Build a Bolt Action Rifle – Remington Model 700 in .308

I remember, albeit through a rosy lens, the formative days of my long range shooting interest. These were the days when I learned about the daunting nature of precision handloading and five hundred yards seemed like it may as well be as far away as Mars. I fondly recall the first time I rang steel at a thousand yards and the trials I had to pass to get there. These articles have special meaning to me in that they are, to a degree, the realization of a youthful dream and the heavy heart of a lost passion.

When I began this project there was a clear aim in mind: build the best Remington 700-based rifle as I could using a method that was easily accessible to you, my audience. I wanted to do this in a way that allowed a challenge for a beginner that was more involved than building an AR. Almost everything in this article can be had from my great friends at Brownell’s, including the barreled action I used.

Build a Bolt Action Rifle - Remington Model 700 Action in .308
Build a Bolt Action Rifle – Remington Model 700 in .308

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- This project started innocently enough, as most do, and eventually became the complete gun you see here. I was talking to a few guys I know around the gun counter before Thanksgiving and things just went from there. My friend behind the counter lamented the general nuisance of his patrons to me time and again, but the conversation he had with a young and enthusiastic customer while I waited left him with a struck nerve. The customer was a young man and in him, as he walked out discouraged, I saw my young self.

My friend gave me a look of exhaustion. “I just don’t know why anyone would ever buy a bolt action in today’s world. You can build an AR that is more accurate with less cost and it will be a better gun. I just wanted him to understand that an AR is better than the bolt action he wanted.”

I smiled. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you that the customer is always right?”

“Josh, you know that that’s not true when it comes to guns.”

“I suppose. Why is it that gun stores are the only place that tells people what they should want? Imagine going to a restaurant and having the waiter tell you what food to eat because he knows better.”

“Not the same thing.”

“That guy wants a bolt action. He wants to build a gun like in the books he reads about snipers and heroes. He wants to embody something ideal to him, not buy what may be best. Guns have culture and not everything needs to make sense.”

“Guns should be practical.”

I looked around at the racks and racks of guns around us and gave him a sly glance. “If practical was the only thing that sold, you’d be out of business.”

THE ACTION

I decided right out the gate that this project would need to be in a .308 Winchester as it is, aside from .30-06, the greatest American rifle round ever made. As a kid I always valued the .308 for both power and versatility when compared to other available options and it is one of my favorite rounds.

This project was to be a semi-custom build and I wanted to build something like I had when I was younger, long before the days of chassis guns. I wanted it to have the features of a hunting rifle while offering a set of traits that could be easily used at the range and offer accessibility to people wanting to build something similar.

To accomplish this, Brownell’s supplied me with a barreled Model 700 action in .308 Win with a 20” heavy barrel and 5/8-24” threaded muzzle. This setup was pretty much ready to rock and, because I didn’t have to headspace the barrel, it would offer me an easier build. I would strongly recommend this barreled action as a solution to a home bolt gun builder. There is some deception involved when people talk about the ease of building an AR at home. The barrel on an AR comes with what is called a barrel extension where the bolt locks in. This area on the gun is delivered pre-headspaced and is sort of like a disembodied receiver. The 700 action’s ‘barrel extension’ is the receiver itself so, in my mind, it is not so different than an AR build in terms of general difficulty.

Headspacing a bolt action is a daunting task to a new builder. I recall my earliest attempt at getting a Savage barrel off of the action and the painstaking effort of headspacing the new one. It was so new to me then. I was terrified of the gun blowing up! Looking back at my inexperience made me chuckle while writing this. I probably checked that chamber depth fifty times before I felt confident it was correct.
With the action in hand, I cleaned it up and removed the factory trigger to replace it with a Timney drop-in.

THE STOCK

I wanted to do a more traditional stock on this gun than what I had originally intended on doing. If I had intended on going straight for a chassis or something more modern it would take away the fun of bedding. Yes, bedding a rifle is more difficult and frustrating than most people have the time and patience for, but it can yield great results if done correctly and is a worthy challenge for the hobby builder.

I received a new stock from Grayboe, a young stock company that is already making waves with the quality of their products. The particular model that I received is called the Terrain, a mix of modern ‘tactical’ and classic hunting lines. Grayboe is to traditional stocks as Sig Sauer is to 1911 pistols. Classic lines and respect of tradition are ever-present, with new advances and great materials used in place of old methods. Grayboe is worth a look to anyone who wants to buck the chassis trend and do so without breaking the bank.

Along with the stock I received a Grayboe-recommended bottom metal set from Mesa Precision Arms. This is a great addition and allows the use of any AICS-type magazines. For the uninformed, the AICS-type mags have become a standard for modern bolt actions and there is no reason for any current rifle to lack in this department. The nice thing about a detachable magazine, aside from the ease of reloading, is that it doesn’t immediately distract from traditional lines. Rifles like the British Enfield had detachable magazines well over one hundred years ago and considered classic, not tactical.

Along with the stock I received a Grayboe-recommended bottom metal set from Mesa Precision Arms. This is a great addition and allows the use of any AICS-type magazines.
Along with the stock I received a Grayboe-recommended bottom metal set from Mesa Precision Arms. This is a great addition and allows the use of any AICS-type magazines.

Brownell’s supplied me with MarineTex to bed the rifle with. MarineTex is an epoxy that has exceptional strength properties and essentially bonds with the stock material to make a perfect footprint of the action. The theory behind bedding a rifle like this is that it allows for a custom action-to-stock fit, thus removing any ability of the action and stock to shift or otherwise move around during firing. This then translates to an increase in the overall accuracy of the weapon.

