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GUNS Magazine December 2012 Digital Edition - Page 58

Dave anderson hen rifle manufacturers dream, they dream of Remington in 1962. A successful rifle model is a great thing. A hot-selling new cartridge is a triumph. In 1962, Remington achieved both at once. The Model 700 in 7mm Rem Mag was just the right product at just the right time. W The 700 was an evolutionary development of Remington’s postWWII bolt-action series. Before the war it made sense to make guns with complicated milling setups. A rifle receiver was made by locking a block of steel in a fixture and making a milling cut. Then lock it in another fixture and make another cut. Then lock it in another fixture… some receivers were reputed to require as many as 70 individual setups. It worked because in the prewar world trained machinists worked cheap and A selection of 700s includes (left to right) a 1962 model with Shilen .243 barrel, 6-18X Redfield, the Anniversary 7mm Mag, 3-9X Redfield, early ’70s .243 with 4-12X Leupold, Classic 7mm Mag with 6X Weaver, 7mm Ultra Mag with 2.5-8X Leupold, early Ti .30-06 with 2.5-8X Leupold and a late production .223 with Leupold Mark 4 3.5-10X. 58 were grateful to have a job at all. Not so after the war. Even unskilled labor was in great demand, and a good tool-and-die maker could practically write his own ticket. Gunmakers no longer competed just with other gunmakers for skilled workers, but with Boeing, Ford and GE, and thousands of small companies making parts for big companies. At the much higher wages required, old methods no longer worked. Call it the death of 70 cuts. Remington realized they would have to turn to high-tech equipment, which workers could be trained to operate in less time. The primary high-tech machine of the era was the lathe. What lathes do best is make round things. The receivers of the new 721/722 rifles were made from sections of round bar stock, with openings cut for magazine and loading/ejection port, and recesses for the locking lugs. Bolts were another section of round stock with a locking lug section brazed on one end and a handle brazed on the other. Stocks were made of plain, uncheckered walnut. Inletting for a round receiver proved to be less timeconsuming and costly than inletting for a flat-bottomed receiver. As a side benefit it made for a more precise fit at less cost. Hmm. A stamped steel strap shaped in the form of a guard and bolted to the stock doesn’t look as nice as a machined, inletted guard, but it protects the trigger just as well and costs a fraction as much. Sometimes I read and hear shooters today waxing poetic about the wonderful workmanship of those classic 721/722 rifles. When they first appeared there was plenty of harrumphing and chin stroking from the “old guard.” Reviews from W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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