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Thread: Winchester Mdl 70 Trigger (safety issue)

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    Default Winchester Mdl 70 Trigger (safety issue)

    http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsm...605/index.html

    Rifle Shooter GunSmithing Section
    Article: One Man’s Perfect Rifle by Jon R. Sundra
    Page 3 of article

    The author is stating in his article that there is a safety issue with the Winchester Model 70 trigger since it does not block the trigger's movement. He stated that if the trigger is pulled with the safety on and for some reason there is an obstruction or other factor which prevents the trigger from returning to its forward position, releasing the safety will discharge the rifle.
    I was a little concerned, since this is the first time I have read about the trigger/safety issue and knowing that Model 70s are so popular. Anyone ever experience this problem before with Winchester type triggers ?

  2. #2
    Member bowmaster's Avatar
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    Default model 70 trigger

    hi,im not a gun expert but i don`t think the gun would go off with anything in the trigger,the reason i say this is that the safety is in the bolt on the winchester,it is not like the trigger on the remington rifles.

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    It is possible, like getting hit with a falling star, but HIGHLY unlikely. The trigger return spring would have to break. It is a coil spring and even the pieces may prevent it firing. I will not lose a minute's of sleep over it. Sundra worries too much and is scrambling to find something to write about. I know of no better way of screwing up a rifle than to follow his instructions IMO. J.

  4. #4

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    this could happen. prolly alot more likely to happen to an ill trianed screwdriver "expert"....aka home gunsmith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WDChurchJr View Post
    http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsm...605/index.html

    Rifle Shooter GunSmithing Section
    Article: One Man’s Perfect Rifle by Jon R. Sundra
    Page 3 of article

    The author is stating in his article that there is a safety issue with the Winchester Model 70 trigger since it does not block the trigger's movement. He stated that if the trigger is pulled with the safety on and for some reason there is an obstruction or other factor which prevents the trigger from returning to its forward position, releasing the safety will discharge the rifle.
    I was a little concerned, since this is the first time I have read about the trigger/safety issue and knowing that Model 70s are so popular. Anyone ever experience this problem before with Winchester type triggers ?
    If we are talking about the pre-64, post-94 M70 trigger, then I would say the writer does his shooting from the keyboard. What kind of trigger would he prefer? Sure anything could break but the M70 trigger is ahelluva lot better than any box trigger the likes of which are on M700, and Sakos, and dozens of others around the world. The m70 trigger is open with only two parts. I don't see how anything could get into the mechanism, it is completely open. I would wonder if the guy has even seen the Winchester trigger. It is by the way, without question, the very best part of the pre-64 action. If this is by JRS, I'm wondering what he was smoking, I though he was a pretty good gun guy.

    I would take the m70/Dakota trigger over everything else ever made for a bolt action rifle. Oh, and as for experience with that trigger, I have a solid forty years with that trigger in the field, on many different rifles, there is no more reliable trigger anywhere. I have disassembled and cleaned and adjusted over 1000 rifles triggers, I want a Winchester trigger on my rifle.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  6. #6
    Member Spanman's Avatar
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    Default Actually.....

    I had an accidental miss-fire on a mod 70 a few years back. I was in TOk and chaising some caribiou, had a line but couldn't take the shot...moved forward 4-6 feet and still couldn't shoot before moving again in the woods I set the safety to on and it fired. Total surprize and luckly it was aimed down when it discharged. I immediatly cleared the rifle forgetting bou existand went back to the camp...my buddy came back later looking for meat after gunfire and I told him what had happened...according to him (did some gun smithing in his time) it was a known problem with the 70's that pushing the safety forward would engage the pin and discharge or a bump to the butt of the rifle could cause the same. He told me of a class action lawsuit and something he could do to fix the problem. I ended up getting it worked on and handing it back to my uncle. It was older (poss pre-64) but I am not sure as I had borrowed it from my uncle. I know nothing of a law suit and he has been know to BS a little..BUT I did have a discharge when engaging the safty.

