Remington 700 Police 5R Stainless Exclusive, (SKU: 86594)
By Scott Powers
The History: Several years ago a Remington LE Rep called to ask if I would be interested in selling a Limited Production “Sniper Country PX” rifle based on the Model 700. He had noticed over the years I had been quite involved in the success of another exclusive sold by one of the distributors I had dealt with and that rifle had proven an outstanding performer. He suggested I give him a set of requirements that I thought my customers would prefer and this new Model 700 would be made to my specs, meet my customer’s accuracy requirements and even have my shop name on the rifle. A Sniper Country PX Limited Edition Model 700 Police or Target Rifle. It would be exclusively available only through my business. I loved the idea, but under no amount of dreaming could I afford the number required to build this exclusive for my customers. Saddened by my continual poverty, I did mention the exchange to one of the distributors I use for Law Enforcement products. I felt the tried and true 700 Police line could use a facelift and I thought maybe his company could follow through with their own exclusive using similar specifications. As a result of that almost forgotten conversation, things began to happen at that company and much to my joy the result was released in mid-2016! An entirely new Model 700 Police rifle with everything I or this distributor felt the line could use in these modern times. The rifle, as spec’d by this distributor, has most of the features one looks for today when considering a new tactical rifle!
The Rifle: So, I am proud to be perhaps the first writer to introduce the new Remington 700 Police Rifle part number 86594. With 5R rifling, a 20” stainless steel barrel and a twist rate of 1 in 11.25”. This setup features everything one could ask for in an affordable long range or sniper rifle including a military grade scope mounting base, top quality trigger and hard core trigger guard that will take abuse. It comes with Remington’s current Tactical oversized bolt knob and muzzle thread protector, the latter of which can be found on all Remington rifles with threaded barrels. To keep the price reasonable it foregoes a detachable magazine system and frankly, although this is a popular feature, it seldom lends any real world use on the civilian market while driving the price up several hundred dollars on the initial purchase price. I’ve always felt it was something better added after a shooter determines he really needs the feature.
Stock: Many standard 700 Police shooters will be thrilled to know this new Police model also comes with a full length M24 style HS Precision stock, same as the one used on the normal full length Model 700P (Remington SKU: 25709). This stock set the standard in the 1980’s-1990’s when introduced on the Army’s M24 (with its Adjustable Length of Pull) and on the then new Remington 700PSS (without the adjustable LOP). With its wide beavertail forearm and ambidextrous palm swell in the pistol grip, this stock has several advantages over slimmer hunting profile type stocks. The pistol grip swell made training shooters to position their trigger finger correctly very easy, as it positioned the finger so that the pad of the trigger finger fell naturally on the trigger shoe. While I like the thin and handy 700 LTR stock, (I admit its hunting profile makes some sense for police use where lighter weight can be a benefit), deep down I’ve always preferred the wider forearm of the standard Police stock for its ability to ride well on a bag or balance well in my hand. This new rifle uses the same HS Precision stock as found on the current production full size Remington 700 Police rifle. Stock fitment is excellent with the barrel centered perfectly in the barrel channel. Remington LE rifles undergo a triple quality control check system that is a step above Remington’s normal civilian CQ procedure. The stock widens forward of the recoil lug and tapers from 2.2 inches down to 2.175 inches at the tip. The forearm is oval in cross section. Under the receiver, the stock is 1.968 inches wide, then tapers slightly at the pistol grip, before swelling out to create the palm swell as mentioned above. If you are a former Army Sniper, the stock will feel intimately familiar, as its profile is identical to your M24 rifle. The only difference is that the stock is cut for a short action receiver, and it does not have the adjustable length of pull feature found on the M24 version. Standard length of pull is set at approximately 13.5 inches. The stock comes with the standard three sling swivel studs. Two on the forearm, one on the buttstock.
