Remington’s Model 700 5-R stainless threaded Gen 2 rifle, a new addition to Big Green’s tactical line, is suitable for a wide range of applications. We put it to the test against Texas hogs.
“Here they come,” I whispered. “Get ready; I’m going to shoot that biggest hog in the front.”
Remington videographer David Burleigh, who was sharing the blind with me, scrambled to get his cameras rolling as a group of hogs entered our field of view from the left, trotting single file through the brush like an infantry squad on the move.
Their destination was a stock pond on the Spike Box Ranch, a 90,000-acre working cattle ranch north of Abilene, Texas. We were taking a break from hunting turkeys to see if I could ambush a hog with the new Remington 700 5-R Stainless Threaded Gen 2 rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, as they came to water on a warm afternoon.
Everything went according to plan … until the hogs reached the water. They lined up to drink, side by side, but the hog I wanted to shoot, a 125-pound sow, took a position 120 yards away on the far end of the line behind other hogs that were blocking my shot. I had to wait until the pig closest to my target finally dropped a little lower on the bank, giving me just enough space to sneak a bullet over its back. I touched off a Remington HTP Copper round, loaded with a 120-grain Barnes TSX bullet.
When the bullet struck home, the hog unceremoniously plunged into the water, rolling over like a torpedoed freighter, while the remaining pigs wisely charged back in the direction from which they had come.
I’ve watched that video several times since David caught the moment on camera, and if I hadn’t been behind the rifle, my first thought would have been, How did that bullet squeeze in there?
Of course, the view through the rifle scope, a Bushnell Trophy Xtreme X30 2.5-15×50 model, was considerably different than the view through the camera, but the video illustrates as well as anything I’ve seen lately the value of a rifle that lets you place bullets precisely where you want them to go.
As I discovered on that hunt—and at the range—the new 700 5-R Gen 2 rifle delivers the accuracy needed to make the shot when it counts most. While the rifle has features that place it within the Remington 700 tactical line, weighing 8.5 pounds as a result, I would have no qualms about hunting with the rifle in situations for which long stalks aren’t part of the plan. It fits nicely into the concept of “tactical,” yet it is versatile enough to meet my definition of “practical.”
As its name implies, the Gen 2 gun is an upgrade from the original 5-R rifle, and some of the differences are obvious at a glance.
While the original has a stainless action and barrel, the Gen 2 sports a stainless barrel with six longitudinal flutes that reduce weight and help dissipate heat. The action and barrel of the new gun also wear a protective black Cerakote finish that eliminates any reflective glare and makes the rifle virtually impervious to the elements.
The 5-R Gen 2 borrows a bit from the M24 sniper weapon system rifle by using cold-hammer-forged barrels with 5-R rifling. This rifling has five lands, versus a traditional six-land arrangement, and none of the lands is directly across from another. The lands are tapered at 110 degrees, rather than the sharp, 90-degree angle of lands in conventional rifling. Commonly claimed benefits of 5-R rifling include less bullet deformation and friction, better accuracy, less fouling and increased barrel life.
In my mind, the jury is still out on some of these claims, but I have found that rifles with 5-R barrels are much easier to clean, and they do seem to accumulate fouling at a much slower rate. Of all the 5-R-rifled barrels I’ve pushed bullets through, I haven’t found any of them to be any less accurate than rifles with traditional rifling, and some have delivered tack-driving accuracy.
While the original 5-R model had a 20-inch barrel on rifles chambered in .223 Rem. and .308 Win., and a 24-inch barrel on rifles in .300 Win. Mag., the Gen 2 gives you more options. It’s available with either 20- or 24-inch barrels in the .308 Win., while rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor and .300 Win. Mag. sport 24-inch barrels. Muzzles are threaded 5/8×24 for attaching suppressors or muzzle brakes and are topped with a thread protector that stayed put during testing.
Barrels have appropriate-for-caliber rates of twist, and all rifles have a magazine capacity of four rounds—with the exception of rifles in .300 Win. Mag., which hold three rounds in the magazine. The rifle bucks the current trend of sticking detachable polymer magazines on everything that leaves the factory, relying instead on a traditional hinged-floorplate magazine.
Like the original, the Gen 2 rifle uses an H-S Precision stock, with a full-length aluminum bedding block that truly freefloats the barrel. It has a flat, bench rest-style bottom and hand-filling grip, and I find the sand-with-black-spiderweb color pattern to be pleasing to the eye.
At the front of the stock, you’ll find dual front swivel studs for mounting both a bipod and sling. The rubber recoil pad is considerably slimmer than most; but, given the rifle’s weight, recoil wasn’t very noticeable in the 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered rifle I tested.
Only one component of the rifle—the X-Mark Pro trigger— didn’t get a fully passing grade from me. Out of the box, the trigger was creep-free, but it broke at a rather hefty average pull weight of 5 pounds, as measured on a Lyman trigger gauge.
I am, admittedly, the worst sort of snob when it comes to triggers, but on a tactical-/target-style rifle, that pull weight is just too heavy. The trigger is supposed to be externally adjustable within a range of 3 to 5 pounds, using nothing more than a 1/16-inch Allen wrench. Perhaps it was just the luck of the draw with this particular trigger, but I was unable to lighten the trigger pull, even with the adjustment screw turned out as far I dared.
Given how well the rifle shot with the heavy trigger pull, I’m convinced that it would shoot even tighter groups with a lighter trigger. If the rifle were mine, I would replace the trigger with a solid aftermarket trigger such as a Timney (as I have done on quite a few rifles from different manufacturers).
In handling, the bolt cycled smoothly, with no binding, and it’s easy to run this gun fast. That’s partly thanks to the “tactical” bolt knob, which is somewhat oversized and knurled for ease and speed of operation.
Anyone who has ever operated a Remington 700 will be familiar with all the controls. The hinged floorplate release button is protected inside the trigger guard, where the bolt release button is also housed. The two-position safety rides just aft of the top of the bolt handle. It does not lock the bolt down, so you can safely cycle rounds through the action with the safety in the “on” position.
Clocking five different factory loads over my CED M2 chronograph produced average velocities, based on threeshots per load, that were quite close to factory-stated velocities. That was not surprising, considering that most ammo makers test 6.5 Creedmoor ammo with 24-inch barrels. Variations from factory numbers ranged from 40 fps faster for a Hornady Superformance load to 24 fps slower for a Winchester match load.
All testing with the rifle was done on a day when the wind made things challenging—varying between 7 and 15 miles per hour and often changing direction. Despite this, the rifle turned in what I consider to be a very good performance under those conditions.
Pushing a variety of bullets weighing between 120 and 143 grains down the barrel, I was struck by how consistently the rifle shot across the range of bullet weights. Shooting three five-shot strings per load, all five tested loads produced average groups of under 1½ inches, and two loads delivered sub-MOA best groups. The rifle shot best with Winchester’s 140-grain match load, producing 1-inch average groups and a best group of 0.88 inch. Remington’s HTP Copper 120-grain load wasn’t far behind. All tested loads delivered perfectly acceptable hunting accuracy, despite the wind, but I couldn’t help wishing for a bit more from the gun.
I would bet the proverbial farm that those test groups would have shrunk considerably if the trigger had a lighter pull weight—and if testing had been done in more favorable wind conditions—but my range day with the rifle provided a good test of how the rifle can perform in less-than-ideal conditions.
To the everlasting dismay of one Texas hog that took an unintentional bath, the rifle performed quite well, indeed.
ACTION: Push-feed bolt action
BARREL: 24 in.; stainless threaded
RATE OF TWIST: 1:8; 5R rifling
FINISH: Black Cerakote
STOCK: H-S Precision Sand; black webbing
TRIGGER: X-Mark Pro Adjustable
WEIGHT: 8.5 lbs.
OVERALL LENGTH: 43 3/4 in.
REMINGTON FIREARMS Remington.com
BUSHNELL OPTICS Bushnell.com
COMPETITIVE EDGE DYNAMICS CEDHK.com
FEDERAL PREMIUM AMMUNITION FederalPremium.com
HORNADY AMMUNITION Hornady.com
NAGEL’S GUN SHOP NagelsGuns.net
WINCHESTER AMMUNITION Winchester.com
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the November 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.