Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Stainless 535234220 308 Winchester

Smooth handling, very good accuracy and classical styling.

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GUN TESTS GRADE: A (OUR PICK)

$951

We require two things from our firearms: they have to go Bang! when they are supposed to, and they have to hit what they are pointed at. After that, everything else is gravy. In our opinion, the elegant lines on the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight we tested provided an entire breakfast, not just the gravy. The stock is a darker Grade 1 walnut with a Schnabel forend and a satin finish. Checkering is sharp, but not too sharp, and includes a graceful design on both the forend and the wrist. Wood-to-metal fit is outstanding, and the stock shows a great deal of figure. The buttstock ends with a perfectly fitted Pachmayr Decelerator pad. The stock also provides the almost obligatory pair of sling-swivel studs. The forend is free-floated for the barrel, at least the width of a business card, all the way to the receiver. The hinged metal floorplate was also matte finished. The release is accessible but required an intentional action to activate. Balance was very good, with the weight centering on the middle of the floorplate.

Action TypeBolt, 2 Lugs
Overall Length42.25 in.
Barrel Length, Twist22.0 in. ,1:12 in.
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount6.8 in.
Weight Unloaded6.9 lbs.
Weight Loaded7.25 lbs.
Sight RadiusNA
Action FinishMatte Stainless
Barrel FinishMatte Stainless
Magazine Capacity5 Rounds
Magazine TypeInternal Box
StockWalnut
Drop at Comb0.5 in.
Drop at Heel0.75 in.
BeddingNone
ButtplatePachmayr Decelerator
Length of Pull13.75 in.
Receiver Scope-Base PatternWinchester Short Action
Trigger Pull Weight3.1 lbs.
Safety3 Position
WarrantyNone written
Telephone(800) 333-3288
WebsiteWinchester.com
Made InPortugal

The barreled action starts with a 22-inch satin-stainless-steel tube and has a somewhat slow 1:12-inch twist rate. The barrel is finished with a target crown and tapers to approximately 0.55 inch at the muzzle. Many rifles have some type of recoil lug that is added in some way during assembly. The Winchester Model 70’s recoil lugs are machined as part of the receiver to better make sure that everything is aligned properly in the stock. When we removed the action from the stock, we noticed that the recoil lug and the rear action screw had both been glass-bedded — another nice touch to help accuracy.

Even though this is a current production firearm, the action is a pre-64 style (that’s good) with a three-position safety and controlled-round feed. Forward position is Fire, the middle is Safe with the bolt unlocked, and fully to the rear is Safe with a locked bolt. The bolt release is a vertical tab on the left rear of the receiver that is depressed to allow the bolt to be removed. This can be done with the safety in the forward or middle positions. The nicely jeweled, two-lug bolt has a non-rotating claw extractor. There is a spring-loaded blade ejector pinned inside the bolt raceway that levers up through a slot in the bolt body when the bolt is drawn to the rear. Controlled round feed means that all rounds headed for the chamber should first be loaded into the magazine. Do not single feed by laying a round on top of the follower and then closing the bolt. The magazine was very smooth to load and fed anything we put in it. The bolt handle is knurled and created a very positive grip. The M.O.A. trigger provided a consistent break at just over 3 pounds with virtually no creep or overtravel. Bolt lift and throw was very smooth, whether the rifle was on the bench or shouldered standing.

Our Team Said: Because our rifles did not weigh 16 pounds and cost $12,000, we did not expect them to shoot 0.3-inch groups every time we tried. We did not expect perfection, so we were very pleased with very good accuracy. Sub-1-inch groups used to be the exception. Now they are expected, and we were not disappointed. We really prefer the concept of an 8-pound-total rifle/scope package when we are about to step into the field. This Winchester chambered and fired everything we tried. It was second overall in accuracy testing, only losing that contest by an average of 0.05-inch per group and was one of the smoothest rifles we tested. Add to that the beauty of the wood and the traditional styling. Hence, it is Our Pick.

Written and photographed by Joe Woolley, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.

