by Ron Spomer - Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Remington has a problem. It’s been making the M700, one of the best and best-known bolt-action rifles in history, for so long and so well that darn near everyone I know already has one or more. So to stay atop the sales charts year after year Remington keeps updating the M700s. Its latest permutation is the XHR (eXtreme Hunting Rifle) that takes full advantage of 21st century materials and manufacturing techniques to create a totally new look while maintaining the 700’s reputable performance.
The heart of the XHR, literally, is a triangular fluted barrel. Backing it up is the usual M700 push-feed action featuring the X-Mark Pro trigger. All of this is screwed to a Realtree camouflaged synthetic stock with Hogue over-molded grip insets that really do provide a soft, textured grip even when wet. Recoil is controlled by a SuperCell recoil pad.
Naked, the unit weighs 6 pounds, 7 ounces. With Leupold’s beefy, 30mm Dual Dovetail mounts and Swarovski’s 2x-12x-50mm scope, my test rifle weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces in total.
The rifle’s magnum-contour barrel (.773 inch where fluting starts, .713 inch at muzzle) is only triangular over its last 14.25 inches. The fluting starts 9.75 inches from the bolt face or .75 inch back from the forearm tip. The bulk of the molded forearm is hollow but reinforced with crosshatching walls akin to the ribs in a canoe. The butt sounds hollow, too. The recoil lug recess measures .269 inch wide and the lug is .189 inch thick, so there is some slop. The bedding screws fit through holes molded into the synthetic stock. There are no aluminum pillars or blocks, yet the action tightens down solidly. I can twist the stock and bend it slightly with the action removed, but when screwed together everything feels surprisingly tight and stiff. The tapered forearm feels trim and responsive in my smallish hand.......
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