Review: Remington's Legendary Model Seven

Remington's Super Seven? It’s all you need, most of what you want, with none of what you won’t miss. And now even better!

Review: Remington's Legendary Model Seven

Since 1983, the Model Seven has appeared in more than 18 configurations.

It’s happened often enough to give me the vapors. A firearms company announces a new entry-level rifle and soon the beloved flagship that’s defined the brand for decades must concede catalog space. The “affordably priced” whipper-snapper has been cleverly designed for economy and fecundity. Progeny come lickety-split. The cartridge roster grows; a stainless option arrives, then a short-stocked version — meanwhile, the flagship rifle endures a series of price hikes. Sub-models diminish. Iron sights disappear. 

This isn’t to imply the Winchester XPR is naughty for nudging the Model 70 off its hallowed turf. Or that visions of a Savage Axis presaged the death of the 99. Or that Ruger’s American gobbled the No. 1’s homestead on the factory floor.

Just sayin’.

I had feared when Remington announced its 783 in 2015 that it would strangle if not supplant the 700. That hasn’t happened – albeit the 783 now comprises six variations in nine chamberings, and you’ll find iron sights on only one 700 (the BDL) in just four chamberings. I’m pleased also that Remington has held onto the Model Seven and this year added an especially appealing version.

While Remington bolt rifles date back to the 1921 debut of the 30A on a 1917 Enfield action, the Model Seven has shallower roots. In 1948, the company announced a new action with a tubular receiver, enclosed bolt face, clip extractor and self-contained trigger group. Over the next decade, Models 721 and 722 rifles (long and short actions) were chambered for a suite of useful cartridges, new and old, .222 to .300 H&H. An up-scale Model 725 was also offered in .375 H&H and .458 Winchester Magnums. 

Model 700 Intro

In 1962, Remington announced its Model 700 in two action lengths. Essentially a refined 721/722, it got a huge boost in sales from the concurrent birth of the 7mm Remington Magnum cartridge. When, barely a year after the 700 appeared, Winchester permitted accountants to re-design its beloved Model 70, the stampede to Remington’s rifle became thunderous.            

About that time, Remington introduced its Model 600; a short-action repeater with a dog-leg bolt handle and an 18 1/2-inch barrel with a ventilated rib. The mechanism was actually that of the company’s single-shot XP-100 pistol trotted out in 1963. Sluggish sales put the 600/660 series out to pasture in ‘68. Short runs of these and similar carbines ensued, a nod to nostalgia. 

In 1983, Remington borrowed elements of the Models 700 and 600 to fashion the Model Seven. A lightweight, quick-pointing alternative to the 700, it had a receiver incrementally shorter than the short-action 700’s. Measuring several Model Sevens and short-action 700s from receiver face to the rear of the bolt shroud, I mesaured Model Sevens at 6.65 to 6.75 inches and short Model 700s from 6.75 to 7.00. The ejection ports for Model Sevens are 2.6 inches while the short 700 sports 2.4 inches.

Now in its 36th year, the Model Seven has appeared in more than 18 configurations, at least four from the Custom Shop. The Model Seven Synthetic introduced in 2011 featured a 20-inch barrel in .223, .243, .260, 7mm-08 or .308 in a conservatively shaped stock of dark gray polymer-cradled blued chrome-moly steel. At $731 this is still the base model (though the .223 chambering has been dropped and a Compact version with shorter stock, 18 1/2-inch barrel added).

Stainless versions and walnut- and laminate-stocked rifles followed. Current listings include a Model Seven Threaded in .300 Blackout or .308, with a 16 1/2-inch threaded barrel. The Laminate has an 18 1/2-inch barrel, in .223, .243, 7mm-08 or .308. Other Model Sevens in the 2019 stable hew to the original barrel length of 20 inches. Magazine capacity is four (five in .223s). Model Sevens weigh from 6 to 6 1/2 pounds. 

The Model Seven differs in several minor ways from short-action 700s, here (top) an early .22-250.
The Model Seven differs in several minor ways from short-action 700s, here (top) an early .22-250.

Several chamberings once offered in the Model Seven have fallen from the list, including the .17 and .222 Remington, .250 Savage and .257 Roberts and the .35 Remington. The Alaska Wilderness Rifle, brought to market in 2002, featured the 7mm and .300 Short Action Ultra Mags. I probably killed the first elk taken with the .300 SAUM using a Model Seven AWR on the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River. 

