comments on the new Model 70 - pic heavy


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thomis
January 30, 2012, 04:49 PM
Three years ago I began researching for a good all-around deer rifle, mid to long range, wood-stock, USA made, and one that could hold it's own at the range, at least from the 100 yard mark.
I chose .308 Winchester for the caliber and the Savage Model 14 Classic. That rifle didn't work out for me. It had fits of sporadic grouping and I never could get the bbl clean and shiny.
So I went after and recently purchased a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight, one of the new ones made in SC. When I opened the box I immediately realized the quality of the Winchester was on a different level than the Savage. The fit, feel and finish was far superior. The bolt is unbelievably smooth as silk. I don't want to completely bash Savage b/c their service is fantastic and I love my Savage .22 rifle. But I really wish I had gotten the Model 70 over the Model 14 for my deer rifle. Here are some pics.

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0606_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0621_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0622_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0625_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0638_resize.jpg

recessed crown is a good idea
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0645_resize.jpg

I followed the barrel break-in instructions on this (http://www.winchesterguns.com/customerservice/qna/detail.asp?id=223) page (by the way, thanks Fullboar1). I only have 12 shots through it and no scope mounted yet (waiting on the scope ring lapping rod kit) so I can't comment on accuracy yet. But I'll be working on it. In the meantime I am working up a multitude of handloads in 125, 150, 165 and 168 grains.

I have one very minor complaint/ observation:
When the safety is in the far rear position (trigger won't function/ bolt won't open), there is a fair amount of "play" with the bolt. Seems to me the bolt should be locked solid, and should not move but it's not the case.

see the first pic
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0663_resize.jpg

second pic, I've moved the bolt upwards about half an inch
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0662_resize.jpg



I did chrony some factory ammo, if you're interested:
(remember, 22" bbl)

Winchester Super X Powerpoint 150 grain, 8 shots:
2814
2878
2808
2798
2871
2824
2854
2805

Remington Express Core Lokt 150 grain, 2 shots:
2662
2698

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0656_resize.jpg

cheers,
thomis

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Ultravox
January 30, 2012, 04:52 PM
That's a nice looking rifle.

Robert
January 30, 2012, 04:53 PM
Nice looking rifle! Glad to hear you are happy with her. My next rifle will be a M70 in 375H&H. You know, just cause.

thomis
January 30, 2012, 05:01 PM
ultravox, i will definitely be getting one of your maple reloading blocks. talk to you on etsy

lovethosesooners
January 30, 2012, 10:16 PM
Beautiful indeed-I got a Model 70 Sporter 270 for Christmas and added a Nikon Monarch scope in 5x20 with the BDC reticle-absoultely love that gun!

USSR
January 31, 2012, 07:12 AM
That'll work.:) BTW, the bolt play when the safety is in the rear position is normal.

Don

thomis
January 31, 2012, 07:36 AM
lovethosesooners, does the safety/ bolt on your new Sporter operate like I described in my last two pics?
and does that 24" bbl seem really long to you when you carry it?
just curious.

thomis

Lloyd Smale
January 31, 2012, 08:20 AM
thats one pretty featherweight you have there!

joed
January 31, 2012, 08:40 AM
The model 70's are beautiful rifles. I've heard nothing but good about the new ones. But to be honest I bought a Stealth just before they announced the closing of the last plant and I couldn't be happier with it.

Lately I've been thinking of a Featherweight in .243 but want to know how well they shoot first. If the thin barrel is going to cause problems I'd just as soon opt for the Sporter.

ISO1600
January 31, 2012, 08:52 AM
that is a mighty-fine looking rifle!

Geno
January 31, 2012, 02:08 PM
That is beautiful wood. I think the Featherweight is one of the all-time best looking bolt-actions ever made. Thanks for posting so many pics.

Geno

joed
January 31, 2012, 03:01 PM
Nice info so far, now tell us how it shoots.

GunnyUSMC
January 31, 2012, 03:34 PM
I have always loved the look of the Winchester Featherweight rifle.
That is an outstanding stock on your rifle.
Back in 1990 I ordered one in 223 and picked it up about 8 months later when I got home from the war.
It's one sweet rifle to shoot. Will shoot 5 shot groups under an inch with most handloads.
Here is a pic taken 2 years ago up in PA. I took that groundhoug at 180 yards with 52gr Nosler BT.

jpwilly
January 31, 2012, 03:42 PM
I've always wanted a M70. Nice pics, those aren't helping!

thomis
January 31, 2012, 04:47 PM
Thanks all, I thought I got pretty lucky too, on the stock. It's a pretty decent piece of walnut especially for a rifle not considered "super or ultra" grade. It was a bit risky, too, buying it on gunbroker without seeing it first but they sent me a nice one. I hope it shoots as good as it looks. I went ahead and ordered the scope ring alignment and lapping rod kit today (almost didn't but decided to really do things right here). I have a Leupold Vari X II 3-9 x 40 waiting on it. And I've been working up several handloads with some pretty good bullets thanks to your recommendations in this (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=638703) thread.

