One of the reasons larger magnums are less
frequently the subject of articles appearing on Real Guns these days,
as opposed to more general application
cartridges, is that the typical cost of big magnum ownership tends
to limit the number of people who shoot them... and who read about
them. What's brought me back into large magnum coverage are two
relatively low to moderately priced models from Remington, the Model 700 SPS and
Model 700 XCR II
that are chambered for differing members of the Ultra Mag family of cartridges.
The SPS with an MSRP of only $639 is the basic matte
blued carbon steel model. While available in many chambers, in terms
of Ultra Mag cartridges, it can be purchased as a 7mm Ultra Mag or
300 Ultra Mag. Not a bargain basement gun in any respect, the SPS
has a clean synthetic stock with Super Cell recoil pad, hinged
floorplate and a genuine magnum length barrel of 26"; no barrel
truncating to protect the sale of higher priced models as has been
the case with several other manufacturers.
The XCR II, with an MSRP of $970, is a bit more gun
than the SPS. For starters the XCR II is available in all Ultra Mag
chambers: 7mm, 300, 338, and 375. Additionally, the XCR II's
hardware is all stainless steel, both barrel and action, with all
hardware protected by Remington's proprietary corrosion and scratch
resistant TriNyte matte black finish. Additionally, the XCR II has
an upgraded synthetic stock with hinged floorplate, olive drab with
overmolded inserts at key handling points and the excellent X-Mark
Pro Adjustable trigger.
Both the SPS and XCR II rifles are based on the same
Model 700, one gun is as strong as the other and both reflect the
same high standard of quality. The XCR II has a few enhancements as
noted earlier and, perhaps it has greater bore wear resistance as a
result of the use of stainless steel. We elected to go with the XCR
II so back to back pieces could be written on the 7mm Ultra Mag and
375 Ultra Mag, both within the same form, fit and function. The
plan, for as long as gunpowder and my shoulder hold out, is to cover
the 7mm Ultra Mag, then follow with the 375 Ultra Mag version of the
With reloading tools and applicable components in-house, there will be
expanded handloading "Part II" coverage of both firearms.
Remington Model 700 XCR II
Remington Arms Company, Inc.
Model 700 XCR II
7mm Remington Ultra Mag
Overmolded Grip Areas - Synthetic
Coated Stainless Steel
*6 lbs 13 oz.
|Drop at comb
|Drop at heel
X-Mark Pro Adjustable
|Trigger Pull As
*4 lbs. 2 oz.
|Trigger Pull As
lbs. 0 oz.
Retail $825 Member's Price $773
Actual weights and measures
What can the combination of 7mm Remington Ultra Mag
and XCR II do for you?
OK, I think the obvious question is,
"Will this combination help me to make new friends and will women find
me more attractive?" The short answer is, “Of course." And, if you’re like me,
anything would be better than your old friends and everyone knows that
women have a natural affinity for 7mm owners… especially if the 7mm
owner is wealthy, drives a new Ferrari and lives in an exceptionally
large mansion. But there is more to justify owning a
7mm Remington Ultra Mag than just
finding yourself in the company of exciting new celebrity friends,
living in extraordinary mansions, driving fast cars, and having a hair
fluffing famous model girlfriend. The combination of a Remington 700 XCR II
and the 7mm Remington Ultra Mag
make for a heck of a hunting rifle.
The Remington 700 XCR
II that is the subject of my yammering weighed in at 6 lbs 13 oz. which is light for a full size sporter and
almost helium-like in the world of big magnums. This means the 7mm Ultra Mag XCR II is light enough to be taken just about anywhere a hunter
would want to go. I know, what about the potential of being beaten
profusely about the head and shoulders by "big magnum-light rifle" recoil? Well,
between the shock dampening qualities of the XCR II’s synthetic
stock, and Remington’s no more tears Super Cell recoil pad, only the
sweet sound of a 7mm bullet leaving the gun’s muzzle at a hellacious
velocity signals the presence of a big magnum cartridge. In recap -
Light weight magnum rifle, world class velocity, no more tears recoil.