Trigger: The new rifle has the excellent Remington 40X Trigger. From the Remington LE branch, this trigger breaks at a very crisp 4.5 pounds on my scale. While people always think they “need” something lighter, I have to tell you, for police work this weight makes perfect sense and keeps the lawyers happy. When you find yourself pointing your rifle at the exposed point of aim below a hostage takers nose, and that point is only an inch and a half from the hostage’s entire face, you best not be playing around with a hair trigger. Naturally if you’re not a police sniper, or if you are and your department allows a lower weight, you, your gunsmith or your armorer can adjust this trigger weight down quite a bit to suit whatever game you are playing. From target plinking to long range target competition to the serious work of the tactical operator, the 40X trigger has long been a standard bearer on the line.
M24 Trigger Guard: The new Remington 700P 5R 86594 rifle also addresses something many of us have felt needed fixing, but few of us have ever experienced. Many have long felt that the Remington aluminum BDL style trigger guard could prove to be a weak point. Be it hard hunting or in the tactical environment, people have argued that hit hard enough the aluminum trigger guard might fail. Having said that, I’ve not yet met anyone who’s broken one, though I’m sure someone will write me to say they have! Whether a real or perceived issue, for those who worry the new rifle solves this debate once and for all as it comes equipped with the very same Steel Trigger Guard as the Army’s M24 rifle. Having once seen an M24 dropped on a boulder I can tell you, you are NOT going to hurt this sucker. This rifle takes advantage of the Army’s decision to replace the M24 with the M2010 and uses several available important parts from the M24 production line. I can say that at this price point (Approximately $1200 in October of 2016) this rifle is as close as one can get to a new M24 without forking over at least three times the coin. There’s simply nothing else on the market today that can offer these features, this level of performance (see accuracy results below) in this price category.
20 inch Police Weight Barrel with 5R Rifling: As mentioned earlier, The new 86594 has a Stainless Steel 5R rifled barrel (powder coated black) which is the same rifling type used in the US Army’s famous M24. Its barrel however is kept to a more reasonable police weight tapering from 1.236” at the chamber to approximately .865” at the muzzle. While I love the M24, the reality is that its straight taper “bull” barrel and the resulting weight penalty is not really needed for long range accuracy and especially not for police work. Police and civilian marksman also benefit from a varmint or police weight since there’s little to be gained by the excess weight of a full on straight taper bull barrel. In my past experience, the thickness of a barrel doesn’t necessarily give any indication of accuracy. It’s part of the equation certainly, but there appears to be a threshold at which point going any thicker in diameter does not seem to make a bit of difference in precision shooting accuracy. It’s also worth pointing out that I’ve had thin barreled rifles, straight taper bull barreled rifles and varmint weight barrels all shoot sub half minute with the right load. There are many factors involved and lugging around a rifle with a massively fat tube doesn’t really benefit the user, especially if he / she can find something with a varmint weight tube that will shoot as well. In the case of comparing a Model 700 M24 and a Model 700 Police 86594, total accuracy on target is nearly identical (dependent on load). This is not exaggerating. This new rifle, during my testing, was holding five shot groups within .355 inches. That is not a typo, the first five shots after break-in (more on this later) punched a beautiful group that measured .302 inches. My old M24 was beating that when new, by maybe a 10th of an inch! Close enough that it’s inside the statistical range to be one and the same and certainly inside my ability to hold consistently.
The new Model 700P 86594 5R has the ever popular 5R rifling with the 1 turn in 11.25 inch twist. The twist rate is a proven performer and handles projectiles from below 150 grains all the way to over 180 grains. It simply loves the 155 to 175 grain weights. I personally prefer heavy for caliber bullets so in testing I used the Sierra 175 grain projectiles as they have proven time and again to perform well out to beyond 1000 yards, while retaining sufficient energy.
In our experience at the PX, this rifling profile appears to shoot a given projectile slightly flatter at the same velocities than standard square cut rifling does. I’ve seen as much as a half minute difference at 1000 yards. This is said to be a result of the reduced drag created by the rounded edge of the engraving left on the bullet jacket by the rifling. Some argue that the 5R rifling profile is also easier to clean, although frankly, my cleaning method is the same for both types of rifling be it square cut or radius cut. Some claim it fouls less per given shot, but I have no actual data to prove this one way or the other. All I can tell you is that this rifling has proven to be a performer and over the past 12 years, has given custom level accuracy out of over the counter rifles.
