Any experience with new M70's made in Portugal?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Adam S, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Adam S

    Adam S AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2015
    Messages:
    121
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hunted:
    USA (OH, WV, CO)
    I have started the process of looking for a new rifle. This is usually a fairly lengthy process for me since reading about different models and searching are a large part of the fun for me. I've seen that the new Winchester 70 Safari Express is now made in Portugal. Has anyone had any experience with these or gotten to handle one? None of the gun stores in my area have any at the moment. I know that the feel of a rifle is mostly a personal thing, but how's the fit and finish and overall feel of quality? Thanks very much.
     
    WAB likes this.

  2. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    265
    Location:
    Halfway between Lubbock and Dallas
    Member of:
    AKC, GSPCA, SCI, NRA
    Hunted:
    Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, N/S Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Africa
    I handled a few of them last year while I was looking to add a .375 to the cabinet in prep for my trip to Africa.

    I didn't shoot any of them but for fit, finish, overall quality I certainly saw no problems. They are a "utility grade" rifle so they don't have the bells and whistles of the higher end models but the bolts and safeties operated very well.

    Out of the 8 Model 70's I own currently I've had zero problems with all but one. All but two of them were made at the old New Haven, CT plant, and of the two made in Utah, a 300wm Extreme Weather model I did have a problem with the safety being horribly stiff and full of burs when I first got it in.

    It was so bad that a few times it was almost impossible to take off safe at all as though it had locked up. Being less than patient with such things I forced it a few times and got it "working' then bathed it in lapping compound and worked it several hundred times. It's still not as smooth as it will be after a few hundred rounds but it performed well enough last year to take 11 deer and six big hogs.

    The worst thing I can say about the quality is that the plastic stocks need some stiffening and sometimes the wood stocks need just a tough more relieving and of course I free float and bed all of my rifles as a rule.

    That little bit of extra work is all I've had to put into any of them to get them shooting well enough to be very reliable to 600yds consistently.

    I have 3 in 300wm, 3 in 7mm STW and two in 300Rum and I've been very pleased with all of them.

    For the 375 though I got a deal on a Ruger M77 in 375 Alaskan I could't say no too.

    It too proved to be well worth the money with deadly performance on three of my largest and most precious trophies taken, along with my two big zebras with the balance being taken with my old favorite 300wm Classic stainess with the gray laminate barrel. The latter is not my prettiest and certainly not my most expensive rifle but for some reason it is my favorite along with my model 70 Sharpshooter 7mm STW.

    When you can come along and find one of the old sharpshooters they are very well worth snatching up as quickly as you can. They were actually as special custom run all equipped with Schneider's best precision barrels. I have yet to see one that wouldn't shoot cloverleafs with even decent factory ammo!
     

  3. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    Messages:
    2,750
    Video/Photo:
    180
    Likes Received:
    3,328
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Member of:
    NRA, DSC
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, South Africa (Eastern Cape & NW), Alaska, TX, LA, MO, OH, MT, ID, WA, Canada (Yukon)
    Adam,

    Great question. I could have sworn I saw a recent post from someone who just bought a new Winchester Model 70. Maybe they'll chime in. I too have been looking at the Model 70, the Super Grade in particular. From what I've read, Winchester had these guns manufactured in South Carolina by FN Herstal, and most reviews were favorable. As you pointed out, they are now built or assembled in Portugal.

    This is straight off the Winchester website:

    Winchester Model 70.
    It is no secret that Winchester Repeating Arms is part of the greater Herstal Group, with factories all around the world. The best factories are used for each model. Some assembly and some production of Model 70s has been shifting to our Viana, Portugal plant as indicated on the barrel inscription on some rifles. USA-made guns are marked as such. Many Model 70 bolt action rifles were produced at our factory in South Carolina, U.S.A. for several years. Previous production was at the New Haven, Connecticut factory. That factory closed in 2006. The origin of each Model 70 is marked on the barrel. Generally today, key parts are likely sourced in the U.S and the rifle assembled in Portugal. Some hunters and shooters have reasons for purchasing only Made In USA firearms. We understand. But it would be incorrect to base your decision to not buy a Model 70 from our Portugal plant due to a fear of poor performance. Model 70s made and/or assembled in Portugal have stellar quality, accuracy and overall performance that matches or exceeds any production Model 70s ever in our history.
     
    TOBY458 and sierraone like this.

  4. Adam S

    Adam S AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2015
    Messages:
    121
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hunted:
    USA (OH, WV, CO)
    Thank you both. I hope I didn't come across as anti-Portugal in any way. My reservations were more that when production changes locations, quality can sometimes suffer.
     

