September 23, 2010
Remington's high-performance 7615 pumps are just right for the hunter, rancher and tactical shooter.
By Joseph von Benedikt
Certain rifles are iconic in their genre. For instance, in the northeastern woods Remington's 7600 pump-action rifle accompanies many savvy hunters who track cagey old whitetails through snow-covered thickets. On the opposite end of the spectrum, from the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of the Middle East, the AR-15/M16 has served as the soldier's best friend.
Occasionally two designs crossbreed, and a new design is born. Remington recently combined features from both the 7600 and the AR-15 in the Model 7615 pump-action rifles by redesigning the 7600 pump with an AR-15 magazine well/feed system.
Pumps are fast and easy to function while staying focused on your target. And though the 7615s ship with a 10-round magazine, any decent 20- or 30-round AR mag fits and functions. What's not to like about a firearm with the snap and personality of a good pump and, where legal, 30-round firepower in the magazine? Better yet, the 7615s are legal (with appropriate 10-round magazines) in California and other restrictive states.
I recently tested all three versions--Camo Hunter, Ranch Carbine and Tactical--and came away suitably impressed. I'm a bolt-action guy and tend to expect less performance from any other rifle design, but when the 7615 Tactical averaged sub-m.o.a groups, I found myself coming around in a hurry.
The other rifles likewise proved to be accurate, though neither quite beat the one m.o.a. mark; producing 1.2 inch (Ranch Carbine) and 1.4 inch (Camo Hunter) averages--both very respectable for a pump, an action not typically known for fine accuracy.
The barrels of the 7615s are completely free-floated, which is certainly at least partially responsible for the level of accuracy. The short and therefore stiff barrels also probably contribute. Interestingly, as barrel length decreased from model to model, accuracy actually increased--at least with the loads I tested.
Function of all three was flawless. I managed to short-stroke the actions a couple of times but only by diligent effort. When cycled in a brisk fashion, the actions sucked the .223 cartridges up from the magazines with an appetite that could only have been surpassed by a semiauto.
Magazines dropped freely from the mag-wells and clicked into place just as easily. The release button does not fall under an extended shooting finger the way it does on an AR; it sits about an inch forward. I found that the quickest way to activate it is to simply pinch the mag well between the thumb and fingers of the left hand, hitting the button with whatever finger I liked, allowing the 10-round magazine to drop into my palm.
The only thing I was not impressed by was the trigger pulls. It's about like squeezing the trigger on an 870 shotgun--a little stout, a little creepy.
Each of the three models had unique features because each was designed for a significantly different function. In fact, if you search only the sporting rifle portion of Remington's website you will not find the 7615 Tactical; you must look under tactical rifles. Following is a breakdown of each model.
Nicely dipped in Mossy Oak Brush camo, this would be a great predator rifle. Sporting sufficient accuracy to prove a real threat to coyotes and other critters out to 300 yards or so, it handles well, has just enough weight to be stable on long shots and has the capability to provide very fast follow-up shots. The Brush camo is one of my favorite patterns, blending superbly well with the sage and juniper where the coyotes run in my home country.
I mounted a Nikon ProStaff 3-9X scope on the Camo Hunter's receiver, which was as simple as attaching the appropriate one-piece rail and finding rings that keep the scope hugging the action the way I like. After zeroing, I found it easy to ring the steel gongs at 200 and 300 yards from field positions.
This model is right at home with the 10-round magazine since it's designed as a hunting rifle. If you still haven't connected after that many shots, it's probably time to stop shooting. Also, a high-capacity 30-rounder sticking out of the bottom of the action could get in the way when bellying down for a prone shot or attempting to get steady on a daypack.
Fitted with a short 181â„2-inch barrel and gleaming, quality walnut with well-executed checkering, the Ranch Carbine became my favorite of the three. I like the warmth and life of good wood and polished bluing. It has a lively, well-balanced feel, is quick pointing and is easy to shoot accurately. And in my opionion it's the best looking of the bunch.
