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Advise me on a hunting rifle decision

bisleybisley Senior MemberPosts: 10,813 Senior Member
I am pretty much committed to .30-06 (or .308) for east Texas whitetails - not necessarily because it's what is needed to get the job done, but just because I like it and have confidence with it. After a several year 'lay-off' from deer hunting, I started back with a push-feed Model 70 in .30-06, and have had nearly perfect results - three shots, three deer - one DRT and two that didn't make it 50 yards from the point of impact. The rifle is a '64 model that had apparently spent its entire existence in somebody's closet, pristine condition when I bought it about three years ago. It isn't the classic pre-64 model, but it looks better than most mid-priced wood stock rifles and shoots MOA with my hand loads.

The trigger on the Model 70 is OK, but since practicing at longer ranges with my AR, with the National Match trigger, I now believe I could improve on the Model 70 groups with a nicer trigger. It's fine, just like it is, at ranges just beyond 100 yards, but I have so far failed to get the consistency I would like at 300 yards. With a 4.5-14x40 side focus Nikon Buckmaster, I'm shooting pie-plate accuracy. That isn't terrible, but not quite good enough for the kind of shots I'm willing to take on whitetails.

The reason I'm suddenly interested in my 300 yard accuracy is because last year's wildfires took out some of the woods where I hunt, and I will now actually be able to see that far from my blind. Last year's buck was the longest shot I've ever taken on a deer, 118 yards, and it was basically a 'chip shot' for this equipment, even with me at the controls, so I intend to hone my skills for a longer shot, this year. But, I'm not sure I can do any better with the factory trigger.

So, my quandary is whether to put a good trigger in the Model 70 and try to whittle my 300 yard groups down to 3", or buy a new rifle that comes with a nice trigger - something like a Tikka in .308, or a CZ in .30-06 (since you don't really gain anything with a long-action .308). I'm not really into building or customizing, and I'm reluctant to tinker with something that already works 'pretty good' - I'm more of an "off-the-shelf" type of guy, except for hand loading.

What would you do?

Replies

  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,887 Senior Member
    Put a better trigger on the Model 70 and get the Tikka or CZ....
    I'm just here for snark.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Put a better trigger on the Model 70 and get the Tikka or CZ....

    You were supposed to hold back on presenting the perfect solution until the thread went through all the customary twists and turns. Spoil-sport. :nono:
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    I'm reluctant to tinker with something that already works 'pretty good' What would you do?

    I'd tinker with the trigger bedding and handloads
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,072 Senior Member
    Put a better trigger on the Model 70 and get the CZ....

    This^
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • gunwalkergunwalker Member Posts: 479 Member
    I'm sure that you know an 06 is capable of better than pie plate accuracy at 300yds. I would research some of the articles on 06 hand loads. There is a bullet/powder combo that will improve groups. Investing in a new trigger such as timmney or jewel might also help. I'm assuming you are satisfied with the bedding.
    We do not view the world as it is, but as we perceive it to be.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    gunwalker wrote: »
    I'm sure that you know an 06 is capable of better than pie plate accuracy at 300yds. I would research some of the articles on 06 hand loads. There is a bullet/powder combo that will improve groups. Investing in a new trigger such as timmney or jewel might also help. I'm assuming you are satisfied with the bedding.

    Yes, I am aware of the .30-06 capabilities, in a general sort of way. I have had numerous groups in which the three best shots out of a five shot group were around 3/4", and I have even put a few shots inside of 3" at 300 yards, so I think the load and the bedding are OK. Consistency and repeatability are the issues in my circumstance, and I believe my technique is the real issue. I'm discovering that the trigger makes much more of a difference (for me) at longer distances.
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,514 Senior Member
    Even the push feed M70's have easy triggers to adjust, and are one of the better factory triggers. I'd try tweeking it first, you may be surprised!!
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,982 Senior Member
    Adjust the trigger, bed the rifle. That is a whole helluva lot cheaper then buying another rifle and the odds of it shooting worse for doing so is pretty slim. PF M70's are known to be fairly accurate with a touch of work, and it doesn't really take a lot of time or money from a smith either. If you can take the rifle off the stock, then you can adjust the trigger yourself.
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    hey look I agree with you :that:
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Try farting with the trigger. Best case? You make it better. Worse case? You have to buy a replacement trigger. Try the cheap route first.

