Winchester Model 70 Rifle Review



Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Rifle review


Editor: Mike

Just the Facts:

Caliber / Gauge 300 WSM
Action Type Short Action
Magazine Capacity 3
Barrel Length 24″
Nominal Overall Length 44 1/4″
Nominal Length of Pull 13 3/4″
Nominal Drop at Comb 1/2″
Nominal Drop at Heel 3/4″
Nominal Weight 7 lbs.
Rate of Twist 1 turn in 10″
Metal Finish Polished Bluing
Wood Finish Satin Finish
Stock / Grip Grade I Walnut
U.S. Suggested Retail $919.99

Noteable information:

The pre-’64 Model 70’s were manufactured from 1936 through 1963 after which time significant changes in the design and manufacture of the rifles were made. Pre-’64 Model 70s bring a substantial price premium due to a public perception that they were better, as they had several desirable features (Mauser-type controlled round feed, cut checkering) that the post-’64 version did not. Pre-’64 Model 70 Winchester rifles can best be identified by serial number and the presence of a fore-end screw to secure the barrel to the stock.[4] Model 70 rifles with serial numbers below 700,000[5] are the pre-’64 variety.


1963-about 1992 Winchester, trying to compete with the Remington 700 went away from the Controlled Round fee Mauser action.

1992-2006 Winchester produced some CLASSIC Model 70s with much of the same features as the Pre 64 guns. But not in all Model 70s.

In October 2007, FN Herstal announced that it would produce Controlled Round Feed Winchester Model 70 rifles at its facility in Columbia, South Carolina, where it currently manufactures the M240, M249, and M16 for the United States military, as well as its SPR and PBR lines, which are, in fact, variants of the modern Model 70 Controlled Round Feed rifles.



Story of my new Model 70, 2012 Winchester Model 70 FeatherWeight, Feather Weight.


I have 2 Pre 64 Winchester Model 70 rifles, both in 30.06 calibers, and both in great shape.

I  have 3 children that I want to pass a collectable gun to, when I pass away…so, I purchased a 3rd Winchester Model 70. This gun is a Feather Weight, chambered in 300 WSM.

I looked over several calibers and guns before choosing this particular gun. Winchester Model 70 Super Grades and Feather  Weights,  are all made of a good grade of Walnut, but not each gun is the same. I picked this gun, for 2 reasons:

1: I like the caliber

2: This gun, had a beautiful stock, and a great finish.

What I noticed as I was choosing a  Model 70 Super Grade or Feather Weight.

1: The Feather Weight and the Super Grade Model 70s are all very different. There is a great variance in the look of the wood. Some have beautiful grain, while others just have a so so look to them.

2: The bluing on the barrels is fantastic! However some do have a different sheen to the bolt knob. The gun I chose had a very high gloss on the bolt handle, but others had  low gloss.

3: The Pachmayr recoil pad, while fantastic in function, has a significantly different finish from gun to gun. Take a good look at how the recoil pad looks. Some really looked bad.


I finally found the best gun that Sportsman’s Warehouse had in stock and made the purchase. I was anxious to make this gun look like a classic. For this reason I chose a Leather sling.

I also chose a Leupold Gold Ring Scope that gave this gun a CLASSIC look.


First Steps

I compared this new model 70 to my pre 64 model 70. I did this by comparing 3 key areas: Trigger, Accuracy, and Recoil.

I then did the following with each gun:

-Worked the bullets from the magazine into the chamber and then ejected them. I did this with 20 rounds through each gun.

I was careful to work it softly for the first 10 rounds, then harder for the next 10 rounds. I was VERY pleased to see that both guns ejected the bullets with ease. This they did with an easy stroke or a hard bull on the bolt.

-Shot the guns at the range:

I shot the new Model 70 Winchester 300 WSM 2 shots at a time, then would clean it. I repeated this 10 times, shooting 20 rounds through the gun.


I paid very close attention to the trigger, the recoil, and of course the accuracy.


WOW, the MOA ZERO Creep trigger on the Winchester Model 70 is just fantastic. I cannot detect any creep at all, and was surprised each time the gun fired. I measured the pull weight to be 3 lbs from the factory. The manual comes with easy instructions for tuning the trigger further, but I see NO need.

It is a significant improvement over the PRE 64 Model 70.


