Not long ago, Magpul was gracious enough to send us out the new Hunter 700 stock in Remington 700 Short Action. We have always been fond of Magpul products ever since they revolutionized the simple M4 magazine. Still, we were a little unsure how they would make the jump from magazines, grips and AR/M4 stocks to bolt action rifle stocks.
When we first opened up the Hunter 700 box, the first thing we noticed was the weight. The Hogue Rubber Overmold Stock (that came with my Remington 700 AAC) weighed approximately 2 lbs. The Hunter 700 weighs approximately 3 lbs without the barreled action. Some might wonder if the added weight would be a hindrance but honestly once I assembled the rifle, the extra pound made a world of difference. One of my complaints with the Hogue stock was how flimsy it felt and how much it flexed into the barrel in alternate shooting positions.
Instantly, I felt like the upgrade from the Hogue to the Magpul which fundamentally improved the balance, handling and stability but before I digress into how much better the Magpul stock is or just how much I disliked the Hogue stock, let me further analyze what Magpul has come up with.
First let us go over the aesthetics and physical description of the Hunter 700 stock. Magpul sent us a black version of this stock. I went ahead and cerakoted the barrel and action coyote tan to create a defined contrast with the stock. First thing that stood out when looking at the Hunter 700 stock is the simple engineering elegance that is seen in Magpul smaller products. Resultant of it reinforced polymer construction, the planes and angles combine to create firm but graceful lines in the forend that allow for comfortable hand placement when shooting standing off-hand or in a seated potion.
Like all Magpul grips they nailed this grip too. It felt comfortable when engaging multiple targets and even a person with large hands will not feel shorted in the grip like one might feel trying to get their gorilla sized
palms on a Glock 26. The length of pull with the two included 0.50” spacers was almost perfect for me. The length of pull can be adjusted from 13” to 15” based on how many spacers you use (each spacer is 0.50″). Another bonus to the stock is the padded recoil butt pad, which was comfortable through approximately 1000 rounds tested with the rifle stock. The cheek riser comes fit with 0.25” riser (but larger cheek risers can be purchases), which we will discuss later.
The core of the Hunter 700 is the Type III hard-anodized cast aluminum V-bedding block. With the action and barrel firmly bolted in place, the aluminum bedding provides adequate strength and support. Even after 1000 rounds, no loosening or warping was noted with any of the bolted parts of the Hunter 700. Even the heat dissipation from the barrel to the forend was neither noticeable in heat transfer nor warping around the barrel.
A nice feature on the sides of the forend is the addition of multiple M-LOK slots for slings, picatinny rail sections or bipod mounts. Another bonus is the true free-floating barrel configuration. No obstruction or rubbing by the barrel was noted from barrel lug forward.
Now, lets talk about the areas where the Hunter 700 stock could be improved. Perfection is hard to come by, especially on a first draft. As close as Magpul came, there were some definite downsides to the Hunter 700 stock. First and foremost is the cheek riser(comb height
adjustment). It comes with a standard 0.25” cheek riser with 0.50” or 0.75” risers available for purchase separately. If you are running a scope affixed directly to the barrel, the 0.25” riser might work for you. However, I have a 20 MOA rail plus a Larue OBR scope mount with my Leupold Mark 6 and the 0.25” just didn’t allow me to find a consistent cheek placement on every shot. So I had to spend the extra money.
Another downside to the Hunter 700 stock is the upgrades that are needed to make this stock just a little better. These are usually convenience add-ons but in my opinion, these add-ons make the gun as a whole better and more efficient to use. For instance, every one should run out and buy the bipod mount and the magazine well with appropriate PMAGS. Now you can also throw on some quick release sling adapters or rails for lasers, but a bipod adapter for your Harris’s and the magazine well kit are the perfect mods. (Each magazine cable of carrying 5 rounds + 1 in the chamber) Now you are probably wondering why I consider these a down side, mainly for the sole purpose of having to spend the extra money. Magpul’s flirtation with perfection was hindered by not including these features in the basic set-up.
On a side note, for all you snipers and hunters that require absolute silence from the ejection of your first round to cycling of the second round, you will find the magazines a little noisy. I didn’t install the magazine well kit towards the end of my testing but I am sure the noisy parts will wear themselves down after a while. For the time being, the springs and plastic parts produce a little noise when being worked by the action. But if your the one shot, one kill type of guy…you won’t have to worry about it.
Now lets get into what everyone wants to know, were there any affects to accuracy. So I did some pre-testing with my Remington 700 AAC equipped with the factory Hogue Stock, Leupold Mark 6 with a TReMoR2 reticle and Black Hills 175 gr TMK. My groups before I switched to the Magpul were 0.81” at 100 meters with a minimal cold bore shift. With the Magpul Hunter 700 stock, my groups dropped to 0.74” including the cold bore shot at 100 meters. Now, can I say that the Magpul Hunter 700 made my gun more accurate, well a 0.06” shift is only a 9% improvement in accuracy. It’s great that group sizes decreased but that can easily be attributed to shooter error. What is more important is that there was no negative effect to changing out the stocks.
Out of the box, the Remington 700 AAC was a spot on gun but it had a glaring flaw in its construction. That flaw was the stock. I have debated for years about replacing the stock but I am glad I haven’t. The Magpul Hunter 700 is the perfect replacement for what Remington is lacking. Magpul has given us a stock with an amazing design and flow. They included all the small things they have done so well in the past with their other products and added features that make this new product elite. The price is fair ($259.95 without options) and they have the traditional four Magpul colors (Black, Flat Dark Earth, Stealth Gray and OD Green).
If I was to rate the Hunter 700 out of 5 stars, I would give it 4.5. The flaws are minimal but fixable with additional cost. The benefits the add-ons bring are easily worth the money. If you are a bench-rest shooter or the avid hunter, this stock is an economical way to take your gun to the next level. I was initially hesitant when I first got the stock. Mostly because I was not sure how this venture by Magpul was going to fair but this was a good move by Magpul. The Hunter 700 has turned out to be the stock that I wish I would have gotten from Remington. If you are looking for a way to take your Remington 700 to the next level, I don’t think you can go wrong with this stock. It is rigid but not overly heavy. It feels great in various shooting positions and manages recoil exceptionally.