First impressions of this gun are of a lightweight and highly manoeuvrable rifle.
By Bruce Potts
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
Remington 700 LVSF rifle review: Reknowned for the reliability and accuracy of its rifles, Remington's latest addition to its Model 700 series provides an excellent mid-weight varmint rifle.
Remington 700 LVSF rifle review.
The Remington Model 700 series of rifles has become an industry standard for reliability and accuracy and this model continues to evolve in various guises.
The latest of these is in the form of the Light Varmint Stainless Fluted (LVSF), which blends the weather-resistant nature of the stainless action and barrel, yet takes the form of a mid-weight varmint rifle. I was interested to test the rifle, as it seems to me that with its resilient outer shell, inherent good accuracy and lighter fluted profile barrel, it would make the perfect fox and roe rifle.
The calibre on test was .223 - ample for foxes at sensible ranges with light bullet weights, while still roe-legal north of the Border with heavier projectiles. The LVSF is actually available in .17, .204, .221, .223 and .22-250 calibre, but the .223 would suit my remit perfectly.
My first impression is of a lightweight and highly manoeuvrable rifle. The gun is instinctively pointable and its weight will not fatigue the arms while out in the field. The LVSF has been designed around Remington's ADL blind box magazine system. This means there is no hinged floor-plate attached to the trigger-guard. Instead, all loading and unloading takes place through the top of the receiver opening. It is a bit fiddly, but the result is a strong stock with less cut-outs to give a better bedding surface.
The stock really catches the eye. Remington usually uses HS Precision stocks on its varmint rifles, but with the LVSF it has opted for a lighter, sleeker design. The black colouring has a nicely speckled finish, giving it a degree of grip, while the pistol grip is long-raked, positioning the hand perfectly for trigger control. There is a low comb to the butt, with an integrated cheekpiece to the right, though you can shoot the LVSF left-handed. Finishing off the butt is the new R3 recoil pad, designed as a thicker more absorbent pad than any predecessor. It is supposed to soak up 30 per cent more recoil, though this is hardly relevant on a .223.
The fore-end is where the most change to the stock has occurred. Gone are the rounded, hand-filling contours, instead there is a pronounced squared-off semi-beavertail layout. Despite its angular form, it is remarkably comfortable to hold, accommodates a bipod well and sits steady while shooting off bags on the range or from a vehicle. The mandatory quick-detachable sling swivel studs are fitted, making attaching a sling a breeze.
Pillar form action
Bedding of the action comes in the form of pillar columns to the stock screw recesses to stop material compression. The recoil lugs' rear face is bedded against an alloy block. This will give a stable and consistent test bed for any action, but strangely Remington has not opted to free-float the barrel as well ? instead the barrel is bedded near the front of the barrel channel in the stock. The action is the small length Model 700, with a 2.4in ejection port opening. It is constructed from stainless steel that looks smart against the black synthetic stock and is infinitely practical as a finish to a working rifle.
The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases and with the ADL format there is only a trigger-guard unit that attaches to the bottom of the action. One of the great plus-points of the 700 action is its round configuration and huge inherent strength. The bolt, too, has two large forward-locking lugs that make for a precise and strong lock-up. The bolt body is nicely jewelled around its circumference and at the rear of the bolt shroud is the new key locking system that disables the bolt mechanism. This is an added safety feature, but personally I would simply remove the bolt for safe storage.
Trigger and safety
The safety sits to the right of the rear receiver tang, with a forward position indicating ready to fire and rearward for safe. If you ride the catch as you operate it, it is nearly silent. The trigger unit is factory pre-set at 5lb, which can be adjusted but requires the stock to be removed. The factory setting may be a touch heavy, but it breaks clean enough. Just in front of the grooved trigger blade is the bolt release catch; push up on this and the bolt will slide backwards and out of the action.
Barrel and handling
What I like about the stainless fluted barrel is that you have a medium contoured barrel without the added weight due to the fluting. It also looks attractive and can aid in cooling the barrel as it has a greater surface area - there are six flutes in total. At only 22in long, with a muzzle diameter of 0.65in, it makes the LVSF a solid yet pointable rifle, which handles well. The 6.7lb weight is not compromised when a scope is added and having the barrel screw-cut for a moderator would not make this rifle any heavier than some standard-weight rifles in its class. This is why, as an all-round fox and, in Scotland, roe rifle it really comes into its own.
A range test was carried out using some 40-grain V-Max reloads, 50-grain ballistic tips for foxes and some Federal Premiums and Winchester Soft points in 55 grains for roe. Using a 100-yard zero, the 22in barrelled LVSF produced 3,752fps with the 40-grain V-Maxes resulting in a 1.4in drop at 200 yards. Accuracy was good, five-shot groups hover in at around the 0.75in mark and some slightly larger - excellent results from a factory rifle straight from the box.
The 50-grain Winchester Ballistic tips were also accurate, producing 0.85in groups at the 100-yard mark, with a velocity of 3,327fps and 1,229ft/lb energy. A good all-round load with a drop of 2.2in at 200 yards from 100-yard zero, making it ideal for shooting foxes. Both the Federal and Winchester 55-grain bullets shot 0.75in groups. My preference went to the Federal with the Ballistic Tip bullet heads, which produced 3,181fps velocity and 1,236ft/lb energy, making them easily roe-legal in Scotland.
With the range tests complete, several early-morning sorties yielded three foxes, coming to the call or in ambush by the edge of a ride. I was really impressed with the durability, accuracy, ease of use and natural pointability of this little Remington. If the .22 centrefire laws for small deer in England were changed, this LVSF would be at the top of my list as a deer rifle. Certainly, any fox shooter wanting a quality rifle in a tough, weather-resistant format would find the LVSF hard to top, though, at a price of £1,097, quality does not come cheaply. My only gripe is that most British shooters want to mount moderators to their rifles and have to go to the added expense of having it screw-cut - surely having this done at the factory would have saved a lot of bother?
Model: Light Varmint Synthetic Fluted (LVSF)
Importer: Edgar Brothers Ltd (01625) 613177
Action: Stainless steel bolt action
Magazine: 4-shot, blind
Calibre: .223 Remington
Barrel length: 22in medium profile
Stock: black synthetic
Overall length: 41.75in
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