The XCR II, as is the case with other Model 700
Remington guns, has a two position safety. The bolt can be cycled in
"Safe". The scalloped bolt handle makes for relatively low scope
mounting. Here a scope with a large 50mm objective lens required a
set of high 0.525" saddle Warne rings on very low profile Warne
bases. There is plenty of eyepiece clearance, so even a 44mm
objective lens scope would have worked fine with 0.375" medium
rings and 40mm, as long as there is sufficient eyepiece clearance,
would be dropped down to an 0.250" low ring.
Top right photo, the XCR II shows the hinged floor
plate. I'm not crazy about the large XCR II logo. I can usually
remember what model firearm I've purchased and the stylized logo
detracts from the otherwise very clean lines of the rifle. And yes,
I am being picky. Inside the trigger guard controls are 1-trigger
pull 2-bolt release 3-floorplate release. All handy, but out of the
way of accidental actuation.
7mm Remington Ultra Mag in context...
L-R, 7mm Ultra mag, 7mm Remington Magnum, 7mm WSM, 7mm-08 Remington,
and the 7mm-30RG wildcat. These represent only a few of the
many 7mm cartridges that are currently available, but this short
list does illustrate the versatility of the caliber.
Bullets of this diameter, 0.284", have
uncharacteristically high sectional densities and slick ballistic
coefficients. Coupled with a wide range of bullet weights, one
hundred to one hundred and eighty grains with numerous types of
construction, there are 7mm cartridges that perform well from popgun
through cannon, up close and long range.
The introductions of the Remington's Ultra Magnum
family and Winchester's Short Magnum family, 1999 and 2000
respectively, seemed a cultural fork in the road. At the onset, the Ultra Mag
targeted the marksman or hunter who wanted greater power and range
in a firearm. The WSM targeted the guy who liked the idea of owning a magnum, but
didn't really want to be kicked by one.
Changeups and juggling
of marketing messages ensued in an effort to promote these product lines.
Sometimes the signals seemed a bit mixed... as they did with the
initial 140 grain factory 7mm Ultra Mag load. I can
presume the idea was to lead with the rounds incredible feet per second
potential for maximum "Wow!", but for those of us who had
been shooting the mature 7mm
Remington Magnum with 160 and 175 grain bullets at big game, this
seemed more like maximum "Huh?" These days, the 7mm RUM is
just hitting its stride with the best combinations of rifles and
ammunition being produced by Remington.
And speaking of
handloaders, reduced loads for magnums represents a relatively pedestrian task; go light on the powder, get
light on bullet weight,
swap out the gun's 30x scope for something less...
telescope-like. But reloaders are in the minority of gun owners and
pushing an ultra high performance magnum where reloading is not an
alternative can lead to a very narrow applications and limited firearm
Remington made a smart move when they introduced
Power Level Products. With them, an Ultra Mag owner can buy factory ammo
that delivers maximum magnum power or ammo that is more consistent with
whitetail deer hunting. Quite a feat for a cartridge is so large a DVD
can be packed inside the box.
Power Level Products not only offers a
variety of bullet weights and types of construction to suit various
game, but they are also varying load intensity. In the case of the 7mm
Ultra Mag product, Level I approximates .270
Winchester performance and is intended for use on
whitetail sized game. Level II replicates 7mm
Remington Magnum and Weatherby Magnum performance and is intended for
use on medium
and large game. Level III is intended for big,
tough game, including big bear. All of
these loads are very much flat shooting and all hit within 2" of trajectory of one another at 200 yards.
Interesting concept; one cartridge, flexible ammo loading, no need to
zero for each different load in most cases. Neat.
Set up and check
For the sake of live fire testing, I
installed a Leupold 3.5-10x50mm scope on Warnes steel rings and bases.
Brass was in short supply at the time I was putting this project
together so I purchased 7mm Remington Ultra Mag ammo to
baseline the gun's performance and to serve as a brass supply for
handloading. Should have Part II, the live fire and handload portion of
the project wrapped up shortly.
The Remington XCR II and the Pharonic 7 Part I
The Remington XCR II and the Pharonic 7 Part II