First Look: Remington Model 700XCR Rifle
By Chuck Hawks
Introduced in 1962, if I remember correctly, the Remington Model 700 was an instant success. The Model 700 was a pretty rifle, nicely turned out, with a very fast lock time and an excellent, fully adjustable, single stage trigger. It was available in ADL and BDL grades. The latter was fancier, but both sported good lines and handsomely shaped walnut stocks. The barreled actions came with a highly polished blued finish while the bolt body was polished and left in the white. Although basically designed for economical production given the technology of the time, you couldn't tell that without looking closely.
Jump ahead to 2007 and the Model 700 is still going strong. It has evolved into what Remington claims is the most diverse rifle line in the world. The ADL grade has been replaced by the incredibly plain, bottom of the line Model SPS, but the BDL is still around and still, in my opinion, the most attractive of all production Model 700s.
The newest entry in the Model 700 stable is the Model 700 XCR (Xtreme Conditions Rifle), the subject of this article. Aesthetically it is a cut ahead of the SPS, but certainly not a threat to the supremacy of the handsome BDL. The XCR is supplied with a stainless steel barreled action and a black injection molded synthetic stock.
At the heart of the Model 700 XCR is the usual Model 700 push feed action. This is based on a simple receiver machined from round bar stock. The recoil lug is essentially a heavy gauge washer trapped between the barrel and the receiver when the two are screwed together. The multi-piece aluminum bottom iron includes a hinged magazine floor plate with a release located inside of the trigger guard in typical Model 700 fashion. The convenient two-position safety no longer locks the bolt closed when applied.
The bolt uses dual front locking lugs and rotates approximately 90 degrees when operated. The bolt knob is checkered in the Model 700 pattern. In the front of the recessed bolt face is a plunger ejector and an extractor in the form of a circlip in a groove that over-rides the cartridge rim when the bolt is closed. This extractor takes a very small bite on the cartridge rim and is probably the weakest design element of the action.
Like all previous Model 700's, the barrel is free floated in the stock. No iron sights are supplied. The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts as per all Model 700 rifles. Nothing new here.
What is new about the action is Remington's new "X-Mark Pro" trigger assembly. This replaces the once excellent, fully adjustable trigger that was traditionally the most outstanding feature of Model 700 rifles with a heavier (around 5 pounds), lawyer approved trigger that requires the services of a gunsmith to adjust. Despite Remington's advertising campaign to sell the X-Mark Pro trigger as an improvement, I would much rather have the original 1962 trigger assembly.
Also new is Remington's proprietary TriNyte metal finish. This extremely thin, multi-layer (reportedly electroless nickel, zirconium nitride and proprietary PVD) coating dramatically increases the rust resistance of the stainless steel barreled action. Remington claims that this finish provides scratch and corrosion resistance superior to any other rifle on the market. TriNyte can be furnished in a variety of colors, but on the XCR it is a conventional stainless steel satin silver tone.
The well shaped, injection molded synthetic stock is modern classic in style with a high, straight comb designed for use with optical sights. Like practically all stocks of the type, this economy stock is too flexible. (The more expensive composite type of synthetic stock can be made adequately rigid, but this is not one of those.)
The XCR stock features Hogue rubber overmolds in the grip and forend areas and under the swivel studs. These rubbery grip panels are located where there would ordinarily be checkering and serve a similar purpose. They don't exactly look bad, but they are far from elegant. They remind me of a rubber shower mat applied to a rifle stock. From my perspective, this stock is the weakest link in the whole rifle. For a list price in excess of $1000 I would have at least expected a laminated fiberglass composite stock.
Available calibers include: .25-06, .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, 7mm-08, 7mm Rem. Magnum, 7mm Rem. Ultra Mag, .30-06, .300 WSM, .300 Win. Magnum, .300 Rem. Ultra Mag, .338 Win. Magnum, .338 Rem. Ultra Mag, .375 H&H and .375 Rem. Ultra Mag. Standard and WSM calibers come with 24" barrels, Magnum calibers come with 26" barrels for maximum ballistic performance.
Unfortunately, some of Remington's best and most useful calibers, including the 6mm Remington, .260 Remington, 6.5mm Rem. Magnum, .280 Remington and .350 Rem. Mag. are not on the list. It makes me wonder: if Remington doesn't support their own calibers, who will?
Following are the catalog specifications of the Model 700 XCR in caliber .30-06:
The XCR operates and shoots like any other Model 700 rifle, which is to say generally very well. The special feature and real benefit of the XCR is its corrosion resistant TriNyte external metal finish.
Remington tested the TriNyte finish in a harsh saltwater spray environment with excellent results and that is exactly where I think that it has the most practical application. A Model 700 XCR would probably make a very good boat rifle (you might want to shorten the barrel a couple of inches to ease storage) and it should be a top choice for hunting in a salt-water environment. Some coastal Alaska bear hunts, for example, use a boat as a "mother ship" with the hunter going ashore in a dinghy for the final stalk after a bear has been sighted on or near the beach.
I'm not very impressed by the rubberized plastic stock, but the serious hunter who buys an XCR for its maximum corrosion resistance can always order a laminated wood replacement stock from Accurate Innovations. That way you could combine maximum corrosion resistance with a much more rigid, attractive, durable and still extremely weather resistant stock.
Note: Full length reviews of Remington Model 700 rifles can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2007, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.