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Thread: Finally got my first hunting rifle scoped, after 29 years.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master




    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    Finally got my first hunting rifle scoped, after 29 years.

    I was given this rifle by my dad in about 1981 for my 13th birthday. It's a Winchester Model 70 XTR Featherweight in .257 Roberts. My dad at the time owned a chain of sporting goods stores, was a writer for Field & Stream, and a prolific big game hunter with multiple African safaris and Grand Slams to his name. He knows rifles. I used this rifle to take my first deer, then my first Pronghorn, then my first elk.

    It originally had a Leupold 6x glossy scope on it. I last used this rifle in 1991 to take a nice 4-point buck 18 miles from here. I loaned the scope out to my brother who has since lost it. I was going to buy an old glossy scope to mount on it, but the value of those has increased and I had a NIB Nikon 3x9 laying around so I finally gave in and mounted it. Hopefully going to go out to my dad's range and sight it in this week.

    I remember when he gave it to me, he pointed out the logo on the buttstock, saying that it was going to be a collector's item due to Winchester getting sold or something or other. I have no idea.

    It doesn't look too bad, but a glossy scope would have been better, IMHO.

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    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    A treasure for several reasons.

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    Boolit Buddy Static line's Avatar
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    I have one just like that in 30-06 and even though I hunt in a straight wall only state, I'll never get rid of it. I bought mine back in the 70's when I used to hunt Pa. They are beautiful rifles.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Idaho,
    Very nice rifle. I've got one of it's siblings in the same caliber from the same era. I traded for mine with a friend who has since passed away, so mine has a special meaning to me.

    Because many of us are old farts and have libraries full of old gun books and magazines, would you mind sharing your father's name that he wrote under? I'm curious to find out if I'd read any of his work.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    I had one of the XTR Featherweights in 7x57 with a 1˝-5X Leupold on it. Still regret letting that one go.

    Robert

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    The wood on that is beautiful.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by JRD View Post
    Idaho,


    Because many of us are old farts and have libraries full of old gun books and magazines, would you mind sharing your father's name that he wrote under? I'm curious to find out if I'd read any of his work.
    Not sure if he used a pen name or not for the magazines. He also wrote a weekly column in the regional paper. I found a link to one of his articles...

    https://lmtribune.com/northwest/hunt...fa7f1976e.html
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Looks really good.

    Someone may not be putting all their cards on the table.
    It's hard to imagine losing a scope.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    Looks really good.

    Someone may not be putting all their cards on the table.
    It's hard to imagine losing a scope.
    I'm sure he sold it or sold a rifle he had it on years ago. He's a Detective, so you know how absent minded those folks are...
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master






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    how does it shoot? I bought one when they first came out in 257 and it shot like crap. Another one was sitting in my buddys gunshop one day on the used rack and i figured maybe the first one was bad so i told him id take it to the range and try a few loads and see how it shot and if it shot well id buy it. It was worse then the first one. Got looking around the internet back then and found it was a common problem with the 257 and 757 featherweights. To bad because it would have been a great gun. that said i have a 280 push feed and a 06 controlled round fed (newer) featherweight and both are moa guns. Couple of my favorite rifles. to me there probably the best looking working man price level bolt gun every made. Yours looks to have some exceptionaly nice wood. My 06 does too but the 280 is pretty plain figured.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Enjoyed the article.

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    Idaho, Thanks for posting the article. I hadn’t read the Lewiston Morning Tribune before. You must have some good memories of your dad.

    Lloyd, since you brought it up, my 257 Featherweight didn’t group well and seemed to really open up later in the string of shots. I looked at the stock closely and found the barrel channel was not parallel with the barrel. The stock rubbed hard on the left side of the barrel near the tip of the forend and didn’t touch at all on the right. I relieved wood off the left side of the barrel channel to make it uniform clearance all around, then refinished the channel.

