Winchester to move Model 70 production to Portugal in 2013

Winchester 70 Super Grade

Winchester has recently admitted on its Facebook page that 2013 will see Model 70 rifles assembled in Portugal instead of South Carolina. Winchester states that the change will allow them to increase their output of Model 70 rifles to meet demand. Parts for the rifles will still be made in the U.S.A., but will be shipped to Portugal for final assembly and fitting before being shipped back to the U.S.A. for sales and distribution. SX2, SX3, and Model 101 over/under shotguns are already manufactured according to this model, so it must be more efficient than it sounds. Winchester aficionados already differentiate between pre- 1964 and post- 1964 manufactured Model 70 rifles. Will this change of final assembly point add yet another line in the sand for collectors to debate over? Only the finished product will determine if there is any significant difference in quality between the South Carolina assembled rifles built through 2012 and Portuguese assembled rifles built starting in 2013…

Winchester 70 Super Grade

Winchester 70 Super Grade



  • It’s sad that they’ve moved assembly overseas.
    Nothing against the Portuguese people, but I hope no domestic U.S. jobs were lost in this offshoring, especially when we need manufacturing jobs so bad here at home.

    If so, I’ve bought my last Winchester.


    • Samopal

      Well their reasoning for the move implies no jobs will be lost, as the workers will simply be assembling something else. It wouldn’t make sense to move assembly to another country to keep up with demand, then fire workers that could have been assembling the rifle all along.

      • noob

        Is that truly the case or is it just that labor Costs are cheaper in the battered parts of the eurozone.?

        • Black Prince

          You can only put so many people in one plant and the South Carolina plant is maxed out with its military contracts. There is NO ROOM for another assembly department. No one in their right mind is going to spend a DIME building more firearms plants in the USA when Obama is trying to take all the guns and shut down production of them. When every new employee a company hires is going to subject them to a 20,000 dollar Obamacare cost, they don’t hire any new employees. DUH! What part of that don’t you understand? This has everything to do with keeping up with production demands without subjecting themselves to the HUGE RISK of building more production capacity in the USA and hiring USA workers that come with a 20,000 dollar penalty on every one of them and I don’t blame FNH one dam bit.

  • AK™

    My 1911 was made in the Philippines. Still goes “BOOM” when I pull the trigger with a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber.

    What about shipping costs? Does Winchester/FN own a container ship or ???
    I know the US Government wants ships within so many miles of US coastline to be running ULSD diesel.. (granted they should have been running that when ULSD was first introduced and the US Government said all over the road diesel vehicles should be running it)

    There’s always a group of people hating change or advocating for it.

    If it’s cheaper for Winchester to go with this model of final assembly overseas,then go for it.

    • Laserbait

      Yep, that’s right – make it cheaper, so you can buy it cheaper! Great! That’s awesome! Screw you people in North Carolina, I can buy it cheaper now! I promise to swing by the McDonalds y’all be working at when the plant closes, and I’ll getcha a Big mac, and show you my new Portuguese poop stick!

      I did have plans to buy a Winchester, but I think I’ll get a Savage instead. At least they still give a damn about making stuff here.

      • TimS

        You misidentified the state.

      • RocketScientist

        Also, assuming the reasons given for the move are valid, they will not be firing people in SC. They are moving assembly overseas because they cannot meet demand at the current factory. They have TOO MUCH work for the number of employees they have, not too little. I guess that the argument could be made that they should be hiring more American workers, but not hiring more Americans is a far cry from firing Americans.

      • jamieb

        The word made has meaning to it in this context. Th. Will still be made here. Not assembled here. They need to compete, everyone does. Well except union folk. You sound like a person who fears change and competition. What do you do, what are your job prospects for the future.

      • rich

        Get your Savage. You don’t deserve a Model 70 anyway since you obviously didn’t read the article or know the difference between North and South Carolina. Winchester/Browning/FN has been using Portugal for assembly for years–no quality issues. And what orifice did you pull out the nugget that the FN plant in SOUTH Carolina was closing? Do you understand the difference between manufacturing and assembly?

