap. There's no, zero, nada guarantee that a rifle used for field practice and hunting by a child will be in decent condition when you expect to sell it.

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