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Old December 10, 2019, 02:08 AM   #1
Pops1085
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Having a tough time deciding on a model 70

I’ve always wanted another model 70 Winchester ever since my dad had one. He used to read a lot of Jack O’Connor stuff and it clearly influenced him.

I’m torn right now between the super grade and the featherweight.

Looks like in 30-06 there is a whole pound and 4 ounce difference with the super grade having a 24 inch barrel. I like that the super grade is all metal and wood. Featherweight has a 22 inch barrel that I like but has an alloy trigger guard and a plastic cap on the grip.

I like the weight and length of the featherweight but then again I hate shooting light rifles. I walk around a lot but also sit.

I just want a rifle I’ll be proud to have for the rest of my life and can pass on to the next generation and the super grade fits that. It’s just so heavy. Tough call.
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Old December 10, 2019, 02:59 AM   #2
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So Many Choices.....

New, used, or pre-'64?
If you will be carrying it a lot and shooting it a little, then the Featherweight makes a good choice.
If you will be shooting it a lot and carrying it less, then the full sized rifle will have less recoil.
What calibers are you considering? A Featherweight in 30-'06 might be a bit much in the recoil department. I like the 270 in my Classic Sporter version from the 1990's. It has sufficient recoil for me. I also like the original trigger design that was recently discontinued, being replaced by the so-called, M.O.A. trigger. Maybe it's an improvement,.....maybe not.
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Old December 10, 2019, 03:10 AM   #3
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I love my 270 featherweight shoots sub Moa 1/2" or better BUT after the barrel warms the shots tend to rise vertical,,maybe free float it ,but it shoots to good to mess with. SUPER GRADE imo
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Old December 10, 2019, 05:24 AM   #4
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The Model 70 is a great rifle. I lean toward the Featherweight, due to appearance, barrel length, and weight. But I've mostly been considering it in a smaller round such as the 243. With the additional recoil of the 30-06, I might lean toward the Super.
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Old December 10, 2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Pops1085 wrote:

Having a tough time deciding on a model 70

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’ve always wanted another model 70 Winchester ever since my dad had one. He used to read a lot of Jack O’Connor stuff and it clearly influenced him.

I’m torn right now between the super grade and the featherweight.

Looks like in 30-06 there is a whole pound and 4 ounce difference with the super grade having a 24 inch barrel. I like that the super grade is all metal and wood. Featherweight has a 22 inch barrel that I like but has an alloy trigger guard and a plastic cap on the grip.

I like the weight and length of the featherweight but then again I hate shooting light rifles. I walk around a lot but also sit.

I just want a rifle I’ll be proud to have for the rest of my life and can pass on to the next generation and the super grade fits that. It’s just so heavy. Tough call.

Nope - Its not a tough call at all!
Seriously, you need one of both.
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Old December 10, 2019, 10:15 AM   #6
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I like the weight and length of the featherweight but then again I hate shooting light rifles. I walk around a lot but also sit.
People get too wrapped up in shaving weight off of rifles ...... maybe instead of working toward a light rifle that's not fun to shoot much, work toward more stamina and stronger arms that make a gun that's easy to shoot ...... easier to carry? But that's crazy talk, right?
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Old December 10, 2019, 10:20 AM   #7
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Seriously- which would likely make you a better hunter: The ten pound rig that you shoot often, and you condition yourself to carry for a few miles with ease ..... or the 7 pound gun that you don't care to shoot much, so you don't shoot much and need not push yourself to carry very far?

...... whether you even see a deer or not, the former sounds like the better outcome in the long run.
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Old December 10, 2019, 10:27 AM   #8
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By modern standards what Winchester calls a Featherweight is a heavy rifle. A 30-06 scoped will go over 8 lbs. There are other options out there that will come in under 6 lbs scoped.

I'd shop around for one of the Classics Winchester made between 1992 and 2006. Preferably one with a 6 digit SN. The later versions with 7 digit SN's were made later in the production run and the odds of getting one with issues increases.

They are really a better made rifle than the pre-64's.

The best current Winchester is the Extreme Weather. It uses a standard weight barrel to increase stiffness for accuracy but with the flutes cut in it reduces weight down to match the Featherweight with it's skinny barrel. You get the benefit if a stiffer, more accurate barrel with the same weight as the Featherweight rifle. Plus SS construction and a decent quality synthetic stock. An aftermarket stock will get weight down another 1/2 lb.

And in 2019 I'd opt for one in 308 over 30-06. You'll save another 1/4 lb, 25% on recoil, and no game animal will ever notice the difference. In 2019 a 308 easily beats what 30-06 was doing when O'Connor was writing.
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Old December 10, 2019, 12:11 PM   #9
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A 308 does not a 30-06 make.
If your shooting 165gr bullets, fine, but the 06' is still faster hence flatter shooting, carrying more energy.
Go above that weight and either your impedeing into your powder space, or need a long throat in the 308. Either way your still not getting quite the performance as the 06'.

Don't get me wrong, i like both cartridges. But there is a performance difference, especially if you handload.

