Winchester Mannequin 70 vs. Remington 700

Editor’s notice: As hunters and anglers, we don’t agree on every thing. We’ve even been recognized to argue now and again. That’s why this week is all about determining who’s proper and who’s simply plain flawed. Day-after-day we’ll be posting tales to resolve looking and fishing’s most necessary debates—like 870 vs. 500, fixed vs. mechanical broadheads, and fly fishing vs. spin fishing.

For a number of significantly contentious points, we’ve requested a few of our most opinionated writers to go head-to-head. At present, F&S taking pictures editor Richard Mann and rifles editor David E. Petzal take sides on America’s two favourite bolt-action rifles.

The Case For The Winchester Mannequin 70

(Observe: Since its debut in 1936, the Winchester Mannequin 70 has undergone main variations in its design. What I’m writing about right here is the unique, controlled-feed, Mauser 98-inspired model, which is the one true Mannequin 70.)

Within the depths of the Nice Despair, when cash was so tight {that a} dime was thought of an honest handout, Winchester launched a bolt-action rifle that bought for $61.25. In as we speak’s cash, that is manner over $1,000, and it meant that both the Massive Pink W had gone utterly mad, or that it had give you one thing extraordinary.

The reply turned out to be “extraordinary.” The brand new gun was the Mannequin 70, and somebody labeled it “The Rifleman’s Rifle.” This was by no means outlined exactly, however what folks took it to imply was that when a shooter had been round for some time and actually knew what he was doing, he would select a Mannequin 70. It was not one thing that everybody might afford, nevertheless it was one thing that everybody wished.

The Mannequin 70 truly benefitted from the Nice Despair. In that point, earlier than World Struggle II remodeled American manufacturing, a First-Class machinist who had a job was a fortunate man, and if this meant working at Winchester Repeating Arms for low wages, so be it. The Mannequin 70 was tough to supply and, with out low-cost, expert labor, it couldn’t have survived.

The Mannequin 70 was impressed by the Mannequin 98 Mauser, a virtually excellent mechanism that was the ultimate evolution of a sequence of army bolt actions. At its coronary heart is an enormous claw extractor. As a cartridge is pushed up by the journal follower, the claw snaps over the case’s rim and holds it in place because the bolt shoves it straight into the chamber. When the spherical is fired, that very same claw hauls the case out of the chamber. 

Winchester adopted the Mauser design and added a refinement known as a coned breech. This was a “cone” lower within the rear of the chamber, and if a bullet entered it cocked at an angle, the cone would decide it up and information it in. 

Petzal’s Decide

With or with out the coned breech, this technique known as managed feed, or CF. In a correctly arrange rifle, it’s nearly infallible. The Mauser 98 established a fame for full reliability underneath fight circumstances, and went on to be the second most profitable army rifle of all time, rating solely behind the AK-47. 

African skilled hunters, who stake their lives on their rifles’ reliability, select CF to the exclusion of practically every thing else. In all my time in Africa, I’ve met one PH who used a double rifle, and one who used a Weatherby Mark V, which is a push-feed. Everybody else had both a CF Mannequin 70 or a Mauser.

Winchester capped off the Mannequin 70 with what I imagine is one of the best set off ever produced for a looking rifle. It has solely three components plus one sturdy spring and a few lock nuts. As soon as correctly adjusted (which takes appreciable ability) it has an excellent pull and, equally necessary, there’s nothing you are able to do to screw it up. Rain, snow, ice, sand, mud, mud, oil, no oil, slamming the bolt backwards and forwards, again and again, none of it issues. 

Lastly, the Mannequin 70 motion is good-looking. Attractiveness are subjective, however I’ve by no means discovered anybody who had extra aesthetic sense than the beasts of the sphere who would put the Mannequin 70 wherever however first on the bolt-action magnificence listing.   

All that apart, the Mannequin 70 rifle was not excellent, particularly in its pre- ’64 incarnation. Most fashions weighed a ton. A Customary Grade Mannequin 70, with scope, scaled about 10 kilos. There was a “knot” on the barrel for the rear sight that regarded like a metal tumor. Winchester positioned a barrel band about halfway up the tube that pulled it down into the fore-end and made adjusting the bedding screws exponentially tougher. The shares had far an excessive amount of wooden in them, and the checkering, by as we speak’s requirements, was woeful. 

After which there was high quality management, lack of. Beginning within the early Nineteen Fifties, the complete Winchester line went right into a decline. Many of the expert machinists had departed for better-paying jobs in different industries, and the equipment on the New Haven plant was sporting out and never being changed. Winchesters made within the ten years main as much as 1964 ranged from terrible to heart-wrenching. These have been changed by the post-64 fashions, over which we will mercifully draw a curtain.

Oddly, the story has a contented ending. FN purchased the Winchester identify, and now makes Mannequin 70 components in an ultra-modern plant in South Carolina. The rifles are assembled in Portugal, and should not solely higher than any Winchesters which have gone earlier than, however are about nearly as good as something you may get from a manufacturing unit.  

The Mannequin 70 represents the ultimate flowering of a convention that started with the Kentucky Rifle—a looking rifle is just not solely a firearm, however an inventive assertion.  Throughout the heyday of the customized looking rifle, prime gunmakers thought of solely two actions—the Mannequin 70 and the 98 Mauser—as worthy of their time and labor. 

Learn Subsequent: The Winchester Model 70, American Icon

Now, it’s a distinct world. Operate trumps kind, and accuracy is every thing. Wooden has been changed by fiberglass and Kevlar. Shares that have been as soon as glossy and sleek now sprout wart-like knobs and bumps. Bizarre angles develop from sudden locations. Weight now not appears to matter as a result of nobody walks. Capturing at excessive distances is substituted for looking.