USSR, thanks for affirmation on the no-issue with the bolt movement.

And GunnyUSMC, nice shot on that pig! I grew up in PA and shot many of those rolling hill-dwelling groundhogs. Some of my best memories hunting and shooting. Man I miss those days. My longest whistle pig kill was at 350 yards with my Grandfather's Rem BDL .270. That was in Sylvis about 30 miles south of Punxy.

Peakbagger46
January 31, 2012, 05:05 PM
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Wish I could keep a hunting rifle that pretty. Unfortunatly the momma phrase, "That's why we can't have nice things" strongly applies to the abuse I give my hunting weapons (I would cry the first time I took that rifle into Hell's Hole after elk).

Might try some reloader 15 and sierra bullets in her. Sierra Matchkings work awesome in my .308 and Gamekings (the 165g hollowpoints) aren't far behind. Watch it if you are deer hunting with the gamekings though, a bit explosive at close range.

Cocked & Locked
January 31, 2012, 05:11 PM
Good Grief that's a fine looking rifle you have sir! That wood and the bluing are top notch. :what:

lovethosesooners
February 1, 2012, 05:41 AM
Thomis, I haven't noticed any extra play in any position of the safety-it seems to work in a very solid manner.

Regards the barrel length, I find the rifle to be very well balanced.

az_imuth
February 1, 2012, 06:59 AM
That is a beautiful Featherweight and I bet it'll shoot as good as it looks. I picked up a Super Grade in .30-06 last year and would also like to add a Featherweight sometime in the future. Seeing yours makes me want the future to get here a little more quickly.

Congrats on a fine looking rifle!

sage5907
February 1, 2012, 04:29 PM
Thomis, that's a great looking rifle. Add a Leupold VX-3 in 2 X 7 and you will have a top of the line deer hunter. I have 2 Model 70 featherweights and they are real shooters. There's not problem with the bolt having play when the safety is in the locked position with a Model 70 safety. Just think about what is going on inside the rifle. When the safety is engaged the firing pin is locked by the pin in the bolt shroud which takes the pressure of the bolt lugs away from the bolt lug recess in the receiver. When the safety is released the firing pin spring pulls the bolt lugs into secure tension with the recess in the receiver and that position is held when the rifle is fired making it a very safe system. You're used to a rifle with a trigger safety where the firing pin spring is always pulling the bolt lugs rearward into the recess in the receiver. The Model 70 safety system is far superior. BW

thomis
February 3, 2012, 09:00 PM
shooter5907, you're right, I am used to a rifle with a trigger safety where the firing pin spring is always pulling the bolt lugs rearward into the recess in the receiver.
There are several things on this rifle that are new to me. It is my first Winchester anything and I like it.
I like it a lot.
I just loctited the bases for the mounts and Sunday I'm mounting the scope. It's not a Vari X III though, it's a Vari X II. It's what I have. I think it'll do!
Excited here. Handloaded ammo is on the ready...

sage5907
February 3, 2012, 09:48 PM
thomis, that Vari X II will do just fine. All of my rifles are old and the pictures of your new featherweight make me a little jealous, gulp! I've held the new ones in my hand and they are sure nice. With a light rifle like that you need a good recoil pad and the Pachmayr Decelerator that Winchester uses is one of the best. One bit of advice, when you shoot the rifle always pull the butt in tight to your shoulder. They kick less when held tight and the scope won't put dents in the bill of your baseball cap. If you're a hunter forget about shooting off any rest except a shooting stick. I have learned to shoot sitting down with a shooting stick and when I have a good day I can shoot 2 inch groups at 200 meters. Even when I sight in a rifle for the first time I just use my shooting sticks. Good luck with your new rifle. BW

sage5907
February 3, 2012, 09:54 PM
thomis, I forgot to mention one point. Don't ever let anyone talk you into freefloating the barrel. That's a good way to ruin a good hunting rifle. If the rifle doesn't group as good as you think it should keep experimenting with various loads until you get the performance you want. BW