  7. #7

    Default Rem 700 trigger malfunction story

    In the mid 90s I bought a Remington 700 BDL Stainless in 7mm-08. When I was out caribou hunting during the fall season on the Arolik river with two of my buddies, we spotted about a ½ dozen caribou near the north side of Island Mountain which is on the west side of the river, as your going upstream. Anyway we did a great stalk through a small gully, when we were about 400 yards away from the animals, we low-crawled along the willows until we were within 200 yards. Then to our satisfaction the caribou started walking right up to where we were within 25 yards or so. We were using hand-signals, so I signaled to my partners to get ready. We chambered our rounds and when we were all ready to shoot I took aim, moved the safety to the fire position and tried to squeeze off a shot, the rifle wouldn’t fire, the trigger wouldn’t work. I re-bolted the round and tried again, same problem. I then quickly re-chambered another round and the same darn thing happened, the trigger still wouldn’t work. (Man was I frustrated) I re-bolted the second round and moved the safety back and forth a couple of times and tried again, this time the round fired. Lucky for me I dropped a caribou and while they were running off I dropped a second. That was the only time I ever had a problem with any type of trigger. When I returned home I called up Remington Arms and explained the problem to one of their reps, he told me to send it to one of their authorized dealers/gunsmiths here in Alaska. So I called Red’s Gunsmithing (this was when he was based in Anchorage) and told him what happened with the trigger/safety mechanism. He agreed to check it out for me, so I made arrangements to mail it to him but the rifle ended up getting damaged in the mail. Lucky for me I had the rifle insured, so I recovered most of the cost. Never did find what out what really caused the trigger to malfunction though. During our initial discussion, I vaguely remember Red’s mentioned that it may have been possible that the tolerances in the trigger mechanism may have been too tight, causing it to malfunction. It was never confirmed though, at least to my knowledge.
    Getting back to the story, we packed out 3 of the caribou (2 trips each to our camp) and left the last one up near the mountain, since it was getting dark on us. Next morning we hiked back up to the kill site and the caribou was gone, only thing left was blood and bone fragments. Bear tracks all around the site, with my rifle acting up the day before I was a little on edge. So we headed back to camp, loaded up my boat with our meat and gear and headed for home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spanman View Post
    I had an accidental miss-fire on a mod 70 a few years back. I was in TOk and chaising some caribiou, had a line but couldn't take the shot...moved forward 4-6 feet and still couldn't shoot before moving again in the woods I set the safety to on and it fired. Total surprize and luckly it was aimed down when it discharged. I immediatly cleared the rifle forgetting bou existand went back to the camp...my buddy came back later looking for meat after gunfire and I told him what had happened...according to him (did some gun smithing in his time) it was a known problem with the 70's that pushing the safety forward would engage the pin and discharge or a bump to the butt of the rifle could cause the same. He told me of a class action lawsuit and something he could do to fix the problem. I ended up getting it worked on and handing it back to my uncle. It was older (poss pre-64) but I am not sure as I had borrowed it from my uncle. I know nothing of a law suit and he has been know to BS a little..BUT I did have a discharge when engaging the safty.
    Speaking of the pre-64 designed trigger and 3 position safety:
    Pulling the safety back to the "on-safe" position actually cams the striker (firing pin) back slightly and locks it there. Pushing the safety forward is to the "fire" position, not the "safe" position. I don't think your hunting buddy/gunsmith was tuned in. With the safety engaged, you could knock the trigger off the rifle with a hammer and the safety would still hold the striker. It would not fall. In your episode, you either unknowingly touched the trigger or at the point where you touched the safety the trigger chose that time to slip off the sear. Possibly it was adjusted too light. There is not a more positive design in a mechanical safety. This system safety is similar to the Mauser where it actually blocks the striker fall. Nothing is fool proof and any mechanical contraption can fail, that does not say the M70 trigger/safety is unsafe.

    BTW where else would your rifle be pointed when loaded?

    The class action lawsuit was against Remington in 1992. I was involved in it up to my eyes, all because a rifle that was used to kill a 16 boy was brought to me by a lawyer. (Carrying a fully loaded rifle in the back seat of a pickup truck and grabbing it quickly by the grip and pushing the safety off (?) with the webb of the hand and squeezing the grip around the trigger.) Remington has had compalints of thousands of rifles "accidentally discharging. These were the result of negligence or stupidity for the most part. The dangerous part of these is due to a violation of rule number one.

