The Model 70 Safari Express Wins "Rifle of the Year."
2012 Golden Bullseye from American Hunter Magazine
Rifle of the Year: Winchester Model 70 Safari Express.
The announcement was just made by the editors of American Hunter Magazine. Below are a few excerpts from American Hunter online where the winners were announced.
"A dangerous-game gun for $1,349.99? Yep, you get that in spades, because this rifle is also top quality. Today’s Safari Express has evolved considerably since Winchester Repeating Arms introduced the gun and its .458 Win. Mag. for Africa in the 1950s. Through fits and starts, the gun’s production has ebbed and flowed. Just a few years ago, Model 70 production was discontinued. Then recently it was restarted . . . at the plant in South Carolina with new machinery.
"With the new production, the Model 70 had undergone major refurbishments; the Classic model reintroduced controlled-round feed in the early 1990s; the rifle’s over-pressure system was greatly improved; the bolt’s travel in the raceway was smoothed with a better anti-bind feature. Today, [Winchester Repeating Arms] has added a new MOA trigger system; a better rear sight and a hooded front ramp now sit atop the barrel; and as is proper on a safari rifle, a barrel band sling swivel is present forward of the fore-end.
"Fit and finish are as good as any Super Grade model ever produced in Connecticut.
“Despite a widely held sentimental worship of the ‘pre-’64’ version, I have no qualms in saying the current Model 70 . . . is the best Model 70 ever produced,” writes our tester, Cameron Hopkins, in the April 2011 “Hardware.” The gun is available chambered for .375 H&H Mag., .416 Rem. Mag. and .458 Win. Mag., . . . in any given year, few big-bore guns suitable for African dangerous game are produced, making them expensive to not only make but even to buy. It’s nice to find one in the blue-collar wheelhouse every once in a while."
The following excerpt is from another story found at American Hunter's online Magazine, and linked from the announcement above:
"Winchester and Africa have been together for as long as hunters have gone on safari. I don't exaggerate-Winchester was along on literally the first safari in the modern era. It was also present during the grandest of all safaris, President Theodore Roosevelt's 1909 year-long hunting expedition to East Africa. In fact, Teddy took five crates of Winchesters, including his "lion medicine," a model 1895 in .405 Winchester.
"However, the 1895 is not the Winchester rifle that has become so highly regarded for hunting Africa's dangerous game. That honor goes to the Model 70—Winchester's iconic bolt-action introduced in 1936. More than anything else, the Model 70 made its name in Africa with the .458 Win. Mag., a cartridge specifically designed to equal the performance of the best-selling double-rifle caliber of the day, the .470 Nitro Express." To read more of this story click here to go to American Hunter Magazine online.
The American Hunter Golden Bullseye "Rifle of the Year," for the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express will be awarded at the 2012 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, April 13, 2012. Additional articles on the Model 70 "Rifle of the Year" distinction will be in the April issue of American Hunter magazine.