ARMS & AMMUNITION
Rumors have been sky-hootin’ through the gun trade that Winchester was about to bring out a featherweight version of the famous Model 70 rifle. No flies on the Model 70! She’s all rifle, a yard wide, and built like the brick edifice in Mrs. Kelly’s backyard. For mountain hunting she’s a bit on the heavy side, though, and with certain scopes and mounts she’s likely to weigh 10 or 10½ pounds.
Now, chaps with varicose veins and fallen arches find lugging standard Model 70s over hill and dale a bit burdensome. So these rumors of a light musket interested me vastly, not only because my own legs have been worn off halfway to the knees by lugging heavy rifles over sheep mountains, but because many of the letters I’ve had plead for a rifle light enough to be transported by elderly characters without the aid of a dog team.
Never let it be said that Winchester can’t keep a secret. Once at the factory a hired hand drew me aside and was about to spill the dope. He
glanced furtively about, his eyes rolling in fear. Then he drew my ear close to his lips and began to whisper, “Now this is absolutely confidential, but I’ll tell you what we plan to do.”
Just then a secret porthole in the wall slid open. There was a flash and a hiss through the air, and a silver-mounted Malay dagger buried itself in the wall within an inch of my pal’s head. He fainted dead away, and when he finally revived I did not press him further.
With my well-known feminine intuition, I had it doped out that the Winchester featherweight, if and when it materialized, would be in the .270 and .30/06, the best selling calibers in the good Model 70. That seemed only logical, but alas, the world does not always operate on a logical basis.
The featherweight has now arrived—and with it a mysterious new cartridge, the .308 W.C.F. It’s this cartridge, for which the rifle’s chambered, that’s the real surprise.
Jack O’connor beside a recordbook eland taken with his Model 70 in .375 Magnum.