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I Have This Old Gun: Remington 700 BDL

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After Winchester came out with its iconic Model 70, Remington Arms had catching up to do in the sporting-rifle market. Eventually, its answer was the Model 700, a gun that became one of the most recognized bolt-action designs of all time. Watch our “American Rifleman Television” I Have This Old Gun segment above to understand where the design came from and how it evolved.

“The Remington Model 700 is perhaps one of the most well-known, widely recognized hunting rifles in American history,” said National Firearms Museum Director Philip Schreier. “It comes in a myriad of calibers, from .30-’06, which was a standard military round, allowed young guys to shoot up surplus ammunition, to some of the more modern, you know, 6.5 Creedmoors, and some of the newer cartridges that are being introduced almost on a daily basis.”

Cutaway illustration of the Remington 700's three rings of steel.

The design emerged in 1962, as Remington sought to economize its production and improve on its previous Models 721 and 722. Mike Walker, a Remington-employed firearm designer and engineer, headed up the design team that created the rifle.

“It is built around the principles of what they call the ‘three rings of steel.’ You have the receiver ring, and you have the bolt head, and then you have the barrel,” said American Rifleman Executive Editor Evan Brune. “And so it is an incredibly robust, incredibly strong design. And it is also incredibly easy to manufacture, particularly compared to pre-war designs. When Remington develops its Model 700, then this takes off as an affordable, reliable, robust alternative to what is an expensive, hard-to-build rifle in the Winchester Model 70.”

Magazine illustration of the Remington 700 ADL and BDL rifle models.

Two versions of the Remington Model 700 existed at launch and are still widely considered to be the two main categories into which rifle models fall: ADL and BDL models.

“You know, you could have it two ways. You had the ADL and the BDL,” said NRA Publications Editorial Director Mark Keefe. “You had the plainer ADL at a better price point, then you had the BDL and that had fleur-de lis-pressed checkering and white spacers and a gloss finish and, you know, it was shinier.”

Today, the Remington Model 700 lives on in several military iterations, as well as through the millions of commercial models built and sold across the world.

A man aiming the Remington 700 BDL outdoors.

“The interesting thing about the Model 700 is it’s used by gunsmiths, it’s used by long-range target shooters, but also it was used by the military,” Keefe said. “The United States Marine Corps created the M40. Now, I think, they’re on the M40A5. They’re still using that Remington action. The U.S. Army adopted the M24 sniping rifle system, SWS, as its sniper rifle. So, you know, when you talk about the need for a rugged, reliable, accurate rifle, I’m not sure there’s higher praise than having both the United States Army and Marine Corps adopt your gun.”

To watch complete segments of past episodes of American Rifleman TV, go to americanrifleman.org/artv. For all-new episodes of ARTV, tune in Wednesday nights to Outdoor Channel 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST.



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