Remington 700 PCR in 6.5 Creedmoor - detailed test & review
PUBLISHED: 14:55 12 September 2019
Chris Parkin tests out the latest evolution of the legendary Remington 700, and discovers a rifle with outstanding accuracy, ready to meet the demands of today's competition shooters
REMINGTON 700 PCR IN 6.5 CREEDMOOR - BRIEF OVERVIEW
PROS: The Remington 700 competition rifle I have been waiting for; Meets price criteria for PRL factory class competition; Effective performance straight from the box; Barricade stop on the handguard
CONS: Don't forget to give the steelwork a wipe over with an oily cloth
VERDICT: I will accept the caveats of Remington's triggers, but the fundamentally stout action design and long-term usability have now finally met the ideal chassis stock for modern competition needs. The Evolve Moderator is worth a mention for effective performance too
Calibre: 6.5 Creedmoor on test (308 and 260 also available)
Barrel: Cold hammer forged with 5R rifling
Barrel length: 610mm/24" 1 in 8" twist rate
Overall length: 1120mm/44"
Muzzle thread: 5/8"x24tpi
Stock: Hard anodised Aluminium Chassis/Magpul
Length of pull: 350mm/13.75" to 385/15.125"
Trigger: single stage, X-Mark Pro breaking at 1620gr
Safety: two stage without bolt lock
Magazine: 5 round detachable AICS compatible magazine
Raytrade UK Ltd. 01635 253344 www.raytradeuk.co.uk
Rem 700 PCR: £1465.00
Evolve Moderator: £199.00
GPO Evolve 6-24x50: £965.00
Barnes and Remington
Raytrade UK Ltd. 01635 253344 www.raytradeuk.co.uk
Sako TRG Ammunition
GMK 01489 579999 www.gmk.co.uk
Edgar Brothers 01625 613177 www.edgarbrothers.com
Tier-One 30mm Scope Mounts
Tier One 01924 404313 www.tier-one.eu
REMINGTON 700 PCR IN 6.5 CREEDMOOR - IN DEPTH REVIEW
I have shot more Remingtons at all price points and ages than any other rifle, with a full appreciation of where the brand is heading towards. This old action is fundamentally simple and sound, but modern whims have challenged Remington, who at times have struggled to keep up, especially, to my mind, in Europe. Modern triggers have now arrived but, more importantly, the PCR has been designed to fit right into the new Factory Division category in the PRL world, where retail price is a critical concern before you can start to appreciate the function of a rifle.
A standard 700 long action receiver is twinned with a 5R barrel in the now ubiquitous 6.5 Creedmoor calibre within Remington's own aluminium chassis. This shows a tubular KeyMod-compatible and removable fore-end for barrel access during cleaning and a consistent free float on the 24" barrel, which looks to provide both competitive velocity and uninterrupted barrel harmonics. Remington is mated to Magpul's PRS Gen 3 rear end with a non-flexing junction and optimized geometry for all shooters and most positions.
Length of pull starts out at 350mm/13.75" with the extension of a further 35mm from a sturdy dial under the butt plate. All components are high-quality injection-moulded polymers and aluminum with none of the tinny, rattly nature of preceding Remingtons built around components from the AR-15/.223 parts bin.
A firm 23mm thick rubber recoil pad sits right at the back to grip your shoulder pocket with the added benefit or +/-20mm of vertical travel above and below centerline, allowing recoil to be directed into your shoulder more cleanly with less muzzle flip, especially when prone.
The cheekpiece shows a similar rotating collar to adjust height through 19mm, with each increment defined with a solid functional click to retain the setting, just like the recoil pad.
Reach to trigger from the grip's throat is just 63mm, characteristic of the AR-15 Lineage, but it is something you get used to, if not totally ideal for me. The X-Mark Pro trigger is Remington's own and breaks at a crisp 3.9lb/1,619g. This has been the weak point for Remmys for a few years, yet is now promised to be adjustable by your dealer at time of purchase.
I found the relatively heavy weight pleasantly offset by the creep-free break and would be happy having the tension lowered to 1,000g for long-term use, using the external adjustment screw. All is protected by the aluminum wrap around trigger guard incorporated into the chassis.
An ambidextrous lever sits at the front, releasing the AICS compatible magazine from its well. Remington supply a five-round polymer P-Mag, working flawlessly without ammunition damage as it is fed from the staggered column via central feed lips, up the ramp and into the chamber by Remington's longstanding push-feed bolt. There is no problem purchasing additional magazine brands which all fit the gun's well, and these mags load one at a time from the front, rather than just clipping in from above. No bullet damage was noted as rounds fed into the chamber and it's nice to know in a competitive environment that you can simply drop an extra round into the ejection port, close the bolt and it will chamber reliably without hinderance.
