Changing a barrel on a Model 70?


My dad gave me one of his custom rifles that was a project gun. Action is a pre-64 Model 70 and the barrel is an XTR Featherweight that started out as a .308 and was converted to .30-06 Ackley Improved. He gave me two stocks for it. One is a beautiful AL Biesen wood stock and the other an ugly composite stock that I've re-coated and need to do some final fitting to the action.

The barrel is a bit ugly and the rear sight dovetail was not filled perfectly. I was sort of kicking around the idea of replacing the barrel with one chambered in something more conventional.

I have zero experience in the associated costs and limitations of such a thing. I'm assuming I'd have to stick with a caliber based on the .30-06 case in order to retain the current bolt. Leaning towards a .270 or .280 Remington, or maybe even the .280 Ackley Improved. At least you can still buy dies for the .280 AI.

No idea how much a replacement barrel would cost, or how much to have a gunsmith install one. I've seen plenty of Model 70 barrels for sale, but not sure if the pre-64 barrels are different.

This is the current barrel markings...

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Not trying to sway you, but if you have to stick with what you have, Midway USA still has the dies for 30-06 ACK in stock.
Ordered! Thank you!

I did some more research last night and buying a replacement barrel was going to be around $200 for a used one in .270, then having it fitted and bedded was another $200, then starting over with another caliber for dies, cases, bullets, etc.

So I just ordered the Hornady dies for $90 shipped and will play around with loads.

The action needs bead blasted and re-blued, so that will probably be a couple of hundred bucks for that alone. A $400 Ruger that will probably out shoot it is looking more and more attractive, lol.
I use RL22 with 180gr bullets in my '06 Ackley Improved. It was an interesting project and it shoots well, but I'd probably not do it again. Since the OP's gun has a Biesen stock and it fits well, I'd not change a thing. If you don't like the way it shoots, yup, go buy a Ruger American.
If you don't have brass you will have to fireform. I used 30-06 ammo that I already had loaded up, but an Ackley Improved chamber is not 100% consistent with standard cartridges. Expect some rounds to need to have the primer struck a couple or 3 times and some will just not fire. There's a couple of other processes to fireform cases, but I've not tried them yet.
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