    Then, go out and buy a new 7mm08.
    (really, did you think I was NOT going to try and enable?)

    I've already bought two 7mm-08's. I gave them both away. :tooth:

    Actually, they were presents for my SILs, for doing some work they wouldn't accept pay for. I put 20 rounds apiece through them (sighting in, ya know) before turning them over, and I was extremely impressed with the chambering. But I have a ton of .308 brass, and I'm just partial to .30 caliber for hunting, just because it's been very successful for me for a long time.

    I'll probably try the trigger adjustment.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,390 Senior Member
    The Model 70's trigger didn't change in 1964, and it's regarded as one of the better factory triggers to be had. Adjustment of your existing trigger will solve your problems - provided the rest of the gun is also up to snuff.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    The Model 70's trigger didn't change in 1964, and it's regarded as one of the better factory triggers to be had. Adjustment of your existing trigger will solve your problems - provided the rest of the gun is also up to snuff.

    Thanks for the trigger adjusting advice, Bigslug and everyone else. I'll likely give it a try when I have enough time to tinker with it. I may want to get a torquing screwdriver first, and choose a time when I can re-zero.

    Now, in a similar vein, let me derail my own thread by revisiting an old discussion, but with a slightly different twist - post '63 Model 70 vs Remington 700.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, Model 70 purists lament Winchester's decision to lower production costs for 1964 models ("New Model 70") because of the switch from controlled feed to push-feed, comparatively cheesy checkering, cheaper bottom metal and trigger guard, and a way too large gap between barrel and stock. They did this because the new Remington 700 was kicking their butt in the marketplace. As it turned out, the lower priced "New Model 70" was not a success, probably due in part to Jack O'Connors scathing reviews of it, calling it "...one of the ugliest rifles I had ever seen."

    I get that it was a downgrade from the pre '64 models, but my question is: how does it compare to the Model 700's from about the same era? The military used a lot of Remington 700's with good success, and they were push-feed, and it has been and still is being used as a sniper weapon, so this seems like a relevant question. Also, I'm curious as to whether any of the Model 70's used by the military were New Models, and, if so, how they performed.

    My understanding is that the New Model's action was actually stronger than the CRF action, because it fully enclosed the case head, like the Remington, and that it never experienced feed problems, so was it not still the equal of the Model 700? Also, the New Model still retained the 3-position safety, still had a good trigger, still had quality bluing and a high gloss finish on the stock. So, how was it not the equal of the 700?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative - I would just really like to know, from those who have experience working on and shooting bolt action rifles, whether the much criticized New Model 70 is the equal of the 700's of the same era, or even today's similarly priced rifles.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    bisley wrote: »
    I am pretty much committed to .30-06 (or .308) for east Texas whitetails - not necessarily because it's what is needed to get the job done, but just because I like it and have confidence with it. After a several year 'lay-off' from deer hunting, I started back with a push-feed Model 70 in .30-06, and have had nearly perfect results - three shots, three deer - one DRT and two that didn't make it 50 yards from the point of impact. The rifle is a '64 model that had apparently spent its entire existence in somebody's closet, pristine condition when I bought it about three years ago. It isn't the classic pre-64 model, but it looks better than most mid-priced wood stock rifles and shoots MOA with my hand loads.

    The trigger on the Model 70 is OK, but since practicing at longer ranges with my AR, with the National Match trigger, I now believe I could improve on the Model 70 groups with a nicer trigger. It's fine, just like it is, at ranges just beyond 100 yards, but I have so far failed to get the consistency I would like at 300 yards. With a 4.5-14x40 side focus Nikon Buckmaster, I'm shooting pie-plate accuracy. That isn't terrible, but not quite good enough for the kind of shots I'm willing to take on whitetails.

    The reason I'm suddenly interested in my 300 yard accuracy is because last year's wildfires took out some of the woods where I hunt, and I will now actually be able to see that far from my blind. Last year's buck was the longest shot I've ever taken on a deer, 118 yards, and it was basically a 'chip shot' for this equipment, even with me at the controls, so I intend to hone my skills for a longer shot, this year. But, I'm not sure I can do any better with the factory trigger.

