The ubiquitous Remington 700 bolt action rifle has received praise and criticism since its introduction in 1962. Often used as the base for custom rifles and aftermarket custom actions, the rifle has also been plagued by high profile news stories, lawsuits and recalls relating to some of the trigger mechanisms.
Without the 700, and it’s pump action shotgun cousin, the 870, rifleshooter.com wouldn’t have nearly as much content as it has. The majority of the gunsmithing articles feature one of these two platforms. Despite its widespread representation on this website, I’ve only done a handful of reviews on stock Remington 700 rifles and I’ve never done one on the least expensive variant of it, the Model 700 ADL. In this post, we’ll change that.
I love to browse the discount websites and prowl for some great deals. This is one of them. A Remington 700 ADL combo that was chambered in 223 Remington and came equipped with a scope, rings and bases, all for the insanely low price of $298 shipped to my FFL! I couldn’t believe it, my price as a dealer from a wholesaler was over $100 more for the same rifle without the optic. I couldn’t pass it up.
In the 57 years since it’s introduction, the 700 has come in a number of different models and variants, but the two most basic models are the ADL and the BDL. Traditionally the ADL was the lower grade to the BDL; with the ADL having a blind magazine system and the BDL had a hinged floor plate.
My 700 ADL came chambered in 223 Remington with a 24″ long, 1:12″ twist, sporter-profile barrel and a synthetic stock. For many match shooters the relatively slow 1:12″ twist almost seems silly; however, these rifles were built and marketed primarily for hunting light game and varmints, where bullets lighter than 55 grains are fairly common. While I would have certainly preferred a faster twist rate, it was by no means a non starter. With the right load, the 223 Remington is easily a 500 yard gun if you do your part. I embraced the slower twist rate!
The stock on the 700ADL is injection molded plastic with a rubber recoil pad. The stock has a traditional pistol grip and narrow hunting style forend with a QD swivel located on the front and the rear of the stock. While the shape of the pistol grip isn’t the best for prone shooting, the stock is a typical hunting rifle stock which is perfect for a hunting rifle, especially one at this price point.
The blind magazine is loaded and unloaded through the ejection port. While this design is certainly slower to load than a detachable box magazine, and slower to unload then a hinged floor plate; for hunting applications it works just fine.
The factory trigger, the bane of the Model 700s existence is absolutely awful. Given Remington’s past problems with bad 700 trigger press, I completely understand why it feels the way it does, however it doesn’t make it any better to shoot. Mine had an average trigger pull of over 6 pounds. It didn’t really have any good qualities other than that it can be easily swapped out for an aftermarket Timney 510. For testing and evaluation purposes I left the factory trigger in the rifle when I shot it.
Even though this gun came equipped with an inexpensive scope, rings and bases, I decided to change them out to see how well the base rifle would shoot. A quick search around my shop turned up a Nightforce Steel 20 MOA base and a Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14 scope with M1 turrets (these scopes were cutting edge back in the day folks). I added those to the rifle, attached a Harris BRM bipod to the front QD stud and threw it all in my drag bag.
My selection of hand loads for testing was fairly straight forward. I found a box of Nosler 50 grain Ballistic Tips and Sierra 55 grain HP GameKings on my bench. I loaded both of these over Varget (it was in my powder measure and the CFE 223 wasn’t) in Starline 223 brass with CCI 400 primers.
Before we get to the loads, let’s have a quick look at the disclaimer below.
For reloading information: WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only. They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours. Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
I headed to the range with some PMC 55 grain FMJ to get on paper; and once I was there, fired 10 five-shot groups at 100 yards on 1″ green dot targets. Muzzle velocity was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. Results are shown in the table and targets below.
The best 5-shot group I managed with the stock 700 ADL. .658″ (.628 MOA), not bad!
Before I packed the rifle up and headed home I installed an Oryx Chassis . The Oryx is a new chassis that comes ready to drop a barreled action into for an MSRP of $399. I’ll be posting a detailed review of the Oryx soon, but it helped improved accuracy of the rifle.
The same factory gun, same scope, loads and shooter. This time the best group was .428″ (.409 MOA)!
So, what did I think of the Remington 700 ADL
- Great gun for the money. Especially if it is on sale, like mine was. Yes, you can get factory rifles with better triggers and more options, but in general, they’ll cost more.
- Easily upgradable. Ask the guys that own Howas, Tikka, Weatherbys, or any other rifle how easy it is to get aftermarkets parts for those guns. It isn’t. The Remington 700 is the AR15 or 1911 of the bolt action rifle world. Parts, stocks, chassis and triggers are widely available through multiple channels.
- Accurate. I’ve always had good luck with the accuracy of out-of-the -box Remington 700s. You may recall my exceptional 500 yard group with a 243 Winchester 700 SPS for instance; but overall, the guns shoot well, especially at this price point and remember, this wasn’t a heavy barrel rifle. It is a 1:12″ twist with a 6 pound trigger and I still managed to squeeze out a .628 MOA group as configured! With further load development, I’m sure this could be improved.
- Works great in a chassis. I paired this up with an Oryx chassis (great value, on $399 for the entire system) and I instantly had a chassis gun that was shooting .409 MOA! And that was with a trigger that broke over 6 pounds! I’ll be posting a stand alone review of the Oryx chassis soon.
- Trigger sucks. No other way to say it. While I did appreciate that it helped my ego when I shot some great groups with it, it shouldn’t have been on a bolt action rifle. Maybe in a few generations, after having acclimated to Glock triggers, shooters will like the factory trigger; but I certainly don’t. A Timney 510 will run you about 1/4 the price of the rifle, but I’d say it is money well spent.