Remington Model 547 Custom "C" Grade .17 HMR Rifle
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
When we saw the 2010 Remington catalog, the rifle featured on pages 50-51 immediately caught our attention. The double page spread shows a rimfire, bolt action sporter with a polished blue barreled action and a deluxe walnut stock graced by cut checkering. It is called the Model 547 Custom C Grade. This is the "super grade" version of the similar (but lower grade) Model 547 Classic shown in the Remington promotional photo above. When we read further and discovered that this new Custom Shop C Grade offering is available in .17 HMR, our favorite caliber, we knew we had to have one for a Guns and Shooting Online review. An exchange of e-mails with Remington's media goddesses, Linda Powell and Jessica Kallam, brought forth their promise to try to get us a Model 547, but they also advised us that the Model 547 is strictly a Custom Shop rifle and, as such, is ordinarily not available for consignment to the media. On reflection, this made sense, as Remington is most interested in promoting firearms that customers can buy off the shelf at their local sporting goods store, not special order items.
We were therefore surprised when, about a week later, a brand new Model 547 Custom C Grade arrived. Linda and Jessica had come through for you, faithful readers! In February 2010, as we write these words, Guns and Shooting Online is described by the Internet rating service Quantcast as a top 5000 web site (out of over 100,000,000 in the world--75% of which are commercial) and our readers are, "a more educated, more affluent, heavily male crowd." That would be the kind of customer most likely to buy a Custom Shop rifle. Thus, our golden prose is not the reason Linda and Jessica were able to pry a Model 547 from the Remington Custom Shop for this review; it is you, gentle reader, that Remington hopes to reach. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Linda, Jessica and you for making this review possible.
Whatever hoops Linda and Jessica had to jump through to get this rifle to us, it was worth it. The 547 Custom C Grade happened to arrive in a shipment that included four new firearms various manufacturers had sent along for review. The Guns and Shooting Online staff gathered around, as often happens, to see what we had received. All are nice guns and you will be reading about them soon, but when the Remington box was opened, it stole the show. This is one handsome rifle!
The slender barreled action is mounted in a typically Remington style black walnut stock, and we mean that as high praise. Since the original introduction of the Model 700, Remington has consistently produced stock designs for their bolt action sporters that are slender, graceful and handle recoil well. Remington sporter stocks have clean lines and eschew angular accents and tacky adornment. In an age when sporter rifle stocks can vary from "not quite right" to horrendously ugly, the Remington styling group has managed to produce functional and elegant stocks that fit a broad spectrum of shooters very well.
Jack O'Connor once wrote that the lines of rifle stocks should be straight or segments of a circle. The Model 547 C Grade stock exemplifies this restrained and classic approach to design. It is carved of select black walnut with a smoothly curved, well defined and slender pistol grip that flows into the straight taper of the slightly oval forend, which is also commendably slender. The butt stock has a fluted, straight comb and a cheek piece for right handed shooters. It terminates in a black rubber butt pad. The C Grade features generous panels of laser cut checkering on each side of the grip and a large wrap-around checkered panel on the forend. The checkering is done in a borderless point pattern. The forend terminates in what appears to be an ebony tip and there is a matching pistol grip cap. This stock is hand polished and finished. There are no unnecessary lines or accents. The rifle's detachable magazine fits flush with the bottom line of the stock and the trigger guard is a classic oval shape that does not draw unwanted attention. Study the picture at the top of this article: this is how a sporter stock should look.
The Model 547 is available in .22 LR or .17 HMR and they will build you one in .17 Mach 2 or .22 WMR on request. According to the 2010 Remington catalog, the Model 547 is the only rifle Remington currently chambers for the hot .17 HMR cartridge.
It is based on an all steel Model 504 action. The receiver is machined from bar stock. In order to present a smooth appearance, the receiver lacks the usual Tip-off grooves for mounting rimfire scope rings. It is drilled and tapped for scope bases, just like a centerfire rifle. The integrated, one-piece bolt handle and cocking piece are styled after the Model 700 with the same style of oval, checkered bolt knob. The bolt appears to lock by means of a small lug at the bottom and at the root of the bolt handle. There are dual extractors. The safety is a two position type that is very positive in operation. The trigger has been custom shop tuned for a three pound pull.
The barrel is attached to the receiver by, in Remington's words, "an advanced clamp design for the utmost in strength and stability." The barreled action is given a highly polished, high luster, blued finish appropriate for a custom shop rifle.
All Model 547's are guaranteed to shoot at least ½" groups at 50 yards and our test .17 HMR came with a test target showing a five-shot, ¾" group fired at 100 yards. This precision is made possible by a 22" Shilen button rifled, hand lapped barrel. This barrel has a precision chamber and a target crown. In the case of the C Grade, the barrel is specially contoured to fit flush with the receiver, a very nice touch. The craftsmen at Remington lavished a lot of attention on this rifle, and it shows.
