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Rifle Review: Winchester Model 70 Safari Express (Part I)

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April 13, 2011

Rifle Review: Winchester Model 70 Safari Express (Part I)

By David E. Petzal

“It follows, therefore, that by far the most valuable trophy I brought out of Africa with me is that scarred, worn, grand, old Winchester [Model 70] .375. It is the last rifle of mine I would ever part with.”—Finn Aagaard

There are a whole bunch of reasons I wish Finn were still with us, and one of them is so he could shoot the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express I’ve been fooling with these past two weeks. Finn’s gun was made in 1948, when Model 70s were of no better than average quality, and frequently much worse than average. (His stock split, and he patched it.) The rifle that I have is one of the best designed, highest-quality guns I’ve seen come out of a factory. It is made overly strong. There’s nothing on it I’d change, or can see how to improve. Winchester says it’s the best heavy rifle in the world, and they have a case.

The stock is very heavy, very dense straight-grained American walnut with a Pachmayr Decelerator Pad, fore-end swivel on the barrel (down close to the wood, where it belongs) and lots of very good laser-cut checkering. It’s finished flat, as is the metal, which is what you want in a dangerous-game rifle.

Overall weight on my rifle, with a Leupold Vari-X III 2.5X-8X scope on board, is 10 pounds, 5 ounces, which is heavy for a .375, but is just fine with me, because it cuts recoil way down and lets you get off quick shots. My last .375 had a synthetic stock that was stuffed full of lead shot to bring it to this exact weight.

The trigger is Winchester’s new M.O.A. model, which, on this gun, is set at a dead-clean 4 pounds 8 ounces. That's heavy for any other rifle, but perfect for a dangerous-game gun. It is a virtually perfect trigger pull with no discernable movement.

Barrel length is 24 inches, and the barrel contour is quite heavy, the same, I understand, as is used on the .416 Remington and .458 versions of this gun. The barrel is equipped with a secondary recoil lug midway down, which is bedded in steel epoxy, as is the main recoil lug, and there are two reinforcing bolts through the stock ahead of and behind the magazine well. If you want to split this stock you’ll need a wedge and a maul.

To be continued...

Comments (85)

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Have a good post-64 Safari Express in 458 I passed on to my son. Rifle is everything you write. ..Mounts and handles like a shotgun. Folks at Winchester put real thought into this rifle. I prefer the 22" barrel, though.

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from ALJoe wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Between my Dad and I, we own four Model 70's. One is a pre-64 the others are straight out of the box over the counter guns. All four shoot very comarable groups. We still do most of our hunting with our Model 70's. We both shoot the .270 for whitetails. The guns do there part and it would be hard to complain about them at all.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jonnycanuck wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Mr. Petzel, can you review the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 rifle? Does it really shoot sub-MOA? Thanks

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 3 years 4 days ago

It would be nice to have these reviews in one piece.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Nice to see Winchester (FNH) has built a truly nice rifle.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 3 years 4 days ago

A good Model 70 Winchester can be a work of art. I have a second year production .30-06. It once belonged to my boss who used it for years and years. I purchased it from his widow when he pass on since his son didn't want it!!!!? This one shows it's age but it's all there and it works!

Lock and Load!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Now that is a rifle!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Dave,

It can be improved. They could make a model with the crank on the port side for you and me!

Question: How did you stabilize the lead shot in that synthetic stock?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Dave, I'm in agreement with Jonnyconuck. The new Vanguard 2 looks like just what the Doctor ordered for an inexpensive, accurate elk rifle (in proper caliber of course). I understand the 2 has addressed the poor trigger on the original vanguard. Would like to hear your opinion before ordering one. If Africa comes into the picture for me that M70 would sure look good.

Thanks, Del

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Post Script: I thought my Model 70 458 an excellent *Dangerous Game Rifle* out-of-box. There was very little I did beyond polishing the feed ramp and action rails. Winchester did an outstanding job stocking the rifle.

The only other rifle in this class I thought giving competition was the Remington 798 458 Safari rifles.

All being equal, I prefer a Mauser action in a dangerous game rifle. I can't prove why, I just do.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Dave, I'm so glad you brought up Mr. Aagaards name concerning the .375. I have most of his and Berit's books and articles and he loved the .375 most of all the big game calibers. He was quite the shade tree mechanic working on rifles, installing cross bolts, and doing other such stuff himself. Handloading advice also.
I've read you actually had the opportunity to spend time with him. I envy you because of all the African hunting stuff I've read I would have liked to hunt and camp with him more than any because of the gentleman he seemed to be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 3 years 3 days ago

There's no lever on it...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I could never decide between this and its Ruger counterpart.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Carney,

LOL! The lever is on the right side, just above the trigger guard. Pull it up and back, then push forward and down!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Del,

Get a Mark V and you can adjust the trigger any way you want it without disassembly. Comes in lots of proper elk calibers, too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Well, all I can say is I ain't for that!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 3 years 3 days ago

To Beekeeper. We had to stabilize it twice. The first time we poured epoxy over the shot and it broke loose. In Africa. It sounded like I was carrying a .375-caliber castanet. So when I got back my gunsmith scooped out the old mess, poured in a new batch of shot and poured lots and lots of epoxy over it. That held.

To Jim in Mo. He was indeed a gentleman. The one time I got to go hunting with him (1985) his vehicle broke down and we had to cut the hunt short. He would not take any money, not even for expenses. Having dinner with the Aagaards was an experience; a mixture of Texas-accented English and Norwegian.

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from The Shot wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Years ago I had a chance to buy a 'new' Pre 64 Model 70 in 30-06. I say new, because the original owner got it as a surprise X'Mas present from his wife and had only fired a quarter box of ammo thru it sighting in prior to starting his first fall hunting season.

Then on the opening day as he eagerly sallied forth into the bush, another gunner ( whom he never did meet nor see afterwards...) shot his cap off his noodle, and our promising new nimrod had to endure a further fusilade of randomly aimed follow-up fire that clipped branches and kicked up dirt around him as he hugged terra firma!

When the firing died down the fellow made his way out of there back to his warm and safe abode, never to venture forth into the game fields again. The firearm lay dormant in it's original box for the next couple decades until the jumpy bwana revealed it to me in a passing moment.

It was a beautiful hunting rifle, fitted me like a glove and it's tight, butter-smooth action endorsed it as a top quality shooting arm. Plus, iron sights, a 24" barrel and that fabulous controlled round feed. Wow, everything I thirsted for in a new addition to my slowly enlarging firearm inventory. I'm positive Jack O'Connor would have furled his professional brow and nodded his approval.

Unfortunately, as a young infantryman all the cash I had in my civy jeans at the time was about $350.00 bucks and try and negotiate as I could, that equity fell short of what was required. So, I missed my chance at the only 'new' Pre 64 Win/70 that I've ever encountered!

And 'Alas'...,the broadest hints to my new wife for a similiar early X'Mas present, such as the rifle's owner had experienced himself...never bore fruit. Can anyone believe that my quiet and thoughtful bride would prefer for us to have a washer & dryer...,than a Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in classic 30-06..??!

Well Gents, many moons later I'm still inwardly trying to figure this one out..?

Best/TheShot

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Finn was one of the most sensible gunwriters I've ever read. On the issue of the .458 being underpowered (back when it was fashionable for other gunwriters to bash the .458 and present alternatives) he simply wrote that those 500-grain bullets won't bounce off any animal, whether they're moving at 1,900fps or 2,300.