I may be incorrect (probably am), but i thought most "featherweights" had a 20"barrel. How they shaved 1/4 ounce.
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Old December 10, 2019, 12:30 PM   #10
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Featherweights have a 22" barrel in both 308 and 30-06. The reason I'd choose that caliber is for nostalgia's sake only.

I have another bolt action in 308 as well as an Ar10. Both weigh around 11lbs. After walking around this year I was dead, and wanted a handier rifle and something more traditional.

This rifle is something I plan on hunting a lot with. I'd like to be able to hunt Elk with it as well so I figured lighter would be better. It just feels like they cut corners with the Featherweight rifles.

Reading up however, Jack O'Connor's sheep rifle was 8lbs even... Hmm
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Old December 10, 2019, 04:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by std7mag
I may be incorrect (probably am), but i thought most "featherweights" had a 20"barrel. How they shaved 1/4 ounce.
There is a FWT compact offered by Winchester, it has a 12.5" LOP and 20" barrel. It is only offered in short action cartridges though. However, the standard length of barrel for the FWT has been 22" for standard cartridges and 24" sporter contour for magnum cartridges.

The polymer grip cap and alloy Trigher guard are cost and weight saving measures, I wouldn't call them cut corners. They've probably have been using them on the FWT and Sporter rifles since 1965. Neither would stop me from buying a rifle I intended to hunt with, handling and balance characteristics are far more important to me than materials used.
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Old December 10, 2019, 10:25 PM   #12
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I had a small collection of pre 64 m70s. The 1st brand new rifle I bought was a 70fw 308.
I still have it and it's extremely accurate rifle. I had only two that I couldn't get to shot both 264 mags. They soured me on 264mgs. The pre 64 70 was the rifle others were judged by. I bought a new 270 Standard around 1966, it was junk. Didn't buy another new 70 until 80s a 257FW, very good rifle. Then I bought a 30/06 and 375H&H Super Grade, both fine rifles.
Haven't bought any in last 20 yrs.
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Old December 10, 2019, 10:30 PM   #13
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More Options

If you limit yourself to new rifles there are still some interesting options....
If you want a 30-'06, don't forget to look at the model 70 Alaskan; it comes with sights.
In the new Featherweight version, there is the tempting option to get it in 6.5mm Creedmoor; though I would still probably choose a 270.

For me being somewhat of an old-school traditionalist; Walnut is both traditional and mandatory.

Pre-'64 model 70 rifles could be had in 257 Roberts which was an excellent choice, especially in the Featherweight. Now, that vintage caliber has been replaced by the 6.5 Creedmoor.
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Old December 10, 2019, 11:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
The pre 64 70 was the rifle others were judged by.
It was the gold standard, as I understand it..... my G'pa didn't have enough gold for one ..... and so he cut a deal with a hardware store to buy a Remington 721 at cost ...but had to leave it in the store window as a "floor model" all summer .... but it shot well, and that's all that mattered. It still shoots pretty well, for being so long in the tooth .....
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Old December 11, 2019, 03:10 AM   #15
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Thank you, Pops and Taylorce for clearing that up for me!
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Old December 11, 2019, 05:31 AM   #16
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If weight is a concern, Kimber makes some nice m70-like rifles that are walnut and blued steel. They weight a couple pounds less, but are priced a bit higher.
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Old December 11, 2019, 06:59 AM   #17
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I have a couple of South Carolina made M70's, one a super grade in 30-06 and the other a featherweight in 7mm-08. The super weighs in at 9 lbs, 3 oz scoped and the fw comes in at 7 lbs, 11 oz scoped. I also have a couple of classic featherweights in 270 and 308 that are just an ounce or two heavier than the SC model featherweight. In carrying the rifles, there is a very noticeable difference in weight between the super grade and the featherweights, plus the fw's just balance a heck of a lot better in the hand. With that being said, the SG is a beauty and won't be going anywhere while I'm still around.

Here's a shot of the 7-08 featherweight before it was scoped...
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Old December 11, 2019, 07:33 PM   #18
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I went back and re-read your post (OP) and thought I would add that I was practically in the same boat when I bought my first M70. What did I buy...well, it was a Model 70 Super Grade in 30-06. I ordered it online without seeing it and was very happy with the wood that came on it and the beautiful high-polished bluing on the metal. Everything fit together perfectly and the action is smoother than any other rifle I own. I couldn't have been any happier with the rifle. Later on I added the featherweights as I ran across a good deal here and there. I love the M70 action and will probably pick up one or two more in the future.

Also, of the three featherweights that I own, I wouldn't consider any of them to be very punishing in the area of recoil. I find all of them (7-08, 308,270) to be easy on the shoulder. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Whatever you decide, best of luck to you in your quest!
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Old December 11, 2019, 07:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops1085 View Post
I’ve always wanted another model 70 Winchester ever since my dad had one. He used to read a lot of Jack O’Connor stuff and it clearly influenced him.

I’m torn right now between the super grade and the featherweight.

Looks like in 30-06 there is a whole pound and 4 ounce difference with the super grade having a 24 inch barrel. I like that the super grade is all metal and wood. Featherweight has a 22 inch barrel that I like but has an alloy trigger guard and a plastic cap on the grip.

