Gunner’s Journal

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Remington 597 Heavy Barrel Target/Varmint Rifle

Posted by Gunner on August 11, 2008

Remington 597 22 Rifle with heavy barrel and laminate stock

   The Marlin model 7000 I recently purchased is a fine 22 rifle but I believe that today I purchased the best 22 semi-auto rifle on the market today. This Remington model 597 with the heavy varmint barrel and a brown laminate stock is not only a beautiful rifle but a very well thought out design. The design lends itself to exceptional accuracy at longer ranges. The stock is a common design usually found on larger caliber varmint rifles. The foregrip is wide and provides a nice firm grip with indentations that allow a firm purchase for your fingers. This is one fine stock they equipped this rifle with. The Harris type bipod fits just right and certainly gives you a great stable platform to shoot from. One nice feature is the magazines. Most 22’s have fairly long magazines which honestly can get in the way. The Remington magazine is a staggered type holding ten rounds but is much shorter thanks to the staggered column. The bottom of the mag only protrudes 3/4 of an inch below the stock and has a polymer bottom so you won’t cut your hand on it. The mag release is just behind the magazine and releases the mag using a flat slide that moves to the rear dropping the mag free without having to pull it out.

The mag release is visible in this photo just to the rear of the mag.
You can also see how little of the mag shows below the stock.

   One thing I believe adds to the inherent accuracy of this rifle is the manner the internal slide/bolt is engineered.  Most 22 bolts simply ride inside the frame without any support to speak of. The Remington 597 uses dual steel rods that the slide/bolt rides on making the action very smooth. In fact it’s the smoothest action I’ve ever felt on a semi auto. The rifle also has a last round hold open for fast magazine changes. When it locks open just drop the magazine and slap another in then pull the charging handle to the rear a short distance and release it chambering the first round. While somewhat heavier than most 22 rifles the balance is very good which is certainly a plus with the heavier target type stock and heavy barrel. The trigger feel is very good as well. This has to do with the hammer, sear and trigger being coated in Teflon making these moving parts very smooth as they contact each other. The trigger pull is very good at just under 4 pounds. Remington has really hit a home run on this rifle. It also comes in 22 mag and 17HMR. The magazine holds 10 rounds in 22, 9 in 22 mag and I believe 9 in 17HMR as well. Also the barrel on this target/Varmint model has a free float barrel for increased accuracy.

Left side view

   Over the next few days I’ll make some additional trips to the range and post some accuracy figures with various types of ammunition. Another important consideration for a target/varmint rifle is the choice of scope. I purchased an inexpensive scope this time. It’s a BSA Sweet series 22 in 3x9x 40. I paid $90 for this one which is a pretty good deal since retail is $129. This scope is specifically made for the 22 caliber rifle. It comes with extra turrets for 36, 38 and 40 grain bullets. Once calibrated the turrets are set to zero with a maximum range of 175 yards. On the right side of the scope is the windage knob. It also has graduated markings on the knob for adjustment to the right or left depending on wind speed initial sight in etc. The top turret is very simple to change for the bullet weight you are using. With the 38 grain bullet for instance you simply loosen three screws on the rim and remove this turret and replace it with the proper bullet weight turret. No range adjustment should be required when changing the turrets out for different bullets. From that point on you simply estimate the range and dial it in on the top turret and you should be on target. One way to help estimate range is the front focus ring. When the target is in focus it gives you the range on the front focus ring. Initial setup takes a bit of time but it’s well worth the time to set things up correctly. A Nikon it’s not but it’s a fine scope for the price.
   This particular rifle is new but had a small handling scratch on one side of the stock which reduced the price to $225 which is great considering the retail price is $381. The Harris type bipod is made by Rock Mount for sale at WalMart. While Harris bi-pods are in the $65 to almost $100 range I opted for the Rock Mount at $41. It looks identical to the Harris and is made just as well in my opinion. This is my third bi-pod in this brand and they have held up on my AR15’s as well as the Springfield M1A in 308. I would recommend this bi-pod over the Harris unless you just want the Harris name on it.
   Whether you buy this rifle for hunting small game, plinking or varmint hunting at longer ranges you can’t go wrong with this rifle. Most 22 rifles are just functional tools. What sets this one apart from the crowd is the beauty of it as well as the design features and accuracy. This is going to be my very favorite 22 semi-auto I can be sure of that already. The only 22 rifle that tops it is the Marlin Golden 39A. The 39A was my second rifle back in the early 1960’s so there is a lot of emotional attachment to this rifle. The only problem with it now is price. The last one I saw was just over $700!

View of the top range turret

Overall view of the BSA Sweet 22 Scope. It is threaded for an extension shade

   One last note. The scope does not come with scope rings. It uses standard 1 inch rings. This one I mounted on a set of rings that use a Picatinny type rail even though you can mount them directly to the top of the receiver in the grooves milled into the top. It is pre drilled for adding the Picatinny rail.
   As always your comments and questions are welcome!

