Museum Minute: Winchester Model 70

Dec 9, 2020

Credit Cody Firearms Museum

The Winchester Model 70 has long been called the rifleman's rifle. The gun is also an iconic American Bolt-Action that was designed in the 1930s. It’s so popular that a version of it is still in production today. 

The rifle has been used by hunters and target shooters for decades. Danny Michael, the associate curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, said it’s a target rifle, but in popular perception, it was only ever sought out for its commercial use. 

“The Model 70 itself was only ever used commercially. But its design roots go back to World War I when Winchester was building rifles for the British,” said Michael. 

Michael said they were building what was called the Pattern 14 and then they began to build the same gun as the Model 1917 for the United States government. 

“In both of these designs, one of their design engineers, Thomas Johnson worked on each, and he was at the same time working on his own design for a bolt-action rifle,” said Michael. “And you can see how his design changed over time to incorporate features from the Pattern 14 and Model 1917.”