@ 09:43 am (GMT)
Nathan FosterHi Michael, these questions seem tougher to answer each year, so many pros and cons now.
The M70 EXtreme:
Good action, generally stress free barrel, good stock but without generous proportions for those of us who like such. Trigger OK, can be replaced if need be. Fluting a lightweight generally induces serious stresses and can produce immediate harmonic flaws if not de-stressed / retempered. The Winnies seem to be stress free and initial accuracy is generally very good. Good to see this action as a two screw design.
Problems - Fluting a light barrel can over time, allow the barrel to swell in the fluted section. The fluted lightweights also produce increased recoil. If the gun owner then fits a brake or muffler rather than focusing on technique, the half inch thread can allow the muzzle to swell over time. These are tricky issues, not factors that you can predict, swelling may or may not happen and one can never tell when. Much depends on the case to bore ratio. The 06's seem to go well out of the box but it is a pity that the barrel has been made both light and short (22").
Bedding ali is fairly straight forwards but is a matter of having the right tools to begin with. See my Youtube bedding vids to see ali being worked on. Also consider rigid mounting if this is easier on the nerves (see Accurizing book). In the optics section of this website, there is a current thread regarding a Nikon. Please see my comments regarding base screws as this is crucial to the M70's for which mounts and screws vary a great deal and can cause major accuracy issues.
The Wilderness rifle:
Good action design, plenty of aftermarket parts, good rifling design. Stock is solid (glass), if not somewhat generic in shape like the Extreme. The barrel is 24" long which is good for developing heavy bullet loads using the slowest burn rate powders.
Problems - Not really a problem but I have never really been a fan of paint on bedding surfaces and see no need for it on stainless when a light coat of grease will do the trick. In any case, quality of the coating will always be operator dependent. If the paint is weak, it can chip off during bedding (or bedding clean ups). Later, when reworking a worn gun, paint coatings are a real pain to remove. It takes a lot of stripper, scrapers and then final blasting. I would say that the paint is good protection but that would be misleading because again, the AWR is a stainless rifle and suffers only light corrosion and only with poor care. The paint on this rifle is all about looks (demand for the color black is high), not function. Those who are not interested in bedding will find the paint to be a non issue. Those who are right into gun work might have a few sphincter puckering moments if they get a bit of compound stuck to the barrel or action. Many of you will know what I mean here, will have been through this before.
Otherwise, no major issues and its nice to have a stable stock to work with, one that can be test fired without any immediate need of bedding provided it passes basic tests. The barrel contour is also quite good (recoil), neither heavy or light, the length is good (power). The 5R type rifling works well with my preferred pills. The mag length is ideal for experimenting with the long loads I mentioned in Cartridges.
As an FYI, it is still common practice for me to buddy readers (via skype etc) into basic SPS stainless / HS stock assemblies such as the one shown in the Accurizing book between the accurizing section and the maintenance section (see photo of rifle over pack in the mountains). The 06 is a winner and its good to see readers currently putting it to use.
Alas, you probably won't read the same pros or cons elsewhere. No point trying to cross reference this. Hope it helps.