So be it. However the Mannequin 70 nonetheless has its place. In its time, it was one of the best, and when you imagine {that a} rifle ought to appear like a rifle, it nonetheless is. —David E. Petzal

The Case For The Remington 700

I grew up in a Winchester household and discovered to shoot with a Winchester Mannequin 61. Mother began off with a Winchester Mannequin 37, Dad’s deer rifle was a Mannequin 100, and so they ultimately had matching Mannequin 12s. However my first centerfire rifle was a Remington 700 chambered in .270 Win. Mother was furious after I purchased it with the paper route cash I’d saved; for some time, she wouldn’t even speak to me. Actually, I’m undecided she ever acquired over it, however by no means as soon as did I want my 700 was a Winchester Mannequin 70.

I used that 700 for looking and competitors, and it’s the rifle I discovered to handload for. It digested hundreds of rounds, shot nice, by no means hiccuped, and that constructed lots of confidence. Since then, I’ve owned many 700s, and in 43 years solely skilled two issues. The primary was in 2006. A gunsmith Cerakoted the extractor on my .300 Win. Magazine. making it so slick it might slip off a sticky case. The second occurred in 2012. Remington despatched me a 700 chambered for the .375 H&H with no firing pin. I ought to have acknowledged that for harbinger it was.

My first Mannequin 700 will all the time be my favourite, however I’ve fond recollections of others. I’d wished a .264 Winchester Magnum after I purchased that .270. I lastly acquired one—a 700 Sendero—and used it to take my first mule deer. I additionally had an all-stainless .257 Roberts that I dropped in an HS Precision inventory. It was eye-popping correct, and my gun writing license ought to’ve been revoked for buying and selling it. Surprisingly, one of the best taking pictures 700 I’ve owned was the cheap SPS Tactical mannequin. I as soon as used it to vaporize a fly on a goal at 100 yards. It was a bloody pleasant shot I’ve but to recreate.

The Remington 700 is a push feed (PF) motion and Mannequin 70 lovers act like they wouldn’t belief one on a rat shoot. They declare the extractors and ejectors often fail and {that a} 700 will jam safe-tight if an African buffalo simply provides you the stink eye. After all, none of that is true. However like with all PF actions, a failure to totally cycle can lead to a double feed. This occurs while you partially chamber a cartridge after which try and cycle the bolt once more. However, due to its spring-loaded ejector, a Mannequin 700 will eject a cartridge sooner than a Mannequin 70. And, not like a Mannequin 70, the ejection pressure is just not depending on how laborious the shooter works the bolt.

The 700’s set off is a sore spot. The early Walker-designed variations have been recognized to fireside when the protection is pushed off. Although I’ve by no means witnessed it, I don’t doubt it’s occurred. It simply doesn’t hassle me as a result of I all the time substitute manufacturing unit 700 triggers with one from Timney. They work higher than Remington’s outdated and even newer X-Mark Professional set off, and I absolutely endorse the improve.

Mann’s Decide

Across the similar time Remington forgot the firing pin in my .375 H&H, the corporate was beginning to slip. Remington went bankrupt in 2020, and the brand new proprietor, RemArms, says they plan to construct 700s once more, so we’ll see. There are nevertheless thousands of 700s on the used market and so they’re a wonderful funding. With so many aftermarket components and equipment, even the tough ones will be tweaked into splendid rifles. I’d purchase a very good used Mannequin 700 earlier than I’d ever think about a brand new or used Mannequin 70.

Others will disagree. Mannequin 70 fanatics declare the Mauser-inspired CF motion is an un-jammable, fool-proof system. It’s not. On all of the Mannequin 70s I’ve seen, the tip of the mounted ejector is positioned behind the rim of the cartridge within the journal. Simply sufficient in order that short-stroking the bolt to this hole can create a double-feed/jam when the bolt is pushed ahead. I’m speaking a couple of jam Capstick would lie about and Hemingway would battle to explain.

Mannequin 70 followers additionally tout the fierce power of the CF Mannequin 70’s non-rotating extractor. The fact is these extractors, identical to all extractors, can break. It’s why savvy African skilled hunters, who swear by CF Mannequin 70s for harmful sport, carry an additional extractor—already fitted to their rifle—into the bush with them. It’s most likely shoved in a bag with the bottle of Jägermiester they’ll use to drown out their sorrows when this occurs.

Learn Subsequent: Dear Remington: Make the Model 700 Rifle Great Again

Don’t get me flawed, authentic New Haven, Connecticut Mannequin 70s have been good rifles, however they gained’t cycle or feed any higher than a Mannequin 700, even when each are held sideways, the other way up, or cockeyed. (They gained’t shoot any higher both.) The post-64 push-feed Mannequin 70s, made to immediately compete with the 700, have been first rate, too. The present Mannequin 70 returned to the CF motion, and it’s extremely regarded. Nevertheless it’s not made within the U.S. anymore. Mother’s been gone for practically 15 years, and I can hear scolding me now, “However by God son, it’s nonetheless a Winchester.” She’s most likely nonetheless mad at me.

Jack O’Connor helped make the Mannequin 70 well-known. We share birthdays, however I by no means cared a lot for his writing or the rifle he championed. His disciples, taking pictures elites, and outdated curmudgeons who nonetheless drink Sanka and lust after Jane Russell wish to name the Mannequin 70 “The Rifleman’s Rifle.” They’ll have their catchphrase; the Remington 700 is the best-selling large sport rifle on the planet, and it was for rattling positive the Hawken rifle of the 20th century. —Richard Mann

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