I like the weight and length of the featherweight but then again I hate shooting light rifles. I walk around a lot but also sit.

I just want a rifle I’ll be proud to have for the rest of my life and can pass on to the next generation and the super grade fits that. It’s just so heavy. Tough call.
If I were going to buy one it would be a AAA Maple Super Grade.
How can a Jack O'Conner fan not buy a .270?
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Old December 12, 2019, 12:32 AM   #20
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Is there any difference in the action and barrel between the two models?

Man it makes me wish I'd never looked at the specs. I'd probably be blissfully unaware of the weight, enjoying a super grade.

Then again, I'd probably get to my stand again and die again because the thing weighs nearly 10lb. I've only got about a half mile to walk into my land, but it's in the hilly part of Wisconsin. Wears me right out when I'm fully decked out to sit for a long time.
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Old December 12, 2019, 12:54 AM   #21
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Is there any difference in the action and barrel between the two models?

Man it makes me wish I'd never looked at the specs. I'd probably be blissfully unaware of the weight, enjoying a super grade.

Then again, I'd probably get to my stand again and die again because the thing weighs nearly 10lb. I've only got about a half mile to walk into my land, but it's in the hilly part of Wisconsin. Wears me right out when I'm fully decked out to sit for a long time.
I told you the fix for that in posts #6 and # 7......
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Old December 12, 2019, 01:26 AM   #22
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I usually carry my rifle in the woods, especially when hunting, so as to be ready. However, the sling is not just a shooting aid, as you can also use it to sling your rifle over your shoulder when the occasion merits. I like a leather, military pattern sling as was intended for the Springfield. I think it's called an M1907 sling.
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Old December 12, 2019, 07:21 AM   #23
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Quote:
Is there any difference in the action and barrel between the two models?
Their are long and short actions in both models, depending on caliber. The barrels differ in profile and length. My LA 30-06 SG has a 24" sporter profile barrel while the featherweights all have a light profile 22" barrel. The 308 and 7-08 are SA while the 270 is in a LA. If you want a SG, then that's what I would get. Use a good sling to carry the rifle as suggested in a previous post and you should be good to go. I also use 1-1/4" M1907 slings on most of my rifles.
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Old December 12, 2019, 09:16 AM   #24
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I usually carry my rifle in the woods, especially when hunting, so as to be ready.
I carry mine when I'm anticipating a deer up close ..... but when I'm walking up in the hills, I need both hands for the binoculars, which are more the important tool for seeing distant deer before they see you .....



Quote:
However, the sling is not just a shooting aid, as you can also use it to sling your rifle over your shoulder when the occasion merits.
.... Once the tag is filled, and the animal gutted, I sling the rifle across my back .... it is much easier to drag the deer with the rifle secured that way ....

Quote:
I like a leather, military pattern sling as was intended for the Springfield. I think it's called an M1907 sling
Indeed it is the m1907 pattern sling ..... I like TripleK's model 64a .... 1 1/4" wide (more comfortable in use, both looped up or slung), durable, made in USA (or still was when I bought my last one) .... under 50 bucks, and well worth it, IMO.
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Old December 12, 2019, 11:37 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by jimbob86
I told you the fix for that in posts #6 and # 7......
I'm all for increasing endurance, strength, and losing a few pounds for hunting, but that doesn't change the fact that a lighter rifle is easier to carry. I've carried a lot of heavy firearms (M60, M240B, and M249) in my prime over long distances, sometimes more than 20 miles in a single day, and I can't tell you one time I didn't wish I was carrying a M16/M4. Nor if I'm backpacking in to a spike camp am I going to want to carry a heavy rifle, every ounce saved eventually adds up to pounds. Saving those pounds means all my extra endurance goes into finding that animal and not carrying weight.

I realize not all hunters hunt the same way, and a rifle I carry to the blind in Oklahoma can be vastly different than what I hunt with in Colorado. Sometimes it isn't, but while I'm not adverse to shooting heavy rifles I still prefer the sub 8lbs rifles I carry hunting elk, mule deer, and pronghorn in Colorado. Have you ever tried using a 26" barreled .243 Win that weighs 13+ lbs in a blind? I have, and can tell you it sucks!

There isn't a huge gap in shootability between an 8lb FWT rifle with optics and a 10lb Super Grade in .30-06. However, there is a huge difference in the way they handle the FWT will come up faster, point easier, and track the target better. A person can learn to shoot a light rifle with more than acceptable accuracy from the bench and field positions. However, you can't make a heavy rifle handle any better in hunting situations unless you lighten it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops1085
I just want a rifle I’ll be proud to have for the rest of my life and can pass on to the next generation and the super grade fits that. It’s just so heavy. Tough call.
I missed this last part when I first posted. There is nothing wrong with pride in ownership, but you can be proud in owning a cheap Savage Walmart, Dicks, or Cabela's special as well. The most important thing you're going to pass on to the next generation is memories, and they might have stronger memories of you attached to a cheap rifle that you've been using. So whatever you buy go make some memories with the people you want to make them with, or when your gone it'll likely be sold.
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