Also available from the Custom Shop in the Model 547 line are Target and Classic models. The Target is supplied with an 18.5" stainless steel, heavy contour barrel and a bulkier, target type, walnut stock with a very tight pistol grip. The Classic is a sporter patterned after the popular Model 700 CDL centerfire rifle. Its stock has a tighter pistol grip curve than the C Grade and four panel checkering; the barrel is not contoured to match the receiver. It is a good looking rifle and costs less, but it is not as elegant as the C Grade.
Here are the specifications for the Model 547 Custom C Grade .17 HMR rifle:
We chose to mount a tidy Clearidge Optics Ultra RM 3-9x32mm AO scope (previously reviewed, see the Product Reviews page) on our Model 547 for the shooting portion of this review. The Ultra RM is supplied with semi-target type ¼ MOA fingertip knobs for adjusting windage and elevation. The finish is matte black with white numbers on the AO, zoom ring and adjustment knobs. Other features include American style eyepiece focusing, rubberized zoom and AO rings, a fine crosshair reticle and fully multi-coated optics. The Ultra RM is easy to mount on most rifles due to its one-inch main tube that fits standard scope rings, moderate bell diameter and the adequate distance provided between the adjustment turrets and the front and rear bells.
After wasting three hours driving from dealer to dealer, we discovered that no local retailer had a suitable mount base in stock and no one knew what part number to order. We did our own research and found that the Model 504 receiver, on which the Model 547 is based, accepts a Leupold STD 504 one-piece base, part number 55937. A call to Patrick Mundy, Leupold's Senior Marketing Communications Specialist, got a #55937 base on its way to us for this review. Without Pat's help, this review would have been dead in the water. Leupold STD low rings accommodated our Clearidge scope.
A suggestion, and this applies to all rifle makers, is to put a chart in every owner's manual showing the part numbers of the scope mount bases available for that model rifle from the most widely distributed sources of mount bases, such as Leupold, Weaver, Redfield, Warne, Millett and Burris. A similar suggestion would be to include the part number of replacement magazines in the owner's manual. Many shooters want to buy an extra magazine and practically everyone will need to mount a scope on a new rifle, so why isn't this information supplied as a matter of course?
Once together, we had a trim and deadly small game/varmint rifle and scope combination. Naturally, we were anxious to get it to the range to see if it shot as good as it looks. As soon as the Western Oregon winter weather allowed, we made tracks to the Izaak Walton rifle range south of Eugene, Oregon. This is an outdoor facility with covered shooting benches and target stands at 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards. The typical winter weather in Western Oregon was chilly with rain showers and gusts of wind. It was not an ideal shooting environment, but we made do.
Remington's Media Goddesses provided an ample supply of Premier Gold Box ammo with AccuTip-V bullets. In addition, we had on hand similar .17 HMR factory loads from Winchester, CCI and Hornady. All use 17 grain, plastic tipped bullets at a nominal muzzle velocity of 2550 fps except the CCI brand, which uses a JHP bullet.
Guns and Shooting Online staff members Chuck Hawks, Jim Fleck and Bob Fleck attended to the shooting chores. Five shot groups were fired for record at 100 yards using a new Caldwell Lead Sled FCX rest. Here are the shooting results.
As you can see from the above results, the Remington 547 shoots as good as it looks. This time out Jim Fleck shot the smallest group, and fell in love with the 547 in the process. Its excellent trigger is a definite aid to accuracy and the functional stock design doesn't hurt, either.
We have noticed in the course of testing a large number of .17 HMR rifles that sporter weight barrels often shoot as well, and sometimes better, than heavy varmint weight barrels. (See ".17 Rimfire Rifle Accuracy Test results" on the Rimfire Guns and Ammo page.) This is true of the Remington 547. Apparently this hot little cartridge does not require a heavy barrel to deliver top performance.
The only operational issues, if you want to call them that, are to make sure that the top round in the magazine is slanted upward when you load the magazine, so that it will chamber cleanly. It is possible to load the top round parallel with the top edge of the magazine, in which case the bullet tip is likely to catch on the lower edge of the chamber as the bolt is closed. The other thing is to push the bolt straight forward when closing to avoid binding. If you put rotational pressure on the bolt as you slide it closed, it creates excessive friction. It probably would not hurt to polish the bolt and guide rail, but it is not a big deal.
The Remington Model 547 Custom C Grade is an adult rimfire rifle of the highest performance and quality. It will provide a lifetime of shooting enjoyment and owner satisfaction. Rodents beware: you don't want to be within 200 yards of this Remington Model 547!
RIFLE REVIEW SUMMARY
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