Model 70 Featherweight Compact
Seems like the tougher these economic times get, the better for shooters and hunters. Companies are pulling out all stops to provide precisely what folks want and need.


Nice concept, no? Winchester Repeating Arms is no exception in this phenomenon, having come out this year with an intriguing, really handy iteration of its primary model centerfire rifle – the Model 70 bolt-action.


New this year is the Model 70 Featherweight Compact – a rather scaled-down version of the original “rifleman’s rifle.” The idea with such a model is to fill niches, even though some of those niches may actually be quite large.


Basically, Winchester wants this model to appeal to physically smaller shooter (translate that to mean young shooters and/or some female shooters) as well as those who want what has commonly become known as a “mountain rifle.”


Mountain rifles as a group are intended to meet the needs of hunters who hunt hard in the high country, having to tote their rifles and gear for miles and miles at high altitude, and then being challenged to make some pretty long shots in generally hostile conditions. That’s a big order, and there is a lot of discussion about what the best combination really is.


The new rifle from Winchester features a 20-inch barrel, a 13-inch length of pull, an overall length of 39½ inches and weighs just 6½ pounds. “The Model 70 Compact is the perfect rifle for ladies, young shooters and those looking for a lightweight mountain rifle,” Winchester reported.


The Compact Model 70 action has Pre-’64 Controlled Round Feeding, the easy-to-use three-position safety and a jeweled bolt body with a knurled bolt handle. The rifle also uses the M.O.A. Trigger System that is easily adjusted. The stock is a satin-finished checkered walnut with a Pachmayr® Decelerator Pad. The rifle action is bedded and the barrel free-floated for exceptional accuracy.


The Model 70 Featherweight Compact comes in four popular calibers for 2011: .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., and .308 Win. Suggested retail price is $899.99. The barrel length can pretty well get most of the performance potential from all chamberings offered except the.22-250. Yet for a really handy walk-around varminter, it is difficult to imagine a better basic rig than this one in that chambering.


The remainder of the chamberings is fine for medium game like deer and pronghorns, with the .308 Win. option taking the possibilities a small step larger. Indeed, this is a good all-around hunting rifle that takes advantage of the short action length to enhance its handling characteristics as it keeps weight down. And the Winchester Featherweight stock profile is simply pretty. It has an understated elegance that is proper for a rifle with such a storied action design.


My guess is that most of the rifles in this model will go to younger/smaller shooters. But it also is worth a look-see by aging shooters, such as this author. The older I get, the more I appreciate handier little rifles.


Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.

 model 70 feaherweight

Model 70 Featherweight Compact by Winchester is not just for small folks, but also for those who want a really handy, high performance centerfire bolt-action rifle.

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