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Welcome to the era of the 300-yard muzzleloader—at least, this is what Remington has claimed with the introduction of its new blackpowder rifle.
As John Travolta’s Vincent Vega said in Pulp Fiction: “That’s a bold statement.”
Bold indeed. How does Remington justify it?
Because the rifle is built on the strong M700 action, a shooter is safely able to use 200 grains of powder to propel the bullet, giving the Ultimate Muzzleloader a velocity advantage over most blackpowder rifles, which max out with 150-grain charges.
Caliber .50 cal.
Weight 8 lb. 14 oz.
Trigger Pull **4 lb. 15 oz.
**Barrel Length **26 in.
**Overall Length 44 ¾ in.
Getting more specific, Remington says that with four 50-grain pellets of Hodgdon Triple Seven powder behind a 250-grain Remington AccuTip sabot, the rifle generates 2,400 fps of muzzle velocity and a trajectory with 23.8 inches of drop at 300 yards using an initial zero of 1 ½ inches at 100 yards.
Moreover, Remington says on its website that the muzzleloader “consistently shoots groups rivaling centerfire rifles.”
To ignite the oversize charge, the muzzleloader uses an innovative priming system that takes a cut-down .308 Win. shell case that contains a Rem. 9 ½ Magnum rifle primer. The brass is about the length of a loaded .45 ACP shell and goes into the loading port of the action. Closing the bolt on the brass positions it against the flash hole.
As anyone who hunts with blackpowder can tell you, these assertions represent a significant leap beyond the 150-yard (or so) effective range of most muzzleloaders.
The mean velocity I measured at the range, using an Oehler 35 P situated 10 feet from the muzzle, was 2,312 fps shooting four pellets of Triple Seven with the AccuTip.
My inability to get closer to the 2,400 fps mark didn’t really concern me. At a bit over 2,300 fps, the trajectory of the bullet is close enough to Remington’s claims. But the variability in the velocities from shot to shot—there was a spread of 153 fps between the fastest and slowest of the 10 shots I measured—was an all-too-familiar problem with sabot muzzleloader bullets. Getting consistent performance from this style of bullet is tricky, and that’s what happened during my test.
Accuracy from the muzzleloader, with 5-shot groups, averaged 2.509 inches with the 200 grains of powder. Accuracy with all bullets I used and all powder charges (I shot other types of sabots and Federal’s new 270-grain BOR Lock bullets with both 200- and 150-grain charges) averaged 2.647 inches. In this respect, the rifle is quite consistent. This level of accuracy is pretty typical of in-line hunting muzzleloaders in my experience.
I did shoot the rifle at 300 yards quite a bit on a freshly painted metal gong where I could see my bullet’s impacts, as well. I added 8 MOA of elevation to my 1 ½-inch zero and centered the crosshairs on the plate. About 5 of every 6 shots hit within a vital-zone-size 8-inch circle.
Even though the Remington provides a velocity boost, based on these results, I wouldn’t call it a 300-yard hunting rifle.
But although it didn’t live up to its lofty 300-yard claim, it is still a very impressive muzzleloader. Its construction is superb, and it handled extremely well, even in the extreme cold weather during my tests. Some checkering on the stock to make it a little less slick would be a smart addition, however.
The trigger is crisp and easy to master. Index marks on the ramrod make it simple to tell if the muzzleloader is loaded and with how much powder. The priming brass loads easily. (Though I kept wanting the brass to eject when extracted. As is, it needs to be fished out by hand.) The stock is well proportioned and the weight of the rifle is appropriate for the recoil generated by a full 200-grain powder charge.
It is also a handsome rifle. Its lines are attractive, which is little surprise given that it is based on the aesthetically pleasing 700. The fluting on the barrel is purely cosmetic, but it looks good. The finish on the metal is even and the luster contrasts well with the gray of the laminate stock, though it isn’t shiny to the point where it would alert an animal.
I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot it at 200 yards on game, and have been using it to chase whitetails during Montana’s late hunting season.
I’m guessing that with some experimentation with different bullets and powders, some shooters will find it consistent enough to use at distances approaching that elusive 300-yard mark.
Meets Purpose 10
The base plate on the 700 action opens up on a compartment that contains holes to store extra primers for the muzzleloader. Getting to them while reloading is a quick and easy process, even with fingers that have been numbed by the cold.
The brass that contains the primers can be recharged by using any de-priming and priming tools that work with a .308. The case’s neck is cut so the brass form-fits over the flash hole nipple to provide more consistent powder ignition.