The Ranch Carbine would be an ideal truck gun, packing plenty of firepower to take on a running coyote in the pasture or marauding rabbits in the garden. It would be easy to yank out from behind the seat and bring into action, and it's short enough to maneuver easily.
I do wish the Ranch Carbine had iron sights like the other two models. In fact, I would have left them off the Camo model in favor of the Ranch Carbine. Without a scope it would fit very easily into a saddle scabbard and be handy for those who didn't need the longer-distance precision an optic provides or didn't want to shell out the money for a scope.
That said, I did mount a scope on it--a Weaver Classic V 2-10x38--which proved to be the perfect mate for it. But many of the ranchers I grew up working for wouldn't mount a scope on this gun.
As listed above, this model turned in 1.2 m.o.a. accuracy--real performance out of a pump. That is about one m.o.a. less than I originally expected. I think I would scrounge up a good 20-round magazine or two to keep with the rifle, stoke it with its preferred ammo, and consider myself well-prepared for anything I might encounter during a day's work, whether I was cowboying or grading county roads.
Amazingly accurate for a pump, the Tactical 7615 targets a unique market: shooters who want a fast defense/tactical carbine where semiauto rifles are prohibited. Pumps are second only to semiautos when it comes to fast follow-up shots, and with a telescoping stock, pistol grip, short barrel and high-capacity magazines this carbine rocks.
I mounted a Trijicon Acog on the receiver. It worked great, as Acogs do, but
due to the forward position of the 7615's scope rail, I had to collapse the Knoxx SpecOps adjustable stock all the way to get my eye close enough to get a full field of view through it. Once sighted in, I gleefully pounded steel targets out to 300 yards. All I had to do was plaster the three-m.o.a. dot on the gong and squeeze.
As mentioned earlier, this shortest version of the 7615 produced the best accuracy. At first I thought I would have to switch to a normal scope for accuracy testing, but I found that I could use the tip of the short post just below the dot in the Acog very consistently.
Much to my amazement, once I got the hang of it I fired several consecutive groups that measured under an inch at 100 yards. The little rifle really liked Hornady's 60-grain V-Max.
REMINGTON 7615 PUMP ACTIONS
|MODEL ||Camo Hunter ||Ranch Carbine ||Tactical Carbine |
|CALIBER ||.223 Rem. ||.223 Rem. ||.223 Rem. |
|MAGAZINE ||removable 10-round AR-15 magazine |
|BARREL LENGTH ||22 in. ||18.5 in. ||16.5 in. |
|RIFLING TWIST ||1:9 ||1:9 ||1:9 |
|OVERALL LENGTH ||42 in. ||38.5 in. ||36.5 in. |
|WEIGHT ||7 lb. ||7lb. 2oz. ||6lb. 14oz. |
|STOCK ||camo synthetic ||checkered walnut ||Knoxx SpecOps adj. |
|FINISH ||camo ||polished blue ||Parkerized |
|SIGHTS ||adjustable ||none ||adjustable |
|PRICE ||$1,009 ||$955 ||$932 |
|MANUFACTURER ||Remington, Remington.com, 800-243-9700 |
After accuracy testing and satiating my appetite for the sound of steel, I pulled off the optic and did some shooting with the iron sights. When I no longer had to crane my neck forward to sight, the carbine felt even better, coming to my shoulder and pointing very naturally. After running some quick drills at close range with it, I believe the Tactical 7615 would also be well-served with a ghost-ring rear sight or similar sighting arrangement that would give the proper eye relief.
No, it will never be as fast as an AR-15, but it's fast enough, and if it's as die-hard reliable as its ancestral Model 760 is, it would keep running longer without maintenance.
Usually after reviewing a firearm I have a beef or two with some aspect of it. I really don't with any of Remington's 7615 line--except that I have to send them back. Each variation fills a niche and fills it well. Handling characteristics, reliability, and accuracy is all above par. Try one. I'll wager you'll be pleased you did. â€¢
Gun services provided by Turners Outdoorsman (www.turners.com). Range facilities provided by Angeles Ranges (www.angelesranges.com).