sage5907
February 3, 2012, 10:04 PM
thomis, another point that you may not know yet. The Model 70 has a firing pin that's easy to wipe down and clean. Just place the safety on the first notch where you can work the bolt with the safety in the on position. Press the small button on the left side of the receiver by the bolt shroud and the bolt will slide out of the rifle. Then press the small button on the left side of the bolt shroud and screw the bolt shroud counter clockwise. The bolt shroud and firing pin will screw out of the bolt body. That's one of the great advantages of the Model 70 action. Another advantage is that you can run cartridges in and out of the chamber with the safety on. Or, you can keep the bolt locked when you are hunting or carying the rifle and the bolt won't be opened by rubbing against your clothes or on brush. BW

kaferhaus
February 4, 2012, 08:05 AM
thomis, I forgot to mention one point. Don't ever let anyone talk you into freefloating the barrel. That's a good way to ruin a good hunting rifle. If the rifle doesn't group as good as you think it should keep experimenting with various loads until you get the performance you want. BW

This is a point where free floating a pencil thin barrel is warranted. As a gunsmith with over 40yrs of experience I can tell you that rarely does a rifle shoot worse once free floated.

HOWEVER.... it should never be done when the rifle is showing acceptable groups for what it is! A light profile rifle that's shooting 1.5" 3 shot groups from a barrel that is at ambient temperature is a good one and should not be messed with under any situation.

The biggest problem with pressure points is that they "move" as the temperature changes. Steel and wood do not expand and contract at the same rate.... nor does steel and plastic. Your zero will change with the seasons and once the barrel gets even slightly hot you will see vertical stringing in your groups.

I have several fine rifles with pressure points. However I've had to remove them on a hundred or so rifles that wouldn't shoot anything under 2.5-3" groups which is not acceptable. It "fixed" most of them, the other's had to be re-barreled.

FN hammer forges their barrels, which stress relieves them during the process. That gives them good stability. Button rifled barrels do tend to be more accurate but I've seen and own many very accurate hammer forged barrels.

That is a beautiful rifle.

quartermaster
February 4, 2012, 08:41 AM
Let us know how she shoots

joed
February 4, 2012, 08:51 AM
shooter5907, you're right, I am used to a rifle with a trigger safety where the firing pin spring is always pulling the bolt lugs rearward into the recess in the receiver.
There are several things on this rifle that are new to me. It is my first Winchester anything and I like it.
I like it a lot.
I just loctited the bases for the mounts and Sunday I'm mounting the scope. It's not a Vari X III though, it's a Vari X II. It's what I have. I think it'll do!
Excited here. Handloaded ammo is on the ready...
Nothing wrong with a Vari X II at all. I have my share of Leupolds and they have all worked, even a Vari X I on a hunting rifle.

Zor
February 4, 2012, 12:09 PM
Great looking rifle. I bought one in 300wsm in December and couldn't be happier with it. I put a minox 2-10 on it. The first time I cycled the action I melted. Unbelievably smooth. I couldn't believe such an inexpensive rifle could have that kind of fit and finish.

Rancho Relaxo
February 4, 2012, 06:18 PM
As others have said, you have a very pretty rifle. I would also say that your job of photographing the rifle is outstanding as well.

30Cal
February 4, 2012, 06:42 PM
Wow! That looks nice! I got my first real rifle almost 30 years ago; a M70 Fwt in 7x57mm.

Recently picked up a second M70 Fwt at the local shop--a rather ratty looking 1963 model in 30-06 that actually just needed a cleanup to get it looking new. Somebody had slathered heavy varnish on the stock and left big varnish prints all over the metal (looked like rust). But the fit/finish on OP's is definitely superior.

thomis
February 5, 2012, 08:39 AM
Regarding free-floating the bbl; I'll look into that after I put the rifle on a rest and give it a fair chance to see what it's capable of. I'm expecting a lot. I'm definitely expecting less than 1" groups at 100 yards when I find the right load and if I can do my part. I used the level level level last night to mount the scope. I'm very pleased with how it looks now. Did I mention I'm expecting a lot from it!
After my experiences with this (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=636107) Savage .308, I am determined.

anybody use this type of torque driver? i like it a lot
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0031_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0047_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0048_resize.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0061_resize.jpg

az_imuth
February 5, 2012, 09:16 AM
Regarding free-floating the bbl; I'll look into that after I put the rifle on a rest and give it a fair chance to see what it's capable of

As I recall, all of the FN M70 Winchesters are built with cold hammer-forged and free-floated barrels at the factory. That's one of the first things I checked after receiving my SG to make sure the walnut stock hadn't warped since it was coming from a humid climate to an arid one. It checked out okay at the time and I still check it on occasion to make sure there isn't any contact.

