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I think most of us can agree Remington makes some of the finest rifles ever made. Remington .22’s have been used to teach thousands of American youth in learning how to shoot. As adult hunters many of us have taken some of the largest game animals on earth with Remington rifles. Military snipers in several wars used them to take the enemy out from unbelievably long distances. From Vietnam to present day the Remington 700 stills serves and most likely will for many years to come.
For a lot of us the .22 caliber family of rifles holds a more practical interest for everything from teaching your own children to shoot, enjoying family outings on the range to formal competition.
The rifle I chose for this review is the Remington 597 LS HB. It’s only my opinion but I believe this is one of the best looking .22 rifles made. The contrasting colors of the laminate stock as well as the sleek receiver design make it very appealing. On the practical side the magazine is a staggered design that allows the same number of rounds to be loaded as the long single stack magazines most other brands use. These longer magazines always seem to get in the way even when using a bi-pod. The magazine capacity is ten rounds. In the picture above you can see the low profile of this magazine design.
The barrel on the 597 is a 20 inch heavy barrel, free floated, made of carbon steel. This design is unique compared to most other .22 semi auto rifles. This Remington has a dual rod spring loaded design the bolt rides on.
Takedown is simple and straightforward. Once the receiver is separated from the stock two pins are punched out giving the user access to the bolt and guiderods. Using a supplied hex wrench both rods are removed by unscrewing them from the rear of the upper receiver allowing the bolt to be removed for cleaning. The lower portion of the receiver contains the trigger mechanism, which can be cleaned in the usual fashion. After cleaning reassemble in reverse order.
Action type – Autoloading
Caliber – .22 LR
Magazine capacity – 10 cartridges
Barrel length – 20″
Barrel material – carbon steel
Barrel finish – satin blue
Sights – none; receiver grooved for tip-off scope mounts and drilled and tapped for Weaver base (supplied)
Overall length – 40″
Weight – 6 pounds
Stock material – brown laminated wood
Stock finish – satin
Length of pull – 14″
This particular example was lacking any lubrication. It’s probably best if the new owner takes the rifle down and lubricates the guiderods at the very least. The trigger and extractor are Teflon coated which makes for a smooth trigger requiring very little lubrication.
The receiver has cuts for direct scope mounting. I prefer to use the sturdier method using the pre-drilled and tapped scope rail. I picked a scope made just for the .22 LR. The BSA Sweet .22. While this scope is inexpensive it works well compensating for bullet drop with the correct turret. This model is a 3x9x40 supplied with target turrets for .22 caliber bullets in 36 grain, 38 grain and 40 grain.
After mounting the scope I thought I’d head out to the range and sight the scope in and get familiar with the rifle. I set a target up at 50 yards and had the scope sighted in pretty quickly. Everything was going just fine until about round 275. I pulled the trigger and nothing happened. I pulled the bolt back and the last round fired was still chambered. This about the time I noticed the extractor was gone! Not loose but gone. I never did find the thing. To say I was irritated would be an understatement. Of course not finding the extractor ended my shooting.
After heading home I started some online troubleshooting and found the 597 has a bit of history with extractor problems. Normally I don’t pay much attention to postings on Internet forums until it happens to me and I can validate it. Rather than send the rifle in I ordered a new extractor from Volquartsen called “The Exact Edge”.
After the new extractor arrived I installed it in very little time. No fitting was needed. I tried another range session firing 150 rounds just to check function and where the empty cases were landing. This session turned out fine with the new extractor working well.
I went out the next day to do some serious shooting to see just what this rifle could do accuracy wise. I took ammunition from Remington, Federal Match and American Eagle. All of my shooting was again done from 50 yards. The rifle needed some additional sighting in after handling it so much replacing the extractor etcetera.
I fired a total of 500 rounds of these three types of ammunition. The Federal Match 40 grain load was the most accurate. I fired 200 rounds of this ammunition. The second 100 rounds were in 10 round groups. The average was slightly over 1 inch. I actually believe I could get the groups under 1 inch on a calm day shooting from the bi-pod. This is a very accurate rifle.
After this range trip I was satisfied with it’s performance and the feel of the stock. The front of the stock is wider than some other variations of the 597. The grip of the stock is also wider making it easy to get a firm lock on your shoulder.
As I said in the beginning this is one very handsome, accurate rifle. I suppose the question is would I advise someone to buy one? To be honest I would as long as the potential buyer realizes the extractor may be a weak spot. I have a good friend who has the less expensive version that he’s shot for over two years now with no problems at all. In the last couple of days I’ve shot an additional 200 rounds I called “just to be sure rounds”☺ So, with a total of 700 rounds fired after replacing the extractor I’ve had no malfunctions of any kind. I’ll leave the decision to purchase this rifle with the reader.