Remington Model 673 Rifles
By Chuck Hawks
The .350 Remington Magnum cartridge was first introduced in 1965 in the Remington Model 600 Magnum bolt action carbine, at the time a controversial rifle that later became a cult classic, and is still in high demand in places like Alaska where the game runs big, tough, and occasionally dangerous.
The biggest single design flaw of the Model 600 Magnum was its very light weight of 6.5 pounds. This was far too light for a powerful medium bore rifle, and guaranteed heavy recoil. The severe muzzle blast from the attenuated 18.5 inch barrel, coupled with substantial recoil, scared off a lot of potential buyers. For more about the Remington 600 series rifles, see my article "Remington's Model 600 Magnum Carbine," and for more information about the saga of the .350 Magnum cartridge, see my article "The .350 Remington Magnum and .35 Whelen."
Some gun writers had been suggesting (your correspondent among them) that Remington would do well to give the .350 Magnum another chance. Evidently someone at Big Green was listening, because in 2003 the .350 Remington Magnum was restored to Remington's factory loading list. The big surprise was that they did not simply add the .350 Magnum caliber to their existing Model 7 Magnum rifle. Instead, Remington reprised some of the features of the Model 600M by creating a new Model 673 rifle in which to chamber the .350 Mag, .300 SAUM, .308 Winchester, and 6.5mm Remington Magnum cartridges.
The Model 673 has a stock made of alternating layers of light and walnut stained laminates, a mostly free-floating barrel (bedded at only two points) onto which is screwed a ventilated rib, a fully adjustable rear sight and a hooked front sight similar to the original. Clearly, the Remington marketing people saw the new gun as a nostalgia item and tried to cash in on the high prices of used Model 600 rifles.
Give the folks at America's oldest gunmaker some credit, however, for they did address several of the complaints leveled at the old Model 600. First, the superfluous ventilated rib is steel, not nylon. Second, the trigger guard and magazine floorplate are aluminum, not plastic, and the floorplate is hinged. Third, the new forearm shape is more ergonomic than the old, and the point pattern checkering is cut, not impressed. Fourth, the bolt handle is blued and checkered, and conventional in shape, since the new Model 673 is based on a Model 7 action. And fifth, the barrel is a reasonable 22" long and the new rifle weighs 7.5 pounds.
The Model 673's butt pad is bigger than the old 600's, to spread the recoil over a larger area, and a nicley shaped cheek piece graces the stock. Overall, the 673 has pleasing lines. The metal finish is polished blue and the durable stock finish is satin.
The safety is the usual Remington two position design, Total capacity is four .350 cartridges, three rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.
Since the basic Model 673 rifle weighs 7.5 pounds, adding a scope, mount, and rings should result in a total weight of about 8.5 pounds. The new Remington .350 Mag. factory load should generate about 22.4 ft. lbs. of recoil energy in an 8.5 pound rifle.
My initial impression of the Model 673 was that it is a racy but handsome rifle. The vent rib gives the rifle a distinctive look. The blue finish is deep and dark. The stock is well shaped and comfortable and the rifle is well balanced. The wood to metal fit is very good except for a small gap at the rear of the trigger guard. But the trigger pull measured about 6.5 pounds on my RCBS deluxe trigger pull gauge (before I adjusted it down to 3 pounds).
The supplied Model 7 instruction manual says that trigger can only be adjusted by the factory or an authorized Remington gunsmith, but in fact it is user adjustable. Simply remove the action from the stock and there is the trigger mechanism. There are two small adjustment screws on the front of the trigger assembly, and one on the back. These are for for pull weight, sear engagement, and trigger over-travel. Of course, if you are not willing and able to accept the consequences of your actions you should not attempt to adjust the trigger of any firearm.
Remington designed the 673 Guide Rifle primarily for the .350 Magnum cartridge, adding the other choices in subsequent years. The .350 Mag. Model 673 is just about the ultimate bolt action "guide gun" type of rifle: big power in a compact package.
Note: A full length review of a Remington Model 673 can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2003, 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.
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