Re: winchester barrel question
Winchester has been producing hammer forged barrels for many decades, but I can't vouch for the newer ones you're describing here. I have used several of their Super Match 308 barrels made many, many years ago, and I've never seen one that wasn't an absolute tackdriver. Very good barrels, all the way around. The problem here is that was Winchester Repeating Arms, way back when. Since then they've gone under, been sold, been reorganized and are now reincarnated as a "new" Winchester. So we may not exactly be talking apples to apples here. I have no idea how much of the old technology, procedures or expertise went along in all these changes, and that's the question mark.
Hammer forging is a very fast and inexpensive way to produce a barrel. And, like every other method of barrel making, you can turn out crap, or you can turn out diamonds, depending on the quality of the material, the skill of the operator and the condition of the tooling involved in production. Lots of "ifs" involved in a question like this. At any rate, yes, the process is certainly capable of producing an excellent barrel, and they (or their former incarnation) have done so in years past. Hope that helps.