September 23, 2010
A lot of Firepower in a little package.
I'll tell you right up front that until recently I was never a big fan of Remington's Model Seven rifle. That skinny barrel combined with an action that handled only short cartridges was never my cup of tea. And the stock? Removed from the rifle it might make a perfect bat for a good game of stickball. The only handsome Model Seven to come out of the plant in New York was that spiffy Mannlicher addition brought on line around 1993.
Nevertheless, over the past two years, the Model Seven--now available in wood-stock CDL or camo synthetic dress--has changed dramatically and made me its No. 1 fan. The stock is classic in design, the barrel is perfect for the host cartridge, and with an overall length that is somewhat shorter than its Model 700 counterpart, the new addition in .17 Remington Fireball is certainly going to find a place in my Suburban for serious woodchuck hunting.
Like most Remington rifles, the Model Seven has had a colorful history. On the market since 1983, the Model Seven was first chambered for the .222 and .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester. With a handy carbine-length barrel, this gun was obviously made for long trekking and relatively short shooting. Through the years the line has added cartridges, as well as synthetic and laminated stocks and stainless steel actions.
MODEL SEVEN CDL
|.17 Remington Fireball
|39 1/4 in.
|6 1/2 lbs.
|drilled and tapped for scope
|5-pound single stage
|Checkered select walnut
The new Model Seven CDL is one fine looking rifle. Almost custom in appearance, the lines are smooth, and it's chambered for a baker's dozen list of cartridges that go from the petite .17 Fireball to the .300 Remington Short Action Ultra Mag with a somewhat heavier and longer 22-inch barrel.
This stock design was first introduced on the Mountain Rifle, then the flagship Model 700, and when Remington saw the potential of this type of rifle, it started to drift down into Model Seven country.
Even though the rifle is shorter by a few inches, the stock is still full-size in all areas. The length of pull is just an eighth of an inch shy of the common 131⁄2-inch standard and topped off with Remington's new R3 recoil pad. Granted, this heavy duty pad is not needed on the .17 Remington Fireball, but I guess the thought here is to equip all of the Model Sevens with the same pad to save money in production.
Style-wise, the stock itself is right out of the classic school, with a straight comb and a cheekpiece on the left side. At the present time Remington does not list a Model Seven CDL in a left-hand version.
The Model Seven continues to mature. Today's CDL models sport jeweled bolts and finely checkered bolt knobs, just like the M700.
The pistol grip has a comfortable inward sweep capped off by a black grip cap. It is finished like the rest of the rifle in a smooth, semi-matte finish without any logo or trademark. The pistol grip itself has more than an ample supply of machine cut checkering executed in a point pattern, complete with a fancy layout that complements the rifle nicely. There are stock flutes on each side of the comb for comfort, and a sling swivel stud is mounted near the butt pad.
The well-executed checkering wraps almost completely around the fore-end and forms a sort of lightning bolt pattern.
The fore-end has a nice taper as it moves toward the fore-end cap. Again, like the pistol grip, the checkering pattern is more than generous and surrounds the fore-end of the rifle in almost a lighting bolt pattern. There is a black fore-end tip to add a custom look, and a sling swivel is mounted directly behind this tip for field carry.
Looking at the action, you'll note that the Model Seven gets its looks and design features from its big brother, the Model 700. Remington's famous "three-rings-of-steel" surrounds the cartridge case and includes the bolt face, barrel and receiver for additional strength.
The receiver is cylindrical in design, saving machining costs and at the same time providing a more positive area for precise bedding within the stock.
On the bolt face itself, you find a
spring-type plunger for ejection and the typical blade extractor. Twin opposed locking lugs secure the bolt to the breech, and on the right lug an anti-bind guide has been machine in for smooth operation. The bolt is jeweled for appearance, the bolt knob is checkered, and since the bolt does not ride on the magazine follower, a slight tip of the gun allows the bolt to move easily within the receiver.
A cousin of the .17 Mach IV, the new Remington .17 Fireball has a small case capacity, which is going to make it economical to reload.
The bolt release is located forward of the trigger; pressing it upward allows the bolt to be pulled out of the gun. For field use, the trigger might seem a bit heavy, breaking at five pounds, which can be toned down a bit by your local gunsmith. Magazine capacity is four rounds.
The receiver is drilled and tapped, to which I added a Leupold 2.5-8x36 scope. The metal on the gun is done with a satin finish, and the one-piece Burris base, Leupold rings and the scope complemented all this perfectly.
The .17 Remington Fireball is a new addition to the Remington line and closely duplicates the .17 Mark IV cartridge in all respects except velocity. With my Cooper rifle chambered in the Mark IV, I can handload to around 3,500 fps with a 19-grain bullet with good accuracy and no pressure signs.
Remington says its newborn will do 4,000 fps with a 20-grain projectile, and considering the fact that you can be your own spotter (there is insignificant muzzle lift), this could become a popular small game rifle.
|ACCRUACY RESULTS: MODEL SEVEN FIREBALL
|.17 Fireball Load
|BULLET WEIGHT (gr.)
|AVG. VELOCITY (fps)
|AVG. GROUP (in.)
Notes: Velocity recorded 10 feet from the muzzle with Ohler Chronograph. Accuracy tested off a benchrest.
It could make a great trainer, too, because it's recoil is nothing. Consider that in an 81⁄2-pound rifle , the .22-250 Remington develops around 7.5 pounds of recoil energy and the .204 Ruger churns up 4.3 pounds. The .17 Remington Fireball comes in at 1.8 pounds.
The .17 Remington Fireball's design also means less cleaning and longer barrel life than its predecessor, the full-blown and perhaps outdated .17 Remington.
The author never liked Model Seven stocks — until now. The CDL's classic design incorporates a shadow-line cheekpiece and comfortable, inward sweeping pistol grip.
At the range, without a fully broken in barrel and limited to only one brand of ammunition and one bullet weight, the diminutive 20-grain bullet produced 3/4-inch three-shot groups and one-inch five-shot groups at 100 yards.
Over the Oehler Chronotach, velocities averaged 3,805 fps, which is about 200 fps shy of the advertised 4,000 fps. Taken the shorter barrel of the Model Seven into account, adding four more inches could drive up the velocity another 100 fps or so, but that is something to confirm at a later date using the Model 700 version with its longer 24-inch barrel.
All in all, I was very pleased with the rifle, its quality and the fact that Remington again ventured forward and revived a vintage cartridge by dressing it up in a new suit. Maybe the stage is the same, but the scene has certainly changed.