Remington 700 upgrades
Most guys I know love to tinker with stuff. Be it their house, car or firearm, they try to make it better. While it helps to have a specialized skill set with a lot of expensive tools to work on guns, many modifications can be made by the average shooter on his own.
Why upgrade a factory rifle? For one, it’s usually cheaper to modify your current factory rifle than to buy a new one. Plus, in many cases, you can get exactly what you want. More importantly, full-on custom builds can cost big money; incrementally changing your rifle will be much easier on your wallet.
In this post let’s take a look at Remington 700 upgrades and modifications the can increase performance. We aren’t going to talk about optics since that is a subject that deserves its own post, but let’s look at 4 big areas: triggers, rings & bases, stocks, and chassis & barrels.
The factory triggers on most Remingtons are pretty awful. It isn’t enough that they get a lot of bad press for them, but on top of that they are amongst the heaviest and least user friendly on the market. Swapping out a trigger requires a few basic tools and can greatly improve your shooting.
I like the Timney 510 (curved front) and 517 (flat front) triggers. These balance a crisp pull with an acceptable weight. Timney also offers a two-stage design as well as the Calvin Elite, which I like a lot. These are great triggers in their own right, however, the 510 is my go-to trigger.
The Jewel HVR is fairly popular as well. I use these on a few of my rifles. For a match gun, I can turn a Jewel down to uncomfortably low weights, something the pure target shooters may be fond of. The Jewel HVR is held together with screws which can fall out and work loose, because of this I wouldn’t use one in a field or working gun.
TriggerTech makes a nice “zero creep” trigger. Made in Canada, I’ve been using two of these triggers since their introduction and they are a close second to the Timney.
Scope rings and bases
I’m going to guess 99% of my reader’s Remington 700s have a scope on them. A great scope is always good, and many will buy the best that they can possibly afford. Beyond the scope, many overlook the rings and bases. A solid set of rings and bases are essential to accuracy. It drives me nuts when guys will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a rifle and scope and drop $4 on a extruded aluminum base. They aren’t machined, typically don’t fit very well and often don’t hold up well..
For M700s set up as precision rifles, I like a one piece steel base with heavy duty rings from either Badger Ordnance or Nightforce. If your budget is not an issue, the ISMS from Spuhr is worlds apart from anything else on the market. You can find my review of the Spuhr ISMS here.
New stock or chassis
Changing the stock or chassis on your rifle can be a game changer. Not only will you most likely see a significant increase in precision, but you can add features like a detachable magazine system.
I don’t a like chassis on hunting rifles. Depending on what your rifle currently has and what your budget is, you can step up to a fiberglass stock from Bell and Carlson, HS Precision, Grayboe or McMillan. All offer a wide variety of options that will improve ergonomics and provide a solid base for your barreled action.
For best performance, fiberglass stocks typically need to be bedded. This is a fairly labor intensive process that requires a lot of prep work. To learn how to bed a rifle stock, click here.
For the precision shooter a chassis can offer an upgrade to a detachable AICS styles magazine, adjustable length of pull and an adjustable comb that will allow correct alignment behind today’s larger tactical optics.
Kinetic Research Group (KRG) offers a series of chassis for the 700 that are expensive, but extremely well thought out and executed.
Accuracy International (AI) invented the chassis system for the Remington 700. Their AICS, and AICS AX chassis are among the priciest.
My personal favorite chassis system is the MDT ESS.
New barrels typically yield the biggest change in performance; whether you are changing the barrel in favor of a new cartridge or simply seeking a heavier contour, the new barrel will refine your rifle in many ways. There are a couple of ways to go with a new barrel. You can either get a blank and have it machined to fit, or go with some sort of pre-fit or Remage barrel conversion.
Remage barrels, like those offered by McGowan, use a barrel nut system similar to that found on a savage. You simply remove the factory barrel (this requires a barrel vise and action wrench) and screw on the replacement. Headspace is set with a gauge and the barrel nut. To learn more about how a Remage barrel system is installed, click here.
Pre-fit, typically short chambered barrel installation is a little more complex. Usually the machine work is done with a shallow chamber. You torque the barrel in place then hand turn a reamer to cut the chamber to the proper headspace. To learn more about how a short-chambered barrel is installed, click here.
If you upgrade to a chassis system, it will most likely include a detachable magazine system. If you don’t or use a traditional stock, you can purchase aftermarket bottom metal systems that allow the use of AICS type magazines. Often these systems will require machine work to the stock- another cost that lends to the desirability of upgrading to chassis systems.
What’s the first part you are going to upgrade?
Incrementally upgrading your Remington 700 will allow you to increase performance without the heavy hit of a full-on custom build. If you’ve been planning on some upgrades, go ahead and give it a shot!