Gun Review: The Remington XCR II

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Over the years I have owned my fair share of Remington rifles in calibres from .22 to the behemoth .458 Winchester Magnum.

Most, out of the box, shot well, some exceedingly well. In fact, back in the early days when rifles with Minute Of Angle accuracy were not as accessible as they are today, I leaned pretty heavily on Remington to provide a rifle that, with no tinkering, would deliver that level of accuracy and do so on a consistent basis. But unquestionably my two favourites were two Remington mountain rifles in a .30-06 Springfield and a .280 Remington. These two rifles have travelled the globe. I have hunted with both from the highlands of Mongolia to the plains of Africa. Not only did both shoot well but they also just handled and carried so nicely that I pushed them to their limits. Unfortunately, I only have one left and it is on its second barrel.

Their one and only weakness, if you can call it that, is that they both had wood stocks and carbon steel barrels, making them susceptible to extreme weather conditions. In reality what that meant in practical terms was that they required just a bit more care and attention in the field when I was hunting in tough conditions. However, I have always pined for a rifle that would provide all the qualities of these mountain rifles but with the added features of being impervious to the weather. Then in 2010, along came the XCR II. Sure, it is advertised as being all but indestructible, but would it handle and shoot like my favourite mountain rifles? I just had to find out.

Model 700 XCR II

At first glance I have to admit that despite my ever-increasingly skeptical eye there was not too much about this rifle that I did not like. It had a classic design but with a modern flare that was accentuated by its olive drab green synthetic stock, Hogue rubber overmolding in the pistol grip and fore-end, and matte black finish on all the metal. The rubber overmolding will offer a sure grip no matter what the weather may throw at you and its SuperCell recoil pad will make recoil less troublesome.

The rifle handled just as well as my old standby and the trigger was just what I expected — virtually flawless. Little wonder as, in my view, Remington has always had a good trigger but they have made it even better. The X-Mark Pro trigger, to quote Remington, “Breaks like glass, has virtually zero creep and offers a level of shot control unmatched by any factory trigger today.” Remington uses state of the art manufacturing techniques and the smallest possible tolerances to achieve this level of precision. It is fully adjustable within a range of two pounds and now comes factory set at 3-1/2 pounds. My particular rifle came factory set at 5 pounds. but was very simply and quickly adjusted to 3 ½ lbs, where it broke consistently with no creep from shot to shot. It was, without a doubt, even that much better than their old triggers, at least in part due to the ease of its adjustability. But its ultra fast lock time of 2.5-3.0 milliseconds that greatly minimizes the effect of shooter movements makes it a true standout.

But these are not its only noteworthy features as the stainless steel barrel and receiver are coated with matte black TriNyte. Remington claims that this armour-tough multi-layer coating that is made from 416 Stainless Steel, electroless nickel and priority PVD is the world’s most effective barrier against rust and abrasion for firearms in the world. And who am I to a disagree, particularly after the saltwater testing the coating was put through by an independent laboratory that concluded after 72 hours in saltwater it may just be the best “on the planet.” There is little question that I liked the look and feel of this rifle even before it made its first trip to the range. The only issue I had – and it is a minor one – is that rather than a clip it had a hinged floor plate magazine. With cold fingers in the late fall is not as easy to deal with when removing cartridges as compared to a clip. The upside, of course, is that you will never have to worry about leaving your clip at home. The XCR II is available in any number of calibres from the .25-06 Remington to the devastating .375 Remington Ultra Magnum.

Weaver Grand Slam 3.5-10x50mm Scope

After giving considerable thought as to what scope might best match the new XCR II Weaver’s Grand Slam scopes came to mind for a couple of reasons. Weaver has been building scopes for 80 years and while that is comparatively young when stacked up against Remington’s 194 year history, it is still more than a notable length of time to have been in the scope building business. Long enough to warrant a serious look. Particularly since my first scope all too many years back was a Weaver K4. Unfortunately ever since I have not had an opportunity to use their scopes, so I additionally felt that it was long overdue to have a serious look at one of their newer models.

With its one piece construction, fully multi-coated lenses, nitrogen purged tubes, waterproof/fogproof/shockproof integrity, and Micro-trac elevation and windage adjustments; the Grand Slam fit the bill. It, additionally, offers 94 per cent light transmission for a brighter image in low light situations and a variety of reticles including the new Ballistic-X reticle. While there are any number of variable magnification choices available from a 1.5-5×32 to 6-20×40, I felt the 3.5-10×50 would make a fine fit for the 06.

