Realguns.com finds the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express a Real Blast!

Winchester Repeating Arms Article Review.


Real Guns M-70 Safari Model Rifle

There is a macho mystique that attaches to big bore “express rifles,” those cavernous boomers capable of dropping a Cape Buffalo or an African Elephant in its tracks with a single, bone-crushing shot.

In the realm of such African rifles the traditional double barrel express gun is certainly an object of awe and envy, often only dreamt about by those who see themselves dressed in khaki, tracking through the dusty veldt after elusive bull hiding in a thorn thicket. With starting prices stretching well into five-figures they far beyond the reach of most mere mortals.

Thus the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express. It’s a very affordable world-class safari rifle with a massive external extractor that offers controlled round feeding – a feature that prudent hunters in pursuit of dangerous game can, and do bet their lives on.


Recently Realguns.com put a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express chambered in .416 Remington through an exhaustive live fire test and had good things to report.

“The latest version of the Winchester Safari Express was reintroduced in January of 2010,” stated the Realguns tester. “It is available in three cartridges: .375 H&H, 416 Remington and 458 Winchester Magnums. Anyone of them has more than enough power to convincingly drop the largest animals on the planet, with selection driven by personal preference and regulatory constraints.”

The Model 70 Safari Express is loaded with the features serious hunters demand. “The Safari Express features glass bedded, dual recoil lugs, forward and aft (of the) action,” reports Realguns. “The barrel is full floating. The fancy little cross bolts are both decorative and functional. The Winchester Model 70 Safari Express is plain in execution, well made and a quite beautiful firearm.”

M-70 Safari Model Rifle

As a result of having to feed and cycle 3.600" long cartridges, the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express is built on the Winchester long action,” continues Realguns. “The bolt is a twin lug with 90º lift. It has a full length, controlled feed extractor and a gas block behind the left lug. The shape of the bolt knob is comfortable in use, the knurling makes for a useful non-slip surface and the jeweled bolt body is a nice touch.”

Real Guns M-70 Safari Model Rifle Bolt

Rifle weight and ergonomics figure heavily into the shootability of a large caliber African rifle. “The swept pistol grip and longish pull, combined with a very straight 1/2" drop at comb and heel represents good stock geometry for a rifle with hefty recoil,” noted the Realguns tester. “(There is) no Monte Carlo comb to beat the shooter about the head and ears, the soft cheek piece lends good metallic or scoped shooting support, but moves away from a shooter's face under recoil. I've tried many recoil pads, but the Decelerator mounted on the Safari Express is the most effective in reducing felt recoil and the most compact.”

Real Guns M-70 Safari Model Stock

Doing load development for a booming African magnum with a bore size well beyond 4/10ths inches in diameter takes patience and some specialized equipment. “The Winchester Model 70 Safari Express Rifle was shot in two ways; from a bench sled with 40 lbs. of shot containing most of the rifle's recoil and from a standing position with the old guy behind the recoil pad,” noted the Realguns tester. “The Winchester in 416 Rem Mag shoots with...conviction. Considerably more than the same rifle chambered in 375 H&H.” 

Many of the groups fired went through the paper at 1 MOA or less. “It is an accurate big bore, even at a distance,” concluded Realguns. “…With both metallic sights and a scope, it was a good shooting rifle. The safety and floorplate release were positive control, smooth in actuation and positive in position. The bolt movement was slick; no big bump when the bolt picks up cartridges … There were no problems chambering a round or ejecting. The Winchester Model 70 Safari Express Rifle is an excellent big magnum and at a very competitive price.”

M-70 Safari Model Rifle Bullet

You can read the entire two-part test of the Winchester Model 70 safari Express on Realguns.com at: http://www.realguns.com/articles/840.htm and http://www.realguns.com/articles/841.htm.   Photos used courtesy Realguns.com online test articles and are copyright Real Guns, 2016.

The review above is written by Winchester Repeating Arms staff writer, Scott Engen. Copyright Winchester Repeating Arms, July 2016.