Posted at AP on 27 Oct 18.
You read that right. Carbine. 19 inch barrel, and it’s a medium heavy that keeps it stiff for much longer than typical ‘pencil’ barrels. Check out barrel in the main image above – that’s a 670 carbine in .243. The word, ‘robust,’ fits it well! My 670 in ’06 is just as robust, and you can’t tell the difference from the profile, save for the scope and mounts. More on that below.
Now, you may be wondering just HOW inexpensive, and why the ’06? First, a little back story is in order. Over the last year, I’ve been helping the brother of an incapacitated vet liquidate the vet’s estate to offset his increasing medical bills. In that estate sat this little rifle, and was offered to me as a ‘thank you.’ The brother wouldn’t take no for an answer. I grateful accepted, and took it to the range on 28 October 2018 and had a good check out session. My plan was to use it on a hunt last fall, so zeroing and group checking was definitely in order (I ended up using it as a back up, so it didn’t see any ‘action,’ but I’m very confident in its accuracy and capabilities, so this year, who knows?).
The rifle itself was made by Winchester in the olden golden days. The carbine was only built from ’66 to ’70, so if you get a carbine, it’s got some age on it, but not necessarily excess wear and tear. This particular example looks just about new internally. I have a suspicion it went on some hunts, but didn’t have more than a box of ammo every few years put through it. Anyway, so long as the barrel checks out, she should serve your needs. They seem to run anywhere from $200 from private sellers up to $600 on auction sites. Me? I’d go with the private seller. Just sayin.’
The 670, in general, was the ‘poor man’s Model 70.’ The carbine was a very nice innovation with a barrel at 19 inches, while the rifles had barrel lengths of 22 inches. I suspect they took standard Model 70 barrels that were either flawed at the muzzle or in their finish and cut them down, which would account for the stiffness on the carbine chassis. The barrel appears to be almost a ‘medium heavy’, but the rifle weighs just under 7 pounds. Could be the stock is birch, and is light weight. I have know way of knowing this, but it makes sense. Really, why make new barrels for an economy rifle that is not a guaranteed seller when you can take stock you might not otherwise sell and get them on the market for some return on investment?
The carbine inspires confidence, if not awestruck wonder at it’s appearance. There’s nothing special in fit or finish; you can tell this was for the shooters who wanted a good, reliable Winchester, but couldn’t afford the Model 70 at the time. Wood finish is nothing to write home about, either, but it’ll serve. Bluing is excellent, especially for it’s age, and the apparent lack of careful storage by the last owner.
The iron sights are good to maybe 200 if you have a larger target, and the tip off scope rings make it a viable ‘dangerous game’ up close rifle. Basically, you simply grab the scope tube and flip it to the left side of the action. The irons are right there, and it takes about a half second to get your sight on the target.
(I can hear the intake of breath and see eyebrows hitting hairlines about the rings!!) Take a breath; this isn’t a ‘precision rifle.’ It’s a ‘grab it and go’ fairly accurate rifle that packs a punch with a good ’06 round’ out to reasonable ranges. It’s also a great rifle to gift to a young man ready to take on a deer or Elk. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve already got a set of new bases and decent rings ready to go if these things aren’t as good as they need to be for the carbine’s intended purpose, but I’m willing to at least check out what kind of group I can get at 100 meters, and then take it hunting once before I make a decision.) Update: The rings are solid and do not affect accuracy.
The rings are Interesting in that they lock right up very tight. Until I looked at the rings closely, I thought they were standard Weaver rings. To be honest, I had never seen or even heard of tip over scope rings until I examined this rifle. Old timers (and I mean OLD timers – I’m in my early 60’s) I asked about the rings were like, “Oh, yeah…those were popular for awhile….” and then changed subjects. So, there you go.
There are a lot of budget priced, very good rifles out there; one never knows when one might find something useful for a new or younger shooter, or for a camp or truck rifle. Here’s a story from 2017 where someone took an old 670 ’06 and made it into a very accurate little rifle. As my wife likes to say about our house, “It’s got good bones…” Just time and attention is all it’ll take. We’ll see what mine does in the configuration I received it; I’ll post some results after I put a few rounds down range.
More to follow next time.