What's new from "Big Green?".
I've been going to these things for quite a few years and always learn something. It's also very helpful to have a chance to talk to the engineers who designed the products. This year the seminar was held at the lovely Bienville Plantation, in White Springs, Fla.
This time, in contrast to the last few years, there were no major new firearms or cartridges, but there were still a number of interesting developments, with ammunition in the forefront.
One of last year's announcements that has been greatly expanded is the new line of Premier Core-Lokt Ultra bullets. It's a combination of Remington's older Core-Lokt jacket design with a bonded lead core.
The combination gives both good expansion and weight retention with truly exceptional accuracy for a game bullet. I saw some groups shot with Ultra Mag cartridges loaded with the Core-Lokt Ultra bullet that would have been bragging size for varmint rifles.
One of the biggest things for shotshells has been the arrival of Hevi-Shot -- a proprietary alloy of tungsten, nickel and iron that is 10 percent heavier than lead. It eliminates some of the drawbacks of steel shot for waterfowl hunters. This line has been expanded to include several turkey loads and even an impressive buckshot load with nine pellets of 00 buck cast from the Hevi-Shot metal.
Bad News For Bucks
Also in shotshell is a round Remington calls "BuckHammer" which is a new approach to shotgun slugs. It is described as an "attached sabot" slug. The slug weighs 1 1/4 ounces, and fits into a very clever one-piece combination wad and sabot that encloses the base of the slug. The lead itself is radically different from previous designs and has a completely flat meplat that measures .575 inch. After expansion in the target, it looks like a 1-inch flat lead washer.
Accuracy seems to be quite good, and a jug of water just about disappears when hit with this load. Stated velocity is 1,550 fps. It's meant only for use in rifled barrels or with a rifled choke tube.
Last year Remington brought back the 16 gauge in the venerable Model 870 pump, so there was suspicion they might do it again with the Model 1100 semiauto. And so they did. The 16 has a small, but vocal, following who are sure to love this, and I can personally testify that it does an admirable job in the quail field.
The other shotgun that completely won me over is Remington's new 332. A 12-gauge 0/U, the 332 felt really great, and performed splendidly in the quail woods. Remington has been wrestling for several years with 0/U shotgun design, and the resulting 332 is a winner. If you gather I'm very enthusiastic about this new shotgun, you're quite correct, and I'll be working on a detailed report soon.
This year Remington joins the .17 HMR club with both a Model 597 rifle chambered for it and new ammo. Remington's cartridge is loaded with a 17-grain V-max bullet at 2,550 fps. I had a chance to shoot a good bit of this, and accuracy on plinking targets out to 100 yards was very satisfactory and the rifle functioned flawlessly. They have also added a .454 Casull load with a 300-grain JHP Core-Lokt Ultra bullet.
The .350 RM Comes Back
Two rifle additions also result in the resurrection of a couple of fine old cartridges to Remington's ammo line. First is the .300 Savage which will be the Classic Rifle for 2003. The other comeback is the .350 Remington Magnum for the new Model 673 Guide Rifle.
You may recall the older Model 600. The new Model 673 looks a lot like it. The rifle is based on the Model 7 short action, and has a 22-inch barrel with the characteristic rib and iron sights. The package weighs only 7 1/2 pounds. The .350 Remington Magnum was once described as the first short action magnum, and the present load will be a 200-grain Core-Lokt at 2,775 fps. The Model 673 will also be available chambered for the 300 Remington Short Action Ultra Mag cartridge.
Smart As Heck
I confess the item that impressed me the most was just a recoil pad. The word "revolutionary" is badly abused, but this may qualify. If not, "smart as heck" would surely be right. Remington calls it the R3 and it is an exclusive from Sims Vibration Laboratory using material they call NAVCOM (noise and vibration control material).
The R3 designation comes from a unique three step action.
1. Absorbs vibration.
2. Redirects energy.
3. Compresses under recoil.
When you view the pad in cross section, these functions are easily seen. The material is a relatively soft, rubber-like elastomer that dampens vibration. Inside are two "mushrooms" which redirect energy in a 360 degree range. They are isolated from the sides and bottom of the pad, so they come into contact with the solid base of the pad and can then expand radially in all directions.
Most recoil pads just act as cushions and cannot focus energy in any other direction except straight back. The third, compression, element is common to many pads but the internal construction allows it to compress significantly while retaining the customary thickness of around an inch.
Remington's R&D center in Elizabethtown, Ky., spent a significant amount of time verifying the benefits of the R3 pad. Computers, accelerometers, and strain gauges were employed to measure the amount of recoil transmitted to a solid surface representing the shooter's shoulder. We're used to hearing free recoil energy expressed in ft/lbs., but their method allows the measurement of the actual pound force transmitted over time.
If you look at a graph you can see that the recoil force transmitted is reduced, but the time element is also slowed a bit. The net effect is to distribute a reduced force over a longer time period--although it's still measured in milliseconds. Their tests showed a reduction in felt recoil of from 25 to 50 percent depending on the cartridge.
Obviously there's some high tech science here but I saw a much more pragmatic demonstration. Remington had two identical rifles chambered for the 7mm Short Action Ultra Mag cartridge. One had the standard pad and the other the R3 pad. It was a nobrainer. The new pad significantly reduced the thump my shoulder felt.
The actual recoil of the gun is obviously unchanged and muzzle rise was equal with both pads, but my shoulder could really tell the difference when shooting these rifles one after the other. We often hear recoil described as either sharp or as a push. And that's exactly how I would describe the difference here. Remarkable.
The new pad is going to be standard equipment on some Remington guns in the coming year, and is also available for retrofit on most of their composite stocks. The material cannot be used on wood stocks at this time since it's too soft to be sanded as is required when fitting to a wood stock. It's always hard to predict which new products will fly and which won't, but this new R3 pad is a shoo-in.
Another Winning Year
As I've discussed the new stuff with folks back home and also with other writers, there seems to be a lot of appreciation for the new 673 and return of the .350 Remington Magnum. Several remarked that Remington's addition of a heavy barrel, Sendero pattern rifle chambered for the 7mm SAUM was most welcome.
Hevi-Shot was a huge hit last year, so it's sure to find favor with turkey hunters. Even though it's costly stuff, they don't need many rounds for the season so cost shouldn't be a drawback. Hunters in shotgun-only states will really like the BuckHammer or some of the other slug loads that will be coming along.
Some registered surprise that there were no new additions to the line of short action Ultra Mag cartridges. Actually, I was surprised as well, but I don't think we'll have to wait too long.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Remington Arms Co.