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Lately, many people of my aquaintance have expressed disgust with the parent(?) company of what used to be Winchester. What's your opinion? Is USRAC producing as great a product as Winchester did? For instance, does the crossbolt safety work well? Are the new guns as accurate as the older ones? Is the modern workmanship as "tight" as the older guns. I would love to read a variety of straightforward opinions.

Thanks,
Timberwolf
 

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Timberwolf,
     I've not purchased a USRAC product since the merger with Browning's "parent company", but I've owned 4 USRAC rifles that were made prior to that and they've all been top notch for normal-priced factory rifles. I've had three Model 70's and a '94 and mine have all been well made, good shooters. I can't say that for other brands I have bought other than Marlin. The Marlins are also reliable and accurate in my experience. I would hope that the USRAC guns currently made are still of the quality mine have been. I'd sure be interested to hear from some other shooters.               IDShooter
 

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Timberwolf, I have purchased two USRAC lever guns in the last 6 months and have been pleasantly surprised with what I consider to be outstanding quality. I had heard the same rumblings and was not convinced I should trust them but my Legacy 30-30 was so good I didn't hesitate when I fell head over heels for a 1886 Extra Light. I have been delighted. This is in contrast to the only other Winchester product I have ever owned, a 30-06 Featherweight made in 1985 which was so bad it now is a 30-06 Ackley with a 24" Douglas barrel.
 

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Bigal,
   That's interesting to hear about your 1985 Featherweight. One of my Mod 70's was a 1984 Featherweight XTR in .308. It was absolutely beautiful; fed and functioned perfectly, well finished and shot great - I still have targets as small as 3/8" fired with Sierra 165 BT's. It's amazing you got one made so close to mine and yours was a dog. I foolishly sold that rifle to a fellow at work, who killed a nice buck and a bear within a couple weeks of buying it!
     I find with other brands of rifles (mostly Rem and Ruger) that I have simply not had one in recent years that functioned as it should. I've had rifles that wouldn't feed properly, rifles that wouldn't eject properly, rifles that jammed and rifles that were simply innaccurate. I have not had any of these experiences with the Winchesters I have purchased (lucky I guess) and I only have one rifle that is newer than 10 years old in my safe that works as it should, always. That one is a Rem 700 SS in .308, and I've had to work on it a bit to get it where I want it. It's interesting the different experiences people have with different products. IDShooter
 

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I too have purchased a USRA 1886 EL recently.  However, it was manufactured by Miroku in Japan.  The quality is top notch.  Good fit; good accuracy; tight tolerances.  Only experience.

dclark
 

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Mr. T Wolf,

I have a new winchester 9422 that seems to be well made and accurate and i have a new 94 ae .45 colt that i havn't shot yet but the fit and finish is vary nice. Better then my 1895 Guide Gun.

oldpete
 

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Timberwolf,
Un-like oldpete, i bought a 9422 Legacy about a year ago. I had the shop order it for me, so i was "stuck" with it (or else loose credibility with my dealer/friend) Receiver finish was excellent, barrel finish was not (very rough, although it "held" oil well). Buttstock was o.k., Rubber pad at end of buttstock had holes that did not hide the screws which had "buggered' up-heads (Phillips no less) Fore-arm was loose in the band. Barrelband was slightly oversized.Tubular magazine would not always stay locked unless there were cartridges in the magazine.The lever had a "bulky" look to it and did not have the high polish that the receiver had. It did have an excellent trigger although groups at 50 meters left alot to be desired of. I never could learn to like it and traded it in at the dealer ( at a loss) for a different rifle.
Scott in Vermont
P.S. as far as model 94 centerfires go, i always look for pre64's. They are relatively common here in Vermont and are affordable.Also, no extra safeties, angle eject etc.
 

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Gentlemen,

I bought and still own a featherwieght classic model 70 in 6.5 swede.  For the most part, its is very viable platform, points and packs well, but there were a few flies on it.  Please bear in mind that i have become a perfectionist in terms of my equipment, and all of the difficulties that i mention, i have either fixed or am living with, as i think enough of the rifle to keep it, and do not intend to get rid of it.

