Tag Archives: Model 70

The Model 70 Laredo Ahead of Its Time



Back in the early 90s, Winchester started making an action that very closely resembled the classic much loved, pre 64 Model 70 action of legend.  This was an immediate hit with  riflemen with taste.  There was some differences between the new and old, but it was close enough. Some would say it was probably better, or at least made out of stronger modern steel.   After the initial offerings of the typical boring hunting sporters proved to be a hit, Olin started offering the good stuff.

The picture above is one of the very interesting rifles they made and sold in the mid to late 90s.   It is the Model 70 Laredo.   The Laredo came with a H-S Precision stock that was pillar bedded and had an aluminum bedding block.  Instead of having to send it off to a gunsmith or glass bedding it in some do it your self project, it was ready to go. The barrel was free floated and the bedding block gave a solid bedding that would not wear out or break down over time from recoil or solvents and oil. The fore arm was flat with stud for sling or bipod and the pistol grip and a very ergonomic palm swell that fit the hand nicely and was ambi in its shape

The action was the new M70 “classic” action, which as I said above was a modern pre 64 CRF action.  The Laredo was a long action and came in magnum chamberings. This one was chambered in 7mm remington mag.  The barrel was non SS and was 24 inches long with a medium heavy target taper to .950 at the muzzle with a very nice recessed target crown.  The trigger was standard Model 70 adjustable down to 2.5 pounds very easily.

The gun was marketed as a “beanfield” deer rifle. That was a marketing term at the time meant to get deer hunters interested in a rifle they could shoot  further with.  At the time of this guns birth. the AWb had not become law.   And in a sad twist of fate, this led to the guns demise.

If you are too young to know, or maybe not interested in this type of rifle during those years, here is the story.

Before the AWB of 94. it was easy to find just about anything you wanted when it came to semi auto versions of combat rifles. You could some stuff that is very exotic now and so hard to find it would approach Class III prices now.  On top of that. the popularity of snipers was non existent. Most shooters did not know much about the USA’s heroic snipers or the rifles used in sniping.   After the AWB, people wanted some kind of military or tactical type rifle and at the same time a few things got very popular, very fast.  A slew of Vietnam vets wrote books about their time as snipers.  Carlos Hathcock became more and more well known to shooters who otherwise never heard of him.  And of course, the government telling people “no” instantly drove them to want something “tactical.”  A few  other things combined as the 90s came to a close to make sniping and tactical rifles very popular.  Th e internet, more and more small custom shops, movies and more really made that market pick up.

But, it was too late for the Laredo.  the gun was out before  this wave of interest in long rage shooting hit big, and Winchester stopped making it right when it would have possibly taken off.  Another reason was  the gun rag writers constantly telling every one only the M700 remington was the standard.  The Army using the M24 and the USMC the M40 took people wanting what the military used sealed the deal on it having a chance at being considered.

It is a real shame.

I used the Laredo as my 1st 1,000 yard gun.  the 7mm mag may not be the best 1000 yard choice, but its a great choice for a college kid, with little money to spend and needed a factory offering.   I loaded the gun with 168 grain 7mm matchkings and later 175 gr HPBT match kings.  The flat shooting 7mm Mag and the mild recoil compared to the 300 win mag, made it pleasant to me since I am not a huge person.  The 7mm is more forgiving out to 1,000 then the 308 even if the barrel wears out faster.   Shooting that far  is mostly mental. Confidence is a big factory in making hits at 1,000 to 1,200.  And the 7mm helped me think i had an edge. Really , it is a pretty good choice, but not great.  Having a great deal of confidence in it did help me shoot better and shooting better let me concentrate on what mattered instead of worrying over the wrong things.

This rifle now belongs to some one else. Sold when I realized it was collecting dust more then being fired after I moved on to better rifles. Now the rifle has picatinny bases and rings canted for long range and a Millet scope.


Scope has a wide range of magnification up to 25x and has a 56 mm objective lens. It has target turrets in mils and has a mildot crosshair  along with a 30mm tube.  Base is Badger with leupold Mk4 rings.  To finish it off as a factory made affordable rifle for 1,000 yard plus shooting is a set of Harris Bipods.

The rifle still shoots sub MOA but is likely getting tired. I shot it a lot and new owner is hell on a rifle barrel and does not have my obsession with cleaning match barrels. the gun has been used to hit a 16 ounce coke bottle at 850 yards repeatedly when shooter actually meant to do it!!

The Laredo Model 70 is a fine rifle and it is a real shame it is not being made now.  Current FN produced M70s are fine guns but they  are not New Haven guns with that rich tradition and, worst of all, do not have the classic model 70 trigger that is so easy to adjust to whatever pull weight you wish within safety reason.

