Remington Model Seven LS Magnum Rifle
By Ed Turner
I just returned from a mountain mule deer hunt in the foothills of the Northern Rockies. My rifle of choice for this horseback hunt about 125 miles west of Calgary was a new Remington Model Seven LS Magnum in 7mm Rem. SAUM. This was a new firearm for me, and that hunt was the first time I'd had it in the field.
When I got the Model Seven LS I was immediately impressed with it's feel and balance. The stock is a brown laminate and actually looks quite handsome with the blued metal finish. Model Seven rifles are also available in the new CDL grade with a walnut stock and satin blued carbon steel barreled action and as the basic Model Seven SS, which comes with a synthetic stock and stainless barreled action. Model Seven rifles in standard calibers come with 20" barrels, while magnum calibers come with 22" barrels.
I own a few other rifles with laminated stocks, among them two Remington Model 670 Guide Guns and a Ruger Model 77 Mk. ll in stainless/laminate. The Ruger's stock is very similar to the Model Seven's except that it is devoid of checkering, while the Model Seven has nicely executed wrap around point pattern checkering.
I find that I prefer the checkering on this stock to the smooth one on the Model 77. I plan on using these guns on bad weather days and the checkering might come in handy when handling a wet rifle.
Before settling on the Model Seven as my firearm for this trip I considered four other rifles. The aforementioned Model 673 in .300 SAUM, a Winchester Model 70 in .30-06, the also previously mentioned Ruger Model 77 (.280 Rem.), and another new rifle, a Remington Model 700 Titanium in .270 Win.
I had actually intended to take the Model 700 Titanium due to its very light weigh. But, as yet I am not overly impressed with its accuracy, having tried four different loads in it without finding the magic combination. The Model Seven turned out to be the shortest in overall length, which is something I appreciate in a rifle. It has a short barrel for a magnum and it handled extremely well in the close cover we encountered.
The basic specifications for the Remington Model Seven LS Magnum are as follows:
The compact overall length made it very nice to carry on horseback, as we spent much of our time riding through timber in search of a nice muley buck. I had gone on a similar trip last year and carried a Tikka T3 in .300 WSM. That rifle was fully 3 inches longer than the Model Seven. The extra length caused a lot of problems when riding through heavy brush with it slung across my back.
A note here. Last year my guide and outfitter did not supply a saddle scabbard for my rifle, so I had no choice but to carry the rifle slung across my back as we rode. This year a scabbard was supplied and I used it the first 2 days of my 6 day trip, but I found it more of a hindrance than help. Admittedly, my back did get sore at times from the constant rubbing of the rifle (especially when it warmed a bit and I wore less clothing), but I found it much quicker to get into shooting position when the rifle was slung on my back.
I thought about acquiring a lever action BLR Lightening with its smooth, bolt free sides to more easily accommodate carrying and egress from a scabbard. I may have to start pricing such a rifle in the near future.
We rode upwards of 6 or 7 hours on some days and pushed through some very heavy timber while on horseback, and I grew to really appreciate the 22" barrel and short action of the Model Seven. I can only recall one incident where the close quarters caused the barrel to hang up on a tree limb, in contrast to many more incidents last year. It appeared to ride just about even with the top of my head, and that seemed about perfect.
A comment here about this type of hunt. We had some very strong and well trained horses, and without them it would have been nearly impossible to cover the terrain we did during our six day hunt. We rode through some very thick brush and those horses picked their way over, around and through some pretty tricky footing. There was also about 8" of snow on the ground when our hunt started.
Much of this hunting could have been accomplished using ATVs, but that would not be my choice for seeing this beautiful countryside and travelling up and down the mountains of Alberta. And ATV's scare away game. As a matter of fact, there seems to be a large number of wild horses there; we saw more horses than deer during our hunt. That turned out to be an advantage, as the deer there are not so readily spooked at the sight of hunters on horseback.
All of which was meant to give you some insight as to why I wanted to take a compact, yet long range capable, rifle on this hunt. I think that my selection turned out to be an excellent one. The Model Seven carried well and, after breaking-in, shot some excellent groups. The last group I fired before departure measured an honest 2 1/4". It was shot at 200 yards from shooting sticks, with me seated on the ground. Of course, I had already fired many rounds from a bench rest. Needless to say, I was impressed.
