Having cut my teeth on a Remington
40X as a target competitor in the 1970s, I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the Model 700 LTR. The first concern was whether a rifle this short could accurately perform in a sniper role. Then an old adage came to mind: Accuracy is not a result of the barrel length, but rather the quality of its manufacturing process.
When I first put it to my shoulder, I was impressed with the ergonomics of the 700 LTR. The short, heavy, fluted barrel balanced well. The Leupold optics were, as usual, crystal clear. No surprise there. With the initial impressions out of the way, the real proof would come later at the range.
The 700 LTR system is available as a rifle only, or in a package. The base rifle comes in .308 Win on the 700 series short-action receiver with a 20-inch fluted barrel. The barrel is rifled with a 1:9 twist ratio. With the HS Precision stock, it weighs in at 7.5 pounds. The stock is equipped with two forward sling studs—one for mounting a sling swivel and the other for attaching a bipod.
The trigger on the test rifle is an X-Mark Pro, which is adjustable from 3.5 pounds to 5.5 pounds. Although this trigger seemed fine at first, I was advised to keep it lubricated as the pull would increase as the trigger got dry. Current production rifles are equipped with the 40X trigger. Overall length is 40.5 inches. No bases or rings are included.
As a package, the rifle comes with Badger Ordnance steel rings and one-piece mounts. These appeared to be very solid, especially with the one-piece base. The specified optic is the Leupold Mark 4 M3 with a 30mm tube and 3.5X to 10X power magnification. This variable power range adds plenty of flexibility for police tactical employments. Flip-up lens caps are included.
The complete optics system is mounted and bore sighted at the factory. This is a nice added feature saving time and frustration for the buyer, as an improperly mounted scope can be a hidden source of accuracy problems. Other accessories include a sling, Harris bipod and Pelican hard case. The rifle, scope and bipod system weigh in at 10.5 pounds.
To sight-in the rifle, we did a little dry fire practice to get used to the trigger. It broke crisply at 3.5 pounds with no perceptible overtravel. The pull was consistent for this brief range session. The ammunition provided by the factory representative was Remington’s match grade .308 Win with a 168 grain HPBT. From the prone-bipod position, it took only two rounds to zero at 100 yards. The third shot fired landed less than one-quarter inch left of dead center—the 10 ring on a 50-meter ISU rifle target.
These targets are great for sighting in with a well-defined 10 ring of appropriate size and 10 concentric scoring rings at approximately onequarter MOA value. The factory literature claims sub minute-of-angle (MOA) groups, and it was right. The first group for record was approximately one-half inch at 100 yards.
The following week provided us the worst weather conditions and probably the best evaluation you could want. The rifle traveled south as a demo gun during our CQB sniper course. With nearly 4 inches of rain during the week, the weather would provide a definitive test of sniper systems.
Early in the course, a student’s optics system failed, with the scope fogging internally. That student ended up borrowing the 700 LTR for the remainder of the course. The result was somewhat of a “Cinderella story.” That shooter went from the bottom of the pack to among the top tier of shooters. What was truly amazing was that the rifle continued to shoot MOA groups with 147 grain generic military ball ammo.
Throughout the course, we shot at ranges from 25 to 300 yards, in daylight and lowlight, and from a variety of positions. Two things remained constant—the rifle’s reliable accuracy and its extra loud report. For a conventional police sniper mission, where there is a slight chance of the sniper being compromised after the first shot fired, the noise issue is trivial. However, if multiple targets were to be engaged, the report could give away the sniper’s position. This would be especially true at night, with the short barrel producing excessive muzzle flash.
Each student got a chance to fire the rifle during the week. The rifle proved its worth during the stalking phase, in which students maneuvered through heavy underbrush to a final firing position. Maintenance on the rifle was minimal despite the adverse conditions. A quick spray of lubricant and wipe-down of the external parts at the end of a day was the normal maintenance regimen for the week.
The bore received a superficial swabbing every other day. This treatment had no ill effects on accuracy, despite 400+ rounds through the barrel. We did notice some trigger drag at times, which was quickly alleviated with spray lube. As stated earlier, the conditions were extremely wet and muddy.
The Leupold Mark 4 M3 scope was an ideal complement to this rifle. During the “four square” test and subsequent sight changes, the scope returned to zero each time. Any elevation or windage adjustments were predictable— exact one-quarter minute increments. When firing during twilight hours and heavy rains, these optics seemed to have a brighter, more distinct sight picture than some of the others.
Backing the magnification down to 4X-5X power extended the lowlight shooting window beyond the higher settings. The mounts and rings held fast. Being a one-piece mil-spec base, the Badger Ordnance mount offers a range of eye relief settings.
If there was a negative comment about the 700 LTR system, it would be the sling. More aptly called a carry strap, it served no useful purpose beyond carrying the rifle. The range of adjustment was limited even in that role, and a bit too complex to be used effectively in a tactical setting. It could not be adjusted to support the rifle in the prone, sitting, kneeling or standing positions. Because slings are often a matter of preference, Remington would do better to eliminate the sling and include something more useful, such as a bore guide and one-piece cleaning rod.
All in all, the Remington Model 700 LTR Tactical Weapon System is an exceptional arrangement. It is reasonably priced, especially considering that the scope and mounts are fitted at the factory, precluding the cost of a gunsmith. The functionality of the package fits a multitude of practical applications.
Components are well matched to complement the system. The accuracy is phenomenal—even with cheap ammo. A factory-included quality cleaning system for the owner to maintain that level of accuracy would be a major plus. This is a pragmatic weapon system that fits the needs of most police snipers for the duration of their assignment. Ron Yanor retired after 19 years on a multi-agency tactical unit, the last nine years as the training and intel officer. He is the training director at Adamax Tactical Academy and remains as patrol division supervisor. He can be reached at www.adamaxtactical.com.