The Winchester 70 Kicker, What A Thumper


Old thumper was a pre-war Winchester 70 model in the 30-06 cartridge that I worked on as a gunsmith in our Pennsylvania gunshop. That Winchester 70 kicker was not fun to shoot. I worked on that gun back in the early 80’s for a fellow and I still remember who he was. He was one of those older gentlemen that reminded you of the Norman Rockwell times. How he was able to shoot that gun still amazes me.

I’m not 100% sure, but I think I drilled and tapped that Winchester 70 kicker for a scope and mounted a scope on it. As the fellow was an older man, he needed somebody to site it in for him before hunting season. I do remember it was a fall day. So I took the gun to the shooting range and sat down at the bench to shoot it.

And I don’t know now at this time whether it was 150 grain bullet or 180 grain I used in that 30-06. I probably used the 150 grain as the the fellow was on the older side. I guess I would have shot 6 or 8 rounds to sight it in.

To this day I often think back to that gun in the Pre-war 70 in 30-06. Because it was the most brutal rifle I think on the shooting bench that I ever shot. Even compared to some of the magnums I shot.

It had an old steel butt plate on it with no recoil pad and it just pounded me. That’s why to this day I call it old thumper. Now some of that may be because of the style of the Winchester 70 gun stock as it was not designed for a rifle scope. With no recoil pad it was just total kick. All it had for recoil was that old Winchester rifles steel butt plate.

Now I have shot quit a few 30-06’s over the years and in many different makes and models. Some were in other Winchester firearms in the model 70.

But none seemed as bad as that pre war Winchester 70  kicker.

The wood was actually pretty nice looking and the bluing was starting to fade a little, but it was pretty much intact. And as I think about it, it really was to bad that it was drilled and tapped for a rifle scope. Today it would be worth much more without the holes drilled in it. But over the years a lot of those guns had the same thing done to them.

And I guess the ones that aren’t drilled and tapped are now worth much more money because of it. I believe that was the only one in that Winchester line that I did drill and tap, that I remember anyway.

I think I may have said to the fellow that owns it that he should put a recoil pad on that Winchester 70 30-06. As I recall he did not have the pad installed. I think he was used to the gun the way it was and he only shot at that point in his life during deer season.

I would hope someone is using that 30-06 today and I’ll bet they’re using a lead sled. So I will think of old thumper when I sit on the bench and shoot from time to time. I don’t necessarily like shooting the big thunder stick hunting rifles anymore and will stick with the smaller stuff. But that is my recollection of an old Winchester 70 kicker.