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February 07, 2008

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Return of the Model 70

The Model 70 is back, and I’m pleased to say that it’s a considerably better rifle than when it left. I got to shoot five and look at twice that number at the SHOT Show. The first thing I was struck by is how much the new ones look like the old ones. The bluing is the same, as is the stock color and finish. However, the wood to metal fit is far better, as is the metal to metal fit. I spoke with a couple of gunsmiths who were there, and they were impressed by the improvement in the way the action worked.

The trigger is very, very good. Winchester may have been devious enough to send specially tuned rifles to the SHOT Show, but I doubt it. Every trigger I twiddled had nice, light pull, and although most of them had some creep, it was so slight that unless you were looking for it on purpose, you wouldn’t know it was there. Between a tuned, old-style trigger and the new one, I’d take the old style, but the factory was not tuning them, so for purposes of manufacture, this one is much better.

As for accuracy, I don’t know. What with most of the gun writers in the world shooting at the same time, anything you pick up is guaranteed to be red hot and incapable of good grouping. If Winchester sends me one I’ll be able to tell you more.

All told, it looks like a rifle that is once more being produced by people who are serious about making rifles.

Editor's Note: You can read Dave's picks for the most interesting rifles at the 2008 SHOT Show (the Model 70 is one of them) and see a video clip of him interviewing Arthur Alphin, who designed the .577 Tyrannosaur cartridge, by clicking here.

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Comments

Ralph the Rifleman

Glad to see Winchester 70 rifles are back on the market; Anything said about the Model 94 returning to us?

Jim in Mo.

Ralph,
Same here.
Got your Boyds stock yet?

jstreet

According to some of the lever gun sites, '09 is the year for the model 94's return.

But that's just a rumor.

Jim in Mo.

Sarg,
If you haven't yet watched Dave's video interview on A-Square's .577 Tyrano. rifle, do so now and I will finally concede to you that there is such a thing as 'overkill' on deer! Ouch.

NH Philosopher

I too am thrilled at the return of the 70, but am skeptical of overall quality control. If the Brand is going to make a comeback - they must pay attention to detail.

Clay Cooper

Although I’m not much of a Winchester fan, I will say knowing the Model 70’s come back is very good news!

Thomas

Dave
Did you get a chance to touch off a round of the .577 Tyrannosaur after the interview?

jstreet

NH Philosopher quote:I too am thrilled at the return of the 70, but am skeptical of overall quality control. If the Brand is going to make a comeback - they must pay attention to detail.

That may very well be Winchester's biggest problem - Getting people to plunk down their money on a brand that just a couple of years ago (by most accounts) was putting out low quality goods.

I wish them the best and hope they make it.

Steve C

It's great to see a good Model 70 being offered again but I'm not sure about the market for new, mass produced rifles (as opposed to custom) even of high quality. There are more and more rifles of decent quality chasing fewer and fewer hunters. Winchester may be introducing a good product just about the time people have run out of money or at least stopped spending it. Sure, there are a small group of people that own 10, 15 or even 20 rifles that are always looking to add another to their arsenal but I'm not sure they alone can support all of these rifles introduced every year and still keep costs reasonable.

Supply and demand applies to rifles the same as it does anything else. So does the point of diminishing return. Good luck to Winchester.

Ralph the Rifleman

Jim in Mo.
No, not yet. I used UPS express for delivery and I believe it was a 4 to 5 day delivery. We got belted with snow today in MI, so I don't know if that will have an impact on it?
I'm like a kid at Christmas when it comes to my guns!

NH Philosopher

A well thought out series of comments. Dave you've done it again... Although I must say - Steve C's comment is incredibly insightful and well crafted. Although I will debate the clause - a market for "new mass produced rifles".

Innovation drive competition - and if Winchester innovates (which sometimes is driven by going retro) - a market will exist for them. The question is - how large of a market will they create? And will said market be serviced well? Both questions interlock - fail on one, they fail all together.

Even my 4 year old can recognize a repeating pattern - Winchester needs to break theirs.

Black Rifle Addict

I was surprized that Marlin entered the bolt action market again...being Remington's step child of course was the reason. Winchester is an icon for most americans, and if they made this rifle right it will sell.
Anyone know the MSRP for the new Mod 70?

CJ

I saw something about it starting at $999.00 or so MSRP in one of the gun rags.

Dr. Ralph

Well, well, well... I may have to change my tune on the Model 70. If they produce guns that are in fact superior to the pre 64's that absolutely everyone was head over heels in love with I want one. Nice to see many caliber choices including 7-08. $999 list is reasonable to say the least.

WA Mtnhunter

Winchesterguns.com list the MSRP from $999 - $1149 except for a limited edition super grade at $2395.

You can buy a nice Weatherby for those prices.

Hell, Dr. Ralph, you can probably afford the Ltd super grade!

Timberline

Who is building this model 70? Is it a new company or one under a new name? and does anyone know where it they are being built?

Bubba

I really could care less about the Mod 70 Winchester, though I will have to admit that it's very nice that they bring back a classic, well designed, much loved firearm.

Now, where's the new Mod 12?

Bubba

Del in KS

Dave,

That 577 will make one heck of a Florida cockroach gun.

Jim in Mo.

Timberline,
I understand they are being built in South Carolina. Who the true ownership is I don't know.

Dr. Ralph

OL is reporting it's being made in Columbia, South Carolina by a machine gun manufacturer?

ishawooa

Seems to me that I read somewhere that FN is the manufacturer. They did a good job when they designed and built my kid's Winchester Select trap gun except the forearm has cracked three times in two years. It gets heavy use but then its a trap gun.

Mark-1

If this Model 70 is to compete with Remington 700 CDL, it’s more expensive. Not by much, but it is more bucks and is certainly more than the 700 BDL.

I can see this rifle being chambered for what it is, but I’m shocked for what isn’t offered. I can’t believe 7mm-08 is offered, yet the 257 Roberts, 6.5 Swede, and 7mm Mauser are lacking. There’s no 338 offered.

It’s a nice looking rifle and a Model 70, but it’s not provocative to motivate a sportsman to add it to the arsenal, or to purchase as that first “good” rifle IMHO.

Michael

following on Mark's comment...

Why do you all thing it might be that manufacturers are not chambering for the .338 Federal? The options still are a bit slim with only the Finish guns and one offering from Ruger (perhaps I'm not up to date).

Is there some patent situation where it would cost $$ to Remington, Browning, Savage or Winchester to chamber the .338 Federal? That wouldn't seem right as it would only benefit Federal - I could understand such a limit on actually manufacturing the cartridges, but not the guns, so what's up?

<><

Three Putt

Dave,

You rated the pre-1964 Model 70 first among the top 50 guns ever made...a function of "accuracy, style, grace and mystique." Maybe it's just me, but what was left unsaid regarding the new Model 70 is what really counts. i.e., Can it shoot...and if it can, what sort of value does it represent to the shooter?

Mark-1

338 Federal IMO is a gratis cartridge. There's too much on the market and in wildcats established that do the same job better.

Remember, 358 cartridge died on the vine.




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