        • Black Prince

          AMEN brother Rich. You hit the nail on the head.

    • Samopal

      Winchester is FN-owned, if you didn’t already know. They’ll be using the same shipping methods as those used to manufacture, assemble and deliver the Hi-Power, Browning shotguns and rifles, etc. between Belgium, Japan, Portugal and the US.

  • Samopal

    FN has been doing assembly in Portugal for a long time, this doesn’t surprise me. You’ll probably see the same difference in quality you do when you look at a modern Portuguese-assembled Hi-Power and an older “100% Belgian” one: just the stamp.

  • Matt in AZ

    Winchester M70 is a nice rifle and while I hate to see jobs go overseas, I wouldn’t let the fact that it is assembled in Portugal keep me from the buying one.

  • Evan

    It’s probably a bit of both, noob. FNH owns Winchester now. As a European entity, they’re probably getting bonuses or tax incentives or something related to put a factory in Portugal. Portugal is a relatively poorer country compared to Western Europe so it is very likely cheaper to build a factory there, as compared to the USA, or Belgium, FNH’s home country; plus the incentives added in, FNH is probably making an extremely sound financial decision.

    It’s unfortunate it’s not going to be the USA, but as a young man working in manufacturing, I also understand that we as a country oftentimes price ourselves out of the market. For example, right now where I work is shipping all our paper and cardboard recyclables to China, simply because all our normal recycling partners are overburdened and cannot accept anymore.

  • W

    its portugal. its not like its being manufactured in the far east.

    • Lal

      As soon as capitalism contradicts american patriotism, americans become a little socialist. But that’s okay.
      Now push the red button with the downward pointing thumb.

    • W


      i wasnt aware that americans were losing their jobs over this…oh wait, theyre not.

    • Samopal

      “its portugal. its not like its being manufactured in the far east.”

      A lot of Americans seem to think Portugal is in Central/South America, actually. I’ve heard quite a few people refer to Hi-Powers as “Mexican-made”. One person specifically stated “I don’t want a goddamn pistol made by f*cking Mexicans, they’ve taken enough jobs as it is”.

      Then again these are the same people who think John Browning only sold designs to the US, to be manufactured in the US, and that Browning is a US company that sold US-made products. There was a minor shitstorm after Browning asked its fans to pray for the victims of the 2011 tsunami, as it effected Miroku workers who make Browning rifles and shotguns.

      …I kind of went off on a tangent there, but whatever. Some people are stupid.

      • W

        nevertheless, you hit the nail on the head.

        portugal has as much in common with mexico as the US does with the Philippines

  • 511

    Domestic U.S. jobs will be lost over this. I guess it’s another companies that betrayed the U.S. worker and consumer for a slight gain in profits (FNH). I won’t be doing business with them again.

    • jamieb

      The union killed the old winchester. I think twice. With fnh winchester would not exist in its current high quality form. Fnh is among the best, among the bigs they are arguably the best. The high wages and crap output killed winchester stateside twice. Go read it on wiki.

      • Anonymoose

        Firearms, not politics. Besides, you can’t say that unions are universally bad for guns when a lot of companies like Noveske, Colt (lol), and Ithaca and almost every non-American company (except for lolNorinco because lolCommunism) that make high-quality firearms use union labor.

      • Anonymoose

        Note: China is not exactly known for their quality in anything, but on the whole Norinco’s stuff is usually at least as good as anything Romanian or Serbian.

      • Moose

        SC is a Right To Work state, I thought RTW laws were supposed to keep jobs here?

  • In an ever expanding global market it is almost impossible, if not economically irrational, to demand any complex machine be built entirely in the United States (or any other country for that matter). As to the issue of pre vs post Portugal assembly, the Pre- 64 Post- 64 argument is mostly about appearance and ego. Riflemen have always tended to be a bit possessive of “their” brand, caliber, feature etc. Some to their nearly everlasting detriment (think Zumbo’s poorly thought out attack on rifles he did not like the aesthetics of). I own several copies of both pre and post 64 model 70’s, and while the post 64 guns are not as “pretty,” and lack the controlled round feed, they all shoot as well, if not better, than the pre-64 rifles. Tempest in a teapot if ever there was one. If Winchester had not put out the notice I doubt the majority of rifle consumers would ever have known the parts were shipped over and back for final assembly. I will continue to purchase Winchester rifles when they fill my immediate need better than some other competitor. When they don’t? It’s a tool. You pick the best tool for the job.

