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Thread: Winchester M70 fired while feeding round

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    Default Winchester M70 fired while feeding round

    I was out moose hunting this winter and brought my Winchester M70. After shooting once, I proceeded to feed another round. As I was closing the bolt, the rifle fired. A friend of mine was behind me and was a bit spooked as was I. I know my hand was not on the trigger because I was using my trigger hand to close the bolt. I also am sure that nothing was even touching the trigger.

    When I first purchased the rifle about 5 years ago, I had to adjust the trigger because it was factory set at about 6 pounds. In order to get it down to about 4 pounds, I had to adjust the trigger all the way down. It is by no means a hair trigger and actually could be set lower to help with accuracy.

    The day this all happened was a cold day at about 0 degrees F. So I am guessing that moisture may have frozen on to the trigger mechanism and froze the trigger down. And of course as I am feeding another round into the chamber the safety is off.

    I called Winchester and all they said is that I could send the gun to them to have the trigger readjusted back to factory setting. I asked what this entails. They indicated to me that they would simply adjust the trigger up to the factory setting of over 5 pounds. Now, how is this a fix and how can you shoot accurately! I told them since they sold a gun with an adjustable trigger, I simply adjusted the trigger so that I could shoot it properly. Also, I asked if this would be at my own expense. Winchester indicated that it most likely would be at my expense. So, why would I send my gun through the mail to have it "fixed" so that I could not shoot it properly? Maybe Winchester does not take safety as serious as I thought.

    Any thoughts on this? I am wondering if I should simply get a gunsmith to rework the trigger or reinstall a new one?

  2. #2
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Since the rifle is 5 yrs old. Clean the trigger. Surfaces can get gunked up, combine this with moisture freezing inside the gun on winter hunts, and it's a bad recipe. Take the trigger up 8 oz. more than what you had originally set it on when you fiddled with it. Use a nice gun cleaner like Tetra, and possible a few shot of compressed air if you don't like the idea of taking it apart.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conibear View Post
    Any thoughts on this? I am wondering if I should simply get a gunsmith to rework the trigger...
    yes.

    A rifle that fired spontaneously when the bolt is closed needs attention before being used again. It may or may not have anything to do with the trigger setting, moisture intrusion, or gunk in the trigger or it may be some combo of all three- I'd let a pro look at it.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Maybe the firing pin was just stuck.Does it still do it?
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I'd skip the Winchester route and take it to a gunsmith. If you are in the Anchorage area, Stan Jackson or Andy Hawk would be able to take care of you.

    Learning to clean it yourself is a good skill to have and that's the first step I would take.
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    Firing pin can't "stick" as it is mechanically cammed to the rear when you open the bolt on a 70. The trigger was in the "pulled" position when the bolt was closed, allowing the sear to fall free and the firing pin to travel forward. And who said Remingtons were the only rifles that did this.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    I noticed rust around the trigger of my CZ. It's been used since 2006 without a trigger clean. Thanks for this reminder, time to clean up an often overlooked part of a gun.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Yeah I recently pulled the trigger assembly on my 760, it had bits of grass and crud in it; WD'd it, scrubbed with a toothbrush, soaked in acetone and re-oiled, good as new. Spontaneous or slam fires are sure scary. Good reminder to never point your weapon at anything you don't wish to destroy.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    The gun has been kept clean and well oiled. I took the stock off to view the trigger and there isn't any grime or corrosion. I was'nt able to get the gun to fire again while closing the bolt with the safety off (without a round inside of course). I am pretty sure the cold weather and moisture likely had something to do with the gun going off while feeding a round. I guess that I am disapointed that Winchester wasn't more helpful with this. I thought that they may have been more proactive about this.

    I may just have a gunsmith work on it to get their take on it. Of course, I may be a bit wary of this firearm now more so than before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conibear View Post
    I may just have a gunsmith work on it to get their take on it. Of course, I may be a bit wary of this firearm now more so than before.
    You should have a quality gunsmith check it thoroughly. For peace of mind if nothing else.

    Always, always, always be wary of any firearm. You may only get one mistake that does not injure someone else.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    They are proactive. They will take it back, look at it, fix it if it needs fixing. They will likely send it back to you with a properly (to them) set trigger. It is then up to you to adjust the trigger as you see fit, either yourself or by a gunsmith.

    With my bolt guns I completely disassemble them. I completely break down the bolt. I then degrease the entire thing. Then I "lube" with graphite for winter use.
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    I once heard of a guy hunting with a bolt gun, (not sure on the brand) in very cold weather. He and a buddy got dropped off by a bushpilot. Found his animal after a few day hunting, pulled the trigger, gun refused to go boom when the trigger was pulled. Bush pilot came for the pickup a few days later. Gear all loaded up into the plane, hunters pile in, off they go. Pilot had that plane toasty warm for the flight home. Twenty minutes into the flight the gun goes boom, blasts a hole in the firewall. No one had touched the trigger. Operator error for not unloading the chamber. Pilot not a happy camper. Hunter not a happy hunter...... not sure if learning actually occurred.

    Cold weather hunting demands a dry firing mechanism, free of moisture, oil and grease.
    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for the shadow is mine and so is the valley. Thy Glock and thy M14 comfort me in days of civil unrest and terror

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    There is a reason that military rifles like Mausers, Springfields, etc. all have substantial sear to cocking piece engagement and triggers with a fair amount of leverage. I've fooled around with some really nasty dirty military guns and the trigger and safety mechanisms in them all worked just fine even though they were full of gunk, grease, oil, and crud. Of course in very cold weather there could have been issues but that is true of all guns with oil or grease instead of dry lube.

