Bruce Potts tries out the latest model in the Remington 597 range and discovers that it’s one of the best semi-auto rimfire rifles on the market
Having tested the Remington Model 783 stalking rifle, a new version of the ubiquitous Model 597 semi-automatic rimfire landed at my door. With few choices in rimfire semi-autos available to shooters, and many vermin shooters favouring the speed and agility that a lightweight semi-automatic has to offer, the Remington 597 range has certainly been offering a lot for shooters since its introduction in 1997.
A few years
It has been more than 10 years since I shot a 597 so the new HB (heavy-barrelled) version was a welcome change. I prefer a bolt action for vermin control, but cannot deny the use of a good semi-auto for volume vermin, lamping and squirrel duties. The trouble is that many semi-autos by their nature tend to be unreliable and susceptible to malfunction, usually due to an accumulation of unburned powder or irregular cleaning. Whereas some rimfire semi-autos need modification straight away, the 597 has always been a winner without any help from aftermarket aids or add-ons.
The Model 597 is a lightweight, synthetically stocked rifle designed for sporting use. However, it has the ability to transcend target, plinking or hunting duties due to its great handling, price and reliable operation — not to mention accuracy.