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I've seen quite a few rifles that are listed as 'sporter' but I don't quite understand what this refers to. I was looking at the Winchester catalog and they had the featherweight and sporter listed next to each other - the only difference I could see was that the featherweight was about a half-pound lighter than the sporter. are they essentially the same rifle? pls explain :confused:
 

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A Sporter is quite simply your basic hunting rifle. It's not a short Carbine or a light Mountain Rifle, it's not a heavy Varmint rifle, and it's not an ultra-accurate Target rifle. Some would also differentiate a fancy high-grade hunting rifle and a lower grade hunting rifle as being a Deluxe (Sako)/Super Grade (Winchester) or a Hunter/Sporter. The main difference between the two usually being a higher quality wooden stock than the one on the Sporter, and sometimes a few other minor details such as a gold coloured trigger vs a stainless trigger, an ebony fore-end tip, and/or a pistol grip cap.
 

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A Sporter actually just means it has a short stock. Rifles would typically have a Full or Mannlicher type stock that extends to the muzzle, or near it with handguards over the top. These styles have lost popularity over the decades to the Sporter style.

The Featherweight is a Featherweight Sporter.
 

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Sporter is also used to differentiate a military version of a rifle and a civilian hunting version of a rifle.

Using mattsbox99 definition, yes, one could argue all of Winchesters current model 70's are sporters. However, they have one specific rifle called a Sporter, which is a normal weight, general purpose, wooden stock hunting rifle. It does not have have a specific purpose, as does the featherweight (light mountain rifle), the coyote light (a varmint rifle) the Extreme Weather (all-weather conditions rifle), and the Super Grade (fancy grade rifle).
 

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Something in me is telling me that this term, SPORTER, was a carryover from the 50's and 60's, when many many battle rifles found their way to these shores, right after WWII. Many a gunsmith made his livlihood modifying these battle rifles ... M98 German Mausers, the 1903 Springfield and it's iterations, the Swedish Mausers, Italian Carcanos. What the 'smiths would do is turn them into a hunting rifle, minus the military hardware, sometimes cutting the military stock's forarm down so about half the barrel was extending beyond the end of the stock. Many were converted by gunsmiths and custom stockmakers into magnificient works of art. Many more were converted in garages and basements thruout the United States, using Fajen and Bishop semi-finished stocks. Bolt handles were altered to accept a low mounted scope. The finished product was referred to as a "Sporter". I have one I made for myself back in the early 60's.
 

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Something in me is telling me that this term, SPORTER, was a carryover from the 50's and 60's, when many many battle rifles found their way to these shores, right after WWII. Many a gunsmith made his livlihood modifying these battle rifles ... M98 German Mausers, the 1903 Springfield and it's iterations, the Swedish Mausers, Italian Carcanos. What the 'smiths would do is turn them into a hunting rifle, minus the military hardware, sometimes cutting the military stock's forarm down so about half the barrel was extending beyond the end of the stock. Many were converted by gunsmiths and custom stockmakers into magnificient works of art.
Parker-Hale "sporterized" many Lee-Enfield battle rifles after WWII. A friend of mine has a Parker-Hale Lee-Enfield (.303 British). Nice gun.
 

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SH-

All of those rifles are properly termed with "sporter" at the end, super grade sporter, et al. Take a look at the companies that make a Mannlicher stocked rifle (Ruger, CZ) and it'll all be much clearer.
 

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All of those rifles are properly termed with "sporter" at the end, super grade sporter, et al. Take a look at the companies that make a Mannlicher stocked rifle (Ruger, CZ) and it'll all be much clearer.
No clarification needed. As I mentioned, all new M70's could be considered sporters. However, Winchester chooses to name one particular model a "sporter", and the difference in this case, between the Featherweight, which, yes, is also a sporter, is that it simply has a wooden stock and blue barrel, whereas the Featherweight has a synthetic stock, and as the name implies, is lighter than it's other "sporter" / general purpose rifles.

Were M70's ever available with a Mannlicher stock?
 

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The CZ 527 FS has a Mannlicher type full-stock, yet I still consider this a sporter, because it is a hunting (sporting) rifle, not a military rifle.
 

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I would go with "sporter" as generally meaning a rifle for hunting, even if it started out as a military rifle. As a counter-example, years and years ago Winchester had lever guns with full military stocks that they called "muskets" or similar.

So, change out the stock, and go from one use to another.....
 

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Winchester probably calls that rifle a "Sporter" because they have nothing else to call it.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Makes a better name for a hunting rifle than "Veggie" or "Tofu," right? :D
 

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True, I can think of a whole bunch of bad names!
 
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