Magpul Hunter 700 Stock and Magazine Well
Dave Bahde 12.03.15
Remington’s venerable Model 700 and its clones remain the most prolific bolt-action rifle in America. First-time hunters, target shooters, competitors, law enforcement, and even the military field the Remington 700 or some clone of it. Rifles built on the action range from simple hunting machines to precision masterpieces. Every conceivable part is available in the aftermarket, with stocks being the most prolific. Personalizing your rifle has always been popular and swapping out stocks is one of the first things many do.
Changing the stock on your Remington 700-style action can be one of the simplest and most effective enhancements you can make. In an effort to cut costs, many entry-level rifles have flimsy stocks that offer little rigidity, protection, or consistency. The stock is the connection to the shooter and critical to repeatable accuracy. Flimsy stocks that are easily twisted, bumped loose, or affected by the elements can contribute to wandering zeroes, inconsistent groups, or a miss when hitting the target or threat is critical.
For the 700, simple rubber and plastic models are popular and inexpensive. Traditional stocks made from wood range from plain to masterpieces with handlaid scrollwork. Carbon fiber, Kevlar, and other composites remain popular. Space-age designs accommodating accessories galore are introduced with boring frequency—each a copy of the other. Prices range from hundreds of dollars to thousands. Some require bedding or professional installation, others all but drop in. Most facilitate the addition of a removable box magazine all but required for competition or tactical environments. One of the latest and most sought-after is the Magpul Hunter 700.
Magpul remains the leader in polymer accessories for several platforms. Long known for their AR lines, they started introducing items for popular shotguns and rifles a few years ago. Designed as a drop-in stock for Remington 700-style short actions, it can also be installed using an AICS box magazine conversion. The stock is $259, retail keeping it within reach of most. The AICS conversion adds $70 and includes their new AICS five-round magazine. Together they cost less than many metal AICS magazine conversions for composite stocks. Like everything Magpul makes, it’s a great buy and built to last.
Magpul starts with an anodized aluminum bedding block to house the action. Made from A380 cast aluminum it uses a “V” shape to lock the action in place. Reinforced polymer is used for the shell. Using a tapered handguard keeps it rigid and allows most barrels to free float.
It’s adjustable for length of pull from 13 to 15 inches and accepts various cheek-risers to insure proper eye relief. It includes a rubber recoil pad and an optional adapter to the OEM pad. M-LOK slots at the bottom and sides allow for rails or other accessories. Dimples on the bottom make the addition of sling swivels easy. Footman’s loops sit left and right on the stock for sling attachments along with QD-cup receptacles. Out of the box it works with the OEM Remington bottom metal. Adding the Magpul magazine well facilitates the use of AICS-compatible box magazines, including the PMAG 5 7.62AC provided. The trigger guard is extended and allows the use of most aftermarket triggers. The large magazine release lever is ambidextrous.
Two barreled actions were used for testing. Most was completed using a Remington 700 Tactical with a 20-inch, PSS-profiled factory barrel chambered in .308 Winchester. It featured a factory trigger and an oversized bolt knob. A client dropped this off for accuracy testing, providing a base line using an HS Precision stock. Seekins Precision rings held the Kahles Optics MOAK K624i scope in place. During testing this scope has proven to be rock-solid for consistency and repeatability.
My Red Creek Tactical-modified Remington 700 in 300 BLK was the second test gun. While the action is factory, the bolt knob is custom along with a flat Timney trigger. It was topped with a Trijicon 1-6 power Accupoint.
Both were tested using a BT Industries Atlas Bipod attached using an M-LOK aluminum rail.
Seldom do “drop-in” parts actually drop right in, regardless of the marketing. The Hunter 700 actually did with the Tactical .308. Installation of the action and magazine well took a couple of minutes. Action screws were tightened to 40 inch-pounds. My standard procedure is to start light and tighten in five-pound increments, settling where the rifles is most accurate. While the “standard” for aluminum bedding blocks is 65 inch-pounds, that is often too much and unnecessary, especially void of bedding.
My 300 BLK using the flat Timney was a different story. Magpul advertises that the magazine conversion will fit “most” triggers. The Timney is one that will require some fitting. Its trigger guard has a slightly different shape than most round-bottom metals. The bottom of the trigger contacted the back of the trigger guard. It would fit and tighten up, just not enough room to clear the trigger guard and operate properly. Some time with a file made for a perfect fit. It highlights the need to pay close attention when installing anything other than a factory trigger. Standard Timney triggers using the curved shoe fit fine. This is not an issue with a factory bottom metal, as your trigger guard will be round.
Both rifles’ bolts and safeties cleared without modification and operated as designed.