On the traditional use of shotguns and buckshot for dispatching wounded lions and leopards in the thick stuff in Africa, he had this take: at the distances involved the shot spread is not bigger than a fist, so precise shooting is still required. So he ignored the shotgun altogether and waded in with his rifle, as it was more familiar to him and had better sights and trigger.

But this by far, in my opinion, was his best: no power available in a shoulder fired weapon could make up for lousy shooting.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Regarding Mr. Aagaard, I wrote to him some years back when he was still writing for Petersen's Hunting, if memory serves, asking about bullet preferences for the .257 Roberts. I expected an answer in the magazine but instead got a very cordial personal reply in the mail. I was impressed and remain so this day, he seemed to be a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. May he rest in peace.

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

O Gracia,

The only reason people bash the 458 is to sell you a 416.

Why a .40 weighing 400-grains is better than a .45 bullet weighing 500-grains is beyond my limited brain.

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from Amflyer wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Mark-1, I wonder if the answer to your question lies in the American way of "multi-tasking."

The .416 seems more likely to be at home in the Alaskan wilds due to its flatter trajectory. We want to the most out of our weapons, and hey, Alaska and Africa in one rifle...win!

Me, I'd pick a 458 for the beasties in Africa that gore, stomp and charge, and a 375 for the Alaskan bruins and tall-standing bulls.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 3 days ago

After the Ol' Man got his "P64M70-30-06Gov't" trigger worked on down to 4lbs, he shot a double, the 2 biggest bucks I have ever seen, 3 years later he has a stainless Tikka Lite in 7mmRem mag, if I had my choice I would own the 70, but then I again I would probably hunt with the Tikka. What kick? Gun Nuts get swayed like toddler boys 3 days after Christmas, actually I want THAT. After what WAM just said I want a Weatherby Mark 5, hey it cost 150 bucks to adjust the trigger on the M70. I fight becoming a collector, but I could see myself using imbecile naive phrases (when justifying a gun purchase) like "investment" not there isn't money to be made on guns, but based on trips to the gunshows folks have access to information and want top dollar for sought after guns, and if I owned one I wouldn't want to let it go.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Glad to hear that Winchester is back in the rifle business and producing a good product.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

The 458 was a much maligned cartridge. By the time writers started bashing it, most of the problems had been solved by improved modern powder, and higher quality and selection of bullets. I have owned a pre 64 in this caliber for ages. It is reliable and accurate. When I acquired mine it was far and away the least expensive accurate stopping rifle an African hunter could afford. They were produced in enough volume to be reasonably available.
Seeing this new rifle brings back many fond memories of my exciting first trip to Africa.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

At the time the 458 came into being there were only a few 416 Rigbys, very expensive, and the brass was almost non existent, and worth their weight in gold. I remember a PH muttering to me how embarrassing it would be for him if I was hooked in the fanny by a buffalo while I scrounging in the dirt looking for empty brass.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Happy Myles

Good to see you weigh in on this topic. The only African rifle I ever fired was a Ruger #1 Tropical in .416 Rigby. Quite the ride. You should be ___ this tall for that ride!

Del gave me a copy of John Taylor's African Rifles and Cartridges last fall. My son devoured every word and I have started it. Good technical read. I will probably hunt Africa vicariously through yours and others experiences.

Best regards,
WAM

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I was chatting with some folks at a hunter gathering, a man walked up, and I was introduced to Finn Aagaard. Without thinking I blurted I did not recognize him with his hair combed. My friend looked at me in horror, Mr Aagaard laughed and patted me on the shoulder. Most of Mr Aagaards pictures show him with tousled hair.

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from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I love my Winchesters dont get me wrong, but how is this rifle differant than my CZ 550 American in 375 I am just wondering so please dont beat me for it.

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from MaxPower wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Why is it the fore-end swivel placed on the barrel instead of the stock on big bore rifles? This is coming from an 'I haven't been to Africa YET' hunter.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Max'
the swivel upon heavy recoil can "bite" your hand holding the forearm, if that is were the swivel is located

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Have also found when the swivel is on the forearm, it interferes with using shooting sticks, and if it recoils back against the sticks increases the pain. I use a sling in North America, and Asia when hunting sheep, elk etc. You need your hands free to help scramble up mountains, climb rocks or carry meat. In Africa I rarely use one, distances are often shorter, the cover may be low so you have to carry the barrel down. Additionally, it is quicker to use the sticks without the sling. Hasten to add, this is purely a personal habit, many disagree with me and love a sling in Africa. The sling and swivels can be noisy on short Affrican stalks, and catch on ever present thorns or low branches. Just my opinions, Kindest Regards

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I thought I read somewhere that the swivel on a barrel band was also more durable and less prone to fail than one bored into the stock.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Steve.
Could be. but have not heard of a swivel pulling out of wood. Perhaps some think the forearm is sturdier without the swivel. Dave's comment indicating having the swivel close to the stock, I felt meant less chance for us short guys dragging the butt of the rifle on the ground, plus better balance and a thicker part of the barrel. Sure he will put us all straight shortly. Kindest Regards

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Many years ago, do to the pressure from management, I did a rare thing, and let one of the porters carry my rifle. We were in deep jungle, when the you know what hit the fan. He had my rifle crossed over his shoulders by the sling, had to yank him out of a tree twice before I could wrestle my rifle off his back. Since then no one carries my rifle but me, and no slings in case I forget.

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from Bwana Hunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

'Happy Myles' is 100% correct. The 1st time anyone fires an express rifle with their extended paw up against the swivel on the wooden forearm is usually the last time they'll do that..! I've seen blood drawn from the hand that got impacted by a sling's swivel from the heavy recoil. And that's why most good firearm manufacturs mount their swivels on the barrel, just forward of the forearm on powerful African express firearms.

Hope this helps Max.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Yank him out of a tree 2x indeed...

Happy you just won't do! LOL!

What type of shooting sticks do you use?

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from MaxPower wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Thanks Happy Myles, thou art the man.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Bee,
Here in the States, for practice, I use the take down model sold by Long Grass. They have the closest characteristics to the homemade ones you will run into in Africa that I have found. Being takedown, they fit in the trunk of my car. I do not take any with me to Africa,
because the locals will insist on using their own, which is the diplomatic way to go. These are fine people, and deserve our respect. I prefer three sticks versus two. Have found using two, am just as well off shooting offhand.
If you do not want to spend the money for Long Grass, just take three pieces of PVC and wrap inner tube or surgical tubing around the tops and you are ready to go. Do not use them here in the States for hunting just for African practice. They do take getting used to for American hunters, but your PH will probably insist on it. All The Best

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Many apologies for usurping and changing the subject. However feel, obligated to cover one more topic. U.S. hunters who have not experienced hunting in African plains area often raise an eyebrow over the use of shooting sticks. There, one must often shoot at ranges that here in the States a responsible hunter would shoot prone, sitting , kneeling or a rest on a boulder, or tree,. Africa hunting often does not allow this type of shooting. Low bushes, no boulders, and only thorn trees and thorn bushes. So often you are sort of stuck with offhand shooting or using the "sticks".

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 2 days ago

These big bore rifles require a firm hand holding that fore end down so that recoil doesn't get a head start. Good reason for swivel on barrel.

