Remington is at the forefront of rifle design and has hit the mark with the tough, accurate 700 McMillan Sporter, says Bruce Potts
Remington Arms Company has been instrumental in pushing forward rifle design, not only in bolt actions but also semi-automatics, pumps and all its shotgun range.
It remains one of the best US companies that are producing firearms today.
It’s new entry-level Model 783 is proving popular, especially its combo/package with scope and mounts, but the good old Remington Model 700 refuses to die. This version is designed not only to offer affordability, but also give that special semi-custom stock option that many shooters might trade up to.
Here you have a Sporter or varmint profiled Model 700 ADL in a variety of calibres, .308 Win tested here, all slotted into a new McMillan Mc3 synthetic stock.
Remington 700 McMillan Sporter – a reasonable price
What you have is a superbly built Sporter/fox/deer rifle in an almost indestructible weather-shirking McMillan stock. Best of all, because with a Remington you can add any number of aftermarket scope mounts and magazine options. And that’s all for the very reasonable price of £1,029 for this blued model.
Let’s look at that stock first. Nice, very nice. I own quite a few McMillan stocks that grace my custom and wildcat calibred rifles and, being one of the first manufacturers of this type of fibre glass synthetic stocks, Remington knows what it’s doing.
Moulded stock design
This is the part of the rifle that contacts you the shooter so, as with all stocks, the stock needs to fit and serves its purpose. Get this wrong and all else goes to pot.
This one is called the McMillan Mc3 TPIM stock, which is McMillan’s new moulded stock design with its own “homemade” polymer construction of 100% Xenolite composite with carbon fibre added.
In shape, it looks like the McMillan A5 profile and the polymer is stiffer, stronger and gives more rigidity and less shrinkage, and has a tough hard-wearing exterior. It weighs the same as an original A5 stock and is solid in both fore-end and rear stock area. These are all excellent attributes on a stalking rifle that proved useful crawling around after Chinese water deer in the mud (see p42).
Ergonomically, there is that nice upright stance to the pistol grip too, which again on this type of stock works and feels comfortable. The moulded in stippled grip areas to the pistol grip and forend are sufficient as the stock finish, here in matt green with a textured finish.
You have a length of pull of 133/4in, with a thick 1in black rubber recoil pad that is very grippy, even when cold.
On the fore-end are three mounting positions for the bipod or sling, which is really handy to get a position that you favour out in the field.
Best of all are the aluminium pillars, so when the action is torqued down it sits perfectly in the stock for consistent accuracy.
Having that excellent solid stock like the Mc3 forms a superb platform to which the Remington Model 700 action beds.
It’s the traditional Model 700 design in Sporter or varmint profiled barrel. I like lighter guns for stalking these days, but a varmint profiled barrel is still useful for sitting in high seats for a steady shot or off a bipod for longer range. The choice is yours.
The chromoly button rifled blued — stainless steel optional — barrel is chambered for the excellent .308 Winchester round, a great all-rounder. This barrel was 24in with a slender gait, culminating at 0.665in at the muzzle that was also threaded with a 14mm/1 thread pitch for a sound moderator (Evolve aluminium moderator in this case).
If you only take one shot at a deer, then a sporter weight barrel is all you need. This barrel is fully free floated in the barrel channel of the stock. Even when a bipod is fitted, there is no bounce and stock movement to destroy accuracy. It’s rigid, very nice.
The action is that Remington legendary Model 700 design, which is bulletproof — no pun intended. Yes, it is often copied but it is still a very good bolt action. It combines strength, smoothness and accuracy potential from the get-go with its three rings of steel around the cartridge when chambered. An added bonus is the myriad aftermarket kit that can be added to this action to personalise it to suit your preference.
Triggers are often replaced, but the standard X-Mark Pro trigger is fine as it is. This one had a weight of 3.85lb and had minimal creep to the single-stage pull; this applied to the safety too, which is a lever type to the side of the bolt handle.
The magazine is a hinged plate design as fitted here with a capacity of five rounds but, being a Remington, Raytrade can supply a retrofit Lucky Thirteen aluminium magazine plate that allows the use of a quickly detachable magazine, handy for changing loads if needed or for safety reasons when crossing fences.
On the range
With a bipod fitted, the Mc3 stock design felt really stable and steady, and we managed some really good groups.
The GPO (German Precision Optics) scope that Raytrade sells, this one an Evolve 3-12x56i, is truly an excellent telescopic sight. It has superb optics and is reliable with its zero settings.
We tested the factory fodder first and the Sako Super Hammerhead rounds, with their 150-gr bullets, produced 2,777fps velocity for 2,569ft/lb energy, with bang on 1in groups for three shots at 100 yards.
The Remington 165-gr Core-Lokt’s shot 1.25in groups with a velocity of 2,654fps and 2,581ft/lb, while the slightly heavier Norma 170-gr Tipstrike shot 1in groups and 2,642fps and 2,636ft/lb.
The new Browning BXR 155-gr bullets always shoot well and indeed we had 2,852fps velocity and 2,800ft/lb and sub-inch groups. Magic!
Winchester 150-gr Super-X shot just over the inch with 2,754fps/2,527ft/lb and the 150-gr Hornady SST Superformance loads shot around the 1in mark with a velocity of 2,964fps and 2,927ft/lb. They are always fast.
We dispensed with the reloads because this Remington shot really well with factory ones and we were on a tight time schedule
Out in the field with the Remington 700 McMillan Sporter
We were just finishing our Chinese water deer management and the Remington 700 McMillan Sporter really was perfect for the remaining animals, which had become a little wary of any humans. So a longer crawl in the ditches and longer shots were called for — perfect for this accurate and weather-proof Remington set-up.
The Mc3 A5 type stock design gives excellent handling and feels really assured in the hand, and the straight higher comb area again gives a perfect eye alignment with the scope.
We had water, thorns and mud, and we were sliding up and down ditches then crawling through a bramble bush to set up on the bipod.
The doe tally was complete and we needed a couple more younger bucks to keep the farmer happy, so I loaded the Norma Tipstrikes. The first buck dropped instantly where he stood at a range of 132 yards across the grass field.
After a wait of 45 minutes, out popped a doe and two more bucks, one monster which we left and the second a younger one that was stalked up. We kept low behind a thick hedge to peer through intermittently then took a final longer shot at 145 yards.
They were all one-shot kills, so limited venison wastage. It is an accurate, tough rifle.
One thing to remember when dragging back Chinese water bucks is to do it by the front legs. Dragging with the rear legs when the head is facing down allows the canines to break off.
Hits the mark