Remington 700 Gen II5-R
- By Pete Moore
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 23/03/2018
Well, it looks like the drought is finally over; as, with Raytrade UK taking over Remington and Marlin distribution in the UK last year, what was once the UK’s most popular bolt-action is back. Meeting with Raytrade, I confirmed my interest in showcasing their products in Shooting Sports and Gun Mart and arranged a gun test programme for 2018. I wanted to start off with something that reflected the 700 as I remembered it, but with a tad more curb appeal and picked the 700 5-R GEN II. This model, with its long/heavy barrel and quality synthetic stock puts me in mind of their old VSF (Varmint Synthetic Fluted), which was one of the must-have guns in their original line up!
The Gen II guns have what Remington calls 5-R rifling, which is a bit of a departure from the normal, directly-opposed groove and land form. Cold hammer-forged, there are 5 lands/grooves, which results in less bullet deformation as the lands are not directly opposite each other. Plus, traditional lands are squared-off at a 90° to the groove, with 5-R they are tapered at 110°; so, easier cleaning, as the fouling can’t build-up so much, so a potential improvement in accuracy.
Remington’s catch phrase with the 700 is- “3-rings of steel make it the strongest action on the market”. This means that the steel receiver wraps around the chamber and the recessed bolt head completes the trinity. Locking is by twin, opposed lugs into the receiver, with a solid bolt body and cranked handle. There’s a plunger-style ejector, but the extractor is Remington’s unique C-clip type, as opposed to a hinged claw.
The safety is a 2-position rolling lever, rear/ right of the action; it pushes forward to FIRE and reverses for SAFE, where you still have bolt operation. Feed uses a top-loading, floor plate magazine; on the Gen II, the bolt knob is extended for better operation and there’s a cocked action indicator plunger at the rear of the shroud. Since 2009, Remington has fitted a new trigger to all models, called the X-Mark Pro Externally Adjustable, which replaces the original Walker-type, which is an over-ride system. It offered three areas of adjustment; sear adjustment and engagement and travel and the action had to be removed from the stock to do so. It was an easy job if you knew what you were doing. Apparently, there was a safety issue with the Walker, hence the new design.
The X-Mark has an Allen screw set in to the top of the blade (Allen key included), which controls weight only, which can be sorted easily without having to remove anything. They come factory-set at 3.5 lbs with an adjustment range of 3 to 5 lbs; turn anti-clockwise to reduce and clockwise to increase.
The heavy 24” barrel shows three, deep, concave flutes, with a 5/8 x 24 UNEF muzzle thread with protector, all the metalwork is stainless steel but also finished in Black Cerakote, so double protection. The Gen II came with front and rear Weaver bases fitted, always a result, though being a Remy 700 there are so many aftermarket scope mounting options, as well as feed systems and triggers! This little lot is dropped into an H.S. Precision Heavy Sporter, sand-coloured composite stock with black web. Internally, there’s a full-length aluminum bedding block in the action void for stability and shot-toshot consistency! My very first Remy 700, a Riflecraft semi-custom Light Sporting Rifle (LSR) also wore H.S. Kevlar furniture, which was just the best and this seems to be as good. The build is quite full and the grip shows twin, ambidextrous palm swells; so plenty to get hold of, as well as a decent free-float on the barrel. A rubber recoil pad is fitted along with three, QD sling studs, two being under the forend. Length of pull is a short 13 & 3/8”, which became apparent in testing!
The general impression is of a well put together rifle that feels good, handles well and looks the business! Calibre-wise, you get the following; 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win and 300 Win Mag, with 24” barrels, plus a 20” option for 308 too. I was sent the Creedmoor with the standard 1-8” twist rate. I fitted the Gen II up with a Night Force Zero Stop 3-15x56 scope in their 30mm rings and an aimSport muzzlemounted moderator. Up front; what else but a Harris BRS bipod?
Ammo consisted of some new Norma 130-grain Match hollow point and a reload; the new Hornady 143-grain ELD-X long range hunting bullet, running 45.7-grains of Ram Shot Hunter. These X bullets have worked exceptionally well through my 1-8” twist, 6.5x55 Swedish barrel for my Mauser M03 and also the 145-grain .277” version in my Blaser R8 in 270 Win!
I must admit I was quite excited, as the prospect of testing a Remy 700 again was a pleasing one and would give me chance to see how it performed compared to my old LSR, which even with its 22” sporting weight barrel was a ½” rifle with the right ammo!
In this day of chassis system rifles and AR15-type builds, this Gen II 700, though a good looker in its stock is a seemingly standard build. No adjustable length of pull (LOP) or comb height, but with the Nightforce in medium rings I had no problem with eye/ scope alingment, though the LOP was a tad short for me! And even with the scope fully forward I had to move my head position a tad rearwards.
The trigger drew my immediate attention, as I’m so used to the older and fully adjustable Walker unit, taking the action out of the stock showed no apparent, exterior adjuster, so it was all down to the blade. There’s an Allen-headed set screw in the top, which controls the weight and comes factory-set at 3.5 lbs, with a total adjustment range from 3 to 5 lbs. The break was OK but the pull felt heavy and I wound it down to minimum, where it did improve a bit but still required a bit of thought to release naturally and consistently.
Depending on its final position, the adjusting screw can protrude and you can feel it on your finger, which is a little off putting, certainly if you have sausage fingers! Compared to the standard Walker on my LSR, it was not of the same ability, chances are a gunsmith could take it apart and make it smoother! Or you could buy an after-market replacement as many do with 700s. I also found the ambidextrous pistol grip a little wide, even for my big hands and would have preferred a right hander only, as the H.S. Precision Kevlar was on my LSR.
Being a 24”, heavy/fluted barrel with a 1-8” twist rate, I was expecting some serious performance and was not disappointed. Starting with the Norma 130-grain Match, the Gen II was shooting near calibre-sized groups (around 8-9mm) at 100m; not too shabby. Speed went to 2940 fps with an impressive 2505 ft/lbs; OK, this is a match load, but you get the idea, as this rifle is probably more about hunting and longer-range foxes etc., than punching holes in paper!
Having had some good success with Hornady’s 143-grain ELD X bullet in my Mauser M03, I was keen to see what the Gen II made of it! Again, the same bug hole groups as the Norma. Using 45.7-grains of Ram Shot Hunter at 2960 fps it was producing an astonishing 2791 ft/lbs, now that’s some energy! To put that into perspective, this bullet does not drop to 1700 ft/lbs until 440 yards, some 243 Winchester’s have a problem keeping it at 1700+ from the muzzle! That ELD X might be a bit pricey, but wow, does it shoot!
What I like about the Gen II, is that although not light at 8.5 lbs, it’s not heavy like a chassis rifle either, but shoots as well, so easy enough to carry in the field.
OK, some of that is down to the barrel and definitely claibre as 6.5 Creedmoor is fast becoming the must-have cartridge and possibly the new 308 Win! However, the downside is the cost, as these Remy Varmint-types have never been cheap. You will get £1 change out of £1900. Companies like Bergara and Sabatti are producing eminently shootable and accurate guns in this area at considerably less money and have now gained more than a toe hold in the market. But saying that, you can rest assured the 700 Gen II will not disappoint on the performance front!
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