    I can understand why you would shy away from a Winchester after a "surprise" like that on a hunting trip, but if you have a traffic accident in a Ford, does that mean you won't ever own another?

    No mechanical device, not even a one that is designed to make us safer, can ever save our butt. Only human dilligence will prevail, a mindless moment of excitement can be very costly.

    There are Three Rules, you've seen them before.

    Murphy's Rules:
    1. Always keep a gun pointed where you want the bullet to go.
    2. Never load a gun until ready and willing to shoot.
    3. Always keep your finger off the trigger, until your eyes are on the target.

    A negligent discharge is just noise, if we follow rule #1.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Did the self agrandising JRS say what trigger he prefered ??? By his own admission (and numerous years being paid highly by them as a consultant) he prefers the Ruger #1 and any of the Remingtons. Both of these triggers can, will and do what he is speculating what a M-70 can't physically do.

    I agree Murphy,
    Best trigger ever invent for saftey and utility is the M98. Best sporting rifle trigger, part none, is the M70.

    So much for the expertise of a man of the great wilds. Oh' yeah he lived in the wilds of Pittsbugh Pa. then to the Outer Banks of NC when the money started rolling in. He would surely know what trigger is best to serve me for the last 17 years of guiding.

  10. #10

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    I have used factory Winchester Mdl 70 rifles off and on for about 28 years, in all types of weather and hunting conditions and have never had any problem with any of their triggers. Also I would have to agree with the both of you, human error needs to be factored into the equation when trying to determine the cause of a trigger malfunction. And like I mentioned earlier in my previous post the only trigger problem I have ever had was on my Remington Mdl 700, and I am positive it was a mechanical malfunction. I still own and use both Remingtons and Winchesters, matter of fact I use Rugers, Sakos, Weatherbys and Brownings too. They are all good rifles. Thanks for the reassurance.

  11. #11

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    Yeah I have fairies living in my garden as well.

    Dakota claim that they improved??????? the Model 70 3 position safety.Saying it had a flaw in mid position(IF WORN?)???

    You will also here about Metalurgy(brittle steel-Pre-64)/poor gas handerling.I'm yet to hear of any.



    I will be chasing a Pre-64 project action in the near future.I'm very confident it WILL provide me with years of reliable service.Until then the Kimber Montana(338WM) will be getting the job.




    PS-Rifle still on it's way.Post pic's of setup/mini review soon.

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    Default 30-06 accidental fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanman View Post
    I had an accidental miss-fire on a mod 70 a few years back. I was in TOk and chaising some caribiou, had a line but couldn't take the shot...moved forward 4-6 feet and still couldn't shoot before moving again in the woods I set the safety to on and it fired. Total surprize and luckly it was aimed down when it discharged. I immediatly cleared the rifle forgetting bou existand went back to the camp...my buddy came back later looking for meat after gunfire and I told him what had happened...according to him (did some gun smithing in his time) it was a known problem with the 70's that pushing the safety forward would engage the pin and discharge or a bump to the butt of the rifle could cause the same. He told me of a class action lawsuit and something he could do to fix the problem. I ended up getting it worked on and handing it back to my uncle. It was older (poss pre-64) but I am not sure as I had borrowed it from my uncle. I know nothing of a law suit and he has been know to BS a little..BUT I did have a discharge when engaging the safty.
    hi, almost two weeks ago my brother was killed in an accidental discharge of a winchester 30-06 when the safety was being set to either on or off while trying to unload the gun. so, it definitely does happen.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Winchester Mdl 70 Trigger (safety issue)

    Buddy of mine used to hunt with a 70's vintage model 70 and kept one in the chamber while afield. We finished up a scouting trip a few years ago and he didn't clear it before tossing it in the gun boot. We made the run out and it was late so we just quickly loaded the wheelers for the short drive home without taking the gear and rifles out like we normally would. He dropped me and my quad off and headed home. When home he grabbed the stock of his Winchester and while sliding it out the safety caught the padding and was moved to the fire position and the rifle discharged into the (empty) cab of his truck. No one was hurt save for my buddies pride and he no longer chambers a round until ready to fire. That says he is confident that he was no where near the trigger and only pulled the rifle straight out. I haven't messed with the rifle at all to see if I could reproduce the problem but I hope to get the opportunity at some point. He now carries a Tikka (on an empty chamber).

