Every year we see new models of the Remington 700 introduced, most of which are simply variations (called “line extensions” in industry parlance), of this iconic rifle that’s been with us since 1962. To be honest, many of these so-called “new” guns differ from existing models only in stock design, composition or color. I can’t tell you how many versions of the 700 have passed through these hands, but it’s got to be close to a hundred.
Anyway, there are only two new variants of the 700 being introduced for 2017, and one of them is as close to the ideal all-around production hunting rifle as you’ll find. Designated as the Model 700 AWR II (American Wilderness Rifle), it consists of the tried and true Model 700 barreled action done in stainless steel, which is further protected by a beautiful matte black Cerakote finish.
I’m not sure if it’s the Cerakote finish, or that Remington applies a higher degree of polish to both bolt and receiver, but the .30-06 example sent me for T&E was by far the smoothest 700 I’ve ever held. With no lubrication whatsoever, the bolt literally glides back and forth like it’s on ball bearings!
The Grayboe stock chosen for the AWR is also a winner. Not only is it a handsome example of neo-classic, it is the product of a new process that combines epoxy and fiberglass molded under high heat and pressure. The result is a much stronger, more rigid stock than those produced by traditional injection molding.
But perhaps the best feature of all that makes this new AWR a real standout is the fact that it boasts 5R rifling. As its name indicates, 5R rifling consists of five lands and grooves rather than the conventional six. As such, each land is directly opposite a groove. Moreover, the sides of the lands are sloped (see photo). The combined result is that the obtuse 60 rather than 90-degree angles formed at the bottom of the lands are less susceptible to collecting copper and carbon residue. This results in easier cleaning, less bullet deformation, and less pressure because the energy required to engrave the bullet is less. With less bullet deformation, accuracy is enhanced.
I’ve had the opportunity to shoot a few examples of Remington’s Police and Tactical rifles with 5R rifling in .308 Win., and I can tell you they are very accurate. Using just a Harris bipod from the prone position I was shooting groups of ¾-inch at 100 yards using Remington’s 168-grain Matchking load in two different rifles. With the .30-06 AWR sent me I got three-shot groups averaging .670-inch with Remington’s 180-grain Scirocco factory load. That is outstanding accuracy.
Initially, the 700 AWR is being offered in four chamberings: .270 Win., .30-06, 7 mm Rem. Magnum and .300 Win. Magnum. MSRP is $1,150. Additional chamberings will be added by year’s end. --Jon R. Sundra