If, you are looking for a rifle to get your feet wet in the 1,000 shooting game. this is still a great choice. If you could find one in 7mm mag or 300 Mag and the barrel is in good shape I would not hesitate.   The reliability of the control round feed does not need even more words about how reliable and desirable it is from me. Its rep speaks for itself at this point.

The Laredo is a hard model to find these days. But in some areas of the country you are more likely to find a used one if good shape. Even if the barrel is shot out, this is a outstanding choice to start a custom project for a long range gun.  You would get a long action that would take a wide variety of long range chamberings and the stock is essentially a drop in match ready stock.  Having a new barrel installed to the caliber of your choice, would result in a rifle that could do anything you asked it to do within reason.


The 1990s did not have much good news for the gun world. We had the AWB, Clinton and other crimes against humanity. but it did give us the bitter sweat Laredo. The sweet, sweet laredo M70 with the pre 64 action  ready for anything and the bitter news of its early and sad demise before the next generation of shooters of tactical rifles and sniping could discover and rescue it from   the doom of countless other rifles ahead of their time.




When you are dry firing your bolt action precision rifle at home ( you should be )  have you ever noticed  the bolt handle move and the crosshairs tremble in the scope?

This is a common thing on factory to semi custom bolt guns.  The bolt moving can effect accuracy and follow through. Anyone who knows what it takes to get a bolt action rifle to do its best and for you to milk the most out of it, knows this can affect group size.  Granted, its not  huge problem, but if your skill level is high enough,it can make a difference.

There is a very easy cure for this you can do your self at home. The downside is, it only works on Model 70  type actions. One of the many reason I prefer the Model 70 is that it is a very simple machine capable of being worked on but some one as ham fisted  as I am.

First, take the bolt out of the rifle. To get it ready for field stripping, cock the gun, ( make sure its empty) put the safety in the middle position, remove the bolt from the gun, then depress the take down pin and unscrew the assembly. Easy as that.

See the threads behind the spring above?  That is the area we are going to give out attention to fix the wobble in the bolt and sights.  Once you got the Bolt field stripped, degrease and clean the part. The next thing you will need is a dollar roll  plumbers thread tape.   You are going to wrap the plumbers tape around those threads.  When you put it on, keep pulling it tight. You want to get as good amount on so keep it tight to make sure it gets into the threads really well.

The best part of the tape it, it does not get stuck forever like lock tight and you can take the parts apart just like normal. But, it will still hold nice and snug. You can change the tape out and reply it everytime you clean, or once a year. It depends on how much you use the gun or if the oil/cleaner you use degrades it. I have never had a problem but you should change it every once in a while.

Once it is on, put it all back together after some light oiling.  You can take some off or add more any time. If it is too tight, take some off. If you still notice wobble when dry firing, add some more. I am sure you can figure that out without me.

This will help accuracy. Of course the gun has to have some quality to begin with because this is not a cure all. It ain’t going to help a bad crowning job or something of that sort. But on a good gun, with good ammo , glass and shooter, it will shrink groups noticeable if you can do your part in the matter. It is worth doing and I highly recommend you  do so.  I have some some dramatic results twice from this procedure. It worked better then it had a right to. But that is the nature of the accurate bolt action rifle. All the little things add up.   Once you got it back up, test to see if your crosshairs wobble and if the bolt handle moves n the stock channel for it. IF it does not, you got it just right. Next time I will talk about how to lap your lugs fast easy and at home with no special tools.  And possible future articles will tell how to adjust the factory trigger on the Model 70 and Remington m70o.

USMC Scout Sniper Weapons of the Vietnam War

In the past months I have written a bit about the use of and primary rifles used by the USMC for sniping use in the Vietnam war. Now I would like to talk a little about them again along with some of the supporting (spotter) weapons and equipment used by typical sniper teams during the war. Everything used is of course not included, but its a small general example of the weapons used by the majority and most common.

In a fast review of the main sniper weapons, or at least the most well known, we start off with the Pre-64 Model 70 Winchester rifle. The rifles in use at the time were a mix of factory Winchester national match and “Bull guns”,  with the heavy target marksman stock and the sporter stocked Model 70 with factory or custom barrels. The custom work being done by USMC RTE armorers for Competition use at Camp Perry for the national matches and sniping use in asia. The optics were the Unertl 8x USMC contract scope purchases during WW2 for the Marine Corps 1903 sniper rifle.  Some other brands of externally adjustable scopes were used but the Unertl was the most common. A few 3x-9x  Japanese made scope saw some very limited use on a few M70s but very few.

