REVIEW BY KEVIN REESE
Another Winchester Win for the History Books – Rugged, reliable and precise.
Among my earliest memories are the countless times I sat glued to our wood-paneled TV set, complete with rabbit ears, watching The Rifleman. Lucas McCain’s masterful handling of his Winchester Model 1892 .44-40 lever-action rifle had me wishing I was young Mark McCain, learning the Rifleman’s ways. If you watched the show, you know the towns were dusty, the horses were fast, and the gunslingers were even faster. Of course, 19 years before production of McCain’s famed Model 1892, Winchester began producing another rifle that would weave the brand into the fabric of American history—the Model 1873 lever=action rifle—yes, the gun that won the west!
To be sure, Winchester has maintained something of an untouchable legacy over the past 155 years. The good news continues, too. Winchester produces the types of hunting rifles us trigger-happy history buffs love, including that every-climb-and-place Model 70, which has expanded to a Model 70 Extreme lineup. I recently had the pleasure of testing one such model, the Extreme Weather SS chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum.
The Model 70 Extreme Weather SS I tested was manufactured by Browning in Viana, Portugal, and like all performance rifles, it begins with great bones. The Model 70 Extreme Weather SS boasts a Bell & Carlson stock constructed via a “hand lay-up” process in which each composite ingredient is meticulously applied. Internal to the stock is an aluminum bedding block system designed to ensure the barreled action remains perfectly stable, balanced, and bedded for exceptional accuracy.
The Model 70 Extreme’s action and barrel form the backbone of the rifle’s performance. As a starting point, both components are constructed of stainless steel with a rich matte finish. True to desirable pre-1964 Model 70s, today’s iterations feature Winchester’s iconic claw extractor with controlled-round feed and a three-position safety. The safety’s middle position allows the bolt to be cycled while still on safe—perfect to safely check if a rifle is unloaded.
The Model 70 Extreme’s 26-inch .300 Win. Mag. barrel is fluted and free-floating with a 1:10 twist, recessed crown to protect rifling, and is capped by a pepperbox-style muzzle brake. The assembled barreled action is designed to deliver the consistent sub-MOA accuracy hunters demand and reliability they can trust. Additional features include precision-machined bottom metal with a hinged-plate magazine and Winchester’s M.O.A. Trigger.
For testing, I used a Brownells Model 70 Long-Action single-piece scope base and Accu-Tac’s medium-height, 30mm scope rings. On top, I mounted a Sightmark Citadel 3-18×50 LR2 first-focal-plane riflescope with a mil-dash reticle and .1-MRAD turret adjustments. Underneath, I employed a Firefield Stronghold 6-9-in. bipod and my trusty Tactical Tailor squeeze bag. For ammo, I chose Black Hills Ammunition’s 212-grain ELD-X.
With the rifle setup for hunting conditions, I headed to the Arlington Sportsman Club, a local shooting range on the western edge of Mansfield, Texas. To begin, I visually boresighted to a paper target just 50 yards away, made quick adjustments, settled down behind the rifle, and squeezed the trigger. Up front, the trigger seemed a tad stiff, but the shot rang out sooner than I expected. My first lesson—the trigger has short travel and is incredibly crisp. I had expected a longer pull, and it felt as though it hovered around 3 lbs. Later testing with a Wheeler gauge resulted in a 20-pull average break-weight of 3 lbs., 6.8 oz.
At 100 yards, I employed my LabRadar chronograph and shot for groups. The Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather SS and Black Hills Ammunition’s 212-grain ELD-X .300 Win. Mag. ammo did not disappoint! I managed a .585-MOA 5-shot group. Soon after, I also scored a .75-MOA at 200 yards. Black Hills Ammunition’s ballistic data was equally impressive. Average muzzle velocity was 2810 fps with a standard deviation of 9.7. Extreme spread was 31, and muzzle energy was 3718 ft.-lbs.
The Final Shot
With the Model 70 Extreme’s Pachmayr Declerator buttpad and muzzle brake, recoil was quite manageable, even comfortable for the caliber size and lighter rifle weight. Loaded, with a riflescope, the Model 70 Extreme SS weighs about 10 pounds. Empty, the rifle weighs seven pounds four ounces. Considering shooting and carrying comfort, as well as accuracy and the Model 70s proven reliability, I’m a big fan of the Extreme Weather SS.
MSRP, $1,379. For specs and more details, visit: Winchesterguns.com.