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The 10 Best Hunting Rifles: The Remington 700 Bolt Action

Remington touts their 700 model as the most versatile line of rifles on the market; with thirty-four base models in the line, they may be on to something.

The Rifle: The Remington 700 Bolt Action

The Caliber: 7mm Remington Magnum

The Animal: Elk

The Rifle – Remington 700 Bolt Action

Specifically highlighted in this article is the Model 700 XCR II— Remington’s durable hunting model for scoped use with an olive green composite stock and stainless steel boasting a TRINYTE finish to make it the color between military Parkerizing and blued steel. The Remington specific model number is 84524. It’s about seven and a half pounds with a twenty-four inch barrel and an OAL (overall length) of forty-four and a half inches.  The rifling is one in nine and a quarter inches, and the gun comes drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts, although it does not come standard with iron sights in this caliber (though it does in some of the larger calibers).

It’s not ugly, but it isn’t the most classic-looking bolt action: it’s got a decisively tactical look for an elk gun, but your target certainly won’t be glaring at you as a result of bright and shiny spots on your weapon.  The OD green stock looks tough, and the finish is an improvement on first and second-generation “blued” stainless finishes—other than that, the gun looks exactly like every other 700 that has come out of the factory since the 60s.  Rubberized and textured areas on the composite stock do a lot for the wet conditions hunters often find themselves in (provided by Hogue, a leader in rubber over-molding).

The “three ring” bolt is a virtually unchanged design from the 70s and claims to offer the most strength and support to larger caliber cartridges. It does tend to provide 700 users with exceptional accuracy out of the box.

The Caliber – 7mm Remington Magnum

The cartridge is part of a family of cartridges (the .280/7mm family) that has become infinitely more popular in the last fifteen years, and possibly second only to the .30 caliber family in North America. This is because of the range of animals within the terminal ballistics range of these cartridges: including everything from varmints to bears, though the sweet spot is between large deer and large moose for the most part, although it is still able to dispatch a bear with one shot if needed in a sticky situation.

It’s a belted cartridge and is within the “long-action” specs for gun makers – roughly the same size as the .30-06, with as flat a trajectory and increased velocity when compared to the same cartridge.

A standard 160-grain projectile pushes about 2,900 feet per second, while a 150-grain projectile can get up to 3,300 in a hot hand load; typically projectiles are available from 100 grains to 175 grains – 150 grains makes a good all-around projectile.  A 150-grain projectile will have around 3,100 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, while a 170-grain bullet will have just less than 3,200 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

The 7mm Remington Magnum also made a brief cameo appearance as the sniping round of choice with the Secret Service in the United States; though they eventually went to a .300 Winchester Magnum round, they noted the high velocity and flat shooting trajectory of the round as desirable features.

Many hunters, while praising the speed of the round, do admit that some tinkering and dialing down of the bullet weight and speed should be done when using this round on anything smaller than an elk to avoid over penetration.  In many areas, shots on deer-sized animals in ranges less than 150 yards are considered overkill.

The 7mm Remington Magnum is considered an optimum elk caliber and quite potent against other medium-to-large game like moose and caribou.

The Animal – Elk

Many hunters consider elk hunting a difficult, time intensive, and trying adventure; many say it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, which may not be as inviting to the new hunter or to the seasoned veteran who is looking to move into the elk territory.

Elk tend to be quick moving, nomadic animals – nomadic in the sense that they move a lot, but not necessarily an indicator that they will not be back.  It’s best to be up early or out late to catch an elk at feeding time; however, depending on the time of season, you might be able to catch an afternoon elk.

Reconnaissance is probably your best tool on elk hunts; looking for signs of an elk having recently passed through your area can be helpful (both in your current hunt and in future ones).  Specifically, you should be looking for signs of eating, including droppings, changes to terrain, and changes to the local flora.

Elk hunting truly is about the waiting game, as elk are notoriously skittish and have excellent senses.  There’s no real schedule for elk, and you just have to grow with the experience you learn on the hunt.  For instance, you might be tromping around during their bedding time, having just missed their feeding – to make an attempt at a “hunt” at that point may net you nothing.  You may have to come back and wait until you have a clear shot downwind from the bedding area.  For those who don’t have a lot of experience in elk hunting, they might liken it to a sniper setting up, gathering information and waiting for their target to arrive – patience will be important, and information even more so.

If you have the opportunity in your first hunt to go with an experienced guide, or at least an experienced elk hunter, do so, as the information learned can be invaluable.

Elk meat has a slightly more gamey taste than beef, although it is slightly less gamey than venison; it has an incredibly low fat content and is lower in cholesterol than most meats – it’s a good monotony breaker for families typically consuming a large quantity of one type of meat.

The Remington model 700 bolt action, chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum is an almost ideal weapon for hunting elk.  Its terminal ballistics, speed, and accuracy are paramount to a successful elk hunt, as long as the hunter understands the extra requirements for hunting such an elusive large game species.

While many other cartridges can do the job, and certainly other guns, you would be hard-pressed to find one more perfectly mated to an animal like this gun and cartridge are to the elk.

©2011 Off the Grid News

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