I first met Melvin Forbes at a trade show in 1985. He was there to introduce a revolutionary new rifle, and I was amazed at what I saw. Like a number of other gunsmiths, Melvin had through the years built lightweight rifles by whittling ounces from various factory rifles, but his new Model 20 was built from scratch. It was pretty much a scaled-down version of the short Remington Model 700 action, and it weighed an astounding 4.75 pounds.
The rifle got its name from its action weight of 20 ounces (the Remington action weighs 35 ounces). For a number of years the .284 Win. was the most popular chambering, and Melvin may have built more rifles in that caliber than Winchester ever did. The one I used on a mule deer hunt would consistently average close to half an inch at 100 yards with the Sierra 140-grain spitzer boattail pushed along by 58.0 grains of H4831. It weighed a mere 6.25 pounds when outfitted with a scope, a lightweight sling and three cartridges in its magazine.
Rifles with longer actions were eventually introduced, and while weight increased a bit, it was not by much. The Model 24 for the .30-06 family of chamberings tips the scale at 5.25 pounds while the Model 28 in medium-length magnums such as the 7mm Rem. Mag. and .338 Win. Mag. weighs half a pound more.