Shooting *Big Game* is fairly close range. NO need for shooting sticks. Hunting *Buck* seems to be long range and off-hand shooting making shooting sticks a big help. I always position a shooting stick under the fore arm.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Funny thing about the Model-70 thru the years..some swear by it, OR at it; while the Rem700 is by far the most successful(based on the number used by American hunters) of domestic made bolt action rifles.
SO, Dave, have you a story about another rifle maker in a BIG BORE variety?

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from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Mark-1 Looked at a Rem 798 they are junk stick with a Win CZ or Rem 700.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 2 days ago

My piddly little opinion here pales in comparison to Happy's experiences. Happy, I would very much like to sit down with you over a bottle of good amber liquid and listen to you hold court. Anyway, I looked at some of the telescoping shooting sticks available at Gander Mt. recently, they would be great for use in a pop up blind or when groundhog hunting. I'm going to have to have one of those.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Dave and the gang, sorry for getting off the original subject.

WAM,

Almost bought a Mk 5 back in '73 at a gunshop in Phoenix City, AL. That wood stock is just a little too gaudy for me. Think I might give the Fibermark a look. Already have RCBS dies for the 300 Wby. That is likely the caliber I will go with.
BTW I passed on a new Vanguard in 7mm Rem mag for 280 bucks yesterday. A friend at work found the gun at a local Wallyworld. Price is good but gotta have a good trigger. By the time you add a Timney can just buy the Vanguard 2 at the Ft. Leavenworth gun club.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 2 days ago

On the shooting stick subject, I use the Stoney Point (Explorer model I think) telescoping stick that will allow me to extend it and shoot from a standing position facing steep uphill to sitting or kneeling. I have evaluated the two and three-legged sticks, but they don't seem to work for me where I elk hunt the most. Sturdy and a handy walking stick, too.

Del,
Keep checking Mark's. He usually has some .300 Weatherby Fibermarks and Accumarks in nice shape for about 1/2 of new price.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Del, That was an terribly good price. Those triggers are not that bad.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Thanks Happy!

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from gfrichie wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Beautiful looking gun. When I bought my first deer rifle I was torn between a Model 70 and a Remington 700. Had there been a nice old Winchester Model 70 in the family I would've probably found a way to get it, but I went with the 700. One of these days I'd love to find a pre-64 that doesn't put me into debt.

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from dasmith wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Always wanted a pre64 .458 winchester magnum. Not sure what I would hunt with it but, also would like a polar bear rug. My uncle even has a box of 19 rounds I could probably talk him out of.

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from Drew in Canada wrote 3 years 2 days ago

@the shot
Do you still have "the wife" ?
I know its wrong , but someone said its good to keep your wife happy .I mean its not like she is a gun or something IMPORTANT .

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from Drew in Canada wrote 3 years 2 days ago

@the shot
Do you still have "the wife" ?
I know its wrong , but someone said its good to keep your wife happy .I mean its not like she is a gun or something IMPORTANT .

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 1 day ago

idduckhntr,

1st I do with your CZ and Rem 700 big bores is chop their barrels to 22". A 26/27" barrel is too clut-zie to swing, too light to use as a club.

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from The Shot wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Hey 'DiC', "do I still have her?" - you betcha! When a man finds something real good in life he takes extra special care of it, or/as in this case - Her! A fellow needs a sterling lady by his side for a long and happy term on this round ball we call Earth, one who will give him great kids, make a home a santuary, and kindly laughs with him, not at him when he inevitably goofs up along the way.

And She looks better than the day I formally acquired her, strong, neat, and trim, and turned out to be my best outdoor companion by a country mile. So, if I had to do it all over once more, and chose between the classic lines and beauty of that Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 with it's distinctive hardwood and silky action, and 'One Shot Ruby' with her fine touch and clear head, I'd be at the front of the line again in a hunter's heartbeat!

'DiC', that's the IMPORTANT stuff, and everything real good comes with and after that. Thanks for ambling by & set'ng a spell.

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from cbanks wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Dave: Can't wait for Part II. One of the best set of comments I've seen.

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from MReeder wrote 3 years 1 day ago

I had the privilege of spending a day with Finn Aagaard many years ago at his central Texas ranch for a feature story I was working on at the time. It was a pretty big thrill to me just to meet him, but you never know how those things are going to go. He turned out to be a true gentlemen, soft-spoken and self-effacing, a great host and just one of the most down-to-earth people you'd ever want to meet. I could have listened to him tell stories about Africa for hours. One that stuck with me was how, of all the close scrapes he had as PH, his one nasty injury was a gored calf delivered by a dik-dik or some other little antelope not much bigger than a jackrabbit. He was one of a kind and is truly missed.

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from MReeder wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Forgot to even mention it in the previous post, but that Safari Express is one beautiful gun. That is what a big game rifle is supposed to look like.

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from calapp wrote 3 years 1 day ago

I agree with Beekeeper.I thought by now Winchester would be offering the Safari is a left-handed version. With the automated tooling available today I don't understand why more rifles are not offered in left-handed versions.

Manufacturers should be able to earn a decent return even on small production runs. Left-handed gun writers need to be strong advocates for our segment of firearms customers. My comments to sales reps at shows seem to have gone nowhere.

I would buy a new LH 375 Safari tomorrow if it was available. Lefties probably have fewer options today than several years ago. I simply don't understand it. In every other commercial segment of the world choices continue to multiply -- but not for lefty shooters. Can you explain why Dave?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Winchester once advertised the Model 70 as "The Rifleman's Rifle," and it became the rifle against which all others were judged.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 23 hours ago

Sheeeeiit. The Model 70 as "The Rifleman's Rifle" my big ol' butt! More advertising and Cactus Jack hype from back when. Why, now T/C Encore would have been paying Jack's bills and it would have been the end-all be-all of rifles. They never were equal to the accuracy, fit and finish on the Weatherby's nor the accuracy of the Remington Model 700's! The FNH rifles are by all accounts very fine rifles. Not to be fooled by advertising weenies! JMO, just sayin'...

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 20 hours ago

WAM,
I am shocked. Do you think traveling and hunting around the world with 2, Model 70, 270 had something to do with advertising? Hey we survived and enjoyed. Once the Weatherby Award was introduced, everyone liked that rifle too. Especially with all the movie stars appearing with one. Wish more movie stars hunted today, would make our lives easier. Kindest to All

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 16 hours ago

I admittedly know pathetic little about dangerous game rifles. I suppose I should leave it at that! The .270 Win is vastly overrated IMO.

