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  #1  
Old 01-24-2020, 12:09 PM
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Winchester 70 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation



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I found a Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 for a decent (not amazing) price and am considering buying it. It's a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation edition, basically a Model 70 Sporter with a brass RMEF emblem in the grip cap.

I think it's a newer US-production M70, but couldn't make out the text on the barrel through the glass case, and the shop was busy so I didn't wait for an employee to show me since I was just looking today.

Does anyone know anything about these RMEF guns? The grip cap said "Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 25th Anniversary", so I'm guessing it was made in 2009 based on Wikipedia telling me that RMEF was founded in 1984. I imagined this gun will have the MOA trigger and steel bottom metal on top of the controlled round feed bolt.

Any concerns I should be aware of with this particular era of Model 70s? Overall they seem like pretty good guns. It's in great shape, is the $700 out the door price tag worth haggling lower or should I just go for it? (Comes with a basic Leupold scope, VX-I or Rifleman maybe.)
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:03 PM
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I'd like it more with a $600 price tag, but it's still a fair price on a good rifle. I had a Synthetic Matte M70 in .30/06 from about '96 or thereabouts, and it was the best hunting rifle I've probably ever owned, keeping the bullets tightly grouped. If I zeroed with 180s 2" high at 100, the 165s hit 1" higher (3") and the 150s about the same. Good reliable rifle at all times. I guess I was in my "prairie dog shooting" phase at the time, and sold/swapped it for something else (I had/still have a matching Synthetic Matte in .270 that I also like heaps).
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:29 PM
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Guns like that are typically of higher than average quality compared to the standard production models. In this case, I'm sure Winchester made it special with the RMEF grip cap and donated it for fund raising.

RMEF usually accumulates maybe 30 or so donated guns, outfitted hunting trips, and other nice "prizes" before selling raffles tickets to members. You may even get a few tickets free for joining or for renewing an annual membership.

Unlike many gun/conservation organizations, over 90% of all funds raised go to benefitting elk instead of paying administers, marketing people, and so on. Most of those types of jobs are filled by volunteers.

Rest assured that the gun will be well worth what you spend. Pay once, cry once as they say.


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Old 01-24-2020, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennasher View Post
I'd like it more with a $600 price tag, but it's still a fair price on a good rifle. I had a Synthetic Matte M70 in .30/06 from about '96 or thereabouts, and it was the best hunting rifle I've probably ever owned, keeping the bullets tightly grouped. If I zeroed with 180s 2" high at 100, the 165s hit 1" higher (3") and the 150s about the same. Good reliable rifle at all times. I guess I was in my "prairie dog shooting" phase at the time, and sold/swapped it for something else (I had/still have a matching Synthetic Matte in .270 that I also like heaps).
$600 including scope, or without it? I'm not sure which model Leupold it is, so I'm erring on the side of cheapest model they make. It does have Leupold mounts, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Test_Engineer View Post
Guns like that are typically of higher than average quality compared to the standard production models. In this case, I'm sure Winchester made it special with the RMEF grip cap and donated it for fund raising.

RMEF usually accumulates maybe 30 or so donated guns, outfitted hunting trips, and other nice "prizes" before selling raffles tickets to members. You may even get a few tickets free for joining or for renewing an annual membership.

Unlike many gun/conservation organizations, over 90% of all funds raised go to benefitting elk instead of paying administers, marketing people, and so on. Most of those types of jobs are filled by volunteers.

Rest assured that the gun will be well worth what you spend. Pay once, cry once as they say.


Good to know, thanks. It does look like a fine rifle, I'll try to share decent pics if I can.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:41 PM
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Well, here are some photos at long last:











What do you think, worth $675 all told? Hope so, I do like it. I may switch out the Leupold VX-I for a Redfield Revolution w/Accu-Range reticle...maybe. I'll definitely have to remount it, it's too far back and barely touched the front scope base, which is definitely wrong.

Overall I'm pretty pleased, it's a very nice gun--my first Winchester 70 action, too. I plan on replacing the bottom metal with a steel Oberndorf-style assembly one day, but other than that like it just the way it is. My Husqvarna 640 (with a very nice FN action and J.C. Higgins bottom metal) is probably going to move on to another owner to make room for this one, since I don't need two .30-06s, but we'll see.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:37 AM
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You will enjoy that rifle, I have the same but not the RMEF branded. Do the scope as indicated and then also get a shooting sling and try that out you may just find have a sub MOA rifle on your hands. No matter, if it shoots at 1.25 or 1.5 " you have a great hunting rifle.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:00 AM
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That's a fine looking rifle!

You might be able to save some money by obtaining a pair of medium height rings. Those rings are too short. Aside from the scope bell touching the forward mount, the objective is also very close to the barrel. It looks like if you moved the scope further forward, your cheek will be far forward on the stock which would be uncomfortable at the least, and affect your accuracy at worst.