Ammunition for the Model 70 snipers was the Lake City Match ammo made for for the national matches using a FMJ 173 grain boat tailed bullet. One of the things that kept the model 70 from being selected as the sniper standard in the years to come was the fact that this was not a commonly issued round.

The rifle that replaced the M70 and became sniper standard until this very day in the configuration of the M40A5, was the Remington M700-40x. The 40x was a target action of better quality then a standard M700 of the time. The 40x action came with a receiver slot for stripper clips used in reloading when the rifle was employed with target iron sights in high-power rifle matches like at Perry.

The rifle was tested and found to be the best COTS choice at the time due to the Winchester stopping production of the very high quality and very expensive and time consuming version of the Model 70  now known as the “pre-64”

The rifle was dubbed the M40 by the USMC and came with a medium heavy barrel chambered in 308 NATO with a plain dull oil finish sporter stock. It used the clip slotted 40x action, did not have provisions for iron sights and had a metal butt pad. Remington provided the rifle in an entire package with a Redfield Accur-Trac  3x-9x -40MM scope in matte green in Redfield Junior bases.

The rifle barrel of the M40 was later free-floated and the action bedded by USMC RTE armorers in Vietnam after the tropical climate proved almost too much for the rifle to take.

An interesting point is that the two most famous Snipers of the war , Carlos Hathcock and Chuck MaWhinney used the Model 70 and the M40 respectively.  Hathcock having a total of 93 confirmed kills to MaWhinneys 103.  Hathcock used the M70 for his fist tour as a sniper when he got most of his kills including his most famous exploits, but did use the M40 some in his second tour before becoming seriously wounded and being sent home. Unfortunately the rifle was destroyed in the action that wounded him and saw him being awarded a silver star.  Mawhinney’s rifle was found years later and still in service as an M40A1. It was pulled from use and restored to its original specs and is now on display.

The less glamorous but very important spotter in a scout sniper team carried more common weapons that every rifleman was familiar with.  The one that seems the most thought of as the spotters weapon when talking about the USMC sniping teams, is the  M14 US rifle caliber .308 NATO.

The M14 is the US Military’s most short-lived issued rifle. Little more then a slightly more modern version of the M1 Garand, the M14 has a detachable 20 round magazine and fired 308 NATO. The rifle was made in select fire ( full and semi ) and was very much like the M1 Garand.  The M14 was already obsolete by the time it came out of Springfield.  It did and still does have its promoters, but few remember or know that at the time, no one really liked it as much as is thought now.  It was soon replaced by the M16 series of rifles. The M14 did see use by sniper teams in the USMC and the US Army. The Army being the heaviest user of the M14 for sniping developing it into the XM21 that used the ART 1 and 2 optics and night vision optics and sound suppressors. The USMC did use it in a limited way ( compared to the Army) for some night work using the starlight night vision optics.  The M14 was carried by  Carlos Hathcock’s spotter John Burke who used it to great effect when working with Carlos and using match ammo.  The US Army struggled to make the XM21  into a reliable sniper weapon for years and sunk a huge amount of money and effort into it before dumping it for the bolt action M24 SWS ( another remington M700).  Kills could be made out to 600-800 yards with iron sights depending on skill of the shooter and was used for security of the team. The higher ammo capacity and full auto fire would be useful to break contact when ambushed or lay down cover if things went bad.  I have not seen any evidence of it being used to break an ambush in my research but I am sure it happened.

The next rifle is of course, the Colt XM16 and the M16A1.  The rifle  replaced the M14 as standard infantry rifle in the early 60s. The rifle was ideal for jungle warfare and after early blunders by the DOD using the wrong powder in the M193 ammunition and not chroming the chamber, the M16 went on to be our longest-serving weapon and respected world wide.  The M16 lacked the long range potential of the M14 in the spotter’s role, but combat had shown a sniper should not fire many rounds from a position least he be found. Having two people firing was more than the idea of no more then 3 rounds fired by the sniper from one hide.  The M16 was more controllable on full-auto fire, was lighter and the spotter could carry more ammo. Later in the war 30 round magazines became available and gave it even more advantage over the M14.  The spotter, already burdened with security, the team radio and other mission support equipment, benefited from the smaller lighter M16.

The M16 was officially considered for sniping use, but lacking a fast enough twist rate for heavy match ammo, and no match ammo, made the chance of it being the standard impossible at the time. Since then the M16 has been developed into sniping roles as the US Army’s DMR, the USMCs  SAM-R and the  special operational forces M12 MoD 0 and MOD 1. Using the 77 gr.  MK 262 MOD 1 ammo, the MKI12 has recorded kills as far as 800-900 yards and is one of the most effective weapons in the US  military when looking at weapons responsible for enemy kills.  The M16 was also used by some in the USMC as a sniping tool before enough sniping rifles were sent to asia. Usually the rifle user purchased the Colt 3x scope and mounted it on the carry handle. Other special scope bases were made by RTE and USAMTU armorers  for sniping use. When in the right hands, recorded kills out to 900 yards were made with the M16/scope a few times, though very rarely.