  5. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    265
    Location:
    Halfway between Lubbock and Dallas
    Member of:
    AKC, GSPCA, SCI, NRA
    Hunted:
    Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, N/S Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Africa
    Personally I wouldn't let it concern me at all. Winchester has always been top notch for customer service and warranty issues if one pops up.
     

  6. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    USA
    Member of:
    NRA Patron Member, SCI, IWLA
    I have a Featherweight that was made in Portugal. The fit and finish are at least as good as ones made in SC, and better than the ones made in Conn. Very nice bluing and average walnut. As for function, it is solid and accuracy is about what you would expect with the recent production M70 rifles made in SC. My Safari Express was made in SC.

    I would say the M70 produced by FN in Portugal would be hard to tell from the ones made in SC except for the printing on the barrel. My opinion is that these are the best M70 rifles that have been made for many years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
    Dwight Beagle, BobT and PHOENIX PHIL like this.

  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    8,239
    Video/Photo:
    31
    Likes Received:
    5,896
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    I am a M70 devotee so I'm biased, but I must agree with JPT. They are as well made now as they've been since the pre 64 days from what I'm seeing.
     
    Dwight Beagle likes this.

  8. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,057
    Video/Photo:
    84
    Likes Received:
    2,586
    Member of:
    Dallas Safari Club, Safari Club Int.
    Hunted:
    USA, RSA, Northwest and Limpopo Provinces
    You have many choices with Model 70s. I have a FN Winchester in .264 Supergrade. With Nosler 130 grain factory ammo. It will make hole in ones if the shooter is capable. Class II wood and high gross bluing, cut checkering it is a gorgeous rifle. I paid $1150 new and topped it with a new Leupole 3x9x40 at $300. But I also have a 1992 pre 64 safari classic in .375 H&H that came with a Bausch and Lomb 20 plus year old scope for $1050., I topped it with a Weaver Super Slam Dangerous Game 1.5x5 with 30 mil tube on sale for about $350. Not as pretty as the new model, but will shoot one inch groups at one hundred yards with Federal factory 270 grain soft points ammo that retail for $56 a box. That will be the only rifle at this point I will take on my first trip to Africa next year. Not having a claw extractor is not an issue for me. If I ever have the chance to hunt buffalo, I have a RSM .416 Rigby I will take if I haven't up graded by then. My standard deer rifle is a 1972-3 model 70 in 30-06. It will shoot far better than I can shoot. My 1964 model 70 .458 Win Mag is too light for that round, and I will most likely sell it if I have the opportunity, but it is a supergrade also and is a very attractive rifle.
     
    7x57Joe likes this.

  9. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    Messages:
    2,750
    Video/Photo:
    180
    Likes Received:
    3,328
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Member of:
    NRA, DSC
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, South Africa (Eastern Cape & NW), Alaska, TX, LA, MO, OH, MT, ID, WA, Canada (Yukon)
    Joe D'Alessandro at Realguns.com has written a number of favorable articles the last couple of years on the newer, South Carolina/Portugal built FN Winchesters. His articles always have a lot of good close up photos and he usually works up a number of hand loads to see what the rifle will do.

    Here's a list of his coverage on the Model 70's

    Winchester's Model 70 Safari Express in 375 H&H
    http://www.realguns.com/articles/550.htm

    Winchester's Model 70 Super Grade - Part 1

    http://www.realguns.com/articles/462.htm

    Winchester's Model 70 Super Grade - Part 2

    http://www.realguns.com/articles/463.htm

    Winchester's Model 70 Featherweight – Part 1

    http://www.realguns.com/articles/511.htm

    Winchester's Model 70 Featherweight Part 2

    http://www.realguns.com/articles/512.htm

    Winchester's Model 70 Extreme Weather SS Part I

    http://www.realguns.com/articles/733.htm

    Winchester's Model 70 Extreme Weather SS Part II

    http://www.realguns.com/articles/734.htm
     

  10. Adam S

    Adam S AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2015
    Messages:
    121
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hunted:
    USA (OH, WV, CO)
    Wow! Thank you, gentlemen for all the great information. I'm impressed with all the knowledge and willingness to help on this site. I'll keep checking at my local shops and see if I can get my hands on one. Now to pay off some bills and decide on caliber...
     

  11. fgarcia

    fgarcia New Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Lagos Portugal And US Alaska
    You have nothing to fear from the Winchester rifles manufactured in Portugal, are even better and more perfect than those manufactured in South Carolina, are produced with CNC machines of the last generation, with highly qualified personnel in precision mechanics, unfortunately the rifles manufactured In the US in the last few years before Winchester was sold to FN, were of a rather poor quality, because the equipment of the factory was simply too old, to blame solely on the Winchester administration.
     

