Remington 597 SS 22 LR
The 22 autoloading rifle is an American icon. Many a youngster had one for his first rifle, and while they may not be ideal for that service, they are unquestionably handy rifles for any serious outdoorsman. They can also be excellent training pieces for just about anyone interested in serious shooting.
So Gun Tests Magazine found a Remington 597 SS with stainless barrel and synthetic stock ($283) at a local gun shop.
Although the gun would accept tip-off scope rings and was drilled for traditional scope bases, they chose to shoot it with the iron sights provided. They intended to find out if the laser sight that comes with some other rifles was a useful addition, or just another sales gimmick.
They tested with three types of ammunition: Winchester Super-X Power Point HP, Aguila Supermaximum Hyper Velocity solid point (flat nose), and CCI Mini Mag round-nose ammunition. Here is what they found.
The staff felt that the rifle seemed to be designed for the right-handed shooter, though the stock was entirely ambidextrous. The design is also available with blued barrel for an incredibly low $188; blued with scope for $229; in a laminated-stock, heavy-barrel version ($337); and with laminated stock and stainless barrel ($348). Another of the many versions in multiple colors (including pink) is a thumbhole-stock version called the 597 TVP with heavy stainless barrel and scope rail for $532. Many more may be seen at the company website (www.Remington.com).
The testers said it was an exceptionally clean-looking rifle. Its finish let light into all its dark areas, which helped the overall clean look. The light-gray stock looked like costly Kevlar, but was not. The free-floated barrel was matte stainless, and plugged into an alloy receiver having a similar finish. The barrel, receiver, and stock were entirely glare free. Though the iron sights were blued, they were also matte finished. Likewise the plastic trigger-guard and butt-plate finishes were dull. This rifle simply didnt shine, and thats all to the good. The non-glare matte finish was excellent in the field, just what you want for serious use. The finishes would also fight weather over the years.
They found the stock to be extremely hand filling, and highly attractive as well. They thought this was by no means a youths rifle. The dimensions were pure adult. The forend was wide and comfortable, and the pistol grip was also on the large side. There was no checkering, but it didnt seem to need it. The stock had a slightly pebbly surface, rough enough to keep the gun from slipping when wet. The butt plate was checkered to help hold the rifle in place on the shoulder. They noticed the butt plate seemed slightly loose, so they carefully pried it out. Whether by design or by accident there is a nice storage area inside the stock that could probably be put to good use by the clever outdoorsman.
Remington went to the extent of Teflon-nickel-coating some of the guts, like the bolt and sear-engagement parts, to ensure smoothness and long life. The bolt was noticeably slick and clean in its movement. They liked the fact that the bolt stays open after last shot.
The iron sights were matte blued, and attached to the barrel with screws. The front was a round-top bead with a large white dot, which was highly visible. The rear was one of the common U-notch sights, a bit too small for best use but fully functional and adjustable. The sights required lots of movement to the left and some added elevation to get the shots centered. Windage was easily changed with a screwdriver. An Allen wrench was needed to loosen the sights clamping action to change elevation. They liked the sight setup, though they wished for a wider gap in the rear blade, and would have preferred a flat top to the front post.
The trigger guard and integral magazine well were polymer, and worked very well for their tasks. The magazine release button was slick and handy. The mag held ten rounds, but they had the devil of a time getting the last one in. The safety button was behind the trigger guard like that on the Remington 870 shotgun. They pointed out that they didnt know of anyone who likes this setup, but if you have an 870 youll know where to find this 22 rifles safety. A press toward the left displays a red ring if you turn the gun upside down, and that lets you fire.
The trigger pull was just over six pounds, and somewhat variable from shot to shot on this new rifle. It settled down as more rounds went through the rifle, and became stable by the end of testing. They thought it was a decent trigger, though a bit on the heavy side.
On the range, after they got the sights where they wanted them, they found the Remington easily made sub-two-inch groups at 50 yards with the CCI Mini Mags. It didnt like the Aguila ammunition whatsoever, often flinging one or two of a five-shot string completely off the paper. They didnt know where they all went, but found one of them some nine inches out of the main group. The wayward shot landed head on. Velocity was a stunning 1645 fps out of the Remington. They saw several groups of three shots around an inch, but they had fired five, and the other two were simply not there. This is not a condemnation of the Remington by any means. Clearly the high-speed Aguila ammunition is not for every rifle.
After several days in the field and on the range with the Remington, Gun Tests came to like the rifle quite a lot. They said it felt good, looked good, and with the right ammo, it performed well also. They said its moderate price would put it into lots of gun cabinets, and they predicted its robust construction and good materials would keep it there for many years.