    So, my quandary is whether to put a good trigger in the Model 70 and try to whittle my 300 yard groups down to 3", or buy a new rifle that comes with a nice trigger - something like a Tikka in .308, or a CZ in .30-06 (since you don't really gain anything with a long-action .308). I'm not really into building or customizing, and I'm reluctant to tinker with something that already works 'pretty good' - I'm more of an "off-the-shelf" type of guy, except for hand loading.

    What would you do?

    Bisley, while I won't step out on a limb and make a direct recommendation, I will say that I did my model 70 which is essentially the same as yours, myself. I honed or stoned the surfaces of the trigger and sear and made adjustments to it. There's basically one screw. Mine is one of my best triggers, not because I'm some kind of guru gun smith but because it is much simpler than other triggers to work with. However, I will say that I had instruction on how to check it for safety. Take your scope off and drop it on the recoil pad from a foot off the ground. If you don't have a pad, drop it on a soft carpet from about 12 inches. If it doesn't release the trigger it is supposedly safe. What I did was drop it, lighten the adjustment and drop it again until the pull was where I wanted it and it was not going off when dropped.

    In my opinion, the older model 70s already has one of the best triggers ever put on a factory rifle. It's simple and easy to adjust. No need to spend money on a new rifle or another trigger.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,982 Senior Member
    The post-64 got a lot of flack from the rag writers of the time. But, those pushfed models were produced from late 64 until the factory closed in NH a few years ago. Made a pretty dang good run if you ask me.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,390 Senior Member
    Pros and cons, as with many things.

    Pre or Post, the 70's got a MUCH better stock trigger and safety arrangement than the 700. The Winchester safety immobilizes the firing pin and has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the trigger. Best thing to do with an old 700 trigger is use it as a fishing sinker.

    The fit of the receiver-to-barrel threads is generally sloppier from the factory on the Winchesters. My Post-'64 NRA Match Rifle got the last inch chopped off the back of the factory tube and was re-threaded to correct this. Neither's a custom fit, but Remingtons seem to be better on most of the one's I've helped my smith tear down.

    I prefer the Post-'64 extractor to the EARLY and magnum Remington extractors which are held in with a rivet (which I've seen break a couple of times). The new, non-magnum Remingtons press in and snap into place. This is a pretty solid arrangement which I like better than the Post-'64 system.

    The Remington receiver design - basically being a tube - is possibly a little better and uniformly distributing all the various forces subjected to it. It's good basis for an accuracy rig because of this. Flat bottomed actions like the Winchester may possibly be easier to bed, but I've never noticed much difference in that regard.

    Action strength. . .the CRF Mauser 98, built with pre-modern steel and firing cartridges made of brass nowhere near as good as what we have today was plenty strong for the task of a 50,000-60,000 PSI cartridge. Just how strong do you need it to be? A Remington 700 is probably less likely to throw shrapnel across the landscape if you do something stupid like fill a .308 case full of Bullseye. I've seen the results of this - the gun held together, although it was functionally DONE, and the liquified brass flowed back around the firing pin and sprayed the operator in the face. Safety glasses saved the day, but he's still gathered some interesting scars from what I hear.

    Controlled round feed is MAINLY a method for keeping people who don't know how to run a bolt gun from jamming it up. It's good for adrenaline-charged situations where the less-programmed operator might short-stroke the bolt. The locked on shooter will never know the difference from a functionality standpoint, HOWEVER, if you've never run a real Pre-'64, you owe it to yourself to shoot one. The feeding is as slick as greased eel boogers.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    In my opinion you are mostly right on with this analogy. But I will say from talking to people who have been in combat, it sometimes makes no difference how experienced the operator is when the Defacation is hitting the rotary oscillator. Anyone put in that kind of situation is subject to double clutching the bolt at a bad time. Short stroking the bolt is just too easy to do in a high adrenaline situation.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Great analysis, thanks.
  • 41magnut41magnut Senior Member Posts: 1,269 Senior Member
    $125 or so for a Timney, Shilen, or Basic Trigger.
    $225 mas a' mino for a Jewell.

