In the beginning, Peter Paul Mauser invented the 98. America “borrowed” the design for the 1903 Springfield, was sued, paid up and then after WWII Winchester “borrowed,” it again when Mauser wasn’t really in a position to complain. The Model 70, “The Rifleman’s Rifle”, is, in essence, a result of post-WWII market conditions that proved fortuitous for both Winchester and the American shooter. The Model 70 offered excellent accuracy, the use of new-fangled scopes and a price tag that the average sportsman could live with.
During the course of its career the Model 70 was at first a controlled round feed action like its Mauser ancestor, but in 1964 turned into a push feed action. The push feed models were an all-original design but met with little enthusiasm, the result of which was to turn the pre-64 models into instant collector’s items. Currently the Model 70 is back in its original controlled round feed form with dual-opposed locking lugs and a non-rotating extractor (finally putting an end to fifty-odd years of teeth gnashing) and available in several of its original variants.
While the Model 70 controlled round feed action is very similar to others that came before, it is in many respects an improvement. The 70 is an extremely smooth, well-built action that rarely jams. The safety is, in the opinion of many, perfect, and has been borrowed by others many times. It is also capable of handling the highest pressure cartridges which, coupled with its reliability, made it a favorite among dangerous game hunters. There is no reason to think that the current incarnation of the controlled round feed Model 70 will not meet with as much favor as the first one did.
The new model 70 lost points for its trigger because currently Winchester is not equipping them with adjustable triggers. The included trigger is nice, but consumers more or less expect an adjustable model these days. One point was also deducted for Durability because a few changes have been made in the action that differentiates it from the original; the front ring of the receiver has been slightly enlarged and a new, finer thread pattern is used to attach the barrel. In theory, these changes should improve the strength of the action, but until the new changes have been run through the ringer, it’s prudent to at least point them out to the prospective buyer.