Best,
WAM

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from 99explorer wrote 3 years 5 hours ago

Back in the day, when Weatherby rifles appeared on the scene, they featured gawdy California mesquite stocks with flashy diamond-shaped inlays of ebony, ivory and osage orange. The .300 Weatherby line was built on commercial Mauser actions and the.257 Weatherbys were built on Winchester Model 70 actions.
At the time, a factory Model 70 was retailing for a little over $100, while the Weatherbys were selling for $350. They were, in effect, custom-built guns.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 52 weeks ago
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from MReeder wrote 2 years 52 weeks ago

To WaMtnunter re. .270.
I wish you would tell all the various deer, hogs, antelope, javelina and exotic sheep I've potted over the years with a .270 that the cartridge is "over-rated." Maybe they would rethink falling down like a ton of bricks when they were hit. There's a reason something hangs around as long as the .270 while dozens of other newer and supposedly better cartridges fall by the wayside. Unlike belted magnums of similar size it does not belt the hell out of you and make you flinch, it does not suffer unduly from velocity loss out of a 22-inch barrel like the overbore belchers, ammo for it can be found almost everywhere, it gives you point-blank range out to nearly 400 yards when sighted in three inches high at 100 and, at least in my experience, it lays game low if you put that 130 grain bullet where it belongs. Incidentally, do any of the people who put words in O'Connor's mouth and assign him motivation ever actually read anything he wrote? O'Connor liked the pre-'64 Model 70 but he spoke just as highly of the 98 Mauser, 700 Remington and Weatherby actions (he hated Weatherby's gaudy stocks, as do I). He owned and used all those various guns and others and was nearly as enthusiastic about the 30-06, 7X57 and .280 as he was about the .270. He also repeatedly called the .375 H&H the most useful cartridge on the planet and the one he would opt for if forced to hunt the world with no gun. Last time I checked they hadn't burned all of his books. I would highly recommend reading some of them. With the exception of "Boom Town," "Horse and Buggy West" and "Sheep and Sheep Hunting" I believe I have them all. They read as well now as the day they were first published and his observations and advice remain just as sound.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 52 weeks ago

Oops -- make that "hunt the world with ONE gun" in the previous post. Shows what happens when you write without a copy-editor....

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Happy,
I've read the main reason for the bashing of the .458 from the beginning was because of velocity way less than advertised. Within the last year or two I believe it was Terry Wieland, I could be wrong, who said Winchester's loading techniques were bad. The machinery was bumping at each stop and much powder spilled out thus the lower velocities..
I remember seeing a picture of Harry Selby handloading his .458 once he got over the loss of his .416. Maybe he didn't trust the factory ammo either, just a thought.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

@ MReeder

Thanks for your thoughtful and excellent points. Your commentary reinforces the point that the "rifleman's rifle" is not the be-all, end-all that some purport.

Cheers,
WAM

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from 007 wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Off the wall thought and question here, and let me preface with the fact that I've never been a Winchester fan, but do you think Winchester has their share of detractors today because of all that's happened with them over the years, the '64 debacle and resultant quality control issues, becoming US Repeating Arms, then closing, then coming back, etc, etc., sort of like how professional baseball lost fans during the strike some years back? Just an idle mind wandering off unsupervised..........

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Jim in Mo,
Back in 1956 truth in advertising must have been different. Plus few had access to a chronograph. The 458 Win Mag actual factory ammunition velocity was not even close to what was advertised. As I recall several hundred feet less. Many felt Winchester loaded highly compacted, highly compactable powder into the case to get as much velocity as possible out of the round . This sometimes caused ammo stored in hot conditions over long periods of time to be erratic. Personally, I never had any problems with accuracy or reliability, and animals seemed to drop dead. Might add I handloaded most of the time. When I acquired my first chronoghraph, I was startled at the low velocities.

Do not know about poor quality control regarding factory ammo in the early years. Did not know Harry Selby was a handloader. Had a great 35 day Tanzania safari with his son years back.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Only 458 factory loads I've used was Federal which judging from the recoil are loaded to full velocity. I used for many years Hornady 500-gr FMJ and Soft Points. Fairly recently I've used Speer 350-grains flats, but I've not shot much game with them. I'm getting old and slow to roam the mts and velds. :-)

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Mark.
Most of the 458 Win Mag issues from the early years have been worked out to most critics satisfaction. It is slower than folks thought, but today with good ammo, accurate, and more popular than twenty years ago. Have only used handloads, but am sure Federal factory loads will work great.

Am getting old too. Kindest Regards

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

So if the 1948 Model 70's were of average quality, when were these Winchesters that every man who ever owned one swore was made by the hammer of God himself made? Were certain years far and above better than others just like vintage guitars? I for one would like to know...

johnnycanuck Dave reviewed the Weatherby Vanguard Sub-MOA an it shot a .177" group. I own a plain jane .257 Wby. Mag. Vanguard that I paid $399 for new in the box and it shoots three quarter inch groups at 100 yards. Came with a target that measured about five eighths, but that was before the sub-MOA days.

I have not seen the Vanguard 2 except on the web but in my opinion it is ugly. I do not believe they are even available, or at least not to mere mortals such as myself... perhaps Dave will do us a favor and see what he can do with one of these babies. He's the shooter... Clay's the poseur.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I don't think the .270 Winchester is overrated. But at 65,000 PSI max average pressure but with no "magnum" in its name, it's one of the cleverest marketed rounds of all time. "Look Ma, a standard round that gives magnum performance! What an amazing cartridge!" (Seriously though, considering the cartridge naming practice in the 1920's, the .270 couldn't have been named a magnum because it was the first of its kind, it had no "standard round" predecessor, and no wildcat ancestor. So it was considered a "standard" round from birth, even though its operating pressure and velocity is the same as that of the .300 Win Mag.)

Another well-named round is the .416 Rigby. Great name, great round, world standard performance, but it is not burdened by a "Nitro Express" or "magnum" in its name. Of course, the original name (something British like "John Rigby's Special .416 For Big Game") roll-marked on those original full size John Rigby Mausers looks like it was set up for disappointment. Except that it performed as well as advertised.

If I'm not mistaken, the world record elephant was brought down by a .416 Rigby. Sure, it took the European hunter a few magazine loads to kill the bull, but at 13 feet, it was nearly as tall as a giraffe, and at 12 tons, it weighed twice as heavy as your average African bull elephant. I think it took 20 men just to lift the hide alone. It was a freak elephant that the like of which we will never see again. I think the .416 did well, all things considered. (I don't know how well the hunter shot.)

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Some of you have doubted the authenticity of a friend of mine who is 80 something that served in Nam. We went to the NASCAR race in Talledega, Alabama this weekend and I took a picture of his hat... he says it means a lot to anyone who has ever served.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/photo.php?fbid=203717922992068&set=a.203717442992116.50265.100000615847379&type=1&theater

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

amazingly, the story of the elephant was published in Sports Illustrated! How times have changed. If they ran a story like this now, they would be forced to issue an apology.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1069744/1/ind...

and of course, I got a few details wrong (there were, as it turns out, multiple shooters). But I was quoting from memory.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Dr Ralph:

Please shake your friend's hand for me! Anyone who served in Korea and RVN is a hero of mine. I had platoon sergeants who were Korean War vets and they were tougher than woodpecker lips. Was he a Golden Knight as well? Just curious, not that it matters to me. Anyone with a CIB w/star, a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, and two purple hearts needs no further introduction!

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Thanks WAM. He is still tough as nails. Four of us went to Talledega and everyone lost money in our poker game before the race and after except him. He took all of our money. Sharp as a tack and in better shape than I and 30+ years older. He is a hero.

I don't know what a golden Knight is, much less a CIB...
I do know he was wounded in two different wars and has parachuted again since he turned 80. He has a jacket that says something about 50 years of service???

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Dr.Ralph, The Combat Infantryman's Badge is awarded to combat veteran's. The star indicates participation in a second war or conflict. Not many of us have the star.
The Golden Knights are the Army's version of the blue Angels but they do it with high performance parachutes instead of planes. Our good friend WAM is a paratrooper and a very good shot among other things. I have witnessed his shooting.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

That hat pretty much says it all, woodpecker lips indeed.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Our friend Del is pretty humble himself, but he is also a combat veteran of the 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", as is yuor friend. Sa-lute!

