Mention the words "custom rifle" to any dedicated hunter and watch him immediately go into a dream-like trance.
Visions of deep cut engraving, exhibition grade walnut and fancy checkering patterns fill his head. Then, thinking what the bottom line will be, reality hits.
However, take heart. If you have the desire for a custom rifle that is made for you, Remington just might have the gun you are looking for. Presently it is available only in the Model 700 version, and the company calls it the C grade. For an asking price of just over $3,100 you will not get engraving or distinctive checkering patterns, but you will get a beautifully finished rifle complete with a beautiful piece of wood, in chamberings from .17 Remington to .45 caliber cartridges .
You order the rifle through your dealer, and then you choose the cartridge that you would like to have the rifle chambered in. In my case, I asked Tim Butler of Remington to have it built in .22-250 Remington.
Once that is established, you can choose most any barrel length from 181„2 to 26 inches, with 24 being the most common. Sights are optional but rarely asked for unless you want them as a backup on a dangerous game rifle. With my gun, the barrel contour was .650 inch at the muzzle, just perfect for a rifle with which to cover a lot of ground with on a summer's day.
The action, barrel and related parts on my gun were finished in a high gloss blue, but a satin blue is also on the list, as is a choice of either stainless or carbon steel. The bolt is finished with handsome jewelling and blueing on the lug area, bolt shroud and bolt handle. On the bolt face, the usual Remington plunger ejector and blade extractor provide flawless operation.
For smoothness, there is a guide cut on the right-hand lug, and the bolt itself does not touch the magazine follower. The bolt handle is polished bright, swept back slightly and checkered.
One thing deserves mention here. When it comes to the action, the Custom Shop gets all its receivers and barrels from the production line. Once in the shop, the receivers are trued up, headspace will be set to minimal tolerances and the barrels are threaded, put in stock and then installed with the requested contour when an order comes in.
The floorplate and trigger guard are finished in a matte blue. Trigger pull on my sample was around five pounds but can be adjusted by a competent gunsmith. Takeup was minimal, and the trigger broke like a true custom grade gun.
In talking to Butler, I discovered that all wood on these rifles is C grade as classified by Remington Arms--a grading system that runs, lowest to highest grade, A (used on ADL rifles), B (BDL), C (CDL), D and F. C-grade wood has 25 percent figuring.
The stock I have has a handsome feathering pattern and makes for a very elegant piece of wood. While he does not guarantee everyone will get the same kind of figuring, Remington will try to honor all reasonable requests on every order.
The stock is cut on a profiling machine and then handed over to one of the gunsmiths. From here, the stock is hand sanded and inletted to the barreled action. This not only assures each rifle is a one-of-a-kind gun but that accuracy will befit a gun of this class and stature.
All C grades are glass bedded for accuracy, with the gunsmith at the Custom Shop signing off with his name or serial number in the barrel channel. You can also specify high-gloss or satin finish on the stock, along with length of pull, right- or left-hand configuration and cheekpiece options.
Additionally, you have a choice of the famous "California" type of stock with its high comb or the more traditional classic stock with a straight-line comb.
Fine-line checkering, executed in a point pattern, comes standard. More than ample coverage is supplied on the pistol grip, complete with a stylish flare to the rear at the base of the pattern. On the fore-end, the pattern runs around the lower portion. On my sample, all checkering was cut cleanly--no runovers or missed diamonds.
The stock pins are covered with rosewood fillers, and a rosewood fore-end tip and pistol grip cap complete the trim package. The recoil pad has a black spacer, and sling swivel studs are installed.
Before heading to the range, I installed one of Leupold's 100th Anniversary 3-9x40 scopes. This has always been one of my favorites, and combined with the .22-250 Remington cartridge it's a great setup for spring varmint hunting.
I wrote this article in winter and didn't have handloads worked up, so all testing was with factory rounds. Still, with the barrel settled in, one-inch groups were the norm. For the type of woodchuck hunting I do, this will be not only an attractive rifle to take into the field but an accurate one as well.
Editor's note: Remington is in the process of updating the Custom Shop portion of its website, which it hopes to finish by end of year. Currently the info on the website does not jibe with what's presented here, but we checked with them to ensure the article's accuracy.