Remington 504 .22 rifle review.
The most common and widely used rifle in Britain must be the .22 rimfire.
Often thought of as cheap rabbit-getters, the .22 has undergone some miraculous changes, especially from premium manufacturers such as Anschutz, Kimber, Sako, Ruger and Brno.
Remington is not a name usually associated with rimfire shooters, though the 541T model had a loyal following, and the semi-automatic 597 is a good alternative to Ruger’s 10/22 model.
However, Remington has now reintroduced a rimfire rifle available in .22LR and .17 Mach 2 in classic sporting trim or .22LR and .17 HMR in a laminated stock and heavy-barrelled version. In either guise they are little gems.
As soon as I lifted the 504 from its carton, I was struck by the fact that this .22 is no ‘run of the mill’ rimfire. The weight is 6lb, which is evenly distributed throughout.
It feels like a centrefire and the only clue it is a rimfire is the small ejection port cut into the receiver side. With the quality walnut stock in a classic sporter form and satin blued steel parts and substantial receiver block, it adds up to an impressive rifle.
Bolt and action
Measuring 5.25in in length, with a diameter of 1.25in, the receiver is certainly made to withstand all manner of use. The walls are 0.25in thick in places and ensure a well bedded and straight bolt operation and vibration damping effect, conducive to accuracy. There is a small grooved bolt release to the left rear of the action, which releases the bolt when depressed. This is no small item, measuring 5.75in long and weighing 233g.
There are twin dual-acting opposed extractor claws in the bolt’s face that make short work of engaging the .22LR rimfire. The bolt handle is short, but nicely bent towards the shooter, with a smooth handle that aids in effortless cocking operation. The bolt shroud is solid steel, with a centrally located cocking indicator that protrudes just enough so you can see and feel that the rifle is loaded.
Being a .22LR version, and indeed the same with the .17 Mach 2, the bolt travel is short and fast. The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases, and Edgar Brothers supplied a set of B-Square Weaver-style bases, a complementing scope ring set and an Optimate scope.
Push and pull
The safety is a pretty standard push-and-pull lever-operated unit: forward for fire and rearward for safe. In the rear safe position the trigger sear is blocked, yet the bolt can still be operated to remove a chambered cartridge if desired.
The trigger blade has a slim, smooth silvered finish that operates a single-stage trigger movement. This is set at the factory for optimum pull weight, sear engagement and let-off, and is a clean 4lb-pull. You can adjust the unit, but this is a sporting rifle and I found the setting more than adequate. If you are in doubt, however, use a competent gunsmith for lighter trigger pressure adjustments.
One thing I did not like was that when the trigger sear engaged as the bolt travelled backwards, there was an annoying click as it set. Though this doesn’t affect the performance at all, it does spoil an otherwise smooth, uncomplicated and reliable bolt action.
The Remington 504 is unusual, as it is bedded in two places using aluminum pillars that stop stock wood compression and inaccuracies that can occur if the stock warps. These are sited at the front securing screw and first trigger-guard screw. The rearmost screw, which holds the separate trigger-guard unit to the stock and receiver, is not borne by any wood and the magazine and trigger-guard have separate wells.
A grooved release lever gently gives up the magazine from its footings and enables a controlled reload. The magazine resembles that of the semi-automatic model, being single-stack fed and it holds six rounds in .22LR, but only five rounds in .17 Mach2 and HMR. It has a plastic black base with a light alloy casing, which makes it look cheap compared with the rest of the rifle, however it operated flawlessly in the field tests.
Finished in the same satin black/blued texture of the receiver, the Remington is a understated yet highly practical sporting arm. It looks hard- wearing and certainly is pretty non-reflective.
The length of 20in is highly practical on a rabbit gun and thankfully Edgar Brothers has had the foresight to thread the 504s in this country with proof marks, so that sound moderators can be added, a mandatory practice on most firearms these days. There are no unsightly redundant open sights either, giving the 504 a clean line. The bore is a 5-R button rifled in .22LR configuration for a good stability of most rimfire ammunition.
The stock on the Remington 504 in this sporter format is a beauty. Perfect dimensions that complement the metalwork and give the humble rimfire that big-gun feel. Well balanced, the 504 comes to the shoulder very naturally and instinctively and has excellent pointability. Crafted from American walnut, the standard grade tested showed really good colour and vibrant figuring all finished in a satin lacquer. There is a 13.75in length of pull which is nominal with a 11?8in drop at the comb and 1.25in drop at the heel. With no cheekpiece, the comb is high enough to support the cheek for good scope-to-eye positioning.
To top it all off, there are well-executed chequered panels to the fore-end and pistol grip, but no palm swell. There is also a lightly engraved and embossed pistol grip cap with the Remington “R” centrally placed. A set of quick-release sling swivels and studs and a slim solid black rubber recoil pad finishes off what is one of the nicest rimfire stocks I have used ? and that is from someone who usually prefers thumbhole designs.
First things first ? as most rimfires use subsonic ammunition for rabbits, which undoubtedly will be the 504 quarry base, I fitted a PES muzzle can for optimum noise reduction. From the bench and sandbags on the field range, the 504 shot good groups at 50 yards. Though all functioned flawlessly, I had a definite preference for certain types of ammunition. This Remington really came into its own with Eley and Lapua subsonics, producing concentric groups of 0.5in or less. The proprietary subsonics from Remington shot well at around 0.75in at 50 yards, while some other makes opened up to nearly 1in.
This just shows every rifle, however small or large, has its partner in ammunition. The well-balanced design and reliable operation of the 504 inspired confidence and any miss was mine, rather than that of the rifle. I had many a good morning’s rabbit and crow shooting and I really grew to enjoy its understated nature.
If I was in the market to buy a quality rimfire, I would not hesitate to buy this 504 model, but for one thing ? the price. At £824, it is not cheap, however good a rimfire it is. There are quality German makes that are the same price, but Remington has yet to grab the British market as a rimfire producer. The cost may hinder it, which would be a shame as it is an accurate, reliable, well-fitted and pretty .22. Remington offers the 504 as a custom-grade option with graded walnut stocks and engraving from its custom shop. Anyone wishing to own an upmarket quality rimfire for vermin control should definitely consider the Remington 504.
Action: Bolt action
Barrel length: 20in
Overall length: 39.5in
Magazine: Single-stack six rounds
Sights: Drilled/tapped for scope bases
Stock: Walnut Sporter
Trigger: Single stage, 4lb weight
Safety: Manual operation
Importer: Edgar Brothers
Annoying click on cocking the action.
Accurate and reliable