Using Hornady 168-grain BTHP and AMAX, the .308 Tactical was initially tested using the HS Precision stock. Most 100-yard groups were in the 0.75- to one-inch range, with my best group a tad under 0.7 inches. That is likely the lower limit of the rifle—it’s just not going to shoot any better wihtout handloads. Testing was completed standing from a bench using the Atlas Bipod and my Wiebad Todd Pack for support. Swapping to the Hunter 700 nothing to adversely affect accuracy. Groups were all under an inch, with most right at 0.75 inches. My final torque setting was 50 inch-pounds, which provided the most consistent accuracy.
Moving to the 300 BLK yielded the same results. This rifle was extensively tested for several articles. Accuracy with match-grade, 125-grain supersonic loads yielded consistent one-inch groups at 100 yards, with an occasional 0.75-inch-or-smaller pattern. Using subsonic loads, especially the 208-grain AMAX, it produced clusters at 25 and 50 yards. With a SilencerCo Omega attached, it is similar to shooting a rimfire rifle with either load. Swapping stocks changed nothing in terms of accuracy, it remained a riot to shoot with excellent accuracy.
Initial testing with the .308 was completed using the Magpul PMAG, and was very smooth. Loading is easy with no sharp edges, as it is with many metal magazines. Fit was tight with little to no wobble. Snapping into place, it released easily but did not drop free. That’s not an issue to me as it’s a bolt rifle, not an AR. Lightning-fast reloads from the latest tacticool-square range position are not normally in the cards for most.
The release was easy to access from either hand. Both the five- and 10-round AICS magazines functioned perfectly. They inserted easily with more wobble than the PMAG. Both dropped free. My 10-round Accurate magazine worked fine, it just fit a bit tighter. Remove the action and my AW magazines locked into place. If you are using an action modified to accept these double-stack magazines, they will probably work just fine. Factory actions don’t generally provide enough room for it to lock in place. The 300 BLK was tested using an AICS 10-round .223 magazine, which proved just as reliable as the others. It fit tightly and functioned perfectly.
Many using Magpul’s SGA for their shotguns have commented on how well the Hunter 700 stocks fit their rifles. The grip angle is about perfect for most, a nice mix between a standard rifle and straighter AR design. It is slim enough to use with your thumb around the stock or forward. It provides a really nice purchase to apply gentle rearward pressure when shooting.
There is a ledge on the bottom for off-hand pressure into your shoulder. Several half-inch spacers allow you to alter length of pull easily. Cheek-riser kits (the same as those used for the SGA) allow you to get the proper cheekweld for your optics and position. Sling-mount kits (Type 1) can be added to either side as necessary for QD slings. Sling loops sit on either side of the stock to accommodate 1.25-inch slings. You will need to add an M-LOK rail or sling adapter for front sling attachment.
The tapered bottom of the handguard provides a solid purchase on barricades and a comfortable hand hold. Accuracy testing was completed from prone, but the rifle was used around some obstacles and from unsupported positions. Both actions remained well-balanced and easy to shoot from almost any condition or position.
Some newer plastic stocks can be twisted almost like your favorite towel—they’re clearly designed for cutting costs they are about worthless. This stock is a perfect upgrade compared to those. The Hunter 700 is stiff with a visibly substantial handguard. Given significant effort, you could get it to move, but it took some serious exertion and never contacted the test guns’ barrels. It’s as stiff as many composites at half the price or less. There is no reason to think it will shift with atmospheric conditions. The bipod mounted solidly to the rail allowing me to “set” it without bending the stock. If used as a baseball bat, it might bend. Short of that, it is very solid.
Bedding is not required, but may be to your advantage. All of the V-block stocks consider it optional, and the Magpul Hunter 700 is no exception. Most have very generous openings for the recoil lug to accommodate various aftermarket lugs. If you intend to use this on an LE rifle or remove it consistently, then bedding the recoil lug along with a skim bedding won’t hurt. Neither action came loose during testing, nor was there any significant shift in impact given a temperature swing from roughly 15 to 33 degrees during the day. The M-LOK rail installed easily and never came loose, either.
The entire magazine well conversion is polymer. If your rifle doubles as a bat, club, or is regularly run over by a tank, you may have an issue. If you risk dropping it from a roof, plane, or your latest fast-roping adventure, it may be as well. Since none of those will occur in my lifetime, I cannot test it. Most people will never have an issue. Time will tell, but the whole “it’s plastic” criticism has been pretty soundly defeated. There is no reason to believe this stock won’t outlive its user, maybe even a generation or two afterwards.
I liked this stock, and most will. It pleased me enough it will end up with a .223 LTR used for practice dropped in place. As usual, Magpul has provided a solid product at a great price meeting the needs of 99 percent of the rifle market. If you are looking for a new stock, add this one to the list!