When I showed some friends the process of bedding, they were overwhelmed. The prospect of putting what is essentially glue into a gun is a foreign concept to many new shooters or those who grew up shooting AR-type rifles. This came as no surprise, as most of modern gun building is like building a LEGO set and offers less complexity than many said toys.

The prospect of putting what is essentially glue into a gun is a foreign concept to many new shooters or those who grew up shooting AR-type rifles.
The prospect of putting what is essentially glue into a gun is a foreign concept to many new shooters or those who grew up shooting AR-type rifles.

The first step in this process is to lightly sand the interior areas of the stock to increase the bond with the MarineTex. Use the bedding epoxy to fill small gaps and fit parts like the bottom metal to the stock precisely. I use olive oil cooking spray as a release agent on the stripped action and metal parts. A light spray is all it takes and the surface should show a thin coating. Obviously one should avoid spraying the interior of the stock as this would defeat the purpose of bedding.

The light oil spray will generate no problems with the curing of the epoxy. From there it is a walk in the park. With the trigger and all internals removed, I applied the MarineTex generously on the contact areas in the stock and simply screwed it all together. The epoxy will squeeze out in some areas, but luckily MarineTex has a long cure time. I cleaned up with water and paper towels and let it set.

After I let it sit and cure, I removed the action screws and cleaned up the metal parts. Remove excess material from the stock with sandpaper or a hobby knife. Knocking blobs and edges off takes only a few minutes and you don’t necessarily have to go crazy with it.

I double-checked all the fit and finish and decided that I had a great fit. In my next article, I finish building the rifle using more great parts from Brownells and take the dream gun of my youth out to the range and field.

Special Thanks to

  • Brownell’s
  • Hornady

About Josh WaynerJosh Wayner

Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.

  • 9 thoughts on “Build a Bolt Action Rifle – Remington Model 700 in .308

    1. My personal experience leads me to the following conclusion. Using handloaded ammunition, the .308 Win or 7.62mm NATO combined with Model 70 Standard Target Rifles shoots very well out to 600 yards. For 1000 yards, it did not work, whereas the 30-06 always did.

      By the way, the Remington 40X Rangemaster was supremely accurate. For across the course competition however, the 40X never worked as smoothly as the Model 70, this being my experience, as a left handed rifle shooter. My Model 70 rifles were all post 1964 type.

    2. The Howa 1500 ain’t to bad for this as well, I have one in win .308 with my own handloads and she’s a tack driver

    3. You fuck you can buy a rifle for a couple hundred bucks that would shoot a 1000 yards.

      1. True 500+ for just the action making me just want to buy a 700 and not have to do the work.

    4. Josh, you are not the first I’ve come across with this “outlier” idea of building a super accurate Remington 700 bolt gun in 7.62 x 51. A few years back I came across a man, aperently about your age, who brought one to an Appleseed weekend. He had beenusing a Ruger 10/.22 for most of the training and drills, but SUnday morning we had a Known Distance segment of instruction. Full sized “bells” posted at 100, 200, 400 yards. First, some sighte squares, one inch on quarter inch grid, posted 26 metres.

      His rifle was a target optimised version, fully adjustable stock, bull barrel, ample scope, perhaps 6 -12 or so, maybe 50mm objective. The thing that stood out to me first was the fact his rounds were too long to fit into the magazine. I examined one: nickelled brass, FMJ, HT spitzer, he said they’re boat tail as well. his own handloads. Okey, THIS guy is serious!!!! Fist sighter square, five round in a one inch squarebut centred a quarter inch right. Four clicks cured that. Nest, five rounds in one large hole, centred on the square.

      Next, mvoed out to the longer distnces, full sized bells, at the 400 yard mark he placed all five rounds inside a three inch OD circle. Okay, this guy and his equipment is the real deal.

      But what really blew me away was what came next… those who wanted to use their big bore to shoot on the old Army Qualification Test target could… this one is a challenge, as it brings four stages, psition and mag changes, and some VERY tight time limits. Remember, ths gu had to hand load each round single shot.
      First stage, offhand, ten rounds, long time, he placed the rounds in his shirt pocket, fired one, ejected, took the next, dropped into the redeive,r closed the bolt, fired.. fifty point stage, he got 48. Within the time,
      Second stage involved a transition from standing, unloaded, to sitting. Two targts, five in each, half the size. 200 yard apparent size. FIFTY FIVE second tiime limit. He had laid out his ten rounds on the mat, and hand placed each one in turn into the receiver. He ran out of time, lost two. Still 40 out of 50. His eight counted well.

      Third stage, three bells, 300 yard aparent size, different round count into each one. Transition standing to prone, Sixty five seconds.. he had only brought eight to the mat, thinking he’d not get them all off anyway. I watched, and it seemed he had enought time so I fetched two more and laid them in line. He got all ten off in the time. Out f fifty possible, I think he scored 48 again. Final stage, prone slow fire, bells apparent 400 yard size. Plenty of time, and these ten count double. He got 98 out of the 100. Out of the maximum possible 250 points, he scored 236, one of the highest scores of the weekend out of 65 shooters.. and HE hanidcapped by having to handload each round into the rifle, signle shot, and using a bolt action rifle.

      I have never witnessed any shooting of that high level of competence, anywher,e ever, and I’ve assisted at a couple dozen Appleseed events, and some other suth sessions. This man not only had a VERY impressive instrument, but knew very well what he is about in the use of that equipment. He raised the bar for precision shooting way above anything I had thought possible. It also gave me a new appreciation for the “lowly
      ” Remington 700 platform. I had acquired a few of these, in various chamberings, not realising their capabilty.

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