There is no doubt that the Remington 700 action, is by far the most known, used and modified bolt action in the world. It is so popular in fact, that almost 95% of the custom rifle bolt actions the exist, are based on the Remington 700 footprint. That being said, it has been designed a long time ago, so there have been many advancements in the design of bolt actions and how they function, and as with anything, it can be improved upon. You do not necessarily have to shell out big money for a custom action to compete at the top of the game, and with just a few improvements, the Remington 700 action could be made to run with the best of them.
If you would like to keep your factory or wood stock on your Remington 700 action rifle, at the very least you need to have proper bedding done to is to ensure it fits tightly and stays put, whilst also allowing the barrel to free float.
For my purposes, I prefer to just upgrade to a good Remington 700 chassis or aftermarket stock with aluminum bedding block already in. For a competition rifle it will often be a MDT ACC, MPA Matrix or similar, but for my hunting and other general and some competition use rifles, I go for the MDT XRS chassis.
Some prefer to have their bolts fluted for aesthetic looks, but for me, it is more function than anything else, so after truing the bolt face and lugs, and polishing the lugs, the last thing I do is ad a custom tactical bolt knob which can be quickly and securely gripped under pressure and my bolt is ready to go. Just a final good lube up before installing it into the action, and smooth as glass she runs.
The Remington 700 trigger from the factory leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is one of the worst factory triggers from the mainstream manufacturers. Personally I found it worse than the Winchester, Howa, Tikka, Sako and Bergara factory triggers. Thankfully, because of the popularity of now only the Remington 700 action, but also the widespread use of it’s platform, there are MANY aftermarket triggers for it that are superb.
Personally, I would not waste the money to get a gunsmith to try and get the factory trigger any good, like how it is easy to get a Tikka and Howa factory triggers to pro-quality trigger pulls and feel with just a good trigger job through polishing and spring replacements. It is much easier and sometimes cheaper to just buy a good replacement trigger for your Remington 700 action, something like a Timny, Jewell, or Bix ‘n Andy or my personal favorite so far, the Triggertech triggers.
Truing The Action
For total accuracy and consistency, concentricity of ammo and rifle components need to be achieved, and as most modern rifles like the Remington 700 is mass produced in a factory, the tolerances are not as tight and strict as with individual or custom manufactured actions and rifles. What you want to achieve, is to ensure that the bolt face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs and receiver face are all square to the center line of the receiver and to one another, this is what truing or blueprinting a bolt action entails and personally it has become a ‘must-do’ step for me for any factory rifle I buy or build and I have personally seen accuracy improvements in every single action I had trued.
Extractor and Ejector
The extractor on your Remington 700 bolt, is what grips the case rim, and pulls it out of the chamber after firing a round, the ejector is what expels the case out of the action outlet.
The Remington 700 extractor is what usually causes extraction issues on standard Remington 700 actions because of it’s aged design, especially after heavy duty competition use. To remedy this, gunsmiths can replace the stock Remington 700 extractor with either a Sako style or a M16 style extractor. But for small and standard bolt faces, I would recommend staying with the factory extractor unless you have had a failure with it, as I have seen more aftermarket extractors on these actions fail during PRS competition than I have seen factory ones do.
If you do however get a M16 extractor kit installed, you might as well also have the second ejector kit installed to, they are great and ensure a spent case is ejected well clear of the action before the next round is loaded, even when running the bolt hard.
The factory Remington 700 barrel usually leaves much to be desired when it comes to competition or precision rifle shooting. Not only are they not as accurate as custom aftermarket barrels, but they are also usually thin profile which causes them to heat up quickly after a string of 5 or more shots and then the point of impact of the bullets starts to drift. Not ideal for a PRS competition for example where one stage usually consists of 8 or more shots in quick succession.