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Winchester Model 70

Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle

United States | 1936

"The Winchester Model 70 bolt-action rifle has seen considerable usage since its introduction in 1936."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/17/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In 1925, the renowned Winchester Repeating Arms Company unveiled their Model 54 bolt-action rifle for the civilian sporting market. The type became the company's first successful civilian market venture regarding a bolt-action centerfire rifle system (the action based on the stellar German Mauser approach) and production led to 50,145 units being produced until 1930. From 1936 onwards, the Model 70 was released which continued the Model 54 story with some changes instituted. Production of this rifle ran until 1963 to which manufacture was then picked up again from 1964 to 2006 producing the "post-1963" run which was a streamlined model attempting to lower production costs. This initiative only served to elevate the value of pre-1964 rifles in turn. In 2008, the rifle once again entered serial production and additional manufacture has been seen through the Belgian concern of FN Herstal.

The Model 70 quickly became a well-liked sporting rifle system. It took on a conventional rifle appearance with its wood stock that made up the body, forend, and shoulder stock. The pistol grip was an integral component of this stock and elegantly curved for the contours of the primary shooting hand. The trigger unit was underslung in the usual way with the vital metal components inlaid into the wooden body like normal. This included the turn-down, knobbed bolt-action handle and bolt, ejection port, all requisite moving parts, and the barrel. Telescopic sights could be fitted over the receiver for accurized ranged fire though iron sights were retained as backup (adjustable rear). Barrel lengths of 22, 24, and 26 inches were offered and rifle weights therefore ranged from 6lb to 8lb. The feed system incorporated an internal spring well magazine with floorplate which typically held five cartridges ready-to-fire (depending on cartridge in play). A wide variety of chamberings and cartridge types were eventually seen with the Model 70 line.

The Model 70 saw use beyond the civilian market when it was picked up law enforcement groups and military services for the sniper role. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) took on a stock of about 373 rifles (.30-06 chambering) during World War 2 in 1942 and saw service in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese. Others were used in the training role to lead into operational use of M1903 Springfield sniper rifles and modified M1 Garand sniper forms. Some managed additional service in the Korean War (1950-1953). In 1954, the United States Army began purchasing a special Model 70 breed with a heavy barrel. Both Army and USMC elements used Model 70s in the upcoming Vietnam War (1955-1975) for a time but the weapons were never officially standardized sniper platforms.

Law enforcement groups also procured the Model 70 in numbers. Use of the rifle outside of the United States occurred in Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Special police versions were manufactured by FN Herstal.

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The physical qualities of the Winchester Model 70. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
660 mm
25.98 in
Barrel Length
7.98 lb
3.62 kg
Manually-Actuated Bolt-Action System
.30-06 Springfield;
3-, 4-, or 5-Round Capacity
Iron Front with Adjustable Rear; Optional Optics
Notable series variants as part of the Winchester Model 70 Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle family line.
Model 70 - Base Series Designation
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Winchester Model 70. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Winchester Repeating Arms Company - USA
National flag of Australia National flag of Canada National flag of modern Japan National flag of Mexico National flag of New Zealand National flag of the Philippines National flag of the United States

[ Australia; Canada; Japan; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; United States ]
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Image of the Winchester Model 70
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Image of the Winchester Model 70
Image from Winchester marketing material.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Winchester Model 70 Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle appears in the following collections:
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