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Maybe you have met him Del, his name is Al Solis.

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from A Hoffart wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I purchased one of these in the .416 Remington...have only shot a few differant loads so far..but agree with the analysis..shoots great, seems to be very well and nicely put together. definitely a great overall improvement over the models 70's put out in previous years by the original Winchester..

Plan to take it with me next spring..have a bull elephant trip planned in Zimbabwe..guess the real test will come then.. :)

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from A Hoffart wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I purchased one of these in the .416 Remington...have only shot a few differant loads so far..but agree with the analysis..shoots great, seems to be very well and nicely put together. definitely a great overall improvement over the models 70's put out in previous years by the original Winchester..

Plan to take it with me next spring..have a bull elephant trip planned in Zimbabwe..guess the real test will come then.. :)

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from The Shot wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Years ago I had a chance to buy a 'new' Pre 64 Model 70 in 30-06. I say new, because the original owner got it as a surprise X'Mas present from his wife and had only fired a quarter box of ammo thru it sighting in prior to starting his first fall hunting season.

Then on the opening day as he eagerly sallied forth into the bush, another gunner ( whom he never did meet nor see afterwards...) shot his cap off his noodle, and our promising new nimrod had to endure a further fusilade of randomly aimed follow-up fire that clipped branches and kicked up dirt around him as he hugged terra firma!

When the firing died down the fellow made his way out of there back to his warm and safe abode, never to venture forth into the game fields again. The firearm lay dormant in it's original box for the next couple decades until the jumpy bwana revealed it to me in a passing moment.

It was a beautiful hunting rifle, fitted me like a glove and it's tight, butter-smooth action endorsed it as a top quality shooting arm. Plus, iron sights, a 24" barrel and that fabulous controlled round feed. Wow, everything I thirsted for in a new addition to my slowly enlarging firearm inventory. I'm positive Jack O'Connor would have furled his professional brow and nodded his approval.

Unfortunately, as a young infantryman all the cash I had in my civy jeans at the time was about $350.00 bucks and try and negotiate as I could, that equity fell short of what was required. So, I missed my chance at the only 'new' Pre 64 Win/70 that I've ever encountered!

And 'Alas'...,the broadest hints to my new wife for a similiar early X'Mas present, such as the rifle's owner had experienced himself...never bore fruit. Can anyone believe that my quiet and thoughtful bride would prefer for us to have a washer & dryer...,than a Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in classic 30-06..??!

Well Gents, many moons later I'm still inwardly trying to figure this one out..?

Best/TheShot

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from 007 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Regarding Mr. Aagaard, I wrote to him some years back when he was still writing for Petersen's Hunting, if memory serves, asking about bullet preferences for the .257 Roberts. I expected an answer in the magazine but instead got a very cordial personal reply in the mail. I was impressed and remain so this day, he seemed to be a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. May he rest in peace.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Dave,

It can be improved. They could make a model with the crank on the port side for you and me!

Question: How did you stabilize the lead shot in that synthetic stock?

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Max'
the swivel upon heavy recoil can "bite" your hand holding the forearm, if that is were the swivel is located

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 52 weeks ago

To WaMtnunter re. .270.
I wish you would tell all the various deer, hogs, antelope, javelina and exotic sheep I've potted over the years with a .270 that the cartridge is "over-rated." Maybe they would rethink falling down like a ton of bricks when they were hit. There's a reason something hangs around as long as the .270 while dozens of other newer and supposedly better cartridges fall by the wayside. Unlike belted magnums of similar size it does not belt the hell out of you and make you flinch, it does not suffer unduly from velocity loss out of a 22-inch barrel like the overbore belchers, ammo for it can be found almost everywhere, it gives you point-blank range out to nearly 400 yards when sighted in three inches high at 100 and, at least in my experience, it lays game low if you put that 130 grain bullet where it belongs. Incidentally, do any of the people who put words in O'Connor's mouth and assign him motivation ever actually read anything he wrote? O'Connor liked the pre-'64 Model 70 but he spoke just as highly of the 98 Mauser, 700 Remington and Weatherby actions (he hated Weatherby's gaudy stocks, as do I). He owned and used all those various guns and others and was nearly as enthusiastic about the 30-06, 7X57 and .280 as he was about the .270. He also repeatedly called the .375 H&H the most useful cartridge on the planet and the one he would opt for if forced to hunt the world with no gun. Last time I checked they hadn't burned all of his books. I would highly recommend reading some of them. With the exception of "Boom Town," "Horse and Buggy West" and "Sheep and Sheep Hunting" I believe I have them all. They read as well now as the day they were first published and his observations and advice remain just as sound.

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from Proverbs wrote 3 years 4 days ago

It would be nice to have these reviews in one piece.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Nice to see Winchester (FNH) has built a truly nice rifle.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

The 458 was a much maligned cartridge. By the time writers started bashing it, most of the problems had been solved by improved modern powder, and higher quality and selection of bullets. I have owned a pre 64 in this caliber for ages. It is reliable and accurate. When I acquired mine it was far and away the least expensive accurate stopping rifle an African hunter could afford. They were produced in enough volume to be reasonably available.
Seeing this new rifle brings back many fond memories of my exciting first trip to Africa.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I was chatting with some folks at a hunter gathering, a man walked up, and I was introduced to Finn Aagaard. Without thinking I blurted I did not recognize him with his hair combed. My friend looked at me in horror, Mr Aagaard laughed and patted me on the shoulder. Most of Mr Aagaards pictures show him with tousled hair.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Bee,
Here in the States, for practice, I use the take down model sold by Long Grass. They have the closest characteristics to the homemade ones you will run into in Africa that I have found. Being takedown, they fit in the trunk of my car. I do not take any with me to Africa,
because the locals will insist on using their own, which is the diplomatic way to go. These are fine people, and deserve our respect. I prefer three sticks versus two. Have found using two, am just as well off shooting offhand.
If you do not want to spend the money for Long Grass, just take three pieces of PVC and wrap inner tube or surgical tubing around the tops and you are ready to go. Do not use them here in the States for hunting just for African practice. They do take getting used to for American hunters, but your PH will probably insist on it. All The Best

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Many apologies for usurping and changing the subject. However feel, obligated to cover one more topic. U.S. hunters who have not experienced hunting in African plains area often raise an eyebrow over the use of shooting sticks. There, one must often shoot at ranges that here in the States a responsible hunter would shoot prone, sitting , kneeling or a rest on a boulder, or tree,. Africa hunting often does not allow this type of shooting. Low bushes, no boulders, and only thorn trees and thorn bushes. So often you are sort of stuck with offhand shooting or using the "sticks".

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Have a good post-64 Safari Express in 458 I passed on to my son. Rifle is everything you write. ..Mounts and handles like a shotgun. Folks at Winchester put real thought into this rifle. I prefer the 22" barrel, though.

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from ALJoe wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Between my Dad and I, we own four Model 70's. One is a pre-64 the others are straight out of the box over the counter guns. All four shoot very comarable groups. We still do most of our hunting with our Model 70's. We both shoot the .270 for whitetails. The guns do there part and it would be hard to complain about them at all.