Does The Shorter Barrel Matter? As stated, the new rifle came with a 20” barrel. I’ve gone back and forth about barrel length for decades. In the .308 Winchester/7.62×51mm NATO Class, I have always felt that 24” was ideal and I’ve stayed with that length for the most part, but have always understood that for many operators, it’s just too long as is the 26”. Let me be clear here. In many calibers, a longer barrel does not necessarily mean more accuracy and never has, but people still tend to equate length with precision shooting. A real argument can be made that a short fat tube can be more accurate than a long fat tube of the same diameter, its simple physics, but a lot has to do with barrel harmonics. The 20” barreled Remington 700 Police LTR (SKU: 25739) has long proven the case as it’s out of the box accuracy performance at 500 yards sometimes exceeds that of the longer 26” version of the 700P. We’re splitting hairs here, as the difference is minor. The one thing you do gain with a long tube, in most cases, is velocity. You retain a little more energy as well, but that is not pertinent to this particular conversation. In theory and to some extent, higher velocity means shorter time of flight. Shorter time of flight means the wind has less time to work against the projectile in flight. As a result, shorter time of flight means you “may” miss “less” if you blow a wind call at 500 to 1000 yards. Alas, a long barrel doesn’t guarantee a hit any more than a shorter one guarantees a miss in wind. On the other hand, at extreme distances a longer tube may allow a hit on the edge of the target in wind compared to a clean miss with a shorter barrel with a longer time of flight. I’m splitting hairs again, as the time itself is less than 0.10th to 0.13th of a second. How does all this translate into real world shooting?
To start, the shorter barrel is definitely handier and possibly balances better in the offhand. On a 55 degree day with a chronograph five feet in front of the muzzle, the 20” rifle using Federal GM2 (the 175 grain Match load) will have a velocity of 2497fps. My 26” varmint rifle on the same day was posting a velocity of 2640fps. Drop at 1000 yards for the 20” rifle was 41 M.O.A. Out of the 26” barrel it was 37 M.O.A. So a difference of four minutes at 1000 yards. Easily dialed out on a modern tactical Scope, as the majority today have at least 75 minutes of total adjustment. In practical terms, it’s no wonder that the shorter barrels are becoming popular these days. Snipers have, for decades, done yeoman’s work with barrels from 18” to 28”. Their skills determined the outcome far more than the overall length of the barrel. In recent times, a real movement in the community has been toward shorter, handier rifles. The realization was that for the penalty of slightly slower flight time and slightly more drop the shooter could carry a handier, lighter rifle that under the right conditions may yield better accuracy. If you’re a police sniper and have to hump a full length rifle with an overly fat barrel and a stupidly large scope up five flights of stairs to take a 90 yard shot…well, suddenly you’re looking at the this new breed of shorter tactical rigs and thinking, “what’s not to like?” Even at 500 to 700 yards, the old Remington 700 Police LTR can kick some serious ass. In the Police world, a shorter barrel has always made sense. For a time police (the lucky ones not stuck with deer rifles) were strapped with military grade rifles designed for 1000+ yards that were seldom employed in the real world at anything over 400. Few (zero really) police snipers are asked to shoot at ranges that require high energies at or beyond 10 football fields. The statistics still lean toward shots at less than 100 yards for the majority of police snipers. This does not mean that police snipers do not or should not practice at long ranges. To be precise at short range, you really need to practice and train at longer ranges. All too often civilian buyers mistake those statistics to mean that if you want to shoot 500 yards and beyond, you need a 24” or 26” or longer barrel to be accurate. It’s simply not the case! In the end, it’s your money, so hey, whatever floats your boat. But when a plain-Jane 700 Police LTR with a 20 inch barrel can shoot a 2.5 inch group at 500 yards and still hold MOA at 900 yards, one must ask, do I really need anything longer?
