Remington Model 700

Remington Model 700

I can't think of a better way to warm the hearts of American shooters than by combining a cartridge that has perhaps more pizzazz than any other--the .257 Weatherby--with a rifle that holds the loyalty of Americans like Remington's Model 700 does.

As far as I know, the .257 Wby. is the only Weatherby cartridge currently chambered in any Remington rifle, and in my opinion, it's the very best choice. It's one of the two most popular Weatherby cartridges (the other is the .300 Weatherby) and is the one that stands head and shoulders above the competition. There just isn't another standard factory-offered .25-bore that can keep up with it.

My first question upon hearing that Remington was chambering the .257 Wby. in the CDL SF was, "How long is the barrel?" The cartridge really needs a 26-inch tube to make the most of its potential, and sure enough, Remington's engineers specced the rifle with the right barrel.

I like Weatherby rifles, but only the Mark V line has 26-inch barrels where appropriate. The Vanguard line provides shooters with an exceptional value for the money, but I'd as soon have a Vanguard in .25-06 as .257 Wby. because a 24-inch barrel on the latter is much louder and more obnoxious than the .25-06 without providing much more performance.

Made of 416 stainless and rifled with a 1:10 twist, the Model 700's barrel will stabilize a broad range of projectiles from lightweight varmint bullets up to 120-grain versions suitable for big game.

I shot factory-loaded cartridges loaded with bullets from 80 grains in weight--a Barnes Tipped Triple-Shock bullet that averaged an incredible 3,912 fps--up to a Nosler Partition that weighed in at 120 grains through a sample rifle loaned to Shooting Times. Of the four factory loads I tried, two averaged sub-M.O.A. groups, and interestingly, they were the lightest two in terms of bullet weight.

Early on, Roy Weatherby chambered his rifles with a slower twist designed for the lighter end of the useful weight range of .25 caliber bullets, and some critics have postulated that the 1:10 twist now used may favor the heavier bullets. Not in this rifle. The 100-grain Hornady Spirepoint, which has been an accuracy mainstay in the .257 for decades, took top honors with an average of 0.74 inch at 100 yards for three, three-shot groups, and the aforementioned 80-grain TTSX averaged barely under an inch, though its potential is likely closer to 0.5 inch. In fact, much to my amazement, I fired one three-shot group with the TTSX that measured an honest 0.095 inch--leaving a single ragged hole of about .35 caliber overall diameter. It was the unfortunate odd-hole-out on one group that brought the average up to almost an inch.

The rifle itself has the lovely, classic lines associated with the CDL, and though it has what many consider a long barrel, it carries and balances nicely. In fact, I like the length; it provides a bit of stability for those long shots in the field that the .257 Wby. cartridge is so capable of. Mounted with a 3.5-14X 50mm Leupold VX-7 riflescope and loaded with three rounds in the magazine, the package weighed in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces. Not a featherweight, but great for hunting pronghorn on the western plains and mule deer in big canyon country.

Here's something you don't see every day: a Weatherby magnum cartridge at home on a Remington 700 bolt.

A rather plush recoil pad adorns the buttstock, and though the .257 Wby. is mild mannered for a high-performance magnum (courtesy of its small projectile diameter), the pad just makes the rifle that much more comfortable to shoot. A black accent tip sets off the fore-end, and the stock is nicely checkered fore and aft. The balance point of the rifle is just at the front of the hinged floorplate, and the stock is slender enough that it rests easily in the hand and carries nicely. The wrist and pistol grip are likewise slender and well contoured. The walnut stock is properly finished, all pores and grain nicely filled, with a satin finish.

I think it's interesting that the fore-end is pressure-pointed, providing pressure against the bottom surface of the barrel just behind the fore-end tip. It is free-floated from that point back to the action ring. Jon Sundra, a writer with vastly more experience than I have, claims that such an arrangement often improves the performance of light-contoured barrels, and though I wouldn't call the Model 700's barrel light, it is long and therefore may also benefit from the vibration-dampening effect of a fore-end pressure point.

The action functioned smoothly and never hiccupped, picking rounds out of the magazine, chambering them, and extracting and ejecting them with almost negligent ease. The new X-Mark Pro trigger broke cleanly and with minimal overtravel. It averaged 3 pounds, 6 ounces on my digital Lyman trigger gauge, with a variation of less than 3 ounces over 10 cycles. Best yet, the trigger is user-adjustable, allowing shooters who want the trigger lighter to make the adjustment themselves rather than taking the rifle to a gunsmith.

Overall, it's a lovely package and, as it proved on the range, very capable. I have only a couple of small issues with it: In my opinion, the finish on the bottom metal is not as nice as the finish on the rest of the rifle. Also, from an accuracy standpoint, only one of the locking lugs on the bolt is making contact, which tends to detract from consistency. It's a problem that many production rifles share, but imagine what kind of accuracy the rifle might be capable of were the lugs bearing equally!

What would I use this rifle for? Stoked with the light 80-grain Tipped Triple-Shock and sighted-in at 340 yards, it offers a point-blank range of a bit more than 400 yards, where the bullet never leaves an 8-inch vital circle. That's the beauty of the .257 Wby. cartridge. Coupled with the right optic, such as a Leupold with a Boone & Crockett reticle, I'd have a mighty authoritative pronghorn and predator rifle, and I wouldn't hesitate to draw down on a big desert mule deer a quarter-mile away across a draw if conditions were right.

Call it unusual, but when a Remington rifle and a Weatherby cartridge come together, it's also extraordinary.

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Remington 700 CDL SF Accuracy

Factory LoadVelocity (fps)Standard Deviation (fps) Extreme Spread (fps)100 Yard Accuracy (in.)
.257 Weatherby Magnum
Weatherby 80-gr. TTSX 3912 10 28 0.99
Weatherby 100-gr. SP 3518 27 61 0.74
Weatherby 115-gr. Ballistic Tip 3244 29 72 1.89
Weatherby 120-gr. Partition 3184 18 44 1.35
Notes: Accuracy is the average of three three-shot groups fired from a Sinclair benchrest. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 12 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: TTSX. Tipped Triple-Shock; SP, Spirepoint

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