VALUE GUIDE: BOLT-ACTION RIFLE SCORES

GUN NAMEISSUEGRADECOMMENTS
Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $879Dec. 2019AOur Pick. This is a trim rifle made for the small-statured or still-developing hunter.
Howa Model 1500 Youth 22-250 Rem., $529Dec. 2019ABest Buy. With youth- and adult-length stocks available, this is a great rifle.
Bergara B-14 B14S104 22-250 Rem., $879Dec. 2019ADesigned with the full-sized hunter in mind, this would be a great companion on a coyote hunt.
Browning X-Bolt 035395291 6mm CM, $2400Aug. 2019AA superior varminter that could shoot in competition.
Howa 1500 H-S Precision HHS62203 6mm CM, $1220Aug. 2019AThis is a great all-around rifle at a reasonable price.
Barrett Fieldcraft Rifle Threaded 6mm CM, $1929Aug. 2019A-This is a super-lightweight precision build you’ll want to take everywhere.
Savage 110 Scout 57139 450 Bushmaster, $829July 2019A-Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.
Ruger Scout Rifle 6830 7.62 NATO, $1139July 2019B+The Ruger Scout comes closest to the original Scout rifle concept, but it falls short due to weight.
Mossberg MVP Scout Combo 7.62 NATO, $780July 2019BNot a true interpretation of the Scout Rifle concept. Accurate, well-handling short rifle at a good price.
Savage 110 Apex Storm XP 57344 6.5 CM, $605June 2019A-Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.
Mauser M18 M18065P 6.5 PRC, $628June 2019A-Accurate and reliable. Expensive compared to the others.
Savage Axis II XP Rifle 57289 6.5 CM, $400June 2019B+A credible and accurate rifle for hunting. Superior stock treatment.
Ruger 77/44 Model 7401 44 Remington Mag., $754May 2019A-The 77/44 offers accuracy and power in a lightweight rifle. We disliked the magazine.
Ruger American Rifle 6903 Standard 308 Win. $382Dec. 2018ALight enough, accurate enough, and inexpensive enough for us to want to keep it.
Savage Axis II XP 57095 308 Win. $411Dec. 2018A-Best Buy. It works well, is accurate enough for hunting, and it is affordable.
Savage Model 12FV 18393 308 Win., $420Dec. 2018A-Most accurate rifle tested. Modest recoil. The rifle never failed to impress us.
Mossberg Trophy Hunter 308 Win., $240Dec. 2018COverall, the rifle was worth the modest price, but there are better choices.
Uintah UPR-10 Bolt AR-10 Upper 6.5 CM, $1295June 2018B+Capable of very good accuracy, this was a dream upper in need of a little refinement.
Ruger American Rifle Ranch 06968 300 Blackout, $420May 2018A-Shot well both suppressed and unsuppressed. Short length would make it handy.
Remington M700 SPS-T 84205 300 Blackout, $680May 2018A-Shot well in 300 BLK supersonic and subsonic.
Savage Arms 10PT-SR 22356 308 Win., $550May 2018B+Good build. It did shoot sub-MOA with one round. We loved the handle and AccuTrigger.
CZ-USA CZ 527 Youth 03050 7.62x39mm, $650Mar. 2018A-/B+Grade A- for adults; Grade B+ for youths. We would trust it to work for a lifetime.
Browning A-Bolt Micro Hunter 7mm-08 Rem., $578Mar. 2018A-/C+Grade A- for adults; Grade C+ for youths. Too much rifle and recoil for younger shooters.
Savage Axis II Compact 22230 243 Win. $490Mar. 2018B/AGrade B for adults; Grade A for youths. Clear winner as a youth rifle.
Desert Tech SRS-A1 6.5 Creedmoor, $4495Nov. 2017ATest results proved the SRS-A1 is at the top of the rifle-quality pyramid.
Ruger Hawkeye Mark IV VT 17980 6.5 CM, $1139Nov. 2017B+Rough bolt action, but in terms of accuracy, the Hawkeye deserved an A.
Legacy Sports Howa HCR 6.5 Creedmoor, $1450Nov. 2017CThe HCR should grade higher based on its ergonomics and simplicity.
Remington M700 SPS 85538 308 Win., $600Oct. 2017B+This short rifle isn’t the most accurate, but the overall handling is superb.
Remington Model 700 SPS 84218 308 Win., $606Oct. 2017B+Hard to find a production rifle that is capable of greater practical accuracy.
Savage Axis 19223 308 Win, $240Oct. 2017CAccuracy wasn’t the best. The rifle was dogged by a heavy trigger that we fixed.
Remington 783 85847 308 Win., $340Mar. 2017ABest Buy. This was the most accurate rifle tested, and there were no demerits.
Remington 700 SPS 85538 308 Win. $655Mar. 2017A-There are few rifles that are as handy as this one.
Savage Axis XP 19231 308 Win., $390Mar. 2017BAccuracy wasn’t the best, but accuracy was acceptable with the provided riflescope.
Mossberg 100 All-Terrain Rifle 27230 308 Win., $200 (Used)Mar. 2017CThe rifle did not misfeed. We liked the cheek rest. The primary problem was accuracy.
Thompson Center Compass 10071 22-250 Rem., $399Feb. 2017ASimple, straightforward, and inexpensive. Delivered sub-MOA groups with all rounds.
Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $860Feb. 2017B+This is a super-handy rifle for the whole family, and it can fit just about anywhere.
CZ USA 557 Sporter 04806 243 Win., $792Feb. 2017B+The 557’s refined looks belied its rugged durability. Heavier weight did not tame recoil.
Legacy Sports Howa Mini Action 6.5 Grendel, $855Feb. 2017CThis otherwise top-grade rifle was spoiled by weak magazine retention.
Ruger Precision Rifle 18008 6.5 Creedmoor, $1599Nov. 2016ARuger took an already good gun and made it a touch better.

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