Dialing in a M70 - what does it take?

DJL2

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Simply, does anyone have experience getting a M70 to run well that they’d like to share?

I‘ve been fiddling with my M70 for a while now. A couple basic wants:
1. Enough bolt handle clearance to avoid banging my knuckles on the scope.
2. Mag that handles a reasonable COL so I don’t need to to measure bullet jump in tenths (yes, tenths) of an inch.

If you’ve got other quality of life stuff, send it. I’d love to get this rifle dialed in versus starting (another) project gun at substantial expense just to replace this one (or using it as a lesson in researching purchases more thoroughly).
 
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Frederick_77

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Subscribed. I'm in the process now. Stage one was getting rid of the tupperwear stock and a McMillan Hunter is incoming on the 6th. Stage two is getting the replacement hex head action screws cut to size. Stage three depends on where I am by then, lol.
 
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DJL2

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I went with a McMillan Game Scout in CF/Edge because that design suits my sensibilities. I really like that stock - great in the hand and at the shoulder. Hopefully, your factory barrel shoots. I know some folks work miracles with factory tubes, but I didn’t have that magic. I had Whidden Gun Works chamber a Bartlein CF for me. The MOA trigger wasn’t bad, but it was a lot heavier than I wanted. A paucity of options led me to a Timney set at 1.5 lbs - it’s not bad, but I do wish I had a two stage. I lapped the lugs myself. I’ve done two of the ugliest bedding jobs known to humankind on this rifle as well.

On the bright side - I asked WGW to true the action while they had the rifle. They called me an informed me that while they were more than happy to take my money, the action was true and didn’t require any effort to that end from them.

I was honestly surprised that it wouldn’t accommodate my .30-06 hand loads. We’re talking a max COL somewhere around 3.45 to reach the lands, but the mag won’t accept anywhere near that and still feed. I figure something like 3.41 to 3.42 is where I want to be, but I’m not gonna single load a (primarily) hunting gun. I don’t know if that’s a “tweak it so it feeds” or a “get a new box” issue. Guess I need to get out my calipers and measure the box as a start.

I ran out of 208 ELD-M (haven’t checked recently, need to…), those seemed relatively insensitive to the big jump. The 195 TMK, on the other hand… not so much. I was enjoying some good synergy with the heavy bullets because I could use the same powder in my .30-06 and 6.5 Creed (H4350, IMR 4451). My -06 also crossed over to share powders with my 7mm Rem Mag (H4831sc and IMR 4955). I’ve tried Superformance as well - nice velocity bump, but with my COL challenges I never saw the accuracy of the other powders here.

Lots of folks get their rifles dialed in quickly. I’ve got about 150 Lapua cases and those are all twice fired at this point. I’ve also got a bunch of Hornady cases (or did), plus a bunch of others I didn’t keep (because I don’t have enough success at the reloading bench to try holding onto more than one case type per caliber as a general thing). I’ve lost my log book, but this rifle has 500 rds through it if it’s had one - it‘s a “jack of all trades” rifle for me.

I don’t have the right powders/bullets to try and duplicate at home, but my rifle does shoot 150 grain hunting fodder nicely. I’ve fired ~.6 MOA 5 shot groups with 150 SST SSF consistently. I’ve seen the same/near same accuracy from Buffalo Bore 150 JSP. Those are “hot” - the SST does 3070 fps in front of my LabRadar. The 180 Bondstrike also showed good accuracy (though I think that was a sedate 2750 or so). It’s not as if I can’t shoot off the shelf ammo and have success in the woods/field.
 
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DJL2

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FFC4219B-DA95-4AB0-AFEF-E4C0DC473ECA.jpeg


Got home today. Should have done this earlier. Inexplicably, Winchester equipped a supposedly long action with a 3.4 inch internal box mag. Absolutely daft. Worse still, without being machined out, the action won’t tolerate a longer box.

