Q: My local gunshop has a Montana rifle in stock in .30-06. It looks as if it has been cloned from the Winchester Model 70. It looks to be well made, but a bit on the heavy side compared with the Model 70 Featherweight. What can you tell me about the action? Richard Parker
A: The Montana Model 1999 action does bear a close resemblance to the current controlled-round feed Winchester Model 70, but has a few innovative features. Both rifles have similar profiles and flat-bottomed receivers with a large integral recoil lug. The Model 1999 retains the original Model 70 trigger – one of the best and most foolproof ever put on a sporting rifle. The left locking lug is dovetailed to ride in a raceway in the receiver which makes the bolt cycle very smoothly. Unlike the Model 70, the bolt sleeve has large flange to deflect escaping gases away from the shooter’s face in the event of a pierced or blown primer. The Montana action is an investment casting whereas the Model 70 is forged and machined. One major difference is the breech. The Montana has the Mauser’s 98’s C-collar inside the receiver ring and the barrel faced off square instead of having the Model 70’s coned breech. My review of the Montana rifle is scheduled to appear in the February 2014 issue and you can read all about it then.