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More Details on The Return of Winchester's Model 70

February 25, 2008.

As you've heard on Hunt The West and pretty much every other source for information on the outdoors, the big news in hunting rifles for 2008 is the return of Winchester's Model 70 bolt action rifle.

The 2008 Winchester catalog is out, and some new details are available.

Of greatest interest, possibly, is the availability date, which is being stated as "Delivery starting June, 2008." I suggest keeping an eye on Gunbroker.com, which tends to have guns available sooner and with greater variety than my local hunting stores. (Register at GunBroker.com)

Another interesting detail is that all 2008 production rifles will include an engraved floorplate to commemorate the return, a unique detail that won't be available on subsequent production years.

As previously reported, the Model 70 will be available in 4 grades:

Super Grade — Includes a glossy action and barrel and an upgraded walnut stock, but still carries an MSRP of only $200 more than the more standard Sporter Deluxe. Only available in .30-06 and .300 Win Mag. Weighs in at a beefy 8 lbs for the '06 and 8 1/4 pounds for the .300.

Featherweight Deluxe — Satin-finished walnut stock includes the classic Schnabel fore-end that has traditionally made this model so distinctive. Barrel and action have a glossy finish. This is the lightest rifle in the line-up, with short-actions listed at 6 1/2 pounds, long actions at 6 3/4 pounds, and magnums and WSMs at 7 pounds. MSRP is $999 for standard calibers, $1,049 for magnums.

Sporter Deluxe — A fairly traditional rifle with satin-finished walnut and a glossy action and barrel. Available in long-action and magnum calibers, but no short-action. Middle-of-the-road 7 1/2 pounds for standard long-action calibers, but 1/4 pound lighter for WSMs and 1/4 pound heavier for the .300 Win Mag. Like the Featherweight Deluxe, MSRP is $999 for standard calibers, $1,049 for magnums.

Extreme Weather SS — A stainless action and barrel matched to a very dark charcoal gray (looks black to me) Bell and Carlson composite stock. Weighs 7 pounds, except for the .300 Win Mag, which is listed at 7 1/4. A slight premium on the price is charged for the stainless and composite components. MSRP is $1,149 for standard calibers and $1,199 for magnum calibers. (I think this rifle would be much more attractive with a tan stock with black flecks, offering up a custom rifle look for a very reasonable price, and differentiating it from all the other black composite stocks out there.)

All models feature clean barrels with no iron sights.

Cartridge selection is OK, but on the conservative side. Short-action calibers (.243, 7-08, and .308) are mostly only available on the Featherweight, although the .308 is offered in the Extreme Weather SS.

Noticeably absent in any of the configurations are classic cartridges such as the 7mm Remington Magnum and the .338 Win Mag, and the low-end of the range would have been rounded out nicely if they had offered the .25-06.

The WSM cartridges are well-represented, with the .270 WSM, .300 WSM, and .325 WSM available in most configurations. Winchester snubbed their own 7mm WSM.

Cartridge Super Grade Featherweight Deluxe Sporter Deluxe Extreme Weather SS
.243
x
.270
x
x
7mm-08
x
.308
x
x
.30-06
x
x
x
x
.300 WinMag
x
x
x
x
.270 WSM
x
x
x
.300 WSM
x
x
x
.325 WSM
x
x
x

Personally, despite my preference for stainless actions and composite stocks, I've got my eye on a Featherweight in .270. I've always liked the styling of the stock on this model, and I have to admit that I'm being suckered in by the 2008 Limited Edition engraved floorplate. And if I'm going to buy the Rifleman's Rifle, .270 seems like the perfect choice.

Model 70 Featherweight

There's a link to the 2008 catalog on the homepage of the Winchester website.


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