This would be a good platform for the .284 or the Shermans… it’s essentially a medium action. Wonder how hard it is to open the bolt face to magnum diameter…
 
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Frederick_77

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The stock came in a couple days earlier than expected. Thing really must be going back to normal. Back in January it wasn't out of the ordinary for USPS to be weeks late. My 270 WSM barrel is substantially larger towards the shank than the sporter contour will allow to fit. Time to get out the dowel and the sand paper and go to work.

Is there any possibility of having some sheet metal bent for a custom box mag and the stock altered and extra tenth of an inch or two to accommodate the overall length your hoping to achieve?
 

DJL2

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The WSM case would be a perfect fit, actually. You could load to around 3.2 or 3.3 COL and keep the bullets out of the powder and the ogive out of the neck with no problem while still having plenty of space for smooth feeding. The x55 family would also be a great choice for this action length.

There's probably a way to get more room in there, just not sure what it is yet. Honestly, if I thought the barrel knox had the meat required, I'd be tempted to have a bit off the back and recut the chamber for .308 Win and be done with it. Might be cool to run that completely unconstrained by mag length.
 

wadebrown

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I would recommend trying Hammer bullets as they seem to be very insensitive to jump and I and others find they are very effective on the animals that get hot with them. Most people find it very easy to find accurate loads, I have used them in my 375 Ruger and a couple of 30-06 and I found loads that would group under 1 MOA at 200 yards in one trip to the range.

Hope this helps,
wade
 

DJL2

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Wade - check. The website is light on info - are those standard mono or do they fragment?

The factory Hornady 150 SST SF shot well under MOA from this gun. Confident it’s a good barrel and at least a decent chamber.
 

moosemeat

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In my limited experience with M70 rifles it's been load ammo and shoot. My 300wsm Feather weight will hold under 1 moa for 5 rounds. My 300wm, that's long gone now, only shot factory ammo thru it but was a 1 moa gun with good loads. FN SPR is a .5 moa gun with just about anything. Well under that with some loads.
All are bedded, 2 of them have the old style trigger adjusted down to around 2#. All barrels are free floated. Beyond that any good smith can spin up a barrel for either CRF or push feed M70s. They are pretty much like any other rifle, except flat bottomed (easier to bed) and less part availability.
 

jbuck88

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I'm not sure what your plans are but LRI built 2 Win M70's for me. I would highly recommend then. I will also use then if I decide to build another.
Mine are a matching pair of hunting rifles in 300wsm and 6.5CM. Proof carbon barrels and McMillan Edge stocks.

20201030_175051.jpg
 

DJL2

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In my limited experience with M70 rifles it's been load ammo and shoot. My 300wsm Feather weight will hold under 1 moa for 5 rounds. My 300wm, that's long gone now, only shot factory ammo thru it but was a 1 moa gun with good loads. FN SPR is a .5 moa gun with just about anything. Well under that with some loads.
All are bedded, 2 of them have the old style trigger adjusted down to around 2#. All barrels are free floated. Beyond that any good smith can spin up a barrel for either CRF or push feed M70s. They are pretty much like any other rifle, except flat bottomed (easier to bed) and less part availability.
Someone has to get the lemons? If my M70 shot with the factory tube, it wouldn’t have a Bartlein on it now. I didn’t consider the 1.5 MOA factory barrel acceptable.

This is a buyer beware type of thing with the magazine box - I should have known it was a medium action and not a true long action. That’s on me.

The bolt handle seems like a design issue or a scope problem… easily the hardest action to run of those that I own because it has the least clearance (certainly not enough for a finger, and mine are small) between the scope and the bolt handle… sort of renders the CRF moot to some extent.
 

wadebrown

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Wade - check. The website is light on info - are those standard mono or do they fragment?

The factory Hornady 150 SST SF shot well under MOA from this gun. Confident it’s a good barrel and at least a decent chamber.

I believe they retain most of their mass, although I have not recovered a hammer bullet after shooting an animal the last bear I took I hit quartering towards me and the exit was just beyond the rib cage. The exit was about 2 inches in diameter. It was not a big bear but the gun was sizeable a Ruger 375.