When it came time to look for a mounting system, I looked no further than Remington’s new Integral Scope Mounts. Talk about simple! The ring and base are a single unit that fits 30mm tubes without inserts or 1 inch tubes with inserts. They are made of a Z-2 alloy, which is 50 per cent stronger than aluminum, and are designed to fit all Model 700’s. With these simple designed mounts I had the scope mounted in a matter of mere minutes. The only error I made was that after I had the scope properly aligned with the correct eye relief, I forgot to fully tighten the ring screws. An error I quickly discovered during my first trip to the range. Thankfully, I had a Torx Wrench with me and tightened them, as I should have done prior to leaving home.

Range Test

Unfortunately I was not able to keep the rifle long enough to ascertain just how it would have stood up under adverse conditions but on the range it performed flawlessly as did the scope. The rifle shot the majority of factory and some handloads extremely well as the following table will clearly show. All three-shot, 100-yard groups were below 1-1/2 inches with the majority hovering around the half-inch mark. But what was somewhat surprising was that the factory ammunition, for the most part, out-shot my handloads. Another sure sign of just how far factory ammunition has come in recent years.

This rifle was a pleasure to shoot and shot as well or better than my favourite Remington Mountain rifles. The action was typical Remington as it smoothly cycled cartridges without a glitch. The scope was equally as pleasing — it was bright, sharp and quite clear. It adjusted precisely for both windage and elevation and with its finger tip low profile turrets, it was a snap to use. It offered all the advantages of target turrets but in a very low profile configuration that allowed me to read the adjustment numbers and make precise finger tip changes from right where I sat on the bench. The only change I might have made is that in the future I may opt for the new Ballistic -X reticle rather than the Dual-X.

TEST RESULTS

Factory Ammunition Velocity (fps) Group Size (inches
Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded 150-grain PSP 2,872 5/8
Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded 180-grain PSP 2,681 5/8
Federal Premium Barnes Triple-Shock 165-grain 2,791 9/16
Federal Premium Barnes Tipped Triple-Shock 110-grain 3,453 3/8
Federal Premium Barnes Triple-Shock 180-grain 2,722 1-3/8
Nosler Accubond 165-grain 2,680 1
Hornady Superformance 180-grain SST 2,772 3/4
Handloads & Bullet Powder Velocity (fps) Group Size (inches)
Nosler Custom Competition 168-grain & Hodgdon 414 2,839 1-1/4
Nosler Custom Competition 168-grain & Hodgdon Varget 2,608 1-1/4
Berger 168-grain VLD & Hodgdon Varget 2,645 1-1/2
Berger 168-grain VLD & Hodgdon 414 2,910 5/8
Berger 175-grain VLD & Hodgdon 414 2,770 3/4

Note: all velocities were obtained with a chronograph and averaged for the single velocity shown.

For hunting antelope sized game Federal Barnes Tipped Triple-Shock 110-grain ammo with its inherent accuracy and velocity would be a sure fire winner. For deer and caribou either Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded 150-grain PSP or Federal Premium Barnes Triple-Shock 165-grain would be about ideal and for elk and moose I would give the nod to Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded 180-grain.ammunition.

My only regret is that I did not have more time with this rifle as there is no doubt both the rifle and scope would have handled some pretty tough conditions. The rifle was a good as I expected and unquestionably Weaver has come a long ways since I bought my first K4 back in the early ‘60s. A very fine combo and I would not hesitate to buy either.

Rifle Specifications:

  • Calibre: .30-06 Springfield
  • Barrel Length: 24”
  • Overall Length: 44-1/2”
  • Length Of Pull: 13-3/8”
  • Rate Of Twist: 1-10
  • Weight: 7-3/8 lbs
  • Barrel: Stainless with TriNyte
  • Stock: Matte olive drab green synthetic with Hogue Overmolding

Scope Specifications:

  • Magnification: 3.5-10x 50mm
  • Length: 12.8”
  • Weight: 16.3 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 3.5”
  • Field Of View – ft. @ 100 yards: 23.6 ft.(3.5x) to 10.9 ft.(10x)
  • Colour: Matte
  • Reticle: Dual-X

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