I am spending more time on barrel length than I planned here, but it bears discussion when considering a new long range rifle. Long barrels have a place, certainly. If you are trying to take down an enemy combatant, terrorist or otherwise at a distance that leaves one relatively safe from direct return fire, you bet, that long tube ain’t a bad thing in the combat environment. Combat in the desert or across massive distances? Yup, give me a long tube. Some of the shots made in the Gulf wars, across massive distances, have been truly extraordinary. What about combat in Europe where you might have wide open spaces or shorter wood terrain? Maybe a long barrel has some advantage. Then again, a fair bit of sniping was done with shorter rifles all though WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Other than retained energy and the aforementioned higher velocity, humping around a long spear isn’t going to make much difference in the world of hunting or target shooting to 1100 yards, particularly if shooting beyond your own skill sets. And having a long 24” or 26” barrel for police work simply makes no sense at all given the statistics involved.
So what about Civilian Target shooting (steel or paper) from 100 to 1000 yards? Here’s where the debate really comes to the fore. As civilians, we get to play with EVERYTHING. No oversight in terms of what we carry. Whim and fancy and thickness of wallet rule the decision process, but here is something to think about. I’ve seen guys shoot amazing groups with 20” barrels just as I have done so myself with my favored 24”. I’ve never seen a guy gain much advantage going with a longer 26” or 28” barrel, although I have seen some with similar skill score equally well. In all cases, it came down to the skill of the shooter more than the rig he was carrying or the length of his barrel. Yes you perverted cretin, I said “the length of his barrel”. Dutch, if you are reading this, yes, I meant YOU. LOL. So, bringing us full circle and back to the new 86594 rifle. The above is why I wanted to see a 20” Police model with better specs than the current standard Police line. Its time and it makes sense.
To put the current trends and success of these shorter barrels into perspective, I attended a sniper competition four years ago and only four people, myself included, had a 24” barrel on their rig. The other 200 highly skilled competitors all had short handy 20” rifles of various makes and models, both custom made and over the counter. The winning team that year cleaned our clocks and did so with 20” barreled rifles. Shots for score were from 75 yard to 980 yards. Not once did barrel length inhibit the shooters. Lack of sleep, long marches between shooting positions, brutal sunlight shining directly in your optics at dawn, crazy winds switching back and forth across the valleys, bad range calls, you name it and the shooters suffered it. Personally I nearly hopped on the “truck of shame” when my tendon committed serious treason on day two and caused me to limp my way through miles of ridge to valley to ridge trekking. At which point I starting saying to myself, “Self, why in the hell are you still carrying this long-assed spear when everyone outshooting you has short, lighter rifles?” I may be an idiot, but idiots can learn too!
So here we are. Its 2016 and there are now an abundance of tactical and varmint rifles available with 20” police or varmint weight barrels. Life is good in the shooting world. You want a 24” or 26” tubed spear? Someone makes it. You want handy? Someone makes that too. You want a perfect combination of precision, weight, balance, feel and wallop? We now have this new entry into the Remington Police line-up. It features a 5/8-24” thread on the muzzle to accept a wide range of muzzle brakes, suppressors or muzzle brakes that accept suppressors. Interestingly enough and included in the price, she comes with a military grade scope base, the Badger Ordnance 306-06F which retails for over $150 if purchased separately. This is one of the best Picatinney rails one the market. I have abused Badger rails for over a decade, exposing them to insane levels of humidity, sealing them up afterward for weeks and finding no surface rust to speak of. I’ve mounted them on countless rifles and always had outstanding fit and return to zero when removing and remounting a scope/ring combo. In short, I am a fanboy of everything Badger Ordnance. Sounds kind of silly to phrase it that way, but they are really that good. In this case, the base chosen for this rifle has a flat taper, meaning there is no forward cant to the base. This makes the most sense for Law Enforcement snipers due to the range limitations and restrictions imposed upon them. I might have liked the 306-06 more, with its 20 M.O.A. taper, but since my scope has 75 minutes of adjustment, it doesn’t matter. With this rifle and the scope in question, I can dial out beyond 1100 yards. So the flat base makes sense for Police. But what if you are a civilian shooter? Just make sure your scope of choice has at least 55 to 65 minutes of internal adjustment and you will still be able to get out to 900 to 1000 yards with this rifle in .308 Winchester.