The other often overlooked but very important piece of equipment was the spotting scope. Used to ID targets, spot missed shots and scan the area for targets, the M49 spotting scope was carried whenever the misison justified its use. Often times the lower magnification of the sniper rifle optics was not enough to ID a target over a civilian and a shot could not be taken with out proper ID by the spotter and spotter scope. The scope was also used to judge wind, mirage and help judge range so that sniper had the most accurate data possible to make his long range shot.  The scope was also used for spotting artillery and many other uses.

The M49 was a 20x power spotting scope that came with its own plastic carrying case for transport.The M49 is still in use today. The M49 also came with a Tripod for steadying it and for small adjustments to correcting its position so the user would not disturb the scope. The tripod came with its own webbing canvas carrying case that could be hooked to web gear.

The other common items used by the sniper team was the light weight jungle rucksack. The pack originally was intended for mountain troops and had a frame that could be used to carry large heavy loads for mountain and winter operations. It was the common issued jungle pack during the war but was by no means the only ruck used. Some sniper teams used captured NVA rucks or the Indig ARVN packs.

Above an M40 rests across a jungle ruck with the spotters M14 and M49 off to the side.

USMC sniper teams used a wide variety of equipment during the war in asia with this being a small part. The list would have also included radios, binoculars, food, the Colt 1911 as sidearms, maps, hats and camo uniforms and face paint, extra ammo, ponchos, poncho liner, knives etc. These are some of the most well known and famous of the many tools used by the Marines to become the premier sniping experts in the world. Next time I will take a look at some of the uniforms and web gear used during the war and the Army’s XM21 M14 sniper and the M14 and the myth that surrounds it.

Q&A 2

This is the second session of LooseRounds.com Q&A.  If you have a firearms related question please email it to QA@LooseRounds.com. We will post the your questions anonymously and give you our answers.

Shawn and I thank Catherine Kim for the article she submitted and to thank Duncan Larsen for the articles he has submitted and for his help on our Facebook page.  We also appreciate the work CJ does as an editor on LooseRounds.com, he keeps us from looking as illiterate as we are.  Thanks also to Adam O’quinn for taking the 901 in action shots.


1.  How are the Surefire 60 round mags?

Howard:  Both Shawn and I own Surefire 60 round mags and we like them very much.  While we haven’t torture tested them, or run them very heavily, they appear to be good mags.  We recommend them, but be sure to test each mag before you rely on them.

2.  ar15 bolt face ring

Howard: Well that is not much of a question.  Normal wear on the bolt face may leave little pits, and a ring corresponding to the primer on the round.  If any pits extend into the firing pin channel, replace the bolt.

ARMY TM 9-1005-319-23&P and AIR FORCE TO 11W3-5-5-42 page 3-22 explain:

(a) Bolt faces with a cluster of pits which are touching or tightly grouped, covering an area measuring approximately 1,8 Inch across, will be rejected and replaced.

(b) Bolts which contain individual pits or a scattered pattern will not be cause for rejection.

(c) Bolts that contain pits extending Into the firing pin hole will not be rejected unless firing pin hole gaging check determines excess wear.

(d) Rings on the bolt face (machine tool marks), grooves, or ridges less than approximately 0.010 inch will not be cause for rejection.

3.  Winchester Model 70 used in Vietnam?

Shawn:  There were two types, one was the heavy barrel national match that had a target stock and a heavy barrel with a sporter stock.  The sporter stock model started off as sporters and then the Rifle Team Equipment (RTE) armorers added match heavy barrels.  Both were glass bedded and free floated by the RTE armors.

4.  Duty holster for 1911 with light

Shawn:  LooseRounds uses a Dark Star Gear holster kydex that can be used for IWB or outside carry.  Found it to be best of its type tested so far.

5.  scar 17 vs sig 716

Howard:  Right now you can get more parts and accessories for the Sig, such as cheap quality Magpul mags.  However as for company quality control and function out of the box, I would trust FN more then Sig.

6.  What cheap asian are good?

Howard:  Well, the following are optics and accessories are junk.  UTG, NcStar, Leapers, Counter Sniper.  Some of Tapco stuff is good, but much of it is junk.  ATI is similar with mixed quality items and plenty of junk.