Guns > Rifles

The New Model 70 Winchester (Page 2)

The original 1936 American Rifleman magazine article on the Winchester Model 70, and the beginning of this rifle's journey to the top of the American firearms heap.

So far we had noticed a maximum change in impact of only 1-1/2 minutes of angle. We now removed the sling and rested the forestock on the oak cross-piece that fronts our portable bench rest. Barr got two groups in this manner which averaged 5 inches, but the impact of both was 4 inches high. Checking with W.R.A. 180-grain (pointed expanding_ sporting ammunition, Barr’s group measured 3.72 inches and its impact was normal. My own groups with this load (4.80 and 5.0 inches) landed 6 inches lower when using the sling.

Most of our groups were formed with a flier which enlarged them to the sizes quoted above, all of which were measured between centers of the widest shots. Most of our 5-shot groups had four shots in 3 inches or less, and our 10-shot group had nine shots in 3.08 inches. Figuring all shots fired from prone or rest at 200 yards, the 40 rounds of M-1 Service ammunition averaged less that 4 ¾ inches per group and the 15 rounds of W.R.A. sporting ammunition averaged less than 4 ½ inches.

Outside of the meager length and cartridge-overall clearance of the magazine, the only disappointment I experienced in my initial examination of the new Model-70 action was the lateral safety. While this works fine in connection with iron sights or target scopes it is inconvenient with low-mounted hunting scopes. In fact, when a wide-field scope which has enlarged ends is properly placed close to the top of the receiver it is practically impossible to operate the Winchester safety at all.

I find the practical limit which permits employment of this safety is 1/8-inch clearance and that means without gloves and the acceptance of some inconvenience. That much clearance between a small, straight, ¾-inch scope and the safety lever leaves a clearance of 3/16-inch at the bolt handle, 1/8-inch clearance at the hood and 5/16-inch clearance at the bridge, the base of the new bolt handle projecting 1/8 inch above the bridge in raised position. With a 7/8-inch Zielklein scope the same low limited of 1/8-inch clearance would raise the line of sight about 1/8 inch, while the enlarged ends of the Zielyt model and the bigger Zielvier and Dialytan scopes would raise it still more.

In the first example, the lowest line of sight with the ¾-inch scope is 2 1/8 inches above the comb. With the Zielklein scope the drop would be about 2 ¼ inches, and with the wide-field scopes, which have eye pieces of 1 ¼ and 1 ½ inches, the comb-drop from the line of sight would be 2 3/8 and 2 ½ inches, respectively. Therefore, the new Winchester safety nullifies a portion of the advantage offered y the new, well-designed Winchester bolt handle. A considerable number of hunters will not be so restricted, because they habitually disregard the safety and instead keep their cartridges in the magazine, keeping the chamber empty until they are ready to fire. Such sportsmen will have their hunting scopes placed lower than the minimum-limit position mentioned above, to barely clear the hood and the base of the bolt handle.

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