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    Default Winchester Mdl 70 Trigger (safety issue)

    Quote Originally Posted by jsurddy View Post
    hi, almost two weeks ago my brother was killed in an accidental discharge of a winchester 30-06 when the safety was being set to either on or off while trying to unload the gun. so, it definitely does happen.
    Very sorry for your loss. I assume that the rifle involved in this tragedy is being inspected and I hope that if you get solid results regarding the cause of the failure that you pass that info on to us.

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    A Winchester will do the same thing a Remington will, if the trigger is set too light to keep it pushed forward and overcome oil/dirt in the mechanism. Set gun on safe, walk around for a while, and sometime during this period the trigger gets pulled, and does not return forward, but stays pulled. Now take the safety off, and the trigger is....pulled, and the rifle discharges. It is only a mechanical safety, and not a substitute for safe gun handling.
    "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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    WOW!

    This is the first time Iíve heard about This.

    I HATE those Mdl 70s and have been searching for YEARS to find something to justify it.

    I shoulda been more patient. All Triggers are subject to failure. So are Safeties.

    Ya need a trigger, but you donít need a Safety. Especially when they cause problems with triggers.

    Safeties give us a false sense of security. And, an EXCUSE when something goes wrong.

    A ďsafe, safetyĒ, should be hard to take on and off, like maybe, those Roosian Rifles that I also hate. BUT, if itís gonna be that TUFF, might as well just chamber a round when youíre gonna shoot.

    Normally, I donít even use a safety, but when I do, I forget, and I have a different kinda problem with them. (The blame gun wonít go off.)

    Anybody else, out there with Memory Problems?

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  17. #17

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    I think the first time I shot a Mod. 70 was about 1960, Dad's old .264 Win. Mag. Except for a few years they are the gun I have always used. We have 5 of them and all the triggers were adjusted by a gun smith to as close to a 3 lb. pull as we could get, never less. All were cocked and dropped butt first onto the garage floor a few times from about 8" to see if they would go off, all were cocked and the safety was repeatedly checked for function. None have required any more trigger work other then to be kept clean and trigger and the safety always work as designed. Most "accidents" are negligence, though there have been times when a rifle went into production with a poor trigger/safety design. I have met many shooters/hunters who are obsessed with very light trigger pulls. I am not one of them and I don't want lighter then a 3 lb. pull on a big game hunting rifle. I agree with Murphy and I want the old style Mod. 70 trigger on my hunting rifles. Unfortunately there are firearms owners that handle their firearm in an unsafe manner, don't do proper maintenance on their gun and don't really understand all they should know about their gun. So we have tragic incidents. If safe gun handling was always practiced by the person holding the firearm I doubt we would hear about many "accidents". To the person that recently lost their brother, I am so sorry for you and the rest of his family and loved ones. My heart felt condolences to all of you.

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    In the 17 some odd years I have been at WWG I have never seen a properly adjusted winnny slam fire. FWIW.

    Any mechanical device can fail though. Nothing is perfect, except for Kate Middletons butt as seen in a French magazine and even that is gonna sag in 40 years

  19. #19

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    Any thoughts on the Kimber 84M safety? I'm looking at a new .308 and thinking Kimber or Win Mod 70. Thanks

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    Not a gunsmith but I've worked with or owned quite a few to date - The safeties have all worked consistently and alot more quiet in operation than any model 70 "I've" seen - triggers are not a model 70 "style" but rather what I would call a model 700 "improvement" - As you will see and hear alot, the original model 70 and Mauser 98 trigger designs are the type you can throw in the sand, roll around in the mud, use in 0 degree environment and depend on them ... that said, I personally am too old to roll around in the mud (on prupose) and 0 degrees is too cold for these old bones (if I have a weather forecast prior to finding myself in the field) - IMHO, for $800 - $1200 you would have to look far and wide to find a production rifle to rival the Kimber Montana, the fairly new 84L Montana is a delight to hold, shoot & carry and if you are a short standard action kind of guy the 84M is more of the same - I've owned 3 in .308 that were all tack drivers with premium 150's and 165's - I now have a yearning for an 84M Montana in 7mm-08

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