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Winchester Beefs-Up Model 70 Offerings for 2009

January 22, 2009.

The big news in hunting rifles for 2008 was the return of Winchester's Model 70 bolt action rifle.

Unfortunately, delays in availability and a modest cartridge selection threw a wet blanket over this otherwise good news.

For 2009, Winchester has added some good depth to their cartridge offerings. It remains to be seen if the new offerings will be available in time for the 2009 hunting season.

In last year's coverage of Model 70 offerings, I made this comment:

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.

If even I can see the gaps, they must be pretty obvious. Sure enough, the new offerings for 2009 are the .25-06, 7mm WSM, 7mm Remington Magnum, and .338 Winchester magnum. They also added the .22-250 on the varmint end of the spectrum.

In addition to the expanded cartridge offering, Winchester is also offering two new rifle configurations.

The Coyote Light is a 7 1/2 pound varmint rifle with a medium-heavy stainless barrel and a gimmicky vented stock. It's chambered in a variety of short-action cartridges, most of which are really big game cartridges. Offerings include .22-250, .243, .308, .270 WSM, .300 WSM, .325 WSM. Most of those are decidedly not varmint cartridges — on top of being ugly, this gun has a major identity crisis.

Model 70 Coyote Light

Also new is the Model 70 Ultimate Shadow, with one of those weird rubberized synthetic stocks. The rubberized stock is supposed to be easy to grip in wet weather, but Winchester has paired it with a blued (as opposed to stainless) barrel, limiting its potential as a foul-weather rifle — another funny-looking gun with an identity crisis.

Model 70 Ultimate Shadow

I like ugly guns with synthetic stocks, but both the Coyote Light and Ultimate Shadow are too ugly for me.

The two new rifles compliment last year's models, including:

  • Super Grade — A glossy action and barrel and an upgraded walnut stock.
  • Featherweight Deluxe — Satin-finished walnut stock includes the classic Schnabel fore-end that has traditionally made this model so distinctive.
  • Sporter Deluxe — A fairly traditional rifle with satin-finished walnut and a glossy action and barrel.
  • Extreme Weather SS — A stainless action and barrel matched to a very dark charcoal gray (looks black to me) Bell and Carlson composite stock.

All models feature clean barrels with no iron sights.

The 2009 line-up includes:

x   = New for 2009

Cartridge Super Grade Feather-
weight
Deluxe
Sporter Deluxe Extreme Weather SS Ultimate Shadow
.22-250
x
     
.243
x
x
x
.25-06
 
x
x
   
.270
x
x
x
x
x
7mm-08
x
 
7mm WSM
 
x
x
x
 
7mm Rem Mag
 
x
x
x
x
.308
x
x
x
.30-06
x
x
x
x
x
.300 WinMag
x
x
x
x
x
.270 WSM
x
x
x
x
x
.300 WSM
x
x
x
x
.325 WSM
x
x
x
x
.338 WinMag
 
x
x
x
 

There's a link to the 2009 catalog on the homepage of the Winchester website.

What about 2010? There are still obvious gaps around African cartridges. Ironically, the cover of the 2009 catalog shows a pair of Cape Buffalo, but none of the rifles in the catalog are appropriate for hunting them. The .375 H&H seems obligatory, although the .375 Ruger, .404 Jeffrey, or .416 Ruger would be much more interesting.

Another appreciated move would be to offer big game cartridges that are harder to find, perhaps a .270 Weatherby, a .358 Winchester or, if dreams can come true, the .358 Norma Magnum.

I had thought about picking up a .270 Featherweight last year, but really didn't need one. A .338 WinMag in the Extreme Weather SS, however, would be very useful for me. This would make a very serious all-weather elk, moose, and bear rifle — unlike the Coyote Light or Ultimate Shadow, no identity crisis here.

For this year, though, I'll be looking for an Extreme Weather SS in .338 Winchester Magnum. I have enough preference points to draw a moose tag in Wyoming soon, and this is the gun I want to take on that trip. I just need to wait for one to show up on GunBroker.com. Hopefully guns will start trickling out of the factory faster than they have been.


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