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Dave, I'm in agreement with Jonnyconuck. The new Vanguard 2 looks like just what the Doctor ordered for an inexpensive, accurate elk rifle (in proper caliber of course). I understand the 2 has addressed the poor trigger on the original vanguard. Would like to hear your opinion before ordering one. If Africa comes into the picture for me that M70 would sure look good.

Thanks, Del

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Post Script: I thought my Model 70 458 an excellent *Dangerous Game Rifle* out-of-box. There was very little I did beyond polishing the feed ramp and action rails. Winchester did an outstanding job stocking the rifle.

The only other rifle in this class I thought giving competition was the Remington 798 458 Safari rifles.

All being equal, I prefer a Mauser action in a dangerous game rifle. I can't prove why, I just do.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Dave, I'm so glad you brought up Mr. Aagaards name concerning the .375. I have most of his and Berit's books and articles and he loved the .375 most of all the big game calibers. He was quite the shade tree mechanic working on rifles, installing cross bolts, and doing other such stuff himself. Handloading advice also.
I've read you actually had the opportunity to spend time with him. I envy you because of all the African hunting stuff I've read I would have liked to hunt and camp with him more than any because of the gentleman he seemed to be.

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from Carney wrote 3 years 3 days ago

There's no lever on it...

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from Carney wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Well, all I can say is I ain't for that!

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from davidpetzal wrote 3 years 3 days ago

To Beekeeper. We had to stabilize it twice. The first time we poured epoxy over the shot and it broke loose. In Africa. It sounded like I was carrying a .375-caliber castanet. So when I got back my gunsmith scooped out the old mess, poured in a new batch of shot and poured lots and lots of epoxy over it. That held.

To Jim in Mo. He was indeed a gentleman. The one time I got to go hunting with him (1985) his vehicle broke down and we had to cut the hunt short. He would not take any money, not even for expenses. Having dinner with the Aagaards was an experience; a mixture of Texas-accented English and Norwegian.

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from Amflyer wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Mark-1, I wonder if the answer to your question lies in the American way of "multi-tasking."

The .416 seems more likely to be at home in the Alaskan wilds due to its flatter trajectory. We want to the most out of our weapons, and hey, Alaska and Africa in one rifle...win!

Me, I'd pick a 458 for the beasties in Africa that gore, stomp and charge, and a 375 for the Alaskan bruins and tall-standing bulls.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

At the time the 458 came into being there were only a few 416 Rigbys, very expensive, and the brass was almost non existent, and worth their weight in gold. I remember a PH muttering to me how embarrassing it would be for him if I was hooked in the fanny by a buffalo while I scrounging in the dirt looking for empty brass.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Have also found when the swivel is on the forearm, it interferes with using shooting sticks, and if it recoils back against the sticks increases the pain. I use a sling in North America, and Asia when hunting sheep, elk etc. You need your hands free to help scramble up mountains, climb rocks or carry meat. In Africa I rarely use one, distances are often shorter, the cover may be low so you have to carry the barrel down. Additionally, it is quicker to use the sticks without the sling. Hasten to add, this is purely a personal habit, many disagree with me and love a sling in Africa. The sling and swivels can be noisy on short Affrican stalks, and catch on ever present thorns or low branches. Just my opinions, Kindest Regards

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Many years ago, do to the pressure from management, I did a rare thing, and let one of the porters carry my rifle. We were in deep jungle, when the you know what hit the fan. He had my rifle crossed over his shoulders by the sling, had to yank him out of a tree twice before I could wrestle my rifle off his back. Since then no one carries my rifle but me, and no slings in case I forget.

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from Bwana Hunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

'Happy Myles' is 100% correct. The 1st time anyone fires an express rifle with their extended paw up against the swivel on the wooden forearm is usually the last time they'll do that..! I've seen blood drawn from the hand that got impacted by a sling's swivel from the heavy recoil. And that's why most good firearm manufacturs mount their swivels on the barrel, just forward of the forearm on powerful African express firearms.

Hope this helps Max.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Funny thing about the Model-70 thru the years..some swear by it, OR at it; while the Rem700 is by far the most successful(based on the number used by American hunters) of domestic made bolt action rifles.
SO, Dave, have you a story about another rifle maker in a BIG BORE variety?

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 20 hours ago

WAM,
I am shocked. Do you think traveling and hunting around the world with 2, Model 70, 270 had something to do with advertising? Hey we survived and enjoyed. Once the Weatherby Award was introduced, everyone liked that rifle too. Especially with all the movie stars appearing with one. Wish more movie stars hunted today, would make our lives easier. Kindest to All

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

@ MReeder

Thanks for your thoughtful and excellent points. Your commentary reinforces the point that the "rifleman's rifle" is not the be-all, end-all that some purport.

Cheers,
WAM

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from 007 wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Off the wall thought and question here, and let me preface with the fact that I've never been a Winchester fan, but do you think Winchester has their share of detractors today because of all that's happened with them over the years, the '64 debacle and resultant quality control issues, becoming US Repeating Arms, then closing, then coming back, etc, etc., sort of like how professional baseball lost fans during the strike some years back? Just an idle mind wandering off unsupervised..........

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Jim in Mo,
Back in 1956 truth in advertising must have been different. Plus few had access to a chronograph. The 458 Win Mag actual factory ammunition velocity was not even close to what was advertised. As I recall several hundred feet less. Many felt Winchester loaded highly compacted, highly compactable powder into the case to get as much velocity as possible out of the round . This sometimes caused ammo stored in hot conditions over long periods of time to be erratic. Personally, I never had any problems with accuracy or reliability, and animals seemed to drop dead. Might add I handloaded most of the time. When I acquired my first chronoghraph, I was startled at the low velocities.

Do not know about poor quality control regarding factory ammo in the early years. Did not know Harry Selby was a handloader. Had a great 35 day Tanzania safari with his son years back.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Mark.
Most of the 458 Win Mag issues from the early years have been worked out to most critics satisfaction. It is slower than folks thought, but today with good ammo, accurate, and more popular than twenty years ago. Have only used handloads, but am sure Federal factory loads will work great.

Am getting old too. Kindest Regards

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from jonnycanuck wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Mr. Petzel, can you review the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 rifle? Does it really shoot sub-MOA? Thanks

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from Michigan Gunner wrote 3 years 4 days ago

A good Model 70 Winchester can be a work of art. I have a second year production .30-06. It once belonged to my boss who used it for years and years. I purchased it from his widow when he pass on since his son didn't want it!!!!? This one shows it's age but it's all there and it works!

Lock and Load!

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from RES1956 wrote 3 years 4 days ago

Now that is a rifle!!

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from shane wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I could never decide between this and its Ruger counterpart.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Del,

Get a Mark V and you can adjust the trigger any way you want it without disassembly. Comes in lots of proper elk calibers, too.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Finn was one of the most sensible gunwriters I've ever read. On the issue of the .458 being underpowered (back when it was fashionable for other gunwriters to bash the .458 and present alternatives) he simply wrote that those 500-grain bullets won't bounce off any animal, whether they're moving at 1,900fps or 2,300.

On the traditional use of shotguns and buckshot for dispatching wounded lions and leopards in the thick stuff in Africa, he had this take: at the distances involved the shot spread is not bigger than a fist, so precise shooting is still required. So he ignored the shotgun altogether and waded in with his rifle, as it was more familiar to him and had better sights and trigger.

