Rifle|January - February 2021
Lee J. Hoots

Have you ever had an interest in designing your own rifle; ever thought about changing the look and feel of one already owned? Most riflemen have at least thought about it, and a lot of them have done it, sometimes winging it on their own with aftermarket parts and other times keeping gunsmiths and custom barrel makers busy. When younger, I used to imagine the “perfect” Remington Model 700, a bolt rifle that has stood the tests of time and trends, in spite of changes in ownership. The M700 has been available in more variations than many other rifles, and one of the most successful variants has remained the original Model 700 BDL.

While there have been numerous new versions with all kinds of different stocks, the original 700 BDL (not to ignore the slightly different, lower-priced 700 ADL) is a somewhat ordinary-looking rifle with a walnut stock in a classic design with a raised cheekpiece and comb, black forend tip and grip cap and barrel-mounted iron sights. These rifles tend to shoot very well right out of the box, and hunters around the world have always been fond of them. However, for several years I’ve never kept the ones I’ve owned or borrowed for very long. Instead, they were traded away or tweaked to suit whatever crazy “intended” use I had in mind.

To my taste, the original BDL stock has always seemed a little awkward due the fact that some scopes can’t be mounted low enough, requiring the shooter to lift his or her cheek from the stock or attaching some sort of stock cuff to align the scope with the eye. This is no way to shoot if expecting consistent accuracy. Worse, it can lead to wounding loss. I prefer a very flat, straight comb and don’t have a whole lot of interest in Remington’s factory-produced open sights simply because they just don’t suit my hunting needs. Several stainless and/or Remington Custom Shop 700s have been more to my liking.

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