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Unexpected firing of Win M70

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by bison, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. bison

    bison Well-Known Member

    Has anyone experienced unexpected firing of a Win M70 while unloading? I have seen this three times now on two rifles and am both concerned and perplexed.

    Here’s the details: two years ago a buddy and I were deer hunting at different spots on his ranch. I heard a shot and figured he had his buck so went to help out, but when I got there he was looked sheepish and told me that he was unloading and that the gun “just went off” when he cycled the bolt on his 15 or so year old M70. I was skeptical to say the least, and we both concluded that somehow his finger must have been wrapped around the stock and touching the trigger when he cycled the bolt. Luckily he was following “Rule #1” with the gun pointed in a safe direction, so no harm done.

    Fast forward a year and the same buddy and I are hunting together on my ranch. He drops a buck up a hill and we head up to get him, me in front by 10 steps or so. BANG! I turn and he’s been unloading his gun when it again fired. Scared the $%@# out of me, but again he’s following Rule #1 so no harm. He swears that his finger wasn’t on the trigger this time as he cycled the bolt, but as you can imagine I’m again skeptical.

    Skip to yesterday, I shoot a boar with my new (2 yrs old) M70 and am walking back to get my quad and unloading the gun. BANG! It goes off on me. No harm, but scared the crap out of me and my ears are still ringing. I don’t recall the exact action I was taking, as best as I can recall I was flicking the safety full forward to be able to cycle the bolt and unload. No way my finger was on or near the trigger – it was warm so I didn’t have gloves on and I immediately though of that when the gun went off.

    I know that the M70’s been around forever and is tried and true, but I also know that what I’ve now both seen and experienced happened. I’m not totally eliminating the chance of operator error in these cases, (fingers not where they’re supposed to be, etc) but seriously doubt it. Both my buddy and I are experienced shooters and hunters, are both safety obsessed, are NRA certified instructors and RSO’s, both teach gun safety and shooting to Boy Scout and other groups, and he’s a Hunter Safety Instructor. None of that means we can’t make mistakes I know, but to have exactly the same thing happen with the same model gun while doing the same thing seems extraordinarily odd.

    In my case, I think it fired when I flipped the safety full forward. This makes sense as there was a round in the chamber (I’d cycled it to be ready for a finishing shot on the boar that turned out not to be needed) and I usually carry the gun with the safety in the position that doesn’t allow the bolt to cycle. I thus was probably flicking the safety forward to be able to open the action and unload the round.

    As I recall, my buddy wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing but that it was similar. I guess there’s really only a couple of things that it could be related to, cycling the bolt closed and/or moving the safety.

    Has anybody experienced this? Thanks.
  2. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Never had it happen in the all the years I have shot my many Model 70's. But the question is, why would you push the safety all the way forward (take the safety off) to unload, when the Model 70 has a 3 position safety that allows you to unload it with the safety on?

  3. benellimax4

    benellimax4 Well-Known Member

    I don't buy it.

    The Model 70 has a 3 position safety. You don't have to "flick the safety full forward".

    Also, the gun has the capacity to dump the rounds into your hand. So, unloading the gun is as simple as drawing the bolt back once.

    I think you guys are confused. You must have Remington 700s.
  4. rajb123

    rajb123 member

    I have a M70 from that circa and have had no issues. Did he adjust the trigger or modify the rifle inm any way?
  5. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Ditto the question about adjusting the trigger. The M70 trigger (old style) is pretty easy to get a bit too light..
  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    (My empahsis.)

    Only push the safety to the mid position on the M70 for unloading.

    In fact the proper manual of arms for the M70 is to pick up the unloaded rifle and open the bolt to be sure it's unloaded. Then close the bolt, set the safety in the mid position and load. Finally, close the bolt and move the safety to the full back position.

    For unloading, move the safety to the mid position before cycling the bolt.
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    FN changed the trigger mechanisms on the M70's. The good old pre 64 mechanism was the best over ride trigger on the market.

    No sear should over ride the trigger when the safety is released. Your trigger is seriously out of adjustment, or has a mechanical design problem as the Rem 700 triggers.

    I would call Winchester and tell them your experience and your problem. In my opinion your rifle, and that of your bud's, are not safe in this condition. It is only a matter of time till the trigger over rides and someone or something you don't want to shoot is down range of the muzzle.
  8. Picher

    Picher Well-Known Member

    It's strange that neither of you seem to have the rifle go off when flipping off the safety to shoot, only when unloading.

    The trigger/sear could be worn, or oil congealed that prevents the trigger from going forward completely. Check the trigger action with the bolt open to see if it's returning forward properly. I've seen several rifles develop trigger problems months after using WD-40 in the action.

    If the trigger action is sluggish, try using lighter fluid to flush out the mechanism...outdoors, in a safe place. JP
  9. bison

    bison Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments, advice, and tips. I spent some time with the rifle this morning while waiting for hogs to show up (they missed their appointment!) and came up with a possible (probable?) answer. The trigger seems to be very sensitive and has zero creep. I don't know the pull level and haven't changed it from the factory setting. I found that if there's even a very light touch on the trigger when I move the safety from the mid point to the firing position, the gun will fire. So I suspect that I must have indeed had my finger touching the trigger when I moved the safety, but the touch was so light that I didn't think I'd touched it afterward.

    I have a couple of takeaways: 1) probably worth having the trigger checked to make sure its not set too light, and 2) make sure and unload the gun as several people have mentioned (safety in the middle position).
  10. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    I've been hunting with a Model 70 that I bought brand, spanking new in 1982. Never had the problem you describe. I would bet that the trigger was messed with.
  11. guntech59

    guntech59 Well-Known Member

    I had my trigger worked by a respected local gunsmith. This was a brand new (4 years ago) M70.

    Round in chamber, rifle on my shoulder and pointed down range, move safety to "fire" position...........BOOM!!!!!!! No, my finger was not on the trigger.

    It didn't do it again, but I had him back off on the weight just a little.
  12. JAV8000

    JAV8000 Well-Known Member

    incorrect information edit.

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