Each year I head west for a waterfowl hunt in North Dakota, where I stay with a family friend who’s a dyed-in-the-wool cattle rancher. He rides a horses instead of an ATV, his Ford truck is older than I am, and all his rifles are made of wood and metal.
This rancher is a true rifle nut, and his hobby is collecting guns. Every time we look through them, he finds rifles he didn’t know he even had. When I was out there last week, he dug up three rifles from his stash of hundreds that were chambered for cartridges I wasn’t familiar with, namley because guns for these cartridges are no longer being produced. Here’s a quick look at each one.
1. Winchester M70 in .225 Winchester
Starting from the top, we’ve got a Winchester M70 in .225 Winchester. This cartridge was introduced in 1964 with the parent cartridge of the .219 Zipper. It was meant to be a replacement for the .220 Swift, but it never really caught on, and by 1971, Winchester stopped producing rifles in .225 Win. According to Hodgdon, it fired a 60-grain bullet at 3,428 per second and a 40-grain bullet at a screaming 4,020 feet per second (but still slower than the Swift in the same grain).
2. Winchester Model 94AE XTR in .307 Winchester.
The lever gun is a Winchester Model 94AE XTR in .307 Winchester. This cartridge was introduced in 1982 to take on the venerable .300 Savage. This cartridge is still commercially loaded today. It’s nearly identical to the .308 Winchester, but it has a rimmed case designed for use in a lever gun with a tubular magazine. It fires a 180-grain bullet at 2,510 feet per second.
3. Remington 740 Woodsmaster in .244 Remington
The last rifle is a Remington 740 Woodsmaster in .244 Remington. This cartridge was introduced in 1955, the same year that Winchester introduced its .243 Win. in Model 70s and Model 88s. According to Gun Digest, Winchester fitted its rifles with a 1:10 twist barrel which would stabilize heavier bullets for deer and antelope hunting. Remington fitted its rifles with a 1:12 twist, which was ideal for lighter varmint bullets. Winchester’s cartridge was a success, Remington’s—not so much. So in 1963, Remington switched to a 1:9 twist and renamed the cartridge the 6mm Remington, which now fires a 55-grain bullet at 4,031 feet per second or a 105-grainer at 2,969 feet per second.