@ 05:14 pm (GMT)
Nathan FosterHi Richard, the addition of a B&C stock is a great upgrade for the M70. The plastic stocks Winchester used prior to this were possibly the worst on the market, as was the method of hot glue gun bedding which would fall apart after a period of use.
I have not handled this latest model M70 so some of what I will say is speculative.
For a start, I have no first hand experience with the new M70 trigger, its adjustment range or rifle to rifle consistency. I can only hope that it has the full adjustment range of the original trigger and that the sear engagement can either be adjusted or honed without fuss.
The M70 barrels are usually hammer forged which is great. Generally speaking, the M70 bores have been excellent over the years, regardless of company ownership or periodic cost cutting excersizes.
The actions are strong but occasionally, the machining is not quite true. In rifles where this has occured, blue printing (re-machining the action) is a fairly straight forwards proposition.
The feeding, claw extraction and three position safety are a boon. Its great to be able to field strip a bolt in snow conditions if it becomes gummed. When tops hunting, this can be done fast enough to get back on target after a misfire- before game have a chance to walk off back into the bush etc.
The mag box is 92mm. Ideal for the .30-06 family, ideal for the 2.5" magnums, ideal for the .300 Win Mag and 7mm Practical. Not ideal for the RUM's, STW and .300 WBY but sufficient if need be.
Bell and Carlson stocks are very rigid and comfortable to use. The pitch of the comb and butt pad are ideal for taming recoil with regards to optimum control and therefore optimum accuracy. B&C have always been very good in this regard. Ideally, the stock should be properly bedded, a nice full length pillar bedding job for accuracy and strength.
I am also not aware of whether these new model rifles feature a one piece floor plate (2 king screws) or the traditional two piece floor plate which requires 3 king screws. The 3 king screw set up is problematic to accuracy if the user is not aware of the fact that the middle screw needs to be snugged up- but should never be fully tightened. A thread locker should be used to secure this screw as opposed to force. Anyway, now you know this, it won't be an issue for you.
OK, so lets play with the idea of getting an M70.
First, have a google around and see what the word is on the trigger units. If it looks like a go, and you are happy with the fit and feel of the rifle, you can make your purchase.
Next, I would treat it like any factory rifle. You purchase it, don't bother test firing it, just get straight into the bedding, give it a good sound bedding job. Next is the trigger, get it set to where you want it. Following this, you would break the barrel in, then test factory or hand loads for accuracy.
If and I mean if it turns out to be a dud and you have exhausted hand loads, shooting technique and bore condition (remember those three very important factors always- no matter how much experience you have), then its time to look at blue printing the action. If you want to, you can re-barrel at this time if it takes your fancy.
When selecting a factory rifle, it does pay to consider the worst case scenario. Why? because if you have purchased a rifle with an action that is sound in design (even if it needs final machining), everything else is superfluous. With a sound platform, you will never lose your initial investment. In this case, the rifle also has a good stock. This year, worst case scenarios are happening quite frequently throughout the gun manufacturing facilities, a sign of the world wide recession. Its a fact we simply have to accept and as long as we are prepared and have done our homework, can be dealt with without severe negative consequences.
My M70 (year 2000) required final machining. Its now a very reliable, accurate platform and I will never part with it. Barrels come and go and on mine, I think the stock will eventually be replaced with a straight comb synthetic design (like the model you are looking at) to alleviate magnum recoil.
Thanks for your kind comments Richard, I am working towards recovery. Just one day at a time at the moment.