    • Matt

      I would rather give the poor people of Portugal some business than give our own Gov a raise. Just because someone is American doesn’t mean their worth a crap. Maybe those Portuguese folks will love guns like we do and do something positive for gun rights.

    • CinSC

      “If Winchester had not put out the notice I doubt the majority of rifle consumers would ever have known the parts were shipped over and back for final assembly.”

      I wonder how many will know even after the press release. When I talk to shooters I know about the vicissitudes of the firearms industry I read about here and elsewhere I get a lot of blank stares.

  • Big Daddy

    I have friends in Portugal, they need all the help they can get. They went from a nice to live place to a third world country. As long as they are not moving the whole factory there, this is a good thing.

    The people of Portugal love America as far as my friends tell me. They fought with us in Bosnia and in Afghanistan. They are our allies, much more so than many other European countries.

    Yes I would rather they would build a new factory somewhere in the USA. But this is not the worst thing. At least it’s not in a country that is our enemy or one that plays both sides. They do support our interests as far as I know and don’t work against us behind our backs while playing our friend.

    • Anonymoose

      The people we fought for in Bosnia hate our guts though…no matter how much Albania claims to love us, their people still have a tendency to scream “ALLAHU AKBAR” and take potshots with their AKs at Westerners.

      • Big Daddy

        It will always be in fashion to hate Americans, we are easy targets. Many people in the world know better and do not hate Americans, they respect us because we will fight for what we believe in, freedom.

  • Lance

    Its sad only the American worker gets kicked in the shorts again. Hope the do reintroduce the Mod 70 Stealth though.

  • hk93

    So pretty much the last large manufacturing industry is going to close up in the US and move somewhere else. I see this accelerating in the coming years. That is, those that do survive.

    • noob

      Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says as much on the subject:

      in essence he says that the only way to even have a job is to do things that cannot be done by a robot or a person working minimum wage – ie have vision, have creativity, have design excellence and high technological innovation.

      the days of routine factory work are over. Office work is going that way too. everyone has to invent now if they are not going to be replaced by a robot. at least until we invent inventor-robots.

      Anyone without old money, world class skills or a first class mind is going to be unemployed in America.

      Manufacturing may come back to america, but with the factories full of robots your only hope is education and the odd phenominon called the Flynn effect that each generation is at least about 8 IQ points smarter than the previous one.

      (The Flynn effect can be described as the hypothesis that if you tested your peers and your parents peers at the same age in their lives on standardised non-cultural IQ tests, your generation will beat them consistently with a margin that is statistically significant).

      • The same type of argument was also made when the horseless carriage was introduced. It was going to destroy millions of jobs of street sweepers, stable hands, and farriors!

        Innovations lead to more wealth and more jobs, not fewer.

        The reason US manufacturing jobs are moving overseas is due to our dollars position as the worlds reserve currency which make foreign goods cheaper than home made goods. It raises our standard of living for now because those with dollars can buy goods cheaply, but that is a temporary condition. The dollar cannot remain as the reserve currency forever. No fiat currency can.

        When that position is eliminated by excess debt then the standard of living in the US will be greatly reduced and US manufacturing jobs will return but we will all be much poorer.

        • wbw from South Carolina

          “Innovations lead to more wealth and more jobs, not fewer.”
          I think innovations lead to great wealth for a few. I think this is because big money has clout and workers do not. These days it often seems the jobs created are created in another country with cheaper production costs. In may be true that the world slowly gets a little wealthier, but it is entirely possible that while the concentrated wealth of the US gets siphoned off to the rest of the world, at the same time, the median US worker is rapidly becoming less wealthy.