But this by far, in my opinion, was his best: no power available in a shoulder fired weapon could make up for lousy shooting.

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

O Gracia,

The only reason people bash the 458 is to sell you a 416.

Why a .40 weighing 400-grains is better than a .45 bullet weighing 500-grains is beyond my limited brain.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Glad to hear that Winchester is back in the rifle business and producing a good product.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Happy Myles

Good to see you weigh in on this topic. The only African rifle I ever fired was a Ruger #1 Tropical in .416 Rigby. Quite the ride. You should be ___ this tall for that ride!

Del gave me a copy of John Taylor's African Rifles and Cartridges last fall. My son devoured every word and I have started it. Good technical read. I will probably hunt Africa vicariously through yours and others experiences.

Best regards,
WAM

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I thought I read somewhere that the swivel on a barrel band was also more durable and less prone to fail than one bored into the stock.

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from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Steve.
Could be. but have not heard of a swivel pulling out of wood. Perhaps some think the forearm is sturdier without the swivel. Dave's comment indicating having the swivel close to the stock, I felt meant less chance for us short guys dragging the butt of the rifle on the ground, plus better balance and a thicker part of the barrel. Sure he will put us all straight shortly. Kindest Regards

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Yank him out of a tree 2x indeed...

Happy you just won't do! LOL!

What type of shooting sticks do you use?

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from MaxPower wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Thanks Happy Myles, thou art the man.

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from The Shot wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Hey 'DiC', "do I still have her?" - you betcha! When a man finds something real good in life he takes extra special care of it, or/as in this case - Her! A fellow needs a sterling lady by his side for a long and happy term on this round ball we call Earth, one who will give him great kids, make a home a santuary, and kindly laughs with him, not at him when he inevitably goofs up along the way.

And She looks better than the day I formally acquired her, strong, neat, and trim, and turned out to be my best outdoor companion by a country mile. So, if I had to do it all over once more, and chose between the classic lines and beauty of that Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 with it's distinctive hardwood and silky action, and 'One Shot Ruby' with her fine touch and clear head, I'd be at the front of the line again in a hunter's heartbeat!

'DiC', that's the IMPORTANT stuff, and everything real good comes with and after that. Thanks for ambling by & set'ng a spell.

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from MReeder wrote 3 years 1 day ago

I had the privilege of spending a day with Finn Aagaard many years ago at his central Texas ranch for a feature story I was working on at the time. It was a pretty big thrill to me just to meet him, but you never know how those things are going to go. He turned out to be a true gentlemen, soft-spoken and self-effacing, a great host and just one of the most down-to-earth people you'd ever want to meet. I could have listened to him tell stories about Africa for hours. One that stuck with me was how, of all the close scrapes he had as PH, his one nasty injury was a gored calf delivered by a dik-dik or some other little antelope not much bigger than a jackrabbit. He was one of a kind and is truly missed.

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from calapp wrote 3 years 1 day ago

I agree with Beekeeper.I thought by now Winchester would be offering the Safari is a left-handed version. With the automated tooling available today I don't understand why more rifles are not offered in left-handed versions.

Manufacturers should be able to earn a decent return even on small production runs. Left-handed gun writers need to be strong advocates for our segment of firearms customers. My comments to sales reps at shows seem to have gone nowhere.

I would buy a new LH 375 Safari tomorrow if it was available. Lefties probably have fewer options today than several years ago. I simply don't understand it. In every other commercial segment of the world choices continue to multiply -- but not for lefty shooters. Can you explain why Dave?

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from 99explorer wrote 3 years 5 hours ago

Back in the day, when Weatherby rifles appeared on the scene, they featured gawdy California mesquite stocks with flashy diamond-shaped inlays of ebony, ivory and osage orange. The .300 Weatherby line was built on commercial Mauser actions and the.257 Weatherbys were built on Winchester Model 70 actions.
At the time, a factory Model 70 was retailing for a little over $100, while the Weatherbys were selling for $350. They were, in effect, custom-built guns.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 52 weeks ago
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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Happy,
I've read the main reason for the bashing of the .458 from the beginning was because of velocity way less than advertised. Within the last year or two I believe it was Terry Wieland, I could be wrong, who said Winchester's loading techniques were bad. The machinery was bumping at each stop and much powder spilled out thus the lower velocities..
I remember seeing a picture of Harry Selby handloading his .458 once he got over the loss of his .416. Maybe he didn't trust the factory ammo either, just a thought.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I don't think the .270 Winchester is overrated. But at 65,000 PSI max average pressure but with no "magnum" in its name, it's one of the cleverest marketed rounds of all time. "Look Ma, a standard round that gives magnum performance! What an amazing cartridge!" (Seriously though, considering the cartridge naming practice in the 1920's, the .270 couldn't have been named a magnum because it was the first of its kind, it had no "standard round" predecessor, and no wildcat ancestor. So it was considered a "standard" round from birth, even though its operating pressure and velocity is the same as that of the .300 Win Mag.)

Another well-named round is the .416 Rigby. Great name, great round, world standard performance, but it is not burdened by a "Nitro Express" or "magnum" in its name. Of course, the original name (something British like "John Rigby's Special .416 For Big Game") roll-marked on those original full size John Rigby Mausers looks like it was set up for disappointment. Except that it performed as well as advertised.

If I'm not mistaken, the world record elephant was brought down by a .416 Rigby. Sure, it took the European hunter a few magazine loads to kill the bull, but at 13 feet, it was nearly as tall as a giraffe, and at 12 tons, it weighed twice as heavy as your average African bull elephant. I think it took 20 men just to lift the hide alone. It was a freak elephant that the like of which we will never see again. I think the .416 did well, all things considered. (I don't know how well the hunter shot.)

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Thanks WAM. He is still tough as nails. Four of us went to Talledega and everyone lost money in our poker game before the race and after except him. He took all of our money. Sharp as a tack and in better shape than I and 30+ years older. He is a hero.

I don't know what a golden Knight is, much less a CIB...
I do know he was wounded in two different wars and has parachuted again since he turned 80. He has a jacket that says something about 50 years of service???

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

That hat pretty much says it all, woodpecker lips indeed.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Carney,

LOL! The lever is on the right side, just above the trigger guard. Pull it up and back, then push forward and down!

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from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I love my Winchesters dont get me wrong, but how is this rifle differant than my CZ 550 American in 375 I am just wondering so please dont beat me for it.

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from MaxPower wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Why is it the fore-end swivel placed on the barrel instead of the stock on big bore rifles? This is coming from an 'I haven't been to Africa YET' hunter.

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 2 days ago

These big bore rifles require a firm hand holding that fore end down so that recoil doesn't get a head start. Good reason for swivel on barrel.

Shooting *Big Game* is fairly close range. NO need for shooting sticks. Hunting *Buck* seems to be long range and off-hand shooting making shooting sticks a big help. I always position a shooting stick under the fore arm.

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from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Mark-1 Looked at a Rem 798 they are junk stick with a Win CZ or Rem 700.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 2 days ago

My piddly little opinion here pales in comparison to Happy's experiences. Happy, I would very much like to sit down with you over a bottle of good amber liquid and listen to you hold court. Anyway, I looked at some of the telescoping shooting sticks available at Gander Mt. recently, they would be great for use in a pop up blind or when groundhog hunting. I'm going to have to have one of those.

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Dave and the gang, sorry for getting off the original subject.

