I have been bitten by that damnable Model 71 bug. It all started with a Marlin 1895 and has lead to the harder (and more pricey) stuff. Please give me your hard won opinions on the Winchester versus the Japanese made Browning model 71. I'm looking for a field piece, not a collector. Any real difference in strength, accuracy and handling between the two? I have read opinions in both directions but would be curious to see what you all have to say on this matter.
I have owned examples of all three - original Winchester M71 Short Rifle, 1986 Browning Grade 1 carbine and recent Winchester (Miroku) Grade 1 rifle. Comb of the stock on the original short rifle bit me pretty good. 1986 Browning was pleasant to soot even with Elmer loads (250 Hawk bullets at 2300 FPS), current Winchester is pleasant to shoot. Browning and current gun outshoot the original by a noticeable margin. All are plenty accurate to the limits of my eyes and receiver sights (say 175 - 225 yards). And with the .348 loaded with 250 grain Barnes or Hawk bullets I fear no bear while hunting elk or moose. Buy any (my preference based on recoil and aesthetics is the 1986 Browning) and hunt happy.
I have only owned the original Winchester 71's. I have found that they have acceptable accuracy for deer. The 4 I have owned or shot are probably 2-3 MOA rifles. Not tack drivers by any means but certainly minute of deer at reasonable ranges.
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.- Albert Einstein
The Japanese made Winchesters have the rebounding hammer and the tang safety. The Brownings don't. I prefer the Brownings because of this. The workmanship is just as good on both brands because they are made by the same company.