Going Out With a Bang by Lyndon Combs
I don’t really know why, but I never thought I would see the end of production on the Winchester Model 70, however it appears it has come. Being a collector as well as a shooter and hunter, I decided that I wanted one of the last Model 70’s, especially one made in the New Have plant. I guess I still was hoping if nothing else, the Model 70 would be made in another plant. I went on the Winchester web site to see what versions of the rifle had been made lately. I had heard of one called the Super Shadow, and had read a great deal about it, but I kind of wanted a wood stock version of the 70.
I called around to see what the local gun shops had in stock, which was nothing. No one had a model 70. I finally called Wally World (Wal-Mart for those that ain’t redneck), they had some model 70’s in stock. When I arrived they only had the Super Shadow in three different calibers, .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, and one in .243 WSSM. I decided since I had a Ruger in 7mm Remington Magnum I would pass on the 7mmWSM. I had heard some bad things about the, 243 WSSM cartridge, and not being sure about it I asked to look at the one in .270 WSM. I was immediately surprised by how good the stock felt. I am a committed wood and blued rifleman, but the profile and feel of this stock was really nice. This is the first synthetic stock I actually like. I liked other features like the free-floating barrel, and the blind magazine, less weight. It had a Simmons 3-9 x 40 scope mounted to it, and the mounts looked pretty good. Being a .270 fan, I decided that I would buy the rifle in .270 WSM.
I bought a box of Winchester 130 grain Ballistic Silvertips for $ 28.00. I knew quickly if I was going to shoot this rifle much I would need some reloading dies. I took the rifle home to check everything. I especially wanted to make sure the scope was good and tight, and after some adjustments, and looking over the trajectory information for the cartridge. I was ready for the range.
I started off shooting the rifle at 50 yards. I was on paper an inch low and to the right about an inch and a half. I made adjustments to the scope, and shot again. It was hitting about -0.3 at 50yards directly in line above the bulls eye, right where I wanted it to hit. The shots were going through the same hole basically, but this close not really spectacular results. I moved out to 100 yards to fine tune the scope. No need it was on, zeroed at 100 yards, and to my surprise the groups were almost as tight as at 50 yards. The rounds were basically going through the same hole, kind of like the clubs symbol on a playing card and I wished I had my camera.
After breaking in the barrel and a couple of more trips to the range, I ordered a set of Lee dies for the .270 WSM cartridge. I decided to work up some loads and see just how much I could improve the performance I was getting from this rifle.
It took a few days to get the dies. I set them up and started working up loads with the components I had on hand. The only thing I needed was some bullets. I picked three Nosler 150 grain Ballistic Tip’s, Remington 130 grain Core Lokt’s, and Hornady 140 grain soft points. I started with these three brands of bullets working up loads. The first load I tried was a 130 grain Remington Core Lokt over 63.1 grains of Reloader 22, sparked by a Winchester large rifle primer, and a nickel Winchester case. I got a velocity of 3123 fps. I then used the Hornady 140 grain bullet over 58.5 grains of IMR4350, a Winchester large rifle magnum primer, and the Winchester case, this gave me good accuracy at a velocity of 3049 fps. My third load was the 130-grain Core Lokt over 60.3 grains of H4350 and Winchester large rifle primer. This was the fastest of the loads I tried, and offered good accuracy I got 3220 fps. in velocity which is good. The last one I tried was the Nosler over 54.0 grains of IMR4350, a Winchester large rifle magnum primer this gave me a velocity of 2813 fps. All the loads I tried gave me good accuracy.
The velocity was the biggest difference in the loads although all gave reasonable velocity. I decided to go with the first load for several reasons. (1.) Good velocity (2.) I use Relaoder 22 for my other rifle so I could use the same powder (3.) The Remington bullets were cheaper, and they do the job very well. I am cheap, but I also make sure I get good performance. I would never use a bullet that couldn’t do the job just to save a few cents.
I have yet to hunt with this rifle, but I have shot it a great deal. The target picture is of the worst group I got with this rifle and load. I think this is one of the best rifle/ cartridge combinations I have ever shot. I think it is time to get in the field, and do some hunting. I have to say the Winchester Model 70 went out with a bang in the Super Shadow, it is a great rifle. I especially like the new Control Round Push Feed bolt on the Super Shadow. The stock was a surprise as well as it has a good feel, and fit to it. For the price you can’t beat this rifle. I can’t for the life of me understand why others didn’t flock to this gun; it is one of the best bolt actions I have shot.