Seeing how this rifle is short enough to use effectively with a suppressor, yet still retains the ideal twist rate for match level accuracy, I was curious about how long a projectile I could load. In the .308 chambering, those wishing to do a lot of subsonic work prefer very heavy for caliber bullets with long bearing surfaces. Weights in the range of 180 to 220 grains are not uncommon. Bullet weights over 190 grains really need a faster twist, like 1:10, this rifle seems to settle on match grade accuracy versus the ideal twist rate for heavy subsonic loads. I actually prefer this myself, as shooting non-subsonic, but highly accurate match loads through a suppressor still gives LE and military shooters the advantage of masking their signature without giving away anything in accuracy or energy department. This rifle strikes a nice compromise. Upon checking the length of the throat, it appears that one can still use very heavy for caliber, long bearing surface projectiles without having jam them into the rifling. At the same time, the throat is not so long as to negatively affect normal match grade ammo in the 168 to 175 grain range.
At the Range. So now that I have made you wade through paragraphs of anticipation, one assumes I have you screaming, “oh you wordy bastard! HOWS IT SHOOT?” After all, no amount of yakking about specs will mean much if this thing shoots like a bent arrow in the wind. To be thorough, I decided to do a complete break-in process. Firing 10 rounds and cleaning between each. I recorded these 10 cold bore shots on one target before moving to the targets for group size with a known load, the above mentioned Federal Gold Medal GM2. During break in, I used some old hand loads I had, which also used the Sierra 175 grain MK projectile. I was struck silly by the first five individual shots. Keep in mind, this was not a load designed and tailored for this rifle. Five shots went into .127” at 100 yards. The second string of four shots during the cleaning process went into a .048” circle. This second, distinct group was about a half inch to the right of the first group. I was fairly impressed because I couldn’t really tell you what load I was using. I simply pulled some old loads out of my garage that I had developed for several target rifles maybe eight years ago. The final shot of the break in process, which posted a wild velocity excursion on the chronometer, opened up to a 1.0 total group size, taking all three clusters into account. So I had three distinct clusters on paper. I wanted to quit because frankly, I wasn’t sure I could repeat this with my actual test load!
However, you, the readerneeds real information so I cleaned the barrel one last time and took a short break. Once the barrel was completely cool, I cracked open a fresh box of Federal GM2 and proceeded to shoot for record. There is a reason I used the Federal 175 grain GM308M2 match load for testing. It has proven very consistent over the years and I love to use it at long ranges. It did not disappoint. The conditions were thus: Temp. 55 degrees. Altitude, 450 feet above sea level. Five shot group fired with about 30 to 60 seconds between each shot to allow my aging eyes to rest. Let rifle rest for five minutes. Shoot second five shot group. The scope used was a Leupold Mk4 M5 8.5-25×50 with TMR Reticle. Distance was 100 yards. More testing at longer ranges to come as time allows. The results were as follows:
Group 1: widest portion of group, center to center, .302 inches.
Average Velocity: 2496 FPS.
Group 2: Widest portion of group, center to center, .355 iinches.
Average Velocity: 2499 FPS.
Group 3: Widest portion of group, center to center, .746 inches
Average Velocity: 2493 FPS.
On the last group, group 3, four shots went into .280 inches, and I think I got so damn excited that I totally threw the last shot. Ah well, we all have a bad day at some point. In short, this new rifle appears to be another success for Remington at turning out Sub-Minute, non-custom made, over the counter rifles able to perform like the custom rigs we all begged for back in the 1980’s. If you’re looking for something new, something you can use for both precision shooting and suppressed work, assuming the national hearing protection act ever goes into effect, you could do a lot worse than this new rifle!
Remington 700 Police 5R (SKU) 86594
Caliber: .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO
Overall Length: 39.75 inches
Rifle weight: 8.75 pounds.
Trigger Weight: 4.5 pounds.
Barrel length: 20 inches
Barrel Profile: Police/Varmint Weight
Rifling Type: 5R
Twist Rate: 1 in 11.25″
Muzzle Threads: 5/8-24”
Stock: HS Precision PST012 Tactical
Bolt Knob: Remington Tactical
Trigger Guard: Steel Model M24
Scope Base: Badger Ordnance 306-06F Picatinney Rail.
Where to Buy? http://www.snipercountrypx.com/product/remington-700-police-5r-w20-inch-barrel-wbadger-rail-a-308-win/