Remington Model 700 Titanium
Remingtons new Model 700
Titanium is the answer to a mountain hunters prayer - or those of anyone else who
objects to packing heavy hunting rifles afield, for that matter. Sure, numbers of sporting
rifles have been designated featherweights in the past, but few were worthy of the title.
Most weighed around 7 1/2 pounds right out of the box. Once a scope and sling were added,
they usually tipped the scales closer to 9 pounds.
Remingtons lightweight takes
its name from the metal used to make its receiver: titanium. Although its considered
a space age material, titanium was discovered way back in 1790. It wasnt purified
until 1910, though, and none was produced commercially until the 1950s.
Its expensive because its
never found in a pure form. It has to be extracted
from other compounds. Then too, special tools are required to work it, and because it
work- hardens easily, it must be annealed frequently in an oxygen-free atmosphere. All
that extra time, equipment and facilities add up to money, lots of it. Currently, titanium
powder costs about $100 a pound.
In addition, it has been alloyed
with small percentages of aluminum and vanadium, which makes it even stronger. As a
result, titanium is durable, light and corrosion-resistant. Its being used to make
tubing for aircraft frames, the space industries, as well as tennis racquets, golf club
shafts and heads, wheelchairs, pool cues, ski poles and racing bicycle frames.
Looking at the way the rifle was
made, its obvious Remington engineers took advantage of every opportunity to shave
weight, no matter how slight the savings might be. Look at what they did: no metallic
sights, a skeleton bolt handle with a hollowed knob, a wispy barrel (only .6 inch at the
muzzle) and an almost weightless, synthetic stock featuring a box magazine, eliminating
the need for a floorplate. They even cut spiral grooves in the steel bolt. Considered
individually, none of the short cuts amounted to very much. Together, however, they peeled
several ounces off the rifles total heft - and every ounce counts, especially at the
end of a hunters day.
Is the 700-T truly a lightweight?
You bet! The test rifle weighed a total of 6 1/4 pounds on a household scale after a
Swarovski 3-9x variable was mounted on its receiver. Out of curiosity, an aging Winchester
Model 94 carbine was placed on the same scales: 6 1/4 pounds. A scoped 06 as light
as a .30-30 carbine? Not bad.
A word about the test scope seems in
order here. Light, compact, with a broad adjustment range and brilliant optics, the
Swarovski variable was set on 5x for the range tests. Once zeroed, the point of impact
never changed as long as the same loads were fired. Even on cloudy days - and two were
particularly overcast and threatening - the scopes image remained bright and clear.
It was an excellent choice for such a light, powerful rifle. Despite the jolting it must
have endured when the rifle was fired, it functioned perfectly during the range tests.
What few adjustments had to be made were accomplished quickly and with minimal effort. The
scope never moved in its mounts either.
During the range tests, the 700-T
was fed a diet of factory rounds and handloads. Since ambient temperatures ranged from the
mid-80s to the high 90s, initial strings were limited to four rounds. That left the barrel
too hot to touch with bare hands and required almost half an hour to cool. Consequently,
it seemed more practical to fire three-round strings. The barrel was allowed 15 minutes
between strings to cool.
Not unexpectedly, the 700-T proved a
lively performer on the bench. Since it is muzzle-light, it reared up as well as backward
under recoil. My solution was to grip the forend as firmly as possible with my left hand.
Unfortunately, every now and then, the forend got away from me and a called, group-opener
smacked the target a tad higher than it should have. Nevertheless, few strings grouped
larger than 1 1/2 inches, and the majority cut that magic inch. Were I a bigger, stronger
(younger?) man and could exercise better control of that lightweight on the bags, Im
confident MOA groups would have been more common than they were.
Remingtons Express 180-grain
Core-Lokt softpoints proved to be the most accurate factory ammunition fired. Clocking
2,680 fps 15 feet from the muzzle, three-round strings punched out one MOA group after
Swifts Scirocco 165-grain
softnoses backed by 61.0 grains of Reloder 22 averaged 2,746 fps 15 feet from the muzzle.
Out at the 100-yard line, three-shot strings ran 1.0, 1.2, 1.2, 1.0 and 1.1 inches. That
combination was sparked by Winchester Large Rifle primers. Other handloads were slightly
more accurate, but none offered the power and flat trajectory of that mix. It would be my
choice for the 700-Ts big game load.
At the range, several other shooters
were given a chance to handle and shoot the lightweight. All were pleased with its
balance, responsiveness and light weight. Only one complained of its recoil at the bench.
None of the others were bothered by it.
Although Im not particularly
recoil-sensitive, it seemed to me the 700-Ts kick is abrupt rather than painful.
Thanks to that straight stock, the rifle comes directly backward when fired offhand or
from the kneel. As noted, the muzzle tried to leap skyward when recoiling at the bench,
but the test rifles back thrust wasnt at all painful, even there.
After 160 rounds went downrange, the
bolt is still stiff when opening or closing. When they slide back and forth on the rails,
the bolt lugs drag noticeably, even though all surfaces have been lubricated generously.
Apparently, it will take a lot more use for the titanium to wear smooth - a cheap price to
pay for a 6 1/4-pound .30-06.
Trigger pull was heavier than
anticipated. There was no play, no lost motion, though. When the sear released, it was a
To sum up: The Model 700 Titanium is
everything Remington claims it to be, and then some 6 1/2 pounds scoped and loaded,
capable of MOA accuracy, weather-resistant and built to last. In my book, it rates high
marks all around. - Al Miller