NRA editors and Remington designers collaborate to build a perfect rifle for hunting whitetail deer. Shake hands with the Remington 700 American Hunter.
How The American Hunter Enchnaces The Traditional Remington 700 Platform:
- Bolt features an oversize bolt knob.
- Bolt is “jeweled” but in an odd, half-done way.
- Boasts moderately heavy contour hammer-forged, chrome-moly steel barrel with 5R rifling.
- Barrel is threaded 5/8×24 to allow the easy installation of a suppressor.
My only question was, “what took so long?”
It was after hours at the NRA Annual Meeting and I was sipping some amber amazement with Scott Olmsted, the editor in chief of the NRA’s American Hunter magazine, in some forgotten bar. Scott had just told me about the rifle he and his staff were designing in conjunction with Remington.
“This is going to be a rifle designed by hunters for hunters,” Olmsted said.
That simple sentence sounds like a throw-away, but it’s actually profound. Too many of the rifles hitting the market each year are designed by engineers or marketing people who don’t hunt or shoot much. I know of one major company in the hunting world at which none of the top-level management hunts or shoots at all; they play golf. It’s about time we had a rifle designed by the guys who are out there shivering in the cold, sweating in the sun, enduring the pain from hours of sitting still on stand or sucking air as they hike up a mountain so steep they slide back two steps for every three they take forward.
NRA’s American Hunter is the largest hunting magazine in the world, with more than a million readers each month. As part of the job, the staff editors at American Hunter (full disclosure: I am a field editor for American Hunter) use and hunt with most all of the new guns that hit the market. They see the flaws in the designs, and they see what works. Remington is America’s oldest firearms manufacturer and it makes the most popular bolt-action hunting rifle on earth, the Model 700. So, it made sense to pair up and design a rifle.
Do-All Remington 700 AH
The concept was a rifle designed for hunting the most popular big-game animal, the whitetail deer, but that would work equally well for a wide range of big game. The mythical “do-all” rifle does not exist, but this one comes close, while remaining true to the whitetail baseline.
Remington used this opportunity to launch some new manufacturing techniques that will mimic the way custom gun builders modify the 700 action to optimize performance. The action is the foundation of any rifle. If it’s true and precise, the rifle will perform. Remington trues the action and the bolt lugs to a common center. These are steps taken by custom builders to make a 700 action perform best. The difference is that a custom builder will do it on a lathe, spending hours blueprinting the action, where Remington does it on a production level with CNC machines that do multiple actions at once. The bottom-line goal is the same: a precise and perfect action.
The bolt features an oversize bolt knob. Not one of those giant blobs as seen on a lot of precision rifles, but a nice, elegant, well-portioned knob that’s a good fit for a hunting rifle. The bolt is “jeweled” but in an odd, half-done way that I must admit is growing on me. I wasn’t a fan at first, but the more I use the gun the more I appreciate that it’s a good match with a hunting rifle as it is almost a camo look.
The heart of any rifle is the barrel. Remington uses a hammer-forged, chrome-moly steel barrel with 5R rifling, which uses five grooves so that a groove opposes a land, rather than lands opposing lands. This is thought to create less bullet distortion and better accuracy. Also, the 5R style of rifling is designed with different, less radical radii in the corners to promote less fouling and easier cleaning.
The barrel is a moderately heavy contour measuring .731-inch at the muzzle behind the threads. It is fluted to cut weight a bit without sacrificing rigidity. Designers decided to go with a shorter 20-inch barrel, a concept that is seeing a lot of interest, particular with younger hunters. From a hunting standpoint this makes sense. A shorter barrel is much easier to use in a hunting blind. Anybody who has ever spooked a buck by hitting the blind wall with the rifle as they were trying to get it out the window probably has nightmares about long barrels. The shorter barrel is easier to use in thick brush and it’s easier to carry. Many hunters who have used guns with long barrels have stuck the muzzle in the mud a time or two. With an overall length of just 39-3/8 inches, this gun is handy to use and carry. Weighing in at 6-3/4 pounds its light enough to carry all day hunting and just hefty enough to soak up the recoil so you can shoot it all day at the range.
Also, because the younger hunters are demanding it, the muzzle of this barrel is threaded 5/8×24 to allow the easy installation of a suppressor. Like it or not, the use of suppressors is growing in popularity with hunters. It protects the hunter’s hearing and it helps keep game from pinpointing your location. I witnessed this a while ago while hunting in Texas for hogs. With our suppressed rifles, the hogs had trouble locating us and it resulted in more shooting opportunities. If you don’t want to use a suppressor or add a muzzle brake, the gun comes with a thread protector installed.
The rifle is, of course, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. I think it’s a law these days that all new guns must be in that cartridge. No matter, it makes sense as this currently is the most popular hunting cartridge on the market. The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was spawned by long-range target shooting and is inherently accurate. This rifle has a 1:8-inch rifling twist rate that works well with the range of bullet weights that are appropriate for hunting or target shooting. I suspect that these rifles will see some offseason use smacking targets so far off that the steel will ring with a different accent.
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The metal surfaces are finished in black Cerakote. This looks great and protects against wet weather. The composite stock is by Bell and Carlson, a company that has perfected the art of the synthetic rifle stock and is my first choice on the custom rifles I build. It uses a full-length aluminum bedding block and has the fore-end tip pressure on the barrel that has helped make Remington famous for out-of-the-box accuracy. There are sling swivel studs installed and a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad fitted to the butt. The stock has a cheek piece and an open pistol grip that fits any hand, with or without gloves.
The magazine uses a hinged floor plate which has the American Hunter logo laser engraved on the surface. The magazine holds four cartridges.
The rifle features an enhanced version of the Remington X-Mark Pro adjustable trigger, factory set to break at 3.5 pounds. The receiver is drilled and tapped for the larger 8-40 screws, which is another upgrade found on custom rifles. The gun comes with Leupold Mark 4 scope bases, so all you need to mount a scope is rings. I fitted mine with Leupold rings and a Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm scope. This scope is designed for dial up and features a return to zero stop. The rifle shoots sub-MOA with hunting ammo and I feel confident in shooting out to any ethical range with this setup.
The rifle has a serial number starting with 19AH, indicating the year it was made and American Hunter.
This is a limited-edition rifle with only 1,500 being made. Street price is running under $1,000 for this unique hunting rifle. But remember, supplies are limited.
Remington Model 700 American Hunter Specs
Type: Bolt-action centerfire rifle
Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Barrel: 20 in.; cold-hammer-forged, chrome-moly steel; 5R rifling, 1:8-in. RH twist; 5/8×24 threaded muzzle. Protective cap included.
Magazine: Internal box, hinged; 4-round capacity
Trigger: Single-stage, adjustable X-Mark Pro; 3.5-lb. advertised pull weight
Safety: Two-position toggle. Does not lock the bolt shut.
Sights: Leupold Mark 4 bases installed
Stock: Bell and Carlson composite; LOP 13.63-inches
Metal Finish: Black Cerakote; jeweled bolt w/black oxide
Overall Length: 39-3/8 inches
Weight: 6-3/4 lbs.
Street Price: Less than $1,000
For more information on the Remington 700 American Hunter, please visit remington.com.
Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from Gun Digest 2021, 75th Edition available now at GunDigestStore.com.
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