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Well, I finally bought my first Winchester. I have the stainless featherweight in .243 Win on the way from a dealer on gunbroker. The rifle looks very beautiful. It has figured walnut and a red but pad. The overall condition from the pic looked like 95%. The ad read:

"Here is a gorgeous stainless steel and walnut short action Winchester Featherweight in 243 Win. This rifle has a beautiful walnut stock with a flawless stainless steel barreled action. Not many of these around and fewer to be found for sale! Don't miss this exquisite short action Featherweight out of the original Winchester factory. It has a great balance and comes to the shoulder like the classic firearm it is. This is an older Featherweight with controlled round feed and all the craftsmanship the older Winchester's offer.

Note that this is an early Stainless Classic Featherweight as evidenced by the red butt pad and screw in the rear of the bolt. This rifle was made with care and quality not found on the recent offerings from Winchester a couple of years prior to closing their doors. This is a very good example of those good years when Winchester was producing the best rifles they ever made. Even better with the outstanding piece of walnut it has."

In an email to me the seller told me thought it was late 80's production. Does anyone know anything about the reliability newer CRF action? And could his dating be correct?

I am really excited.

Any information is appreciated.

Robert
 

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That is a beautiful rifle you have, and I'm sure it will be a winner!! I would be excited as well!

There were two production runs of the Stainless Classic Featherweights. The first version, like yours, with the red pad, was manufactured from 1997 thru 1999. The second version, made in 2005, is easily identified by the black Pachmayr Decelerator pad. The second version also incorporated some other changes, among them, one-piece bottom metal, flanged bolt shroud, Williams machined extractor and a square cut recessed target crown.

Hope this helps! ;D

P.S. A rifle like yours is becoming increasingly difficult to find, and is quite desirable!
 

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Are there any mechanical issues I should be concerned about with the older version? I have heard the extractor is made of cast steel. Can you confirm this. If so do I have another option of replacing it with the Williams version. Will it even fit? What was the purpose of the flanged bolt shroud vs. the older one?
 

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Here's a link on how to adjust the trigger. I would not adjust the pull weight below 3 lbs.. I put a Williams extractor on my M70 30-06. IIRC the cast ones are reproted to break sometimes if you snap the extractor over a case rim which they're supposed to be able to do. Screw the firing pin out and clean it off with carb cleaner if you hunt in cold weather. I use Remington drylube on my M70 & M77 firing pins.

http://www.varminthunters.com/tech/win70trigger.html
 

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His dating is incorrect, the classic action wasn't being made in the late 80's. I have four of the stainless featherweights, I think they're the best looking rifles ever made. There's not a whole lot to do to them other than having the trigger adjusted. The winchester trigger is excellent, but to really get it right a competent gunsmith needs to work it over, it's not a home job. It's become the fad to replace the extractor on M70's with the williams unit, but in my opinion it's not needed. The williams extractors are nice, but the stock unit isn't weak as some claim. I'd leave it alone. Because they are so nice looking it's important to pick a nice looking scope and mounts to go along with it. I use silver dual dovetail rings and bases on mine, the dual dovetails are very strong and also very clean looking. Leupold only does a run of silver dual dovetail bases for the M70 every so often so they're not always available, but they're worth looking for. You can probably find some if you look around. My 7mm-08 stainless featherweight has a leupold VX-III 2.5x8x36 silver scope in the silver dual dovetail rings. I highly recommend this scope on the short action M70's. Looks great and shoots under 1". The flanged bolt shroud is designed to deflect gas in the event of a case rupture, they started doing this on M70's a few years ago. It's an extra safety feature.
 
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