          • ATM

            What you are describing are symptoms of regulation and not innovation. There will always be wealth concentrated at the top, but what we see now is that wealth is being funneled to the top by government action and money printing. We see US manufacturing jobs being moved offshore because of government regulation and money printing. Our dollar is artificially more valuable than is should be due to its current position as the reserve currency. Goods produced overseas are simply cheaper for us to but than goods produced here. add to that our insane corp tax structure and every business that can should move off shore. When the US went off the gold standard it removed the natural check against exactly what is our current situation. We are bankrupt and have run a balance of trade deficit for decades. With a true currency convertible to gold that condition can not last long. With a true fiat currency that condition can last until it implodes. When our reserve currency status disintegrates (and it will) all those trillions of dollars held offshore will come flooding back into our country trying to buy anything and everything. We will all become millionaires however those millions won’t buy anything. That is our fate.

  • Sardaukar

    Well, if that means cheaper Winchester rifles for us Europeans…

    • jamieb

      Not likely. I just read on this blog I think … that a fella I ireland had to pay 1200 us dollars, for a reminton 597 in 17 hmr.

  • Tony

    My beloved Browning Hi Power Mk III is made in Belgium, assembled in Portugal

  • Matt D

    This sounds like a potential disaster for Winchester given the current legislative gun climate, especially regarding the importation of firearms. Given that these would be assembled oversea’s, I assume they would be considered imported firearms and could be susceptible to any “reasonable” restrictions that Obama dictates (like what happened to the M1’s from S. Korea).

    • Esh325

      I don’t think he’ll going after “huntin” rifles.

      • He will. He’ll label them “sniper rifles” first, then ban their importation.


    • jamieb

      They are manutactured here. If the law changes then they simply assemble them in SC again.

    • I believe that “sniper rifle” is coming next if they pass a new “AWB”.


  • The gun will not be the same once its made in Portugal. The quality of craftsmanship will not compare to the U.S. Very Sad

    • Anonymoose

      IIRC Miroku Corp in Japan makes (or used to make) some M70s (and a lot of other guns for FN’s brands) which were imported and branded as Winchesters, Brownings, etc, and no one said anything bad about them and many people actually considered them superior to the American-made ones. As long as the stuff’s being produced by a true US ally then it’s ok in my book, I suppose.

      • Samopal

        Oh, they still do. Have you seen Winchester’s newer lever rifles? Absolutely gorgeous.

    • jamieb

      It will infact me made in SC. Merely assemled in portugal.

    • Black Prince

      BALONEY. How many of them have you seen and examined to know that? You are just mouthing off about something you know absolutely nothing about.

  • Anonymoose

    As long as they keep making SPRs (which is basically the pre-64 M70 using M240 barrels) in Murrica then I’m ok with this.

    • That is my question. What does that mean for the SPR line? How about the SPR A3g?


  • howa

    Built Right, Built in the USA

     The All-American Model 70s are built by American craftsmen in Columbia, South Carolina, at the same state-of-the-art factory as the rifles and machine guns used by America’s Armed Forces to defend freedom around the world. They are made to the exact ISO 9001 standard of quality that Uncle Sam insists upon for military firearms.

  • The Forty Twa’

    I bet if you scratched off any identifying marks and put a model 70 assembled in the US next to a model 70 assembled in Portugal side by side you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

    • The Forty Twa’

      Should probably proof read my post before I hit submit comment!

    • Black Prince

      If you could, FNH would NEVER let them out of their shop. They only put their name on the highest quality firearms and always have.

  • Mike Knox


  • dave

    They do a very good job there and there finish and fit ,polish;blue is the best in the world. Look for the new M-70’s made there to be better than pre-64 Winchester’s from Conn.,USA

  • xbolt

    I notice that there is no original source for this “information” other than a supposed Facebook page (which certainly doesn’t have any such reference now). Since they were very forthcoming with the information about the closing of the New Haven plant it seems odd that they wouldn’t be about this. Here it is almost a third of the way through 2014 and still no announcement from the company. All internet sources merely quote your “information” which is still waiting to be confirmed.

  • DANL

    I was just informed by Winchester Customer Service that since 2013 the Model 70 rifles are assembled in Portugal from parts made in Belgium.