Model 70 Featherweight catch

High Plains

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About 15 years ago I held a Featherweight Model 70 at a big outdoors store in Wichita. The slim Winchester fit perfectly and I knew I wanted one, but that particular rifle was chambered in 270 WSM. Over the years I bought plenty of other rifles. I still wanted a Featherweight. Low and behold a 270 Winchester became available on Gunbroker and I was lucky enough to to have the cash for it as the high bidder. My years of waiting and blowing money (or investing it, depending on perspective) were rewarded with this like new rifle. It likes my 140 grain Sierra Game Kings to the tone of a 3/4” shot group. It seems to like 130 grain Interlocks also but I haven’t shot too many of them to know for sure.
I didn’t grow up reading about far off places and crazy fanged or horned creatures ready to end my time. I had fertile fields of milo, corn, wheat and native prairie grasses to draw in other, non dangerous game animals and birds. This 270 Win will be a hunting rifle despite its like-new features. It was built to hunt so it will.
All this means the special firearms can become your special types if you keep your eyes open.
 
I'd given my pre 64 '06 to a nephew some time back and when I walked into a local shop I noted a like new featherweight on the wall, in '06 naturally, .............one of the last of the New Haven guns, carrying an older Leupold 3/9..........push feed, but what the heck I ain't hunting brown bears anymore......walked out with it for just over 6 bills...........first groups held about the diameter of a dime as well. Utterly brutal recoil from a bench tho..........but like the man said, it's a huntin' gun. I wondered about the push feed factor and found it'll feed upside down...........yeah I know, I really need that feature........still it is a joy to carry and one really has to look closely to pick it apart in comparison to my old 1948 piece.
 
It takes someone with experience to realize they finally found something good. I started using Model 70 rifles back in the 1970"s but it took me over 20 years to get my first featherweght and that was a big game changer for me. There is a myth that heavier rifles with longer barrels are easier to shoot accurately then the lighter rifles but for a hunter that is not true. I now have six rifles that I use for hunting and they are all Model 70 featherweights and I wouldn't go back to the heavier rifles. The biggest advantage of the Model 70 is the 3 position safety and once you get used to it you won't buy another rifle without this feature. I also like the hinged floor plate and by adjusting the spring it can be opened and closed with thin gloves even in the dark. The other big advantage of these rifles are the many after market parts that will improve the rifles such as Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pads, Timney triggers, McMillan sling swivel cups, high quality Leupold 3-9 x 40 scopes, and quality Sierra & Nosler bullets.
 
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Which generation did you end up with? Pre-64's are not common and expensive. The Push-Feed rifles made from 1964-1979 were generally OK, but that was a low point in Winchester manufacturing. Starting in 1980 a group of investors bought the rights to the Winchester name. The actual name of the company was United States Repeating Arms Company.

Most of those have USRAC stamped on the gun as well as Winchester. They made a budget version of the model 70, but the XTR's were very nicely done and were great rifles. Because they are push feed instead of controlled round feed those often sell at bargain prices. But they are excellent rifles and a great value for the money.

In 1992 Winchester brought back controlled round feeding rifles that were a near identical clone of the pre-64's. They were known as the "Classics". They were made from 1992-2006 and IMO are the best of the Winchesters. In many ways they are better than the Pre-64's and prices on used ones are comparable to pre-64's. They continued to make push feed model 70's too, but they were only used on the budget rifles.

Sadly, at some point after about 2000 quality started slipping and by the time you get to the last 2-3 years of production, they turned out a lot of lemons. Winchester closed the doors to the New Haven factory in 2006. No new Winchesters were made until 2008 when FN and Browning bought the company.

They made them in the FN factory in South Carolina for a few years. These are also excellent rifles, but they did make some changes that some purists didn't like. Mostly the trigger design. But the SC factory was really dedicated to military weapons and they didn't have room to the model 70 production there so after a few years they moved production to Belgium in the Browning factory. That is were the current rifles are made and by all accounts they are excellent rifles.

I have a SS 30-06 Classic made in 1999 and one of the FN rifles made in 2008 chambered in 308. I can't say enough good things about them. The one you saw in 270 WSM would have been one of the Classics. Most of the Featherweights had a thinner barrel profile than the standard sporter, but those in the WSM cartridges had long 24" standard weight barrels that just didn't look right in a Featherweight stock. Regardless of which generation you have I'm sure you'll like the 270 better than the 270 WSM. At least in that rifle.

Another thing about the Featherweights. In the 1950's it was a "featherweight" rifle. But by modern standards Winchester Featherweights are heavier than the average bolt action rifle. For me it's the trim stock design that is most appealing. There are lots of much lighter weight options. But I really like that stock design.
 