If you buy new rings, be sure to lap them, and torque to spec.

Happy shooting!
-P
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDWinCO View Post
You will enjoy that rifle, I have the same but not the RMEF branded. Do the scope as indicated and then also get a shooting sling and try that out you may just find have a sub MOA rifle on your hands. No matter, if it shoots at 1.25 or 1.5 " you have a great hunting rifle.

What sling would you recommend? This Rhodesian sling looks pretty great, but the only shooting slings I have any experience with are GI-style cotton web slings. https://www.andysleather.com/product...hodesian-sling


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Originally Posted by Preston-CLB View Post
That's a fine looking rifle!

You might be able to save some money by obtaining a pair of medium height rings. Those rings are too short. Aside from the scope bell touching the forward mount, the objective is also very close to the barrel. It looks like if you moved the scope further forward, your cheek will be far forward on the stock which would be uncomfortable at the least, and affect your accuracy at worst.

If you buy new rings, be sure to lap them, and torque to spec.

Happy shooting!
-P

Yeah, whoever mounted the scope didn't really think all the measurements through. I'm wondering if switching out the VX-I for my Redfield is worth it - both are lower-tier ~$200 scopes, the only real benefit of the Redfield is the Accu-Range reticle. I may just sell the Leupold and buy a VX-3 or something similar, I'd like a 1-4x20 but that may end up looking silly, who knows.


Does anyone know the purpose of the black plug in the stock? It's in the same location as a crossbolt would be, but doesn't seem to have any real purpose. I've noticed quite a few rifles have these black plugs.
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2020, 11:33 AM
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My favorite sling has always been the leather military similar to your cotton web sling. They rarely move off my shoulder while hiking, you can fully wrap up or use as hasty sling.

A few other things-
Check trigger poundage, have a smith adjust, my suggestion is 3#.
Learn to clean it properly, the bore is but one part. Learn how to disassemble the bolt and proper lubrication.

Enjoy!
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2020, 11:56 AM
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That is one great looking rifle. Have a grand ole time getting it all set up just the way YOU want.
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2020, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
I may just sell the Leupold and buy a VX-3 or something similar, I'd like a 1-4x20 but that may end up looking silly, who knows.
I have a VX3 4.5-14x40mm w/ 1" diameter tube. It has Leupold's Varmint reticle, which is very nice.

If you decide to go with a new VX3, and after deciding which one you want, go to Leupold's Mount Finder page. There, you can select your scope model, and rifle model. The 'finder will tell you which mounts and rings are compatible.

My Savage rifle came with a Nikon scope already mounted. I did not need new mounts, but did buy steel Leupold rings from Brownell's. They fit perfectly.

In your case, you might consider Leupold "Weaver Style" mounts and rings, especially if you plan on buying a new scope.

If you will be hunting with this rifle, a scope with a 40mm, or greater objective will have better light-gathering power, than a smaller objective. The larger objective will pay dividends in visibility in low light situations, such as dawn or dusk. You will pay a slight weight penalty with the larger scope, though.

You have a real nice rifle, there, so fix it up the way you want it.
--P
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDWinCO View Post
My favorite sling has always been the leather military similar to your cotton web sling. They rarely move off my shoulder while hiking, you can fully wrap up or use as hasty sling.

A few other things-
Check trigger poundage, have a smith adjust, my suggestion is 3#.
Learn to clean it properly, the bore is but one part. Learn how to disassemble the bolt and proper lubrication.

Enjoy!
I'll look up bolt disassembly, I can do Mausers in my sleep but this one's just different enough I'm not sure where to start. The gas block on the bolt collar is an interesting feature, I've never seen that before - quick research indicates that it's a feature of newer Model 70s to somewhat mitigate gas to the face in the unfortunate event of a case head separation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrat View Post
That is one great looking rifle. Have a grand ole time getting it all set up just the way YOU want.
Thanks, I think it's a great looking rifle too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston-CLB View Post
I have a VX3 4.5-14x40mm w/ 1" diameter tube. It has Leupold's Varmint reticle, which is very nice.

If you decide to go with a new VX3, and after deciding which one you want, go to Leupold's Mount Finder page. There, you can select your scope model, and rifle model. The 'finder will tell you which mounts and rings are compatible.

My Savage rifle came with a Nikon scope already mounted. I did not need new mounts, but did buy steel Leupold rings from Brownell's. They fit perfectly.

In your case, you might consider Leupold "Weaver Style" mounts and rings, especially if you plan on buying a new scope.