Range Report and Additional Pictures:

I bought a box of Federal 40 grain match ammo for testing groups at 50 yards. The results were great. The picture below shows how small the group was from 50 yards. Compare the group size by comparison with the 50 round box of match ammo. I did throw one round but all the others of the ten round group are all touching. I was certainly pleased!

50 yard Target Group

Additional pictures in daylight indoors–enjoy:-)

I also added Butler Creek flip up lens covers

The finger grooves are very easily seen in this photo

The learning curve isn’t to bad learning the features of the scope but once mastered it’s a very nice scope!

My good friend Lt. Eric Windmollers standard model 597 with synthetic stock with standard barrel

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42 Responses to “Remington 597 Heavy Barrel Target/Varmint Rifle”

  1. Richard Kerr said

    Hi Phil,

    Very nice setup, looking foreward to some range reports on this one. The bi-pod is also a nice choice having one myself, it is a Harris knock-off but it is well manufactured and IMHO the only thing you get for the money on the Harris unit is the name. I like the doublestack mag design idea, gives a more compact profile from top to bottom. All in all a nice find!


  2. EW said


    As you already know, the 597 has become my favorite .22 rifle also. Keep in mind They have a whole section devoted to the Remington .22s and some great tips on how to keep it running well. The dual guide set-up needs to run fairly dry and they’re on the 3rd generation of magazines now- the original all polymer mags gave the first run of guns absolute fits. If it wasn’t for the crappy mags back then, the 597 would be giving the Ruger 10/22 a lot more run as the best semi-auto .22. Enjoy it. I like the stock as well.

  3. Jerry said

    Right when I thought I had my mind made up about what 22 LR Rifle I wanted to save for next you throw me a curve. I may have to quit reading your blog! Keep up the good work …

    PS I was thinking about a TOZ-99 rifle … heard anything about them? For the price they seem like a good buy.

  4. Gunner said


    Thanks buddy! That rifle just jumped out at me when I was walking the rack of rifles at the shop. It’s a real beauty. I swear Harris makes that brand of bi-pod cause they are identical!
    It’s nice not having the magazine hanging down like most others do. That and the polymer coating keeps it comfortable should you rest your hand on it when shooting.
    This one is a real keeper for sure!


  5. Gunner said


    Yep. I messed you up with this one huh:-) Like I said I still like the Marlin but this Remington is in a whole other class.
    Hum, a TOZ99 that doesn’t ring a bell right off hand but I’ll look it up it may be that I know it by another name.
    Thanks! I’ll keep on writing em up as soon as I can beg, borrow or buy new guns to write up!


  6. Gunner said


    I’ll check rimfire central. I haven’t been on that website but it sounds like I need to. These mags are metal bodies and pretty tight. I didn’t have any problems at all yesterday.
    Now I know why you bought a 597 yourself. I just love that stock that came with it. It just feels great and the balance like I said is perfect. With the bi-pod it steady as a rock.


  7. Alessio said

    ciao! anche io sarei interessato al remington 597, l’unica cosa che non mi convince è la carcassa in lega leggera e la canna flottante, penso che una canna fissa avvitata renda il tutto più robusto come la marlin e altre.
    E poi il pacchetto di scatto è tutto in polimero… però se mi dici che non ci sono problemi, valuterò!
    Della savage cosa ne pensi?(anche se è flottante pure lei). Da Firenze Italia saluti!!

  8. Gunner said

    ciao! Alessio In risposta alla vostra domanda circa il Remington essere una ricevente della lega sì esso è. Per il calibro 22 rotondo è più abbastanza di forte di durare un tempo molto molto senza problemi. Le leghe sono venuto un senso lungo durante i 20 anni ultimi o così. Per quanto il selvaggio è fatto in tale senso dura un tempo molto molto e potrebbe essere passato giù alle generazioni poiché ha una ricevente d’acciaio. Tutto il fucile che è fatto dell’acciaio forgiato supererà la maggior parte della qualunque lega. Direi senza prenotazione che il selvaggio è il fucile superiore. Spero che questo aiuti! Tnaks per il vostro commento. Phil

  9. Tony said

    I purchased a heavy barrel laminated stocked 597 from Dick’s sporting goods a few weeks ago .The 1st time out with the rifle at 50 yds the group size was an unbelieveable 5 to 6 inches ,So then I took it home purchased the target hammer and installed it,the factory pull is an ungodly 8lbs .Then back to the range I did manage some nice 3 shot groups all clover leaf .this rifle is worst shooting firearm I’ve ever owned .At 25 yds I expect at least 1 in with any ammo .And this rifle won’t do that with 5 rds.
    The rifle was shot from 25 and 50 yds using a 36X scope and a caldwell BR rest ,and 2 experienced shooters . I would not recommend this rifle to anyone ,but as far as jamming maybe 1 to 2 jams in 200 rds ….
    The rifle it self seems nicely made and the laminated stock was what caught my eye ,the weight and balance are great ,I just wish it would group .Oh well live and learn ….