Those Model 70 Featherweights have such beautiful lines, even sitting in a gun rack they look like they want to jump into your hands so you can shoulder it for the hunt.

Several years ago I was at a LGS that had a consignment Model 70 Fwt in 7x57 and a CZ550 in 6.5x55. The CZ was like new, the 70 had some extremely minor safe-handling marks on the stock. For the coin toss I guess the allure of the .264 bore won out, along with it being $150 less on the tag, as I bought the 550. To this day I still think about that 7x67, its one of the few times I wish I had the $$ in hand for buying two guns at once.

Congratulations on finding such a nice rifle, and in one of my favorite calibers to boot! :thumbup:

Stay safe.
 
I would have jumped on the WSM. That is an outstanding round. I do have some interest in finding a Featherweight in 243 or 308 Win. A Win rifle in a Win chambering purely for collecting purpose. I already have my Rem in a Rem chambering. I think I would go with a New Haven or SC rifle. I just can not get interested in a Portuguese winchester. In truth my lightweight 308 will most likely be a 788 or 700 BDL. But we will see.
 
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I would have jumped on the WSM. That is an outstanding round. I do have some interest in finding a Featherweight in 243 or 308 Win. A Win rifle in a Win chambering purely for collecting purpose. I already have my Rem in a Rem chambering. I think I would go with a New Haven or SC rifle. I just can not get interested in a Portuguese winchester. In truth my lightweight 308 will most likely be a 788 or 700 BDL. But we will see.
I have a featherweight in .308. I love it. It’s probably tied for my favorite rifle with my vz24. It’s Portuguese, but that doesn’t bother me.
 
The stock has a small scratch under the front sling stud. Otherwise, it is flawless and the checkering “bites” onto a bare hand. According the Winchester the rifle was made in 2022. That Leupold 3.5-10 scope makes exact adjustments. I can’t wait for pronghorn and deer seasons this fall 53BB2205-5E5F-480D-9212-AE4B0E36CA13.jpeg
 

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The stock has a small scratch under the front sling stud. Otherwise, it is flawless and the checkering “bites” onto a bare hand. According the Winchester the rifle was made in 2022. That Leupold 3.5-10 scope makes exact adjustments. I can’t wait for pronghorn and deer seasons this fallView attachment 1197182
Nice! I haven't kept up with the recent Model 70s very well, but I'm a bit surprised that they still made such an old-school style rifle (my favorite kind) in 2022.

I have a similar style Czech-born (BRNO) counterpart from 30 years earlier in the same .270 Winchester chambering. I really like that type of build, slim and trim, wood and blue steel.
 
The stock has a small scratch under the front sling stud. Otherwise, it is flawless and the checkering “bites” onto a bare hand. According the Winchester the rifle was made in 2022. That Leupold 3.5-10 scope makes exact adjustments. I can’t wait for pronghorn and deer seasons this fallView attachment 1197182
Worth it's weight in gold!
 
lol my push feed 70 in 06 shot 180s the best! with a case full of 4350 at that. my current 308 mod 70 has the claw extractor but will shoot anything from reduced 4759 to standard loads well. fwiw....
 
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lol my push feed 70 in 06 shot 180s the best! with a case full of 4350 at that. my current 308 mod 70 has the claw extractor but with shoot anything from reduced 4759 to standard loads well. fwiw....
I have one truly wonderful, good high dollar rifle. It too shoots whatever sensible loads I make well.
 
My favorite push feed M70 is the year they didn’t call it a “Featherweight”, but a “Lightweight”.(1980’s)
Actually the “Lightweight Carbine“, long action with light 20” barrel.
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I never really liked the Schnabel forearm.
 
My favorite push feed M70 is the year they didn’t call it a “Featherweight”, but a “Lightweight”.(1980’s)
Actually the “Lightweight Carbine“, long action with light 20” barrel.
View attachment 1197408
I never really liked the Schnabel forearm.
Had to look that one up. Not a bad looking rifle at all. No offense please Bwana John, but, I sure do like those Featherweights, Schnabel and all.
 
The stock has a small scratch under the front sling stud. Otherwise, it is flawless and the checkering “bites” onto a bare hand. According the Winchester the rifle was made in 2022. That Leupold 3.5-10 scope makes exact adjustments. I can’t wait for pronghorn and deer seasons this fallView attachment 1197182
It's probably a weird angle of the photo, but my eyes see this scope mounted somewhat crooked on the rifle. The forend narrowing probably contributes to the feeling, but the scope tube appears to be pointing somewhat right of center. Sorry...it's probably not a great angle of the photo to judge it's alignment correctly.
 
It likes 130 grain Interlocks over H-4350 too. These were the first three of that load fired at 100 yards this morning. I chronographed shots later and had an average of 3012fps at the muzzle.
 

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