  12. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,102
    Video/Photo:
    27
    Likes Received:
    2,916
    Location:
    Chaska Minnesota
    Member of:
    NRA, Member Minnesota Horse and Hunt,,Caribou Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Illinois,Wisconsin,Michigan Limpopo Province South Africa
    I recently Purchased a New Winchester Supergrade in 300Win Mag, I can say the fit and finish are typical Super grade Nice wood and Checkering, the action was a smooth as glass with no bind, the safety was only slightly stiff and the trigger broke clean a 3.5lbs. As for shooting It sighted in nice and tight at a 100yds but the scope I had on it (Mueller) wouldn't give me a clear look at 200 yd so I put an old and well used 4x12 Leopold on it. I have no doubt the Leupold will fix the problem,, recoil is not even worth mentioning with the Factory pad shooting 180g Sierras
     
    CAustin likes this.

  13. fgarcia

    fgarcia New Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Lagos Portugal And US Alaska
    Leupold has a good customer service if possible they will help you for sure, the only Leupold i have is the
    VX-2 3-9x33mm Ultralight Rifle Scope on a semi-auto 30-06 benelli , my new Winchester´s have Zeiss and Leica Scopes
     

  14. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    12,642
    Video/Photo:
    195
    Likes Received:
    8,836
    Member of:
    Courtney Hunting Club, NRA Life Member, SCI Kansas City Chapter
    Hunted:
    South Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Kalahari, Northwest, Limpopo, Gauteng, APNR Kruger Area. USA Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas
    @Rob404 where you taking the new 300 to hunt??
     

  15. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,102
    Video/Photo:
    27
    Likes Received:
    2,916
    Location:
    Chaska Minnesota
    Member of:
    NRA, Member Minnesota Horse and Hunt,,Caribou Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Illinois,Wisconsin,Michigan Limpopo Province South Africa
    Most likely Namibia altho my 35Whelen and my 375HH may have something to say about it
     
    CAustin likes this.

  16. The_Wanderer

    The_Wanderer AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Video/Photo:
    6
    Likes Received:
    68
    Location:
    Perth
    Member of:
    SSAA, Australian Hunting Net
    I have two a Sporter in 3006 and a safari in 375 H&H. TBH I have not checked as to their origin I assumed it was the US. I love mine my only regret is that I purchased the 3006 in an Extreme Weather. Other than that I don't think you'd be disappointed.
     

  17. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,079
    Video/Photo:
    17
    Likes Received:
    834
    Location:
    WA St, USA
    The Portugese M70s are very likely a well made rifle, it just seems incongruous that a Winchester M70 is no longer American either in manufacture or ownership.
     

  18. Houlainol

    Houlainol AH Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    25
    I'm going to be the guy that comments on a dormant thread......

    I have two M70's. One a New Haven, CT featherweight in controlled round feed 30-06 and another FN built M70 made in South Carolina. The FWT is very accurate and so is the FN gun. The safety on the FN gun in gritty while the one on the CT made rifle is smooth as silk.

    The fit and finish on the FN gun is better overall but the CT gun has prettier bluing. I have handled a Portugal made gun and it passed the eye test. All that aside........ The only rifles that compare favorably to the winchester in its price range are the Howa 1500 and weatherby vanguard.

    Most people are drawn to the m70 for controlled round feed. If that is important to you (it is to me) then it is either the m70 or the ruger hawkeye and Ruger is not really my thing.
     
    Dwight Beagle likes this.

  19. WildRose

    WildRose AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    265
    Location:
    Halfway between Lubbock and Dallas
    Member of:
    AKC, GSPCA, SCI, NRA
    Hunted:
    Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, N/S Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Africa
    As for the "gritty safety" I had a similar issue with my .300wm Extreme Weather model. Instead of getting better with use it got progressively worse until it reached the point at which I thought it would take a hammer to move it again.

    I kept working it until it broke free then bathed the mechanism in lapping compound and worked it through all three positions for several hours until finally it was as smooth as glass.

    I have M70's made in every plant that produced them except Portugal and oddly enough it's the one produced in Utah, A rare M70 in .300 RUM that has become my favorite of my entire clutch of Model 70's.

    FNH has had a reputation for great care in their production lines going back a century and I have little doubt the Portuguese made FNH/Winchesters are any exception to that rule.
     

  20. Edge

    Edge BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    675
    Video/Photo:
    441
    Likes Received:
    978
    Location:
    Between dreams and reality
    Hunted:
    PA, NM, ND, Al, FL, MD, Eastern Cape South Africa, Zimbabwe x 2

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice