Winchester Model 70 Super Grade Review - Part 2

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Winchester Model 70 Reviews

A few weeks ago we reviewed the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in detail, in the first of our two part series looking at the "Rifleman's Rifle." The Featherweight is Winchester's least expensive wood stocked gun and for this second part we will be taking a closer look at the Super Grade, currently Winchester's most expensive rifle with a wood stock.

The Winchester Super Grade is a premium version of the Model 70 that actually predates the model entirely. The Model 70 is originally based on the Winchester Model 54. The 54 was offered in premium grade versions with a variety of factory customizations and a standardized set of upgrades became known as the "Super Grade." This carried over to the Model 70 when it was introduced in 1937.

Before jumping into what sets the Super Grade apart, lets review what is the same as a Featherweight model. The MOA trigger system is identical, the Mauser-based controlled round feed action is the same, the action bedding is the same, and the free floating of the barrel is also the same. Since these features are identical, please go back to our part one review if you would like to read about any of these items. The biggest difference in the Super Grade is in the quality of the wood, the bluing, and the chamberings available.

When reviewing any Super Grade it's clear that Winchester has spent the most time increasing the quality of the stock. First they start with a fancy grade cut of walnut and proceed to form it into a unique stock. The wood on our review model was of very high quality with considerable character considering the $1000-$1100 street price tag which is typical of current production Super Grades. The wood exhibited some tiger stripes and deeper grain that looks pleasing under the satin finish.

The walnut wood stock Winchester Super Grade has some tiger stripe.

While the checkering depth of cut and quality is the same as the Featherweight, the pattern is different. The checkering completely envelops the forend and extends further on the pistol grip. The stock has a raised cheek piece on the right hand side that is typical of all Super Grades; however the cheek piece does not rise above the comb of the stock in a Monte Carlo fashion. This means that a left hand shooter could comfortably use the stock, although the cheek piece will be on the wrong side. As we noted before the Model 70 is currently not offered in left hand models.

Cheek piece is standard on the Winchester Super Grade.

The stock is also enhanced with a few other aesthetics. The first is the distinctive black forearm cap and the black metal cap on the pistol grip. The crossbolt that runs below the action and in front of the trigger guard is engraved. Finally the sling swivel attachments are inlet into the stock.

Knurled bolt handle and side shot of the crossbolt.

Jeweled bolt body.

The bluing on all the Super Grade metal work is excellent. Decades ago bluing quality used to be much higher than it is today, with perhaps the finest factory blue occurring on various Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers of the 1950's and 1960's. Today most folks that are new to firearms or rifles tend to assume that bluing is by default a matte nearly blackish color. Given this current state of affairs it is always nice to behold a mirror polished, deep high quality blue. Our review model has an excellent high polish blue, that has a nearly mirror finish. The pictures included in this review attempt to capture the bluing quality, but they really don't do the gun justice.

An attempt to show the high polish mirror finish of the bluing.

Target crown, also showing the mirror finish of the bluing.

The Super Grade is available only in a limited number of chamberings. There are only two short action offerings which are 270 WSM and 300 WSM. There are four long action offerings in 270 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win Mag, and 338 Win Mag. Magnums are offered in 26" barrels, while non-magnums and short magnums are 24" barrels. Owing to the longer, standard contoured barrels the Super Grade is at least one pound heavier than the Featherweight in comparable chamberings, weighing in at eight to eight and one half pounds depending on the cartridge.

The Super Grade is an excellent high quality offering from Winchester if you're looking for a premium wood rifle, especially if you're looking to keep the cost down. While the Featherweight we reviewed previously seems to be about average for the cost to features ratio, the Super Grade seems to be offering a considerably nicer gun when compared to the cost. In other words, it will be hard to find a comparable manufacturer's model that offers as much as the Super Grade does in terms of premium wood and bluing, but does so at an equal or lower price.

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Click on image thumbnails for larger image.

Most extensive checkering on the Super Grade forearm.

Knurled bolt handle and another side shot of the crossbolt.

Both the front and rear sling swivel attachments are inletted on the Super Grade.

Black metal pistol grip cap.

Black end cap rather than the Schnabel of the Featherweight.

The cross bolt is engraved on the Super Grade.

Rear of the stock, showing the wood's character.

Pachmayr Decelerator Pad

High polish bluing on the hinge floor plate.


looks just like it !!!

I picked mine up yesterday!
I haven't noticed any tiger stripes in my stock yet. Still an awsome looking rifle though. I'm SUPER GLAD I bought one.

Mine should be arriving

Mine should be arriving sometime this month! 

Retired2hunt's picture

  Truley a very nice rifle. 


Truley a very nice rifle.  I own one so it better be!  I am also one for synthetics as well and my model 70 has the black synthetic stock and a matte barrel finish - no shiny objects on my rifle!  Except I do have the same jeweled bolt body.  It is a little heavy as one poster provided but at about 7.5 pounds so not too bad.  I would not dissuade anybody from owning one.  Great article and very nice rifle!


numbnutz's picture

This is a gorgeous rifle. I

This is a gorgeous rifle. I would love to add on to my collection some day but with the price tag I'll hace to wait just a bit longer.  I love how the barrel has the almost mirror look to it. I just stared at the picture for about 15 minutes after reading the write up on it. I have never owned a gun like that and from what i know about guns winchester make a good rifle. I think I need to start dropping hints at the wife so maybe she will buy me one for my birthday or chritmas or something. I should have read the review on the featherlite first but I will have to do it second. Thanks for the great review and for the grea pictures.

ndemiter's picture

i do like the inlet style

i do like the inlet style sling swivel mounts. they look like they're really durable. i have had older firearms before that required i fill the old swivel stud holes and re-drill them into new wood. it really detracts from the rifle in my opinion. if you know you're going to hunt hard with the rifle then, this one was designed for it. but sporting firearms aren't always designed for mounting a bipod since they are designed light weight for off-hand shooting.

it looks like a fine rifle an the engraving on the cross bolt is a nice touch. i just wonder if you have to remove the metal crossbolt to remove the action, or if it's just an upgraded feature of the same featherweight stock.

arrowflipper's picture

I love

Again, I love the simplicity of the lines of this fine rifle.  The stock is an upgrade, but I don't see it as gaudy or extra-fancy.  The lines have remained graceful and simple.  The wood, though impressive, is not flashy.  I love the looks of this rifle and would love even more to own one.  Like a beautiful woman with lovely curves, this rifle makes me want to hold it.

I have two custom made rifles with incredible wood and checkering, but they don't have much on this factory made offering.  I would be proud to stand one of these rifles in my safe, right beside my two customs.  Would I take it out and hunt with it?  That's an entirely different story.

If I'm going out for the day, the last thing I want is to lug eight or nine pounds around all day.  I know I would be proud as a peacock if I met someone out in the woods and they noticed my beautiful rifle, but if I was out there all day by myself, carrying that lovely gun, I think I might opt to take my much lighter synthetic out the next day.  But that's just me.

Thanks for the review of this great rifle and thanks for all the pictures. 

groovy mike's picture

"Rifleman's Rifle." What else is there to say?

The Winchester model 70 is the "Rifleman's Rifle."  What else is there to say? 

I love mine, but the Featherweight would not be my first choice simply because I like the big bores. 

The super grade is beautiful and for me the ‘Heavy’ is a bonus feature.  For me any rifle under 7 pounds is a HANDICAP to hunt with, I like the way a heavy rifle settles any wobble with a good rest and a light rifle with a big cartridge is a recipe for painful recoil.  So I’ll take a heavy rifle over a light one in almost any big game setting.

hunter25's picture

Althoug this is an absolutely

Althoug this is an absolutely beautiful rifle and one I would be proud to own it's just not what I would buy for my style of hunting. It's all synthetics or laminated for me now if given a choice. I don't really like the inletted swivel attachments either as I like to use a bi-pod a lot.

Again I would love to own one of these but it would be a range toy for me as I would not want to take it out in the field.

Winchester Super Grade

Winchester Super Grade M 70.  I owned one.  Fine rifle, nice to look at and accurate but way, way, way to heavy to hunt with.  By the way did I mention it was HEAVY.

The featherweight is also a fine rifle and although somewhat heavy, is ok to hunt with if you put a light scope on it.  That brings up another issue with Winchester rifles…..scope ring spacing.  If you want to properly position a scope on them you pretty well need a long tubed scope unless you get the short action.  More weight.  I have a M70 Extreme Weather in 308 that is a great rifle.  Works good in a tree stand.  Accurate.  The laminates are all HEAVY but strong. If you can handle the weight they make a great rifle.

I hunt with a Kimber Montana in 308 with a 2.5-8 Leupold on it.  I love it.