Letter Re: The Demise of Winchester and Request for Suggested Brands for Bolt Action Rifles

It’s kinda sad that Winchester is going out of production. I’ve owned a couple over the years and they gave good service. My Model 70 .308 is still a favorite gun. Light, accurate, pretty, tough. What more can you really ask for?  I don’t have Boston’s Gun Bible at this location so I can’t remember where he came out on the Remington/Winchester scale (and of course
there are Browning/Savage/Ruger/Sako/Weatherby/Tikka arguments to be made – not to mention surplus guns. I wrote the homage to the Mosin-Nagant last week)… but no matter where your loyalties were seeing another finely crafted American icon bite the dust can’t be good. Turns out they are owned by a Belgian company, the same one that owns F.N. and Browning. They make guns in Belgium and Japan (A-Bolt and the Winchester 1895 clone.) But there license to use the Winchester name is timing out next year, and sales are down (only 80,000 rifles a year). And the license to manufacture the Model 1894 lever gun, the Model 70 bolt action and the Model 1300 pump guns that were made at this factory are owned by the union, so the plant closes, the guns stop production and the [Winchester] name goes back to Olin (the ammo manufacturer) So where is a Winchester guy to go now? The H.S. Precision rifles look real nice, but are three times the cost of a new Winchester. I guess that Remingtons are the obvious choice. Opinion? Comments on the passing? – K.T. [of KT Ordnance]

JWR Replies: I personally lean toward the synthetic-stocked Savage 110 for a reasonably priced precision bolt action rifle. The inherent accuracy of the 110 design is amazing. The 110 barrel nut is admittedly ugly, but quite practical.