Wayne van Zwoll is “mightily impressed” with the Winchester XPR.

Gun writer Wayne van Zwoll with the Winchester XPR
Gunwriter Wayne van Zwoll gave the Winchester XPR an honest test and came away “mightily impressed.” Getzone.com photo.

Veteran gunwriter Wayne van Zwoll has long been known for his deep affection for the classic Winchester Model 70. Along with millions of other rifle shooters, van Zwoll uses the Model 70, “The Rifleman’s Rifle” as the benchmark against which all other bolt-actions are measured. Yet, even with his close ties to the Model 70, he found plenty to like about the performance and value that the Winchester XPR offers to today’s demanding riflemen.

Camo Winchester XPR in 325 WSM
A camo Winchester XPR in 325 WSM was van Zwoll’s test rifle. Getzone.com photo.

“When I first laid eyes on the new Winchester XPR I did so with some preconceived opinions and bias,” van Zwoll began in his recent online article on getzone.com. “Quite frankly, I wasn’t prepared to like this rifle. An open mind keeps life interesting; so I shelved my prejudices long enough to give Winchester’s new XPR a fair shake.”

“…I shelved my prejudices long enough to give Winchester’s new XPR a fair shake.”

“…It’s harder to sidestep the Model 70, still Winchester’s flagship big game rifle.”  van Zwoll continued “If your interest in rifles stops at the price, here’s a shorthand summation: The Winchester XPR is half the cost of an M70. How much rifle can you get for half the price of the time-tested Model 70? To find out, I ordered a Winchester XPR Hunter — (a) camo version of the base rifle.”

XPR Trigger
Wayne van Zwoll felt the XPR’s ‘out-of-the-box’ trigger pull is “…the best I’ve felt on a hunting rifle this year.” Getzone.com photo.

“The Winchester XPR is half the cost of an M70.”

“The M.O.A trigger on the Winchester XPR and current M70s is screw-adjustable for weight and over-travel,” van Zwoll explains. “Truly…the trigger impresses me. Perceived movement is minimal, consistent and smooth. Thank tight tolerances and a pre-load on the actuator that releases the sear. Within an ounce of 3 pounds, (its) ‘out-of-the-box’ pull is the best I’ve felt on a hunting rifle this year.”

XPR MOA accuracy
Wayne van Zwoll found the XPR produced near-MOA accuracy with all three hunting loads he tested. Getzone.com photo.

“The buttstock’s wrist is comfortable in (the) hand,” shared van Zwoll. “Textured panels on grip surfaces help when your hands are cold or wet. I find the texturing ‘just right,’ neither too smooth nor too aggressive.”

Styling, ergonomics and features aside, at the end of the day any rifle’s real appeal comes down to its reliability and accuracy – and the XPR delivers both, in spades.

“Fed singly through the port, or from the magazine, the stocky (325) WSMs nosed smoothly forward,” van Zwoll revealed. “No balks. No double clutching. They extracted easily — the bolt’s diameter, and its nickel Teflon™ coating, contributed to silky travel and function. And — may old Model 70s forgive me — I adored the XPR trigger. …calling my shots was easy, courtesy that smooth, light, consistent trigger break.”

“Given the range conditions and the rifle’s trim proportions, I didn’t expect one-hole groups,” van Zwoll continued. “…I was pleased. All three loads shot…to the same place…all three .325 loads printed three-shot groups of 1.2 inches, +/- .1. These days, with reports of half-minute knots so common they beg a truth-meter, I’m still satisfied with a hunting rifle that consistently sends various bullets into 1 ¼ MOA. If you hold that tight, you’ll get 5-inch groups at 400 yards, a very long poke at game.”

Winchester XPR Kryptek Highlander
You can get the Winchester XPR in a wide variety of calibers and with stocks in wood, black synthetic or in several popular camo patterns like Kryptek Highlander. Winchester Repeating Arms photo.

“In sum, I’m mightily impressed by this new Winchester XPR,” van Zwoll concluded. “While it doesn’t rise to the cosmetic plane of a Model 70, the XPR’s feel, fit, function and accuracy are at least a match. And its price makes it a bargain indeed.”

“My preconceptions proved largely without basis,” van Zwoll ultimately confided with admirable candor. “The Winchester XPR Hunter is an entry-level hunting rifle that should appeal to accomplished riflemen!”

You can read Wayne van Zwoll’s full article on the XPR at: https://www.getzone.com/winchester-xpr-rifle-325wsm-newest-rifle-follows-americas-best/

Original article copyright getzone.com 2017. Photos are copyright getzone.com, Winchester Repeating Arms and/or used with permission or attribution and/or are in the public domain. Review written by Winchester staff writer, Scott Engen. Copyright Winchester Repeating Arms, 2017.