In 2008, Remington announced the .270 and .300 WSM in the AWR II — a Custom Shop rifle, per the first AWR, the Lightweight and the laminate-stocked Mannlicher. Model Sevens in magnum chamberings were fitted with 22-inch barrels. I managed to snare a CS Model Seven with a 24-inch barrel in 6.8 SPC, a cartridge Remington could have promoted with more enthusiasm.

Though the first Model Sevens wore open sights, the current rifles have no sights. All Model Sevens now feature Remington’s externally adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger. A hinged floor-plate is still standard. 

Bored to .308, my go-to Model Seven is hardly a fire-and-brimstone rifle. But the synthetic stock fits me well (though I can’t say who produced it). This rifle wears a low-power Weaver variable scope. It carries easily, points fast, cycles silkily and shoots accurately enough to flatten coyotes at 300 yards. The trigger breaks cleanly at 2 1/4 pounds. In Utah years ago, it also brought me a fine elk.

After a week of hard hunting, success seemed out of reach. A bright sun burnished aspen’s gold on the last morning as, far away, an elk brayed. I hurried toward it. Through the trees, I glimpsed a couple of cows. Then, antlers! The bull was quartering away as I dashed forward and steadied the .308 against an aspen. Catching a slice of rib in the scope, I sent a Remington Core-Lokt in its direction. The strike was solid. The great animal galloped off, then stumbled. I reeled in a few yards and finished the drama with a second shot. 

New in 2019

For 2019, Remington introduced a production-class Model Seven with a stock to match any to come from its Custom Shop. In .243, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 or .308, the Model Seven Stainless H-S boasts a hand-laminated carbon-fiber stock from H-S Precision.

Like the many other H-S stocks I’ve had in hand, it features a CNC-machined bedding block and a clean, classic profile with a slender wrist that brings the Model Seven to life! Remington could hardly have chosen a better-shaped stock. Black with green spider-webbing, it complements nicely the satin finish on the rifle’s stainless barrel and receiver. At 6 pounds with its 20-inch floated barrel, this wand won’t wear you down, whether you’re hiking the hills for coyotes or prowling the peaks for elk.

Partnering with H-S on this project, Remington allays concerns that the Model Seven will get a pink slip anytime soon. The stock also bumps its price ceiling to $1,149, roughly $100 over the MSRP of CDL and Laminate versions. But given the cost of many bolt-actions these days, paying over a grand or so for a stainless 6-pound rifle that handles nimbly, shoots accurately and is barreled to four of our most versatile hunting rounds – well, it’s not that painful.

Especially if you know H-S Precision.

In 1978, Tom Houghton earned a chemistry degree. But instead of getting a job, he started a gun company. Surmising many shooters would pay a premium for exceptional accuracy in custom rifles, he focused on the “varmint market.” H-S Precision moved from Prescott, Arizona, to Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1990. A year later, it occupied a new 15,000-square-foot plant. I found at my first visit that H-S was a family-run enterprise with the ambitious goal of producing all major components of H-S rifles in-house. Soon the line would feature tactical models and sporters for big game. Tom’s marketing savvy and insistence on peerless quality had already made H-S “the world’s leading supplier of test barrels.” 

According to son, Tom Jr., and daughter, Tricia Hoeke, the H-S rifle business then accounted for 40 percent of sales, and the stocks another 40. Shortly the product line included muzzle brakes, ballistic test equipment such as universal receivers, return-to-battery assemblies and a laser aiming system.

Outgrowing its facility, H-S built one three times as big. As CEO, Tom Jr. follows his father’s “no compromises” dictum in producing top-quality rifles from scratch. “Lock, stock and barrel,” he says. “The triggers are ours. Everything but some springs and pins that are more economical to buy in bulk.”

H-S stainless steel barrels, .17 to .50, are cut-rifled – and so accurate even take-down Pro-Series rifles carry a half-minute guarantee. Stock shells combine carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar in a resin. During my most recent visit, Tom explained the core of each is “reaction injection-molded foam.” He scooped a gob of black mud into a paper cup. Eerily, the substance grew, climbing out of the cup to form a big bulb with the consistency of rubber. It looked like a licorice ice cream cone. 

“The heat of reaction forces this pudding into all stock crevices,” Tom said. “It becomes a tough core that’s firm but also resilient. To add even more strength, we install a full-length alloy bedding block in each stock. Unlike most rails, ours runs back into the grip. We’re convinced the extra rigidity makes our rifles more accurate.”

H-S stocks on the company’s rifles fit as if installed by the best custom stockers working English walnut. All H-S stocks sold as OEM and after-market components get that attention to detail, for the same snug drop-in fit, with “no zero shift, even after disassembly.” 

You can count on that — whether you snare an H-S Pro Series rifle or a Remington Model Seven.

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