    Practice till you think you got all the accuracy out of the rig you can obtain then consider bedding and so forth.

    http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html

    I don't know if you reload but here is a good series on precision reloading for the '06.
    It pertains to competition use of the '06 but will cerainly carry over to hunting ammo
    "The .30-06 is never a mistake." Townsend Whelen :iwo:
  • QuinianQuinian Senior Member Posts: 707 Senior Member
    my Rem 700 sps-V in .308 is a nail driver at any range I'm capable of. Granded I modded it a bit but even out of the box it was better than anything else I've shot
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    knitepoet wrote: »
    You should be able to adjust that trigger to your liking easily enough


    Thanks Paul, I totally agree. I inhereted my dads 1967 mod 70A in 30-06 quite a few years back and I would challenge anyone to tell if it had the factory trigger or an overpriced aftermarket trigger. I've brought up in the past that many factory triggers can be cleaned up and adjusted to perform as we would like them rather than throw money at a firearm just for bragging rights. You have to keep in mind that back then, 3" at 100yds was considered acceptable for an off the shelf deer rifle. Peoples requirements have gotten tighter since then. My dad's mod 70 couldn't get much below 2" at 100yds until I had the barrel counter bored. 35.00 (about 20 years ago) and a trigger job turned it into a sub-MOA rifle with almost any factory ammo.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply and the good link, 41magnut.

    Upon reflection, the post '63 Model 70 I own is already more accurate than I'm likely to shoot, in a hunting situation. My intention, now, is to simply get the best trigger pull I can out of it, and try to reproduce some more of the load I have already developed for it that is consistently close to MOA at 100 yards. All of the deer I've already shot with it have been one shot stoppers at around 100 yards, and I've made some very good 300 yard shots on targets. But my consistency is not there, yet, and I believe the answer for that is simply to improve my skills. Trigger adjustment alone, and more practice, may get me where I want to be. Also, when time allows it, I will be doing more 300 yard practice with .223, which should improve my skills, somewhat.

    When time allows, I'm gonna try to adjust the factory trigger and possibly do some very light smoothing if I think I can do it without taking too much metal off and screwing it up. If I do screw it up, then I'll shell out for good trigger.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Bisley, if you want to just polish the trigger and sear mating surfaces, try to find some 1200 grit polish. They use it in chemical plants to polish fine metering valves such as needle valves for fine control. You may can buy it in a supply house. Anyway, I used it on my Model 70 when I polished my trigger. Then i lightened the pull down to a safe less than 2 pounds. The polished surfaces help get me there. However, I did stone my trigger first. I don't know if it really needed it but I can't argue with success.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    I'm pretty confident that I can smooth all the contact surfaces without taking any significant amount of metal off. I've always had good results using fine abrasives, and I always try to err on the side of doing too little, rather than too much. I haven't tried it on this rifle before because it has always been 'up to snuff' for ~100 yards, without any tweaking at all. But, practicing at longer distances with the NM trigger on my AR has shown me the value of a lighter, smoother trigger.
  • forsytherforsyther Banned Posts: 5 New Member
    There are different varieties of hunting, therefore the kind of weapon that you choice should be very much in accordance with the kind of hunting. Some people are fond of stalk hunting because this kind of hunting is endowed with much fun, enthusiasm, adventure and many more. Rifles who's triggers are easy to handle and operate are good to use.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Finally...the definitive answer to all my questions.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    forsyther wrote: »
    There are different varieties of hunting, therefore the kind of weapon that you choice should be very much in accordance with the kind of hunting. Some people are fond of stalk hunting because this kind of hunting is endowed with much fun, enthusiasm, adventure and many more. Rifles who's triggers are easy to handle and operate are good to use.

    Well I'll be. I never woulda thunk a all that!

    Hmmm..............Anybody got some bread handy? I think I smell Spam Frying:spam::spam::spam:...:popcorn::uhm::confused:
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • saxdsaxd Member Posts: 40 Member
    forsyther wrote: »
    There are different varieties of hunting, therefore the kind of weapon that you choice should be very much in accordance with the kind of hunting. Some people are fond of stalk hunting because this kind of hunting is endowed with much fun, enthusiasm, adventure and many more. Rifles who's triggers are easy to handle and operate are good to use.

    Your fun to read. I hope you dont get picked on too much and stop posting :p
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Whoever said it is right. English is NOT his first language.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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