November 04, 2011
Cabela's is offering special versions of the venerable Winchester Model 70 gun to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Available in the Winchester Model 70 Sporter, Super Grade Featherweight and Safari, only 750 of the Sporter, 500 of the Featherweight and 400 of the Safari Grade will be produced. The gun I tested is the Featherweight, chambered for the .270 Winchester.
From one end to the other, this Cabela's Model 70 certainly pays tribute to the history of the original Winchester rifle. The stock is beautifully executed in a typical classic styled stock that fits my average frame perfectly. The comb is straight, and when placed on my shoulder to shoot, my eye lines up perfectly with the center of the reticle on the scope.
Finished in oil, the stock on these guns is nothing less than Grade V, and mine shows a nice sample of feathering starting from the comb and working its way down to the toe of the stock. On the other side of the stock, the figuring is a bit more pronounced, includes the customary shadow-line cheekpiece. There are no pin knots — certainly the mark of a true high-grade piece of wood — and the inletting is so close you would think the gun was poured into this walnut stock.
The fore-end features an ebony tip cut at the preferred 90 degrees, and the checkering on both the fore-end and the pistol grip is cut in a traditional point pattern, with no overruns or glitches of any kind. The pattern wraps completely around the fore-end, and the pistol grip checkering finishes off with an impressive flair toward the rear of the gun. The buttstock sports a "Winchester red" Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad with black spacer.
The receiver and related metal parts follows the old lines as much as possible. The barrel is 22 inches long, free-floated and finished off with a custom crowned muzzle. All of the metalwork — barrel, receiver, floorplate and trigger guard — is polished bright and then finished in a luxurious blue. There is a step between the receiver and barrel, typical of the vintage Featherweight rifles made during that era.
The controlled-round-feed bolt includes the trusty claw extractor, with twin lugs providing the lockup. On the Cabela's gun, the bolt is finished bright, jeweled and stamped with the last four digits of the guns serial number.
The bolt is swept rearward and includes a band of machine checkering, and of course it has the three-position wing safety. To remove the bolt, push the small lever on the left side of the receiver down, and withdraw the bolt for cleaning or travel.
The gun is equipped with an adjustable trigger, and right out of the box mine broke consistently at 4¼ pounds with no slack before the sear let go. The trigger face is nicely contoured, which aids in controlling the trigger even with gloves on.
Special editions come with special touches. The rifle has a beautifully engraved floorplate trimmed in gold and a tastefully executed gold Cabela's 50th Anniversary logo. The floorplate is also engraved with "1 of 500" for the Featherweight, and all guns come with an accurately produced 1961-era box, owner's manual and hang tag.
The .270 Winchester is of course a natural chambering for this gun — one of Jack O'Connor's favorites, especially in the Model 70. My sample came with a Cabela's Alaska Guide 3-10x40mm scope in a matte finish. Another option would be the Leupold scope made for this occasion made in a limited quantity of 500 scopes. If this were my gun, I'd opt for a glossy rather than a matte finish to bring out the full beauty of this rifle.
At the range, at 100 yards, the gun handled like a dream. Feeding was smooth and uneventful with a wide range of brands and bullet designs. Ejection was positive, especially if I put my heart in pulling back the bolt; spent cartridges ejected at least four to five feet to the right. Like other .270 Winchester guns in my collection, the 130-grain bullet weight always seems to do the best.
In short, regardless of whether this gun has the Cabela's mark on it — which does make it more desirable and collectable — the Winchester Model 70 is still the "rifleman's rifle."
- Type: Bolt-action centerfire rifle
- Caliber: .270 Win.
- Capacity: 5-round internal box with hinged floorplate
- Barrel: 22 in.
- Overall length: 42½ in.
- Weight: 9 lb. with scope, rings and bases
- Finish: high-polish blue
- Stock: oil-finished Grade V wood with Pachmayr Decelerator pad
- Sights: none; drilled and tapped for scope
- Trigger: 4¼ lb. pull
- Price: $1,799
- Distributor: Cabela's
- Smallest avg. group: 130 gr. Remington CoreLokt — 1 in.
- Largest avg. group: 150 gr. Norma Oryx — 2.25 in.
- Avg. of all ammo tested (3 types) — 1.5 in.
- Accuracy results are averages of three-shot groups at 100 yards from a sandbag rest.