The published ballistics for the Remington Express 150 grain Core-Lokt 7mm SAUM load that I used show this cartridge to be a virtual ballistic twin to the very popular 7mm Remington Magnum. The overall length, however, of the Model Seven Magnum rifle is about 3" shorter than a typical 7mm Rem. Mag. rifle due to the substantially shorter barrel, shorter action and shorter length of pull.
I realize that (according to Remington estimates) about 60 fps were lost due to the shorter than standard barrel, but I found that when sighted 1.5" high at 100 yards this rifle was then right on at 200 yards. It then required only a 2 click adjustment to bring the center of the group about 1" right at the chosen 200 yard zero. Very impressive, indeed. This allowed me to shoot from the muzzle to 250 yards with no correction needed, and put a bullet about 6.7" low at 300 yards and 20" low at 400 yards.
I will mention two things that cause me to not proclaim this rifle the "ultimate" bush country muley whacker. The most bothersome problem was the loading of 3 shells in the magazine and closing the bolt over them, on an empty chamber. This is the preferred carry method of both outfitters that I have used on horseback hunts. They wanted a loaded magazine under an empty chamber, requiring the hunter to chamber a round at the appearance of game. It was always a chore to close the bolt over 3 shells, as the magazine seemed filled to overflowing, and at times I carried it with only 2 in the magazine. Especially after one occasion when, as I went to bolt one into the chamber, the cartridge actually popped completely out of the rifle. [Note: feeding problems are endemic to the short, fat, WSM and SAUM cartridges. -Ed.]
Like the Remington Model 700, the Model Seven does not have controlled feeding like a Winchester Model 70, Kimber 84M, or Ruger M77 Mk. II, which probably aggravates the problem. But again, I wanted a shorter rifle than those types.
The other thing was that I never fired the darn rifle at a mule deer. I know that I flat pissed off my guide by turning down a nice 3 point (Western count) buck on day two, but this was not the deer I had traveled all the way to Alberta to harvest on the second day of a six day hunt. Likely I wouldn't have shot it on day six either, as it was about the same size as my first muley last year. So, I'll lay some of my less than stellar luck on the otherwise impressive Model Seven.
In closing, I would take this same rifle on a similar hunt in a heartbeat, as well as use it in a tree stand here in Tennessee or Kentucky later this season. It really does seem to be a great rifle, not kicking too hard, carrying nicely, and shooting great.
I have a stand ready for Saturday's start of rifle season here in Kentucky that looks down a recently trimmed gasline ROW and has a view of upwards of 200 yards. The Model Seven may just be in my hands on opening afternoon as I sit in my prepared natural brush blind (just built it this morning) hoping for a fat doe to make an appearance. (Alas, we are only allowed one buck per year here in Kentucky, and I could not resist a fat 8 point [Eastern count] during muzzleloader season in October.)
I should also mention the scope that I chose to mount on this rifle. The scope mounting procedure is very similar to my Model 673 (both take the same base) in that there is not room for a scope with an objective larger than about 36mm in low mount rings. This is not a problem for me, as I do not like a large scope for any type of big game hunting. I feel that a 1-4x20mm, 2-7x32mm, or at most a 3-9x40mm is all the scope that you will ever need to kill any big game animal at any reasonable range.
Of course, you should always tailor your scope choice to a specific rifle. I don't want to offend anyone, but I always chuckle at the sight of a large scope, on the order of a 3-9x40mm model, mounted on a trim Henry, Marlin or Winchester lever action carbine.
Anyway, my scope of choice for the Model Seven was a 2-7x32mm Bushnell Elite 3200. This is an absolutely wonderful scope that does a good job of gathering light, and is also compact enough to fit nicely on this short action rifle. I have the same type of scope mounted on my Model 673 in .300 SAUM. Both rifles, with these scopes, seem destined to have long tours together. I will recommend that you also take the time to read the review of the Bushnell Elite 3200 2-7x32mm scope found on the Product Review Page, but will state again here: it is a great scope.
If you are looking for a trim, powerful bolt action rifle, take a hard look at the Remington Model Seven. I believe that you'll be as impressed as I am. I give it an A- rating. Happy and safe hunting!
Copyright 2006 by Ed Turner. All rights reserved.