There is a reason the Rem 700 action has been around for 57 years. 'Three Rings of Steel' has always been the advertising slogan for the actions with the enclosed extractor clip within the rebated bolt-face requiring no weakening cutouts for a claw type extractor. They have their doubters, but I've never had a problem across 30 or so rifles, and the strong action features a gas escape port to the right side, should a primer ever pierce.
Strong extraction and ejection are enabled by a long 71mm bolt-handle capped with a new teardrop ball end. This is lightly knurled for grip and blued like the rest of the steel. My pre-production model required a wipe with an oily rag, as fingerprints and sweat did cause some mild corrosion. Thankfully, production models ship with a cerakoted bolt-handle.
Action cycling is rugged and purposeful with a 90° bolt swing lifting the twin lugs from their abutments before the handle forces itself away from the rear-action bridge to make sure the spent, enlarged brass is tugged from the chamber walls.
Final controls are the bolt-release catch in front of the trigger and safety emerging from the right side of the receiver. Forward for fire, rear for safe without locking the bolt, and simple action status is indicated by the appearance of the firing pin's silver rear end flush with the bolt-shroud.
There is no contact between the tubular fore-end and barrel, even at the base of the chassis where the action sits on two familiar machine screws in its machined inlet. This is quite smart as it allows the removal of the fore-end without any likely shift in zero from removing the action from the inlet. Much as machined aluminum and steel can be accurately mated in the modern world of computerized machinery, I prefer not to remove anything unless absolutely necessary and that allows the recoil lug (sandwiched between barrel and action) to remain planted in its pocket.
Air can freely circulate for all cooling duties around the barrel with endless mounting locations for accessories. I used a Harris adaptor for a bipod along with Raytrade's own Evolve sound moderator, which proved highly effective. This screwed straight onto the 5/8"x24 thread at the barrel's muzzle, which may attract brakes in the PRL world but I'm sticking with mods for now. A smart perpendicular crown is shown in front of the cleanly cut threads, which show improved chatter-free machining standards on display. Finishing at 21mm diameter, the barrel's modest varmint profile, mated to the all-aluminum chassis, show a 5kg/11lb mass on the scales, including the Picatinny rail but not the scope.
Remington uses CATS (Computer Aided Targeting System) to test each gun before it leaves the factory, recording the three-shot sub-MOA guarantee group on paper. This is supplied with the rifle in any of the three available chamberings (6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and .260 Remington), using an acoustic test bed for precise target measurement during quality control, yet I set up to test this one myself. I was fortunate to have several types of Creedmoor ammunition for the PCR. From the bench, I found the usual variability from recipe to recipe, but nothing shot below the guaranteed MOA promise for five, never mind just three rounds.
Best of the bunch was Hornady's TAP (Tactical Application Police) ammunition with sub-15mm groups at 100m from the efficient 147 ELD-X bullet. Muzzle velocity averaged 2,599 fps with an extreme spread of 36 fps that impressed me from a barrel hardly worn in with only 75 rounds down the bore.
I feel the combination is more than satisfactory for a new shooter who wants a rifle and ammunition that performs on targets straight from the box. Interestingly, Barnes Precision Match ammunition produced just 11 fps extreme spread with a standard deviation of only 6 fps; although slightly less accurate on paper with 19mm, five-round group average at this stage, it performed better at long ranges in the field on steel, where minimised velocity fluctuation provided benefits to vertical grouping and more accurate 'dopes' on the 2,652 fps muzzle velocity ballistic corrections out to 500m.
All aluminum of the stock is Teflon-coated with hard anodizing for longevity, and anyone using it for PR will appreciate the toughness. The SquareDrop handguard forms a 'barricade stop' for scenarios involving improvised rests, allowing you to really lean into shots, and there are multiple anchor points for varying sling types along the Magpul butt. There is also the possibility of a monopod positioned on the smooth underside of the butt, where you might normally use a soft bag or clenched fist in comfort. There isn't a butt hook, but the gentle sloped shape gave a commanding position and stability when aiming, which was noticed more so due to the 'slower' trigger pulls and deepened desire to maintain solid position on target for fractions of a second longer. It's not hard to see which guns I shoot side by side each month and although one may assume the most expensive rifles take priority, I enjoyed shooting the PCR mostly because of its real-world affordability and function for a larger shooting audience. Personally, I can't wait until guns like this renew enthusiasm for emerging and evolving competitive disciplines such as PRL, and others that will no doubt follow. Critically, I found the gun a pleasure to interact with in all ways, ergonomic, mechanical and rewarding on target. Well done Remington (with a big nod to Magpul) because you definitely haven't been lagging any more.