“I assume you’ll want a .30-Caliber of some sort for the plains game rifle?” Kerry O’Day and I had been discussing the two MG Arms rifles they would be providing for my hunt with Zambeze Delta Safaris in November 2020. The ‘dangerous game’ rifle would be an Ultra-Light in .416 Taylor they had built previously (see TTAG review).
Kerry was correct that any .30-Caliber would be the perfect cartridge to pair with their .416. I have hunted with .30-06’s etc. in the past, but I told Kerry that if they were OK with it, I would prefer a 7mm Remington Magnum.
My Dad really did affect my preferences in firearms; my request to Kerry reflects another of his influences. I remember seeing my Dad use his beautiful Browning 7mm Remington Magnum on our whitetail hunts in the Texas hill country. I remember thinking that it was such a powerful caliber and it was…compared to the .243 Winchester that he had given me as my ‘deer rifle’.
So, when I purchased my first deer rifle, I went for a Remington Model 700 in — you guessed it — 7mm Remington Magnum. That was a lot of years ago, and I’ve taken all sorts of game with that Plain Jane Model 700.
Kerry said that my preference was fine with him. That set the ball rolling for the construction of the MG Arms Ultra-Light Plains Game rifle in 7mm Remington Magnum.
Carol O’Day is in charge of stock design and construction at MG Arms. She asked what design (color pattern) I would like the standard Kevlar stock to wear. I told her that I was primarily going to use the rifle for the Plains Game portion of a safari in Mozambique. Carol is an old-hand in Africa, so she suggested their South Texas Camo finish. When I received the rifle, I was very pleased with how this design looked with the matte black Teflon finish of the metalwork. The camo stock was equipped with a 1″ Decelerator pad.
The standard action for MG Arms Ultra-Light rifles is a Remington 700 right-hand action that’s been skeletonized. Optional actions include Stiller and Left-handed models. My rifle came with the standard action.
The bolt has an AR style extractor and is skeletonized and fluted.
The rifle features an SS National Match Barrel that’s free-floated with aluminum pillars and glass bedding.
It’s also equipped with the MG Arms Super Eliminator muzzle brake. The brake does an excellent job of mitigating recoil.
MG Arms installed a Jewell adjustable trigger (pull weight: a mere 2 lbs)
The Ultra-Light has a two-position safety.
Range Session – Accuracy
I used three different cartridges for this review.
Two types were from Swift Bullet Company. One of the Swift loads was topped with 150 grain Scirocco and the other with 160 grain A-Frame bullets. Both the Scirocco and A-Frame cartridges gave near MOA accuracy and thus would be suitable for hunting with the rifle sent to me. However, the accuracy data came from some custom loads with 62 grains of IMR 4831 and 162 grain Hornady ELD-X bullets.
MG Arms always provides a target showing how well the custom rifle performed with their custom ammunition. I always wonder if I will be able to replicate their results. In this instance, the answer was a resounding yes. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
As with all my accuracy tests, I used the size of groups obtained from the bench as the baseline for the accuracy from field rests. On the bench, I used a sandbag for the forearm and an Armageddon Gear Waxed Canvas Optimized Game Changer Support Bag for the butt.
I checked the muzzle velocity of the MG Arms Custom loads with my LabRadar. The velocity of 2816 fps I measured agreed well with that provided by MG Arms (2842 fps).
The target pictured below came from the 300 yard mark. The two-shot group was fired from the standing rest, not the bench.
Needless to say, I was very pleased to see the 300-yard group, but that was not the only sub-sub-MOA group I got. The graph provides the results from both the bench and the standing rest for targets placed at 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards.
The missing data are due to the fact that I had only one box of the MG Arms Custom ammunition. In addition to this review, I also needed to use the Custom ammunition for a ‘Box Test’ of the Leupold riflescope. I chose to skip shooting at 300 yards from the bench and 400 yards from the field rest.
I was able to achieve sub-MOA groups at all distances, from both the bench and the Stable Stick bipod. Four of the six groups were sub-0.5 MOA. That’s phenomenal accuracy for me, especially from the standing rest at 200 and 300 yards.
I know that isn’t actually a word, but I like it. For this rifle, I am referring to whether its Ultra-Light weight of six pounds might make it great to carry all day, but a serious pain (literally) to fire. The answer for this rifle is, as I mentioned previously, that the MG Arms muzzle brake dampens recoil to almost nil.
I fired the first 20+ rounds from the bench with no shoulder pad. I forgot to wear my normal gel pad. I didn’t remember to put the pad on until I was preparing to shoot from the Stable Stick rest. I put it on because I thought that I might get sore, not because I was feeling significant recoil.
Needless to say, I could shoot this rifle all day long and not notice the recoil. But, I better not have to do this while hunting.
Specifications: MG Arms Ultra-Light in 7mm Remington Magnum
Caliber: 7mm Remington Magnum
Action Type: Remington 700 Action Skeletonized (squared & lapped, AR style extractor)
Capacity: 3 + 1
Overall Length: 45″
Barrel: SS National Match Barrel
Barrel Length: 23″+ brake
Muzzle Brake: MG Arms Super Eliminator muzzle brake
Weight: 6 lbs. (without riflescope)
Stock: Standard Kevlar (13 oz; LOP: 13 1/2″)
Metal Finish: Matte Black Teflon
Stock Finish: South Texas Camo
Trigger: Jewell adjustable rigger (1-3 lb pull)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and appearance * * * * 1/2
OK, I admit it. I am starting to soften towards non-wooden stocks and non-blued metal parts. This is a really nice looking rifle, with the attractive camo pattern of the Kevlar stock complimenting the Black Teflon finish on the metalwork. The MG Arms folks always do a great job on skeletonizing and weight reduction of the action etc. That gunsmithing also looks good.
Ergonomics * * * * *
I can’t wait to load up some more ammunition, using the MG Arms recipe, and get back to the range. The recoil is so negligible, and the rifle’s accuracy is so good that it makes shooting this Ultra-Light totally enjoyable. My ‘pet’ rifle is a Model 700 Remington and I love its accuracy and feel. However, it weighs a good 5 pounds more than the MG Ultra-Light and kicks a whole lot harder. I know I will appreciate the weight and handling of the Ultra-Light when hunting African plains game.
Reliability * * * * *
The action and bolt handled all three types of ammunition perfectly. There wasn’t a single feeding or extraction issue.
Accuracy * * * * *
Wow! That should cover it. Paired with the custom loads, the rifle resulted in sub-MOA groups from both the bench and the standing rest at distances of 100-400 yards.
Overall * * * * 1/2
I am impressed with the looks, the light weight and the outstanding accuracy of the MG Arms Ultra-Light. I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time on the range, trying out different loads and field shooting positions before my safari in Mozambique.
Mike Arnold writes for a number of outlets; links to other articles can be found here.
[All photos courtesy of Mike Arnold.]