Since its introduction in 1936, the Winchester Model 70 featured heavily in Jack O’Connor’s columns. O’Connor reflected on the origins of his relationship with it, writing in 1964: “My experience with the Model 70 actually goes back to the fall of 1925 when I bought my first Winchester Model 54 in .270 caliber. The Model 54 was really sort of a primitive Model 70, or the Model 70 is a refined Model 54.”
Here’s a look at his writings on a rifle that found its way into his heart—and on his hunts—many times over.
January 1940: Getting the Range
The stock on the Model 70 Winchester—successor to the old Model 54—has good fore-ends, satisfactory drop at comb and butt, and a good, wide, flat butt plate. It’s not perfect, in my opinion, but any man of average proportion ought to be able to do good shooting with it.
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July 1947: “Prospects for New Guns”
A great many guns of every sort are being turned out in this country, but the day still isn’t here when a man with a fancy for a particular sort of weapon can simply walk into a sporting-goods store, lay down the right number of dollars, and go out with exactly what he wants. [One] reason is that many sporting-goods stores have waiting lists for popular items. One not particularly large joint with which I am familiar has a waiting list for about 100 Winchester Model 70s in .270. These arms never appear on the shelves at all. A bad bottleneck which has developed in the production of better-grade guns is the shortage of men able to checker gun stocks. During the war there was no demand for practitioners of this high art. Many went into other lines of work. Some moved away. Some died. None were trained. Now they’re scarce.