Requiem For A Gunsmith, Part One

A gunsmith reminisces over decades of hard-won knowledge.

by Wendell Dwight Deaner

Years ago, I took a Model 770 Winchester to a neighborhood gunsmith. A lot of you are shaking your heads right now. What the heck is a Model 770? Winchester made them a long time back. The 770s were chambered in magnum calibers, such as the .300 Winchester Magnum, and the 670s were in standard calibers like .30-06.

These rifles had a blind floorplate, pressed checkering and a 24-inch barrel in magnum and a 22-inch barrel standard. The finish wasn’t all that great but the rifles were pure push-feed Model 70s. Why the manufactures deemed it profitable to introduce a dumbed-down sort of product is beyond me. Witness the Remington BDL verses ADL. I traded an Interarms Mark X in .300 Winchester Magnum for it. The Interarms was stocked to knock my teeth out every time I shot it so it was no great loss, even though I wouldn’t mind having the barreled action right now.

But the joke was on Winchester. This rifle is one of the best shooters I’ve ever owned. I brought home my first deer using it. I made the longest shot of my career on a groundhog and then hit it a second time. I won’t say how far it was because I would be accused of lying.

Read more in our September 2013 issue. Back issues are available.

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