Winchester Model 70 Heavy Varmint


From the late 90s into about 2005 Winchester sold a heavy barrel varmint/target rifle called the “Heavy Varmint.”

These guns were the post 64 push feed action with a heavy barrel and the HS Precision made marksman stock. You can see it is identical to the wooden marksman stock I talked a little about yesterday.

the contour of the forearm getting thicker doesn’t show up as well on the HS marksman stock , perhaps because its black and taken on a cloudy day.

This stock came with a bedding block and pillar bedding. The gun itself was basically a modern version of the old “bull gun” Model 70s from past decades, It had the same contour 26 inch heavy barrel and stock style as the originals. The exceptions being no provisions and pre drilled holes int he receiver and barrel for mounting match iron sights. The guns came in .223 rem, .22-250 and .308 winchester. My heavy varmint pictured above is .223rem. I chose this because it had something no other factory HV bolt guns in .223 had at the time. That is a 1/9 twist. Giving the ability to shoot the heavier weight bullets that I used in AR15s. I suspect it’s slightly faster than 1/9 because it does accurately shoot 75-77 gr. HPBTs.

And unlike all pre 64 Model 70s, match or otherwise, these are actual short action guns

The guns are very accurate and such a heavy gun in 223 is a pleasure to shoot, I used this as my crow rifle for many years. Recently I put this Leupold on it with a BDC to match a load I use with 50gr Nosler ballsitc tips at a velocity too high for me to publicly give out here. It makes for a very flat shooting load for the small black birds out to 300 yards without needing to make an elevation adjustment.

For this post, I ran outa couple hours ago and shoot a 5 round group at 100 yards using the old reliable match load of 77 grain Sierra HPBTs using 24 grains of Vit or Varget. I have used this gun and that load to make 1,000 hits on a steel targets the size of a man’s chest. Even a shot I am not gonna tell you about because you wouldn’t believe me.

as you can see the 1/9 twist in the heavy 26 inch barrel has no trouble with the 77s

These are great guns and if you have a chance to get one I encourage you to do so. They don’t make them like this anymore. Literally.


  1. As I said, every so many years, “Winchester” brings out a heavy-barreled target rifle. People love it, they buy a bunch of them, and then Winchester’s MBA’s, in a snit, close down production of same.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Now, I know why Remington won’t bring out the 40X again, nor the Model 37. They’re fully committed to producing crap. They’ve lied about the Walker Fire Control System for decades, and came up with a new trigger for the 700’s only when forced to do so by lawsuits. They gave up the Model 32 and allowed Krieghoff to make a very similar shotgun that sells for a starting price of about $8K. So we know Remington’s management is a very special brand of stupid.

    But Winchester used to be run by actual gun people, who knew guns, loved guns, and liked making nice guns. Somewhere along the way, they must have hired some middle-management types from Remington, and the stupidity virus got a foothold inside Winchester.

    If I had my way, Winchester would produce a rifle that would/could compete with the STR-200 rifles, and start winning matches at 300 meters. It would have a heavy barrel available in several twists, and it would have the classic M70 trigger, or a modern two-stage target trigger you could hang on the action to replace the stock trigger. There would be globe/peep sights available from the factory, and it would be drilled and tapped for scopes. The barrel would be free floated, the action bedded, and sold with a stock that you could adjust the comb height, pull, cant, toe and possibly cast.

    A man can dream.

  2. I just found this rifle but in a stainless steel model. I don’t think it has every been fired and still have the box it came in. No optics has ever been put on it so I don’t think my friend every shot it. Helping his family try to sell it! Any idea of the value?

  3. Did Winchester also make a Stainless Steel version. Looking at a 223 Heavy Varmint on bbl
    Left side HV 223. Made in New Haven. No SA mark.
    Your thoughts??

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