If you will be hunting with this rifle, a scope with a 40mm, or greater objective will have better light-gathering power, than a smaller objective. The larger objective will pay dividends in visibility in low light situations, such as dawn or dusk. You will pay a slight weight penalty with the larger scope, though.

You have a real nice rifle, there, so fix it up the way you want it.
--P
I know smaller objectives aren't ideal for hunting in low-light situations, but I can't help myself... I just love the way they look. This custom Winchester looks just about perfect to me. Leupold makes a VX-3 1.5-5x20 with a German #4 reticle (my favorite) that looks like a great candidate for this rifle, but I honestly don't know what range a 5-power scope would limit me to. 100 yards? Maybe 200? That's my real concern, I'd love to use the fixed-power FX-II 2.5x20 but I wish it was at least 4x instead of 2.5x.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:32 PM
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Congratulations on getting a really fine rifle. I know you will enjoy it a lot!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gripen View Post
What sling would you recommend?
Well, we don't really know what the place(s) you plan to hunt are like. So that makes recommending slings and scopes a bit harder. If the time & place you go has warmer weather at all, I highly recommend you get a sling that's padded in the area over your shoulder. A narrow, unpadded sling will dig in through lighter clothing and rub your shoulder sore in short order. There are nice leather and synthetic options available.

I agree with Preston that the rings are too low for the scope that's on the rifle now. And I also like a larger objective lens. It's not only important for low light conditions, but also for clarity of your sight picture. Where I hunt, there are minimum point restrictions on bucks/bulls. At longer distances, higher magnifications, or lower light conditions, a clear picture can mean the difference between making a legal kill or having to pass on the shot.

I'm a little biased toward Burris scopes. They're high quality and have a "forever guarantee". I also get them at employee prices due to relatives that work there. I started with a 2-7x40mm w/ 1" diameter tube (Fullfield model) on my 30.06. It was fine for deer/elk in Colorado, but I found myself wishing for more magnification for antelope. They're a lot smaller, faster, and typically at longer ranges. So I upgraded to the 3-9x version. I keep it set to 6x as my default setting. I can turn it down for dense timber hunting, or turn it up for open prairie hunting.

The last elk I shot was at 220 yards with daylight just barely starting. The site picture was very clear and bright with the 40mm objective lens. I think I would have had to pass on the shot with a 20mm lens. This was an unusual shot for me though. Most shots are 50-120 yards and with good light.

Quote:
Does anyone know the purpose of the black plug in the stock? It's in the same location as a crossbolt would be, but doesn't seem to have any real purpose. I've noticed quite a few rifles have these black plugs.
I don't know for sure, but I think the plug just fills a hole made for a tooling pin. In these times, I can't imagine Winchester having a lot of highly skilled woodworkers making the stocks. More likely, they have computer controlled milling and checkering machines making them. They need at least one tooling pin to reference to.


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Old 02-07-2020, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Test_Engineer View Post
Well, we don't really know what the place(s) you plan to hunt are like. So that makes recommending slings and scopes a bit harder. If the time & place you go has warmer weather at all, I highly recommend you get a sling that's padded in the area over your shoulder. A narrow, unpadded sling will dig in through lighter clothing and rub your shoulder sore in short order. There are nice leather and synthetic options available.

I agree with Preston that the rings are too low for the scope that's on the rifle now. And I also like a larger objective lens. It's not only important for low light conditions, but also for clarity of your sight picture. Where I hunt, there are minimum point restrictions on bucks/bulls. At longer distances, higher magnifications, or lower light conditions, a clear picture can mean the difference between making a legal kill or having to pass on the shot.
Now that you mention it, I guess knowing my intended use would be helpful, wouldn't it. I'm not a big hunter myself, so I'd use this for hunting when invited to tag along by friends and family. Mostly stand hunting, ranges almost always under 200 yards, most likely targets being whitetail deer and wild hogs. This is really a gun that I've always wanted, not necessarily a gun that I need for some specific purpose. I imagine my CZ 527 (7.62x39) is more suitable for the kind of hunting I mentioned, .30-06 is a little overpowered for most game in Texas.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Test_Engineer
I don't know for sure, but I think the plug just fills a hole made for a tooling pin. In these times, I can't imagine Winchester having a lot of highly skilled woodworkers making the stocks. More likely, they have computer controlled milling and checkering machines making them. They need at least one tooling pin to reference to.
Interesting, thanks.
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Old 02-07-2020, 05:26 PM
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Gripen: I can tell you are never really going to like that Model 70! Already thinking of changing the bottom metal, cartridge is too big, those big black circles on the stock...and not really suited for your kind of hunting in Texas. I feel sorry for you and so I would like to help you out. It would work for me here and Arkansas and make a nice companion to my 70 Featherweight.

So let me know when ya want me to buy it off of you and I'll do my best to help.
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