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...for the blackpowder enthusiast

The Remington 700 ML

Rick Kindig, Log Cabin Sports Shop

The Remington Arms Co. of Ilion, NY, an American icon for over 150 years, is back in the muzzleloading business. The recent release of their new model 700ML, previously mentioned in our article "Buying a Muzzleloading Rifle", has caused a flurry of activity among black powder hunters across the country. Based on Remington's famous 700 bolt action cartridge rifle, the 700ML enters into a market al-ready flush with in-line models from such well-known companies as Thompson Center, Knight, White, C.V.A., and others. Based on the results of a morning on the range with the 700ML, I predict it will compete successfully.

At first glance it is hard to distinguish the muzzleloading 700 from its cartridge firing parent, except for the black aluminum ramrod under the barrel and rod carrier band 4" in back of the muzzle. The round, 24" long stainless steel barrel is mounted on the well-known bolt action receiver, which includes a thumb safety and is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. Other features include adjustable rear sight and a white bead front sight mounted on a ramp. The black synthetic stock has a pistol grip, monte carlo cheek piece, sling swivel studs, recoil pad and molded checkering at the wrist and forend.

The overall length of the 700ML is 42-1/2", trigger pull is 13-1/2", and it weighs 7 lb. 10 oz. Included with the rifle is a hand full of accessories including a nipple wrench, breech plug wrench,ram rod extension and handle, Allen wrench and foul weather nipple shroud. A detailed instruc-tion book also comes with each gun, as does a firearms safety video. While this safety video is not particularly geared to muzzleloading, any shooter, no matter how ex-perienced, could benefit from viewing it once in a while as a refresher.

I found the 700ML to be dependable, easy to operate and clean, accurate, and fun to shoot. I opened the bolt to check that there was no cap or cap residue on the nipple, and dropped the rod down the barrel to be certain there was no load in the barrel. Then I fired two caps to be certain the nipple was clear (holding the muzzle near a blade of grass will give visible proof of a clear channel when the grass moves). I measured 80 grains of G.O.I. 2F black powder, an arbitrary load that I believe to be on the lower end of reasonable hunting loads. I picked a Hornady 240 gr. XTP bullet and sabot for my first group. The sabot loaded with firm but manageable pressure of the aluminum rod. My second group was shot using the same 80 grain charge and a 385 grain Great Plains bullet. Again, this loaded with relative ease. The rod mounted with the gun is quite adequate for field use. It will accept any 10-32 threaded attachment. For loading on the target range or cleaning, there is an extension and handle that makes the whole process easier.

At the firing line, I placed a CCI #11 cap on the nipple, pushed the safety to the fire position, and touched off the first shot. Cap placement was not a problem when shooting with open sights. However, a scope on top may limit access to the nipple such that an in-line capper would be necessary to conveniently place the cap.

Recoil with the saboted load was no problem. However, after numerous shots with the heavier Great Plains bullet, I started to notice the recoil from the comb on my cheek. The stock is rather straight, however most shooters will probably want to use a scope, and the extra height of the scope will ease this situation.

The adjustable trigger comes preset from the factory (not user adjustable), and provides a very crisp hunting level let-off. The trigger guard is standard 700 size and pro-vides less access than a T/C Renegade Hunter guard. The trigger has a wide face and would be accessible with most hunting gloves on.

Firing from a bench at 50 yards and using open sights, I was able to keep five (5) sabot rounds in a 1-1/4" circle, with four of the five shots touching. With the Great Plains bul-lets, I maintained a 3" circle, but I think these bullets could turn in a better performance by adjusting powder charges. Based on this limited test I think the 700 will be an outstanding shooter within any reasonable black powder hunting range.

Back in the shop, faced with the prospect of cleaning the rifle, I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of dis-assembly. An Allen wrench removes the bolt retaining screw and the bolt can then be withdrawn from the receiver. The long nipple wrench slides into the receiver and easily removes the 1/4 x 28 nipple. Reverse the wrench and the breech plug can be removed just as quickly. I was pleased to see that the plug was a simple affair that resulted in a very short flash channel. This allows fast, dependable ignition with little room for fire-stopping fouling to build up.

With the bolt and plug removed, a solvent-soaked cleaning patch can be run through the bore from the breech. This task is facilitated by a factory provided rod carrier tube that slips into the receiver and helps get the wet patch into the bore without getting solvent into the trigger unit.

The bolt assembly comes apart for cleaning in one step. A quick wipe down and a very light oil is all it takes here. I have seen cases with other in-lines where excessive lubri-cation of the bolt will prevent firing in cold weather because the frozen lube stops the firing pin movement. I don't know if that could happen with the 700ML (the spring is quite stout) but if you keep the lube light there should be no problem.

After cleaning, re-assembly is quick and easy. One acces-sory I didn't make use of was the nipple shroud that comes with this gun. This simple tube can be pressed in place on the face of the bolt when out of the gun. In use it pro-vides additional protection to the nipple during wet weather.

The Remington 700ML comes in .50 or .54 caliber, and in standard length or carbine style. And the $400.00 price tag (subject to change) makes the 700ML quite competitive with other quality in-lines. Anyone looking for an effective muzzleloading deer rifle should consider this piece. Ac-curate, dependable, easy to maintain, resistant to wear and weather damage and just plain fun to shoot, the Remington 700ML will become a major player in the muzzleloading hunting rifle field.

If you would like more information on this or other muzzle-loading firearms and supplies, please call the Log Cabin Shop at (330) 948-1082. If you would like to place an order for the Remington 700ML, or any other products that the Log Cabin Shop carries, please call our toll free order line (800) 837-1082 or fax your order to us at (330) 948-4307.