Firstly,  squeezing the trigger was akin to making the last turn on a sardine can key, and before the timmeny was put on there, best i could shoot was 1.5 @ 100 yards.  The timmeny operation was succesful, alhtough i did have a hard time finding a guy in Kentucky that worked on Winchesters, and he was an older gentleman that didn;t work much, so he held onto the rifle for about 6 months.

Secondly, the leaf spring magazine was not intended for tapered cartridges like the 6.5, whose head is wider than the shoulder.  On one side, sometimes cartirdiges would kindly nose up, and the bolt would skip over the case head, leaving the chamber empty. The leaf srping is evidnetly not capable of placing pressure throughout the length of the cartridge, more so in the center and less so  the head and shoulder, kindly causing a "pivot".  Reckon it would be a much better platform if they had a scissor type mag spring like the A-bolt i owned in 92.  I have downloaded the mag by one round, and thus far, it has fixed the trouble.

Although not a Winchester feature, this rifle has a really long lead to accomidate varying sized military ammunition, and where i have no real idea how that effects its accuracy, there are some bullets/powders/ combinations, that it loves, and some that i couldn;t hit a bull in the butt with at 50 yards.  I have found that load development for this rifle is a ongoing propisition, and I to date have two loads that are very accuratte, and one more that is suitable.  The rest I am hammering out.  I shoot it allot.

Lastly, there is one point on the forearm where the stock contacts the barrel, only on one side.  I thought this was just my rifle, and i picked up another winchester, it had the same problem, the next one i picked up, was like that, only on the other side. It was no practical effect on accuracy, like i said, but it was noticable and bothersome initally, and evidently not a unusual winchester maledy.

It is accurate, (120 sierra matchking best is less than .5 in, 120 nosler ball tip consistantly at .75 in)  and it is a very attractive and well handling piece.  It has become one of my favorite rifles, despite those noted difficulties.

Good shooting,

Steve
 

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Hey Airborne!

I own a classic FWT in 7-08 that also had feed problems.  I spent a lot of time tinkering with it and finally got it to feed consistently(I hope).  I thought the opposite of you.  I thought it was designed for a more tapered cartridge.

The magazine spring is retained by a dimple which slides in a groove in the floor plate.  If it slides all the way forward the bolt will ride over the cartridges and not pick one up.  I fixed that by adding another dimple in the spring with a center punch that limits the forward travel of the spring.  Just lay the spring on a block of wood, put the punch where you want it and give it a tap.  I had other problems as well.  The second to the last cartridge in the magazine would pivot across the breech and miss the chamber and bring everything to a halt.  I fixed that by bending the feed lips on the magazine.  If you want more details let me know.  There is a lot going on when that cartridge travels from magazine to chamber.

I have owned several model 70's.  A pre-64 30-06 which was absolutely reliable and wonderfully accurate until I wore the barrel out.  It shot almost anything well.  Would put five Remington or Federal factory loads into an inch at 100 yds. and would approach 1/2" with match bullets.  I hunted and shot silhouette with that rifle for many years.  A .270 purchased about 1981.  It was accurate enough but also had a feeding problem.  I tinkered with it and I believe it ended up where it would not feed the last cartridge in the magazine.  That rifle was stolen.  A .264WM purchased about 1986.  Not especially accurate(it will put the first three into about an inch at 100yds.) but totally reliable.  The 7-08 purchased in 1995.  It had a feeding problem and is a bit finicky about the loads it likes.  It shoots the 140 Sierra very well but I haven't found anything else it really likes.  I piller bedded it,  floated the barrel and massaged the trigger.( The stock Winchester trigger can be made into a very fine trigger with a little careful stone work)  It breaks at 2 lbs. for hunter class in rifle silhouette. The 7-08 is the least fouling rifle I have ever owned. It cleans up very quickly even after a 40 round silhouette match.  I also have a .338 WM project gun that I have not shot yet.  Don't have all the pieces together yet.

I also have a model 94 as sold by Sears and a new 94 big bore.  The new big bore is much tighter than the old 94's.  Haven't shot that one yet either.  Still gathering components.

As far as quality over the years.  I believe the current Winchesters are better on average than they were in the early post-64 years.  I think in general buying a production rifle is a bit like playing the lottery.  All the manufacturers make some good ones and some not so good ones.
 
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