I’ve had my Remington 700 AAC-SD for about six years now, ever since I first reviewed it back in 2012. I had been looking for a good bolt action rifle with a threaded barrel so that I could take advantage of my newly-acquired AAC 762-SDN-6 silencer, and it looked like a match made in heaven.
I finally found one at a gun show in San Antonio and ever since that day I’ve been using the absolute heck out of the rifle. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth since I bought it, but recently I’ve started to feel like it’s coming to the end of its useful life.
If you look back through the TTAG catalog you’ll find some ridiculous things that I’ve done to this gun over the years. Things like putting it in this early MDT TAC21 chassis system. Or slamming hundreds of rounds down the barrel for the ammunition consistency testing project without even caring where they impacted on the berm.
I’ve put this 700 through a lot over the years, probably more than any sane gun owner would, but through it all, the rifle has maintained the same level of accuracy as the day I took it out of the box. Just add some good 175 grain ammo, pull the trigger, and a beautiful clover leaf grouping will appear downrange.
That all started to change about a year ago. I had slowed down a bit from writing so when the Remington 700’s groupings started to open up a bit I figured that I had just gotten rusty. But no, I was still as solid as could be with my other guns. Something had changed, and the old reliable Remmy just wasn’t performing anymore. What once was a 1 MoA guaranteed rifle could now barely keep it within the 4 MoA box.
I tried every box of quality ammunition I could get my hands on in that same weight range. Hornady, Eagle Eye, Federal… none of them cut the mustard. Some were grouping better than others but I couldn’t seem to keep things as tight as I used to anymore.
I put the rifle away for a few months while I tried to decide what I could do about the situation. I really like the Remington 700 platform, not only is it a solid and reliable design, it also has a ton of aftermarket parts available. Getting a replacement Remington 700 was an option, but with the history and sentimental value of this gun I really wanted to try to salvage as much as possible.
That’s when I fell down the rabbit hole of replacement barrels, and from there things just got way too complicated and expensive for someone who really just wants a good reliable 1 MoA rifle.
I was walking through a Dick’s on Black Friday (I know, they’re the devil, I get it) and saw that they had a sale on Remington 180 grain Core-Lokt ammunition. I hadn’t really considered Remington in my search for a good consistent quality ammo, but for the price I figured it was worth a shot. I bought a couple of boxes and headed out to the range to give them a try.
I expected the same results. Core-Lokt isn’t even Remington’s top-of-the-line match grade stuff. How could this possibly do better than a precision Hornady round? And yet, as I cycled through the cartridges a familiar pattern started appearing downrange than I thought I’d lost forever. Instead of the sporadic mess that I’d been seeing for nearly a year, the familiar clover leaf was back, and better than ever.
Three groups later and the rifle was still putting out roughly 1/2 MoA groupings and hasn’t stopped since.
The moral of the story: it’s not always a case of a barrel being “shot out.” Yes, at some point your rifle becomes a virtual smoothbore and it’s time to invest in a Bartlein. But if the rifling still looks pretty good then maybe you just haven’t found the right ammo for your gun yet. And in this case, a little Remington magic brought my budget precision rifle back from the dead.