    This gave a marked improvement in accuracy for me. I’m not a benchrest shooter but it took 100 yard groups from baseball sized to golf ball sized which is fine for a deer rifle for me.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy 444ttd's Avatar
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    very nice rifle. my first rifle was given to me by my grandfather. it is a win m94(1972) in 30-30, but that caliber is gone and now its a 35/30-30(JES Reboring).
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    Boolit Master redhawk0's Avatar
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    That's one beauty of a rifle. I think the matt finish scope looks just fine on it. I'd be afraid to take it in the woods though. I'd hate to see any dings in that stock.

    redhawk

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhawk0 View Post
    That's one beauty of a rifle. I think the matt finish scope looks just fine on it. I'd be afraid to take it in the woods though. I'd hate to see any dings in that stock.

    redhawk
    I already dinged the stock up on my first hunt. I had it slung on my back riding on the rack of a Honda Trail 90 behind my dad and holding on for dear life as he charged up some game trail. The stock was rubbing on the metal rack. I was sick over it when I realized what happened. My dad just said it gave it character and would provide me memories. He's right. 40 years later I still vividly recall those moments.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    how does it shoot? I bought one when they first came out in 257 and it shot like crap. Another one was sitting in my buddys gunshop one day on the used rack and i figured maybe the first one was bad so i told him id take it to the range and try a few loads and see how it shot and if it shot well id buy it. It was worse then the first one. Got looking around the internet back then and found it was a common problem with the 257 and 757 featherweights. To bad because it would have been a great gun. that said i have a 280 push feed and a 06 controlled round fed (newer) featherweight and both are moa guns. Couple of my favorite rifles. to me there probably the best looking working man price level bolt gun every made. Yours looks to have some exceptionaly nice wood. My 06 does too but the 280 is pretty plain figured.
    Just got back from the range and only tried two loads. First load was a batch of reloads from 30 years ago with 100 grain. Nice light shooting load that was horribly inaccurate.

    Maybe 5" at 100 yards.

    Next load was factory fresh Hornady 117gr that was noticeably harder hitting and more accurate, but still not very good. Maybe 2" at 100 yards.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  17. #17
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    I had one new in 25-06 in 1990, pretty rifle and carried nice in the hand but was not nearly as accurate as my 73-1974? 700 ADL in 25-06 also bought new.
    Hell, I was there!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Gorgeous!

    I hope you can conquer the accuracy issue!

    Three44s
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master




    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    I probably won't hunt with this rifle again for a few years. I live in Washington, while all the places I grew up hunting in are over in Idaho. I'm not spending $600 on licence and tags to hunt in Idaho, and I hunting in this area of Washington requires knowing a farmer and getting permission to hunt on private land.

    I go out every year hunting elk, deer, and bear in Idaho with my brother and dad, but don't carry a rifle. The experience of the camp, the arduous hikes, and the thrill of stalking are more enjoyable to me than the actual killing.

    When I eventually move back to Idaho in a few years, I have two other awesome rifles that I've never taken an animal with that need to be bloodied. Both are Winchester Pre-`64 custom Model 70s. One in .35 Whelen and one in .30-06 Ackley Improved. Taking a bull elk with those is on my bucket list.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRD View Post
    Idaho, Thanks for posting the article. I hadn’t read the Lewiston Morning Tribune before. You must have some good memories of your dad.

    Lloyd, since you brought it up, my 257 Featherweight didn’t group well and seemed to really open up later in the string of shots. I looked at the stock closely and found the barrel channel was not parallel with the barrel. The stock rubbed hard on the left side of the barrel near the tip of the forend and didn’t touch at all on the right. I relieved wood off the left side of the barrel channel to make it uniform clearance all around, then refinished the channel.

    This gave a marked improvement in accuracy for me. I’m not a benchrest shooter but it took 100 yard groups from baseball sized to golf ball sized which is fine for a deer rifle for me.
    the real problem with them was the magazine block that didnt allow bullets to be seated out and added to that they were throated way to deep and even with the mag block removed you couldnt seat bullets out to the rifling. Dirty crime because a 257 featherweight that shot moa would be about the best whitetail rifle a guy could buy. Could they be made to shoot? Maybe but when your talking a rifle thats a 1000 bucks in todays money you shouldnt have too. Especially when you could by a 270 280 or 06 that same year that would shoot moa it was a no brainer. I love the 257. I do have a #1a that will shoot moa and rem even made the 700 cdl in that caliber that would. I love the featherweights too. Like i said i think there the best looking out of the box rifle on the market but im not willing to sacrifice accuracy to have a good looking rifle. I guess it comes down to the old saying "only an accurate rifle is interesting" I sure wish winchester would come back out with a 257 that they bean counters running the company had enough sense to let a real gun guy design it so it shot like a typical 70 which in my experience are usually exceptional shooters. Not just slap an out of spec barrel and a mag block in a long action and call it good. Heck today they could even put it in there short action controlled round fed platform. I had a 700 classic that had a short action in 257 and it shot great. My grandson conned me out of that little jewel.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check