Let me start by saying that the following is just a statement of my opinion in regard to a single example of a product. I in no way claim to be an expert in any field.
I was in a facility that happened to sell guns when a rifle caught my eye. The tag stated this was a 7mm Rem Mag. and the price included the mounted scope. Not going to say the actual cost, but it was South of 400.00. I asked the clerk if the rifle was new and he assured me it was. Thanks to it being just after I had received my income tax refund, I was in possession of un-earmarked funds, and we all know that money like that has to be spent on sporting equipment.
First let me say the rifle was no thing of beauty. This has never been a criterion of mine as most of my rifles live behind pickup seats or in gun racks. This rifle is right at home there.
The rifle is just that. A blued tapered barrel mounted in a synthetic stock. After lugging my dad’s 7mm mag years ago, my first thought was that this thing was way lighter. The rifle has a three round detachable box magazine. The trigger guard is actually part of the synthetic stock. The rifle came equipped with a Burris 3-9 power scope. Attached with Weaver style rings on a one piece base. I took the thing down for a thourough cleaning and the first thing I noticed is that the bolt has three locking lugs and requires a shorter throw than most bolt actions. The bolt was very stiff. It is also is two pieces. The bolt just behind the locking lugs attaches to the main body of the bolt with a substantial pin that has to have a hole in the middle of it for the firing pin to pass through.
I noticed the barrel touching the stock along one side. I removed some of the stock material with a rotary grinder and in a matter of just a few minutes had the barrel floated to my satisfaction.
I reload almost all my ammunition. This was the case with this rifle. Some Hornady 162 gr SSTs on top of 60 gr of H4831sc and I was ready to shoot the thing.
Recoil is managed well by the attached recoil pad. It was noticable, but not as bad as I was expecting. After tightening the scope mounts, I got 2.5 (nothing larger than 3 inch, but it was a called flyer) inch groups at 200 yards with this load. No not a bench rest rifle, but entirely adequate for a hunting rifle. Later I took it out prarie dog hunting. If you didn’t shoot it so fast as to heat the barrel, I was making 400 yard shots on prarie dogs without difficulty. The sticky bolt loosened up quite a bit and worked well.
Now the druthers:
I am not impressed by the two part bolt. I forsee after shooting it a while that pin holding things together is going to fail right in the middle were it is the weakest, probably leaving me with a stuck bolt.
The one piece stock (trigger guard is part of the stock) leaves me cold. Putting an aftermarket stock on this thing is probably going to be problamatic.
That said, if you are looking for an affordable magnum caliber hunting rifle for one or two seasons of hunting a year, this rifle would definately deserve a second, even a third look.
By: Geoff Keahey
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