Fantastic. This is my 3rd 300 WSM, and by far it has the most manageable recoil of all of them. It jumps a little, but the recoil to my shoulder is no problem, and I left the range after shooting 20 rounds with NO, yes NO pain in my shoulder.

A nice improvement over the older model 70, since that gun has a STEEL butt plate.


With a great trigger, very good recoil, you can imagine how the accuracy should be…well it is GREAT.

I was able to shoot ½ MOA groups over and over with both guns.

The new Model 70  shoulder easily, and shot just fantastic groups.



-When buying a Winchester Model 70, look over several guns, pick one that LOOKS good.

-The Model 70 is BACK. This gun looks great, feels great, and shoot great.

-The Winchester Feather Weight Model 70 I bought shoots fantastic.

We consider this gun a definite buy, and rank it as one of the top rifles generally available. You cannot go wrong with a new Winchester Model 70.


What they could do better:

Be consistent in the bluing.

Make sure the Pachmayr recoil pad is fit well, and does not have wrinkling.

1 positive user reviews     0 negative user reviews.


  1. Good review, my findings are similar to yours.

    I have two pre 64s in 30-06 as well, and a new Weather Extreme M70 in 30-06 with a 22 inch barrel. The new one is very accurate and I am taking it on a sheep hunt this coming August as I don’t want to risk get the old ones beat up on rocks or soaked for days on end if we have bad weather. The recoil pad on the new one allows me to shoot more at the range and I really like it.

    However, the balance of the pre 64s is better. Maybe it’s the 24 inch barrel that does it. In the offhand shooting position I can hold the pre 64 steadier. it seems.

  2. I also purchased a brand new USRA, Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in 300 Winchester Mag. This is not the WSM, but rather the full length cartridge. In looking at all the reviews online and after careful consideration I chose the Winchester. I am 46 years of age, former military,”Army”, and I have actively hunted my entire life. After 7, 6 hour trips to the range, Doing it right, using a proper fitting bore quide, starting with a clean cold barrel, firing no more that 3 shots, then letting it cool completely to the touch and properly cleaning, and repeat the process. I have used more than 140 rounds, 6 brands of ammo, more than 6 bullet types and 3 different weights. I have come to the conclusion that the new modern Winchester is the worst rifle I have ever owned. I mounted a New Leupold VX-1 4x12x40 with new Leupold dual dovetail mounts, low rings. The best groups I have been able to get from a Caldwell rest are– THE BROAD SIDE OF A LARGE BARN–. I have done everything most would checking and double checking scope screws and the 2 frame screws. Everything is good and tight, the scope moves as it should when it should and locks into slot. I don’t know if this is just a bad barrel or just a bad rifle all together,r but I will never make this expensive mistake again. In all farness to Olin Chem, I am going to Call Winchester customer service and I am returning this rifle to Winchester and hope to get me a new one or have them replace the barrel, if they refuse, I will probably have them keep and destroy it as it would be unsafe, irresponsible, and unethical for me to sell it or give it away., It’s that bad. I will be happy to come back later to this sight and report on how Winchester has handled the issue with the rifle. There are no points for looks, ergonomics or functionality if it has no accuracy, everything else does not matter. As is, I know I will NOT be taking this rifle hunting. I aim to kill Deer, Elk and Bear, not campers a 1/2 mile away.

    3 people found this review helpful.
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    • Wow! That stinks to have a gun that you cannot count on.
      Please return and report on this!

    • Wow! That stinks to have a gun that you cannot count on.
      Please return and report on this!
      I am very interested in their response.

  3. I will most certainly return and let you know what Winchester says and or does. If they are willing and able to correct the issue, I will be satisfied, either way I will let you all know. I am aware that even with the best R&D team and quality control a bad apple can get in a box, I guess only time will tell.

    • I own several Winchester Model 70s. I also own 2 Great Remington Model 700s. And a Ruger Hawkeye. The Super Grade WInchester Model 70s are awesome and a great value. They are also very accurate. Wish they would reintroduce deluxe model 70 Featherweight as I think the current one although nice is not in the same league as the Super Grades. And I mean in relation to value per dollar spent. The cure for the POPULAR Featherweight is a SUPER GRADE version!!

      2 people found this review helpful.
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  4. Michael says:
    August 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm
    “I will most certainly return and let you know what Winchester says and or does.”

    Well, how about it, Michael?

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