First Look: The Browning X-Bolt and Winchester Model 70

Winchester Model 70. Yes, it’s back, and no it’s not made in Japan. U.S. Repeating Arms’ FN Manufacturing plant in Columbia, S.C., will produce this American classic along with the rifles it currently makes for the military. This new Model 70 is still the “Rifleman’s Rifle” that so many shooters missed when it ceased production last year, but there are some notable improvements.

M70_closeupFirst, the trigger is the new “M.O.A Trigger System,” which is marketingspeak for a completely redesigned three-lever trigger. Like the X-Bolt, it was very fine, with zero creep. It is factory set at 3 ¾ pounds and ranges from 3 to 5 pounds.

The other big improvement on this gun is its accuracy. Some of the guns coming out of the Connecticut factory toward the end of the original Model 70’s run were downright awful, and Winchester is very serious about correcting that problem. The barrels are hammer forged, and the goal is 1-MOA accuracy for 3-shot groups. All of the new Model 70s I shot in Quebec were very accurate. The 3-position safety, stock styling, and ejector are all classic Model 70.

The rifle will come in several versions including: Super Grade, Featherweight Deluxe, Sporter Deluxe, and Extreme Weather SS models. Prices from $1,000 to $1,200.

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