The forums on Longrangehunting.com have lots of people who swear by the Hammer bullets and post about the results on the forums.
 
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M77

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recommend changing out the garbage MOA trigger they come with , other than that my m70 extreme weather was a nice rifle
 

Frederick_77

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I was suspicious of the Tupperware stock right off the bat so after expending $15 to get this initial garbage 50 yard group:

20210707_120958.jpg

...I sprung for a McMillan Hunter on gunbroker. That tightened it up some:

20210718_173814.jpg


I feel confident that I can hit that coyote on the long end of the 350 yard Hayfield now.

Might even get around to bedding the thing someday if I'm feeling fancy...

20210718_164133.jpg
 

2c1fr

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I think a model 70 is classy looking as hell I just don’t understand why they can’t work on making some adjustments to it case in point I’m looking at getting a 6.5 prc I would Love to get one in a model 70, but the browning Xbolt that I am going to get has a heavier profile barrel a 1~7 twist threaded from the factory with an adjustable Wood stock Winchester is still using the same old tired twist it always has no adjustable wood stock not threaded and thinner barrel profile are why I look elsewhere yes it was a great deer rifle for Grandpa but sometimes updates aren’t all bad lol
 
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DJL2

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Huh, that's pretty solid. Definitely nice to have the extra room.

Looking back on it, I miss this rifle. It's funny... perhaps I'm being overly sentimental, but seeing this photo filled me with regret/sadness.
IMG_0094_LI.jpg

Something about the maple and the bluing... if I'd just cut down the stock to fit and accepted its mediocre accuracy, I'd probably still own it. In retrospect, every thing I did to "improve" it ended up destroying the connection I had to it. Seeing as how Winchester brought the same rifle back as the 2021 SHOT special (this one being 2018), I could always prove that I've learned absolutely nothing and buy another... I'd do .300 Win Mag the 2nd time around though... if you're gonna go, might as well go big.
 
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Greg Langelius *

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One suggestion would be the Speer Gold Dot Rifle 168gr bullet. It uses a rebated base that intrudes a lot less into the powder. It is also a pretty good target projectile, and an outstanding terminal effects producer.

Have you fired the rifle with your handloads? Seating depth jumps are not a cut and dried thing. I happen to prefer a longer jump, and have found that mag length bullets can be load developed to very acceptable accuracy. The Gold Dot Rifle also has a "protected soft point", which tends to make the ogive a bit fatter up front. This could help with your jump issue, too.

Speer Rifle Loading Data.

I disagree about the Go Big part. You already have an investment in .30-06 reloading, why put that to waste. My M70 was a featherweight 30-06 in a B&C stock. It took fourth in the 1997 NJ Sniper championships shooting 168 Fed GMM. Bedding is a very good way to tighten things up, and also bed the barrel to about 4" in front of the lug. But I took that trophy the day after I bought the rifle.

Don't cut the stock, keep it for down the road, and get/make a youth stock for the young one.

Greg
 
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DJL2

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Don't cut the stock, keep it for down the road, and get/make a youth stock for the young one.

Greg

Sir, I appreciate the input. The cut down stock would be for me - I shoot a 12.5 inch LOP (or 12.75 inch at a push). The 13.75 inch LOP standard on the M70 is entirely too much for me.

If I could get a AAA maple stock with a vertical grip and a reverse comb with a "proper" LOP, I'd build a rifle on top of it... I didn't cut down the stock, but it just sat in the safe, unused. Gorgeous, yes...
 
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HogsLife

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    I'm not sure what your plans are but LRI built 2 Win M70's for me. I would highly recommend then. I will also use then if I decide to build another.
    Mine are a matching pair of hunting rifles in 300wsm and 6.5CM. Proof carbon barrels and McMillan Edge stocks.

    View attachment 7663240

    Didn’t Chad develop a lugged scope base for the LA M70 ? Swore I saw a lot on that awhile back.
     

    jbuck88

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    I'm not sure. I have used the tally lightweights with good success, even after dropping a rifle out of the bed of my truck and landing on the scope it held zero.
     
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