WAM,

Almost bought a Mk 5 back in '73 at a gunshop in Phoenix City, AL. That wood stock is just a little too gaudy for me. Think I might give the Fibermark a look. Already have RCBS dies for the 300 Wby. That is likely the caliber I will go with.
BTW I passed on a new Vanguard in 7mm Rem mag for 280 bucks yesterday. A friend at work found the gun at a local Wallyworld. Price is good but gotta have a good trigger. By the time you add a Timney can just buy the Vanguard 2 at the Ft. Leavenworth gun club.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 2 days ago

On the shooting stick subject, I use the Stoney Point (Explorer model I think) telescoping stick that will allow me to extend it and shoot from a standing position facing steep uphill to sitting or kneeling. I have evaluated the two and three-legged sticks, but they don't seem to work for me where I elk hunt the most. Sturdy and a handy walking stick, too.

Del,
Keep checking Mark's. He usually has some .300 Weatherby Fibermarks and Accumarks in nice shape for about 1/2 of new price.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Del, That was an terribly good price. Those triggers are not that bad.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Thanks Happy!

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from gfrichie wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Beautiful looking gun. When I bought my first deer rifle I was torn between a Model 70 and a Remington 700. Had there been a nice old Winchester Model 70 in the family I would've probably found a way to get it, but I went with the 700. One of these days I'd love to find a pre-64 that doesn't put me into debt.

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from dasmith wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Always wanted a pre64 .458 winchester magnum. Not sure what I would hunt with it but, also would like a polar bear rug. My uncle even has a box of 19 rounds I could probably talk him out of.

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from Drew in Canada wrote 3 years 2 days ago

@the shot
Do you still have "the wife" ?
I know its wrong , but someone said its good to keep your wife happy .I mean its not like she is a gun or something IMPORTANT .

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from Drew in Canada wrote 3 years 2 days ago

@the shot
Do you still have "the wife" ?
I know its wrong , but someone said its good to keep your wife happy .I mean its not like she is a gun or something IMPORTANT .

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from Mark-1 wrote 3 years 1 day ago

idduckhntr,

1st I do with your CZ and Rem 700 big bores is chop their barrels to 22". A 26/27" barrel is too clut-zie to swing, too light to use as a club.

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from cbanks wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Dave: Can't wait for Part II. One of the best set of comments I've seen.

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from MReeder wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Forgot to even mention it in the previous post, but that Safari Express is one beautiful gun. That is what a big game rifle is supposed to look like.

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from 99explorer wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Winchester once advertised the Model 70 as "The Rifleman's Rifle," and it became the rifle against which all others were judged.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 52 weeks ago

Oops -- make that "hunt the world with ONE gun" in the previous post. Shows what happens when you write without a copy-editor....

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Only 458 factory loads I've used was Federal which judging from the recoil are loaded to full velocity. I used for many years Hornady 500-gr FMJ and Soft Points. Fairly recently I've used Speer 350-grains flats, but I've not shot much game with them. I'm getting old and slow to roam the mts and velds. :-)

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

So if the 1948 Model 70's were of average quality, when were these Winchesters that every man who ever owned one swore was made by the hammer of God himself made? Were certain years far and above better than others just like vintage guitars? I for one would like to know...

johnnycanuck Dave reviewed the Weatherby Vanguard Sub-MOA an it shot a .177" group. I own a plain jane .257 Wby. Mag. Vanguard that I paid $399 for new in the box and it shoots three quarter inch groups at 100 yards. Came with a target that measured about five eighths, but that was before the sub-MOA days.

I have not seen the Vanguard 2 except on the web but in my opinion it is ugly. I do not believe they are even available, or at least not to mere mortals such as myself... perhaps Dave will do us a favor and see what he can do with one of these babies. He's the shooter... Clay's the poseur.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Some of you have doubted the authenticity of a friend of mine who is 80 something that served in Nam. We went to the NASCAR race in Talledega, Alabama this weekend and I took a picture of his hat... he says it means a lot to anyone who has ever served.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/photo.php?fbid=203717922992068&set=a.203717442992116.50265.100000615847379&type=1&theater

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

amazingly, the story of the elephant was published in Sports Illustrated! How times have changed. If they ran a story like this now, they would be forced to issue an apology.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1069744/1/ind...

and of course, I got a few details wrong (there were, as it turns out, multiple shooters). But I was quoting from memory.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Dr Ralph:

Please shake your friend's hand for me! Anyone who served in Korea and RVN is a hero of mine. I had platoon sergeants who were Korean War vets and they were tougher than woodpecker lips. Was he a Golden Knight as well? Just curious, not that it matters to me. Anyone with a CIB w/star, a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, and two purple hearts needs no further introduction!

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Dr.Ralph, The Combat Infantryman's Badge is awarded to combat veteran's. The star indicates participation in a second war or conflict. Not many of us have the star.
The Golden Knights are the Army's version of the blue Angels but they do it with high performance parachutes instead of planes. Our good friend WAM is a paratrooper and a very good shot among other things. I have witnessed his shooting.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Our friend Del is pretty humble himself, but he is also a combat veteran of the 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", as is yuor friend. Sa-lute!

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

Maybe you have met him Del, his name is Al Solis.

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from A Hoffart wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I purchased one of these in the .416 Remington...have only shot a few differant loads so far..but agree with the analysis..shoots great, seems to be very well and nicely put together. definitely a great overall improvement over the models 70's put out in previous years by the original Winchester..

Plan to take it with me next spring..have a bull elephant trip planned in Zimbabwe..guess the real test will come then.. :)

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from A Hoffart wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

I purchased one of these in the .416 Remington...have only shot a few differant loads so far..but agree with the analysis..shoots great, seems to be very well and nicely put together. definitely a great overall improvement over the models 70's put out in previous years by the original Winchester..

Plan to take it with me next spring..have a bull elephant trip planned in Zimbabwe..guess the real test will come then.. :)

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from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 3 days ago

After the Ol' Man got his "P64M70-30-06Gov't" trigger worked on down to 4lbs, he shot a double, the 2 biggest bucks I have ever seen, 3 years later he has a stainless Tikka Lite in 7mmRem mag, if I had my choice I would own the 70, but then I again I would probably hunt with the Tikka. What kick? Gun Nuts get swayed like toddler boys 3 days after Christmas, actually I want THAT. After what WAM just said I want a Weatherby Mark 5, hey it cost 150 bucks to adjust the trigger on the M70. I fight becoming a collector, but I could see myself using imbecile naive phrases (when justifying a gun purchase) like "investment" not there isn't money to be made on guns, but based on trips to the gunshows folks have access to information and want top dollar for sought after guns, and if I owned one I wouldn't want to let it go.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 16 hours ago

I admittedly know pathetic little about dangerous game rifles. I suppose I should leave it at that! The .270 Win is vastly overrated IMO.

Best,
WAM

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 23 hours ago

Sheeeeiit. The Model 70 as "The Rifleman's Rifle" my big ol' butt! More advertising and Cactus Jack hype from back when. Why, now T/C Encore would have been paying Jack's bills and it would have been the end-all be-all of rifles. They never were equal to the accuracy, fit and finish on the Weatherby's nor the accuracy of the Remington Model 700's! The FNH rifles are by all accounts very fine rifles. Not to be fooled by advertising weenies! JMO, just sayin'...

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