    The early post-war FN mausers had military style triggers and a wing safety on the left side of the bolt collar where it should be for fast operation. For a rugged well made dependable actions these are hard to beat!
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conibear View Post
    I was out moose hunting this winter and brought my Winchester M70. After shooting once, I proceeded to feed another round. As I was closing the bolt, the rifle fired. A friend of mine was behind me and was a bit spooked as was I. I know my hand was not on the trigger because I was using my trigger hand to close the bolt. I also am sure that nothing was even touching the trigger.

    When I first purchased the rifle about 5 years ago, I had to adjust the trigger because it was factory set at about 6 pounds. In order to get it down to about 4 pounds, I had to adjust the trigger all the way down. It is by no means a hair trigger and actually could be set lower to help with accuracy.

    The day this all happened was a cold day at about 0 degrees F. So I am guessing that moisture may have frozen on to the trigger mechanism and froze the trigger down. And of course as I am feeding another round into the chamber the safety is off.

    I called Winchester and all they said is that I could send the gun to them to have the trigger readjusted back to factory setting. I asked what this entails. They indicated to me that they would simply adjust the trigger up to the factory setting of over 5 pounds. Now, how is this a fix and how can you shoot accurately! I told them since they sold a gun with an adjustable trigger, I simply adjusted the trigger so that I could shoot it properly. Also, I asked if this would be at my own expense. Winchester indicated that it most likely would be at my expense. So, why would I send my gun through the mail to have it "fixed" so that I could not shoot it properly? Maybe Winchester does not take safety as serious as I thought.

    Any thoughts on this? I am wondering if I should simply get a gunsmith to rework the trigger or reinstall a new one?
    Conibear, I had a similar incident about 10 years ago with my Winchester model 70 375 H & H. I had the trigger adjusted to about 2 1/2 lbs. After making this adjustment I noticed that the hammer would misfire regularly if pressure was applied to back end of the bolt. I, like you wasn't satisfied with the safety issue so I had it readjusted to prevent this from happening. I am guessing it is a flaw in the design of the Winchester pre-64 model 70. I do not know this for certain, just my guess.

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    Member SANDRAT's Avatar
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    Any thoughts of going to a quality aftermarket trigger designed with a lighter pull ? After getting tired of tuning factory triggers I've switched to aftermarket in my rifles.

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    Conibear, That's a scary thing to go through for sure, I'm glad nobody was hurt. My m70's 270wsm trigger was factory set at over 6lbs too. I didn't trust myself to do the adjustment so I took it to local gunsmith Brophy. I haven't had in issue since.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    With a model 70, isn't there creep, weight, and backlash that you can make adjustments or modifications for? The final thing is to either bounce the buttstock off the ground, rack the bolt closed hardly, or tap the action with a mallet to make certain the trigger won't accidentally go off.

    Did you test the rifle for accidental discharge after you made changes to the trigger?

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    I did test the rifle for accidental discharge, but only in the house out of the cold. I couldn't get it to discharge no matter what I did.

    In considering an aftermarket trigger, I wonder if it would be better to just purchase one and have it installed. That way I would just start off with a new trigger, one that I could fine tune and hopefully trust. I'm not sure I can trust the factory trigger anymore even if I have a gunsmith work on it. I guess that I would only be happy if a gunsmith were to tell me exactly is the problem and was able to fix it. I'm afraid that it would be difficult to determine that. Therefore, maybe it is best just to start off with a whole new trigger. Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conibear View Post
    I did test the rifle for accidental discharge, but only in the house out of the cold. I couldn't get it to discharge no matter what I did.

    In considering an aftermarket trigger, I wonder if it would be better to just purchase one and have it installed. That way I would just start off with a new trigger, one that I could fine tune and hopefully trust. I'm not sure I can trust the factory trigger anymore even if I have a gunsmith work on it. I guess that I would only be happy if a gunsmith were to tell me exactly is the problem and was able to fix it. I'm afraid that it would be difficult to determine that. Therefore, maybe it is best just to start off with a whole new trigger. Thoughts?
    If you get a new trigger(I would),have the smith check over your bolt and firing pin/spring also as the trigger is part of a system that works together.I don't have a M70,but use the "Rifle Basix" triggers in my Rem700's and Lawton actions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conibear View Post
    I did test the rifle for accidental discharge, but only in the house out of the cold. I couldn't get it to discharge no matter what I did.

    In considering an aftermarket trigger, I wonder if it would be better to just purchase one and have it installed. That way I would just start off with a new trigger, one that I could fine tune and hopefully trust. I'm not sure I can trust the factory trigger anymore even if I have a gunsmith work on it. I guess that I would only be happy if a gunsmith were to tell me exactly is the problem and was able to fix it. I'm afraid that it would be difficult to determine that. Therefore, maybe it is best just to start off with a whole new trigger. Thoughts?
    If it were me, I'd take it to the gunsmith for sure. If he said he he could work on the factory trigger and know it to be safe then I wouldn't worry about it again. But if he said he knew of inherent problems with them, and suggested a new high quality aftermarket trigger that you would like far better, then I would definitely go that route....

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