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
The magazine is made from alloy for better strength and functionality, and is designed to drop out from the magazine recess into the hand without fumbling around. The release is textured and moved rearward to release the captive sprung magazine. The capacity is 10 rounds in a staggered box formation, and despite some hefty testing it remained relatively dirt and grime free. Though dubbed as a 10-rounder, you will find that fewer rounds are beneficial, as this allows better feeding and less strain on the magazine internals so less bullet-head deformation.
When the last round is fired the magazine follower stops the bolt closing, giving a visible and tactile indication that the magazine is empty if you have not been counting your shots.
To the bench
As this is a semi-automatic rimfire rifle, you are always conscious of reliable feeding — it does not matter how accurate a rifle is; if it does not feed it is just a metal stick. The Remington Model 597 has a superb reputation for reliability, as was borne out in this test.
It is also essential that when testing a semi-auto rimfire to try one batch of ammunition at a time then clean the chamber, otherwise you can get false results due to the accumulation of different lead bullet lubes that can interfere with the next brand of ammo until it is “re-conditioned”.
Because this is a rimfire for sporting use with a threaded muzzle, I fitted a lightweight A-Tec Wave moderator from Jackson Rifles and used primarily subsonic ammunition. As this rifle is an auto-loader, the slower subsonics sometimes will not fully cycle the action and hang-ups can occur. In the tests, all the ammunition bar the RWS functioned fine, at 944fps and 79ft/lb energy. The RWS has a slower velocity with heavy lubricant to the bullet and cycled the action, but did cock the hammer.