CB900F
February 5, 2012, 09:29 AM
Fella's;

If FN/Winchester would get off the dime & start producing left hand bolt guns, I'd own a new Winchester. I do own a USRAC gun that's somewhat rare. It's a stainless LHB in .30-06 with both BOSS & BOSS/CR. I've got the CR on it because, after all, who needs a muzzle brake on a .30-06?

I'd really really like to get a left handed stainless/wood model 70 in 6.5X55mm Swedish Mauser. But I'm not going to hold my breath either.

900F

conhntr
February 5, 2012, 10:04 AM
So how do you tell if its an fn vs older usrac gun? Will it have a different made in xxx stamped on the gun?

CB900F
February 5, 2012, 10:52 AM
Conhntr;

A USRAC gun will have USRAC stamped on it.

900F

sage5907
February 5, 2012, 02:18 PM
Following the comment by az imuth about the FN model 70's barrel being free floated at the factory I did some research. I found a good article on biggamehunt.net dated 2-8-11 titled Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Review Part 1 that went into the atributes of rifle in detail. The article said the barrel is free floated at the factory. Since I really like the performance of my Pre 64 Model 70's with their tightly fitting barrel channels the article left me feeling a bit cold. After thinking about the issue I would say the new Model 70 as manufactured by FN is probably comparable to the selling price. BW

thomis
February 5, 2012, 02:36 PM
It's definitely free-floated. I can pass 4 crisp bills around the bbl all the way up to the recoil lug. But as someone mentioned earlier, climatic conditions may warp that stock slightly when I take it outside to shoot.
By the way the new Model 70's made by FN in SC have serial numbers that start with 35.

conhntr
February 5, 2012, 02:45 PM
Hmm im thinking about a sporter in 30-06. I have remongtons and savages but want something a bit nicer and just a solid hunting gun

thomis
January 3, 2013, 03:01 PM
Way too much time has passed since I received this gun and made this post. We had baby # 2 and it got put way down on the to-do list. Yesterday, I finally got to take it out for some accuracy testing. Unfortunately, I can only squeeze out 75 yards at my house.
My other two rifles that I handload for really like IMR 4064 so most of the handloads I had worked up were bullets with various charges of IMR 4064. I did manage to load a few other trial rounds using Varget and H4895, and I'm sure glad I did. This particular Featherweight likes H4895.
Factory ammo did not group the best out of this rifle. I tried Rem Core Lokts and Win Super X, both 150 gr. They shot just so-so.
I still have some more fine-tuning but overall I think its a great shooter.
I would like to point out that the thin bbl heats up pretty hot after shot 3 so shot # 4 was usually starting to "walk". Accuracy testing should be kept at 3 shots in each set.
Here are some groups from yesterday:
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb255/jtleamer/DSC_0200_zpsa792cb32.jpg

Float Pilot
January 3, 2013, 05:46 PM
I have a Featherweight in 6.5x55mm. It, just like all other lightweights, will overheat after two shots.... UNLESS.. I wait around with the bolt open and let the barrel cool. They are hunting rifles and not bench rifles.

The pressure point in mine was driving me nuts ( an USRA gun )The humidity up here in Alaska changes on an hourly basis...So I eventually fully bedded the action and barrel channel. With some hand-loads I can get half inch groups at 100 yards.

Even my 1957 Husqvarna 30-06 heats up pretty fast , but it too will shoot the first two bullets into the same hole at 100 yards.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=177100&d=1357253084

Abel
January 3, 2013, 06:00 PM
I just got one in 30-o6 & couldn't be happier. I topped it off with Talley lightweight lows and a VX-2 3-9x40mm. Shoots Fusion 165gr into nice little 1.25" groups off of a rolled up coat at 100 yards. I think I can shrink that by a bit with a better rest.

CB900F
January 3, 2013, 09:53 PM
Thomis;

Nothing wrong with 4064, but I will tell you that IMR4350 and one of the several 150gr bullets on the market will usually produce some very fine accuracy. One nice thing about the combination is that you don't have to go to some expensive exotic crud to get the results either. Sierra Gamekings, Speer, Hornady Interlocks, all good solid bullets that perform just fine in the ought-6 & one will shine with just a little work. Usually varying the seating depth from on the lands to about .020" off will do the trick. Just find what it wants to shoot & work with it. In most guns, something in the near neighborhood of 3000 fps is perfectly possible without pushing the safety limits either.

900F

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