Remington 700 Long Range Rifle
- By Pete Moore
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 19/02/2019
Before the appearance of the likes of the Howa 1500, there was very little choice when it came to buying a centrefire rifle; best practice was some form of Remington 700. And for good reason too, with its ‘three rings of steel’ build, it offered a strong and safe action. The 700 has been around since 1962 and was the first firearm to be chambered for the potent 7mm Remington Magnum cartridge. Keeping with the Magnum theme, on test here is their Long Range model, in that other iconic and now classic number, the 300 Winchester Magnum, introduced in 1963 by Winchester. Both use a belted case, which shows a standard, rimless head with a larger diameter ring of brass in front to give consistent head space, which may not be achieved by a cartridge with vestigial shoulders such as the H&H 375 Magnum, which it’s based on.
In 1958, Winchester offered their 338 Win Mag based on the 375 Holland & Holland Magnum case, shortened and blown out in the body, which is considered by many to be the inception point of the medium-bore cartridge we know today. The 300 Win Mag took this principle and used a .30” bore, which was probably a smart move, as this is still one of the most popular sizes. Plus, with modern bullets offering better ballistic coefficients (BCs) makes for not only a hard-hitting performer on larger species, but also capable of excellent long range accuracy. Given the Win Mag appears to have enough shoulder, it’s debatable whether it needed the belt at all, as its modern contemporaries do not use what some see as an archaic specification. However, there’s no denying its popularity and for that matter effectiveness in many roles and I feel we will see it for many years to come!
Although the basic 700 action and mechanism has hardly changed since 1962, cosmetics have, with chassis systems etc. and you only have to look at my recent test of Remington’s 5R Magpul Hunter 700 model with its ergonomic, synthetic stock and box magazine feed system, to see what I mean. However, the Long Range harks back to earlier days and shows a more standard build, but one, none the less, well up to the job! The all-steel receiver is long action only and is offered in the following calibres: 25-06 Rem, 30-06 Springfield, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag and 300 Rem Ultra Mag all show a heavy 26” barrel and a 1-10” rifling twist rate, with the exception of the 7mm, which is 1-9.25”. Capacity is four in the two standard numbers and three in the Magnums; feed is from a top-loading, hinged floor plate magazine system. The muzzle shows a concave, target-style crown and my example came threaded 18x1mm for a moddy with a plastic protector. There’s no fluting and the finish is a plain, phosphate-like dark grey. It measures 1.244” in diameter at the action/reinforce junction and 0.828” at the muzzle.
The stock initially might come as a surprise, as it’s far from sexy but built for the purpose of providing a decent handle for the job of launching this Magnum calibre reasonably pleasantly, which it accomplishes well. Made by Bell and Carlson, this, their M40 tactical design, uses solid urethane combined with aramid, graphite and fiberglass for rigidity. It’s dark grey with a fine, white over web that provides a bit of grip and is not dissimilar to what HS Precision offers. Inside, the action void shows an Aluminium bedding block for added stability and accuracy potential. Like the barrel, the build is heavy with a wide, square forend with two QD sling studs up front and third in the butt as usual. The ambidextrous pistol grip and butt are quite thick but comfortable. The tube is fully free-floated, which is one less thing to worry about.
Moving back, there’s an integral, low/ raised comb with a cut out at the front to allow the bolt to run without fouling. The 14” length of pull (LOP) is finished off with a thick, one inch, rubber recoil pad. The familiar, flattened and cranked-back bolt handle is retained, as is its oval, chequered knob. The 2-position safety, as always, gives forward FIRE and rear SAFE with bolt operation. The bolt release catch is a small, push-up tab inside the guard. Remington fit their now standard X-Mark Pro® externally adjustable trigger. At 47.5” long and weighing just shy of 10 lbs bare-backed, this is a big old cannon and one built for a purpose. And with far more cosmetic looking rifles around these days, you’d be mistaken in thinking it can’t do the business.
Remington importers Raytrade UK Ltd. kindly supplied two lots of ammunition, both in 180-grain offerings; Core-Lokt, is pretty much the entry-level round, which is a jacketed lead tip with the core mechanically locked into the jacket. More upmarket, is their Premier ACCUTIP, which is a ballistic tip boat tail design. They also supplied a German Precision Optics (GPO) EVOLVE 6-24x50 scope with tactical-type turrets and a Mil-hash style reticle. This is a new brand they have picked up and it looks good so far.
I added a long action, 700 Picatinny rail with 10MOA down-bubble from Barton Gunworks and one of their Accurate Enforcer .30” calibre, reflex moderators and the good old Harris Bench Rest Swivel (BRS) bipod.
I must admit that I have not shot a 300 Win Mag for many a year, the last time being in a semi-auto Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and, as I recall, it was a bit lively. First rounds down were without the moddy on, and in what is a 13 lb rifle with scope and bipod proved big but manageable, a bit like a 30-06 on steroids. However, as we shall see, that full, 26” tube takes just about everything the calibre produces and turns it into speed and energy, which is what it’s all about!
Bolt operation and feed is smooth and slick, although I would have liked the bolt handle extension Remington fit to the Gen II 5R 700 models, as that just gives a bit more to get hold of. The safety catch, as ever, is well positioned for operation by the firing hand thumb and the trigger guard is easily large enough for a gloved finger.
The trigger blade is mid-width and nicely concave and allows the finger to nestle easily, with a reasonable ‘first pad’ position. LOP is good but I would have preferred another half inch. My only negative is to the X-Mark Pro® externally adjustable unit, which is accomplished by the Allen-headed grub screw set into the top of the blade’s inner surface. The break is as crisp as you like, but not as light as I wanted or expected, probably around 4 lbs. Winding the adjuster in to its stop looking at the floor plate, takes a little weight off but not that much. However, and in fairness, the weight of the Long
Range off a bipod makes it inherently stable, so you can pull through with precise control, so taking advantage of the creep-free break with practice.
With the moddy, on the rifle becomes quite well behaved for its calibre and, as I said before, gives velocity figures reasonably near to what Remington states for the two brands of ammunition. Both loads are quoted at an identical 2960 fps, which translates into a potential energy figure of an impressive 3519 ft/lbs, on paper. However, the BCs differ slightly, which will change things a little down range, with the ACCUTIP at 0.483 and the Core-Lokt at 0.438, pretty good.
In terms of going sub-sonic, the Core- Lokt drops below 1000 fps at 1350 yards with 393 ft/lbs and the ACCUTIP at 1475 yards with 396 ft/lbs. At 1000 yards, the ACCUTIP drops -297.8”/-28.44MOA, with 1345 fps/723 ft/lbs, the Core-Lokt shows -322.2”/30.77MOA and 1243 fps/618 ft/ lbs. So, what did they really do? As can be seen from Muzzle Ballistics chart, a bit of a drop, which is to be expected, but a lot of potential that reloading could probably bring out with high BC bullets. Playing devil’s advocate, the popular 6.5 Creedmoor, firing Hornady’s 143-grain ELD-X load at 2700 fps, drops -308.63” for 1459 fps/676 ft/lbs at 1000 yards; interesting!