  10. Gunner said

    Tony—email sent

  11. Rogue said

    I was wondering if there is a follow-up to this post. This is the rifle I am looking at with the same scope, my only debate is 22LR or 22Mag. I am curious as to your range report, what ammo was “best” and functionality.

  12. Gunner said

    Hi sir,

    Well the ammo that functions and seems to be the most accurate isn’t even a match ammo it’s the Remington Golden Bullet value pack. One thing about it 22 ammo isn’t what it used to be as far as being reliable. Expect to have a few misfires with about any brand of 22 you buy. Aggravating but that’s just the way it is these days. With Remington and others making over 1,000,000 rounds a day you can’t help but have bad rounds. Now on to the 22 mag. It isn’t turned out in such quantities so it tends to be more reliable. It’s also a screamer and you can take small game with no problem at all. The 22 is mainly a plinker round and a very small game round (rabbits and such). 22 mag ammo is more expensive at around $7.00 per 50 with 22 LR at $17 per 500 so it depends on what kind of shooting you want to do.
    The most accurate as a rule are the Federal and Winchester rounds that come in the 320 to 350 round boxes. Wal Mart has these at the best prices.
    If I want the maximum accuracy and reliability I would buy the Savage heavy barrel bolt action. It also has the accu-trigger which is about the best trigger you can buy. This rifle is about $250 with the heavy barrel.

    I hope this helps you,

  13. fred winkler said

    I just got the plain jane gun for the kids to shoot. using bulk winchester ammo the gun shot great. Of course I do not have the heavy barrel setup nor that type of accuracy. I have an Anshutz 22 for that. We as a family are having great fun with this gun. I bought it for the remington name and did not even look it up. For $129 I paid for it well worth it. It is nothing to shoot 300-400 rounds thru it in a day

  14. Gunner said


    Great choice for a plinker and family gun. That’s wonderful you have the entire family involved in our sport. You sure got a deal on it as well!


  15. Covert Ind said

    Hey there
    Just stumbled across this blog and thought I’d throw in a couple cents. I have a 597 .22lr done nothing major to it except change the finish. (you can see it on my blog page) so anyway, I took the wife out shooting and I was impressed on the accuracy Ive recieved. 150yd offhand shots at coke cans. So I set my wife down prone with the 597 and BSA scope and at 250 yds she was walking coke cans down range! She had the nerve to look at me and say “that’s all there is to shooting? I thought it would be more complicated!” LOL

  16. Gunner said

    LOL—A natural in your own house. I bet that surprised ya:-)


  17. steve palm said

    597 is worthless the action is very poorly machined when it heats up it goes full auto the inside tube is like a straw buy a 10/22 you can’t go wrong my 10 yearold daughter has a precision 10/22 and shoot a 1.5 inch group at 100yds with off the shelf ammo tar, grade under 1 inch

  18. Gunner said

    Hi Steve,

    To each his own:-) I like them both so no argument on the 10/22. I’ve never experienced a full auto episode. I’d say yours needs to take a trip to Remington if it’s under warranty.

    Take care,

  19. clyde drexler said

    I have the black 597 mag. I have four other rifles in the 22 mag. and this auto is by far the best shooter. I had a problem with the magazine but Rem. was very fast to the rescue. My average 3 shot groups from sandbag rests at 100 yard is .957. This rifle prefers the Win. 40 jhp to all others, but the rem.40 psp is superb as well. The design of the rifle is excellent. The bolt rides on a twin rod double spring carrier with a built in buffer at the rear. This rifle is extremely easy to strip to clean as well. I consider this Rem. to be a great buy.

  20. Cris D said

    Great report. Too bad my HB LS 597 doesn’t shoot like yours. I send close-up photos of the bore and Remington says I need to send it back to them because there are metal chips that fused to the bore after firing. These chips are supposed to be cleaned off during manufacture, but it looks like they missed it. You wouldn’t happen to have pics of the muzzle, would you? I wish i could see what a well-finished bore should look like on a HB LS.

  21. Gunner said

    Thanks Cris,
    Hi Cris,

    I don’t have any photos of the interior of the bore. They usually turn out pretty fuzzy. It sounds like they missed a production step. They drill the bore while drenching the bit in oil then a hi pressure blast to clean out the interior and wash away all those metal shavings from rifling the barrel. It’s darn sure useless the way it is. They should send you a box and return pre paid label so they can replace the barrel as well as the receiver. They may even need to replace the entire gun depending on any damage to the bolt from the shavings.
    They are usually pretty good about replacing defective guns. It’s a rare thing but it does happen.

    Good luck!

    PS The bore should be shiny and smooth with no evidence of any materials or indentations in it.

  22. Nice Rifle and the stock looks sweet love the natural wood look. What’s the longest distance you have hit a varmint with this setup?

  23. Gunner said

    I guess the longest shot was a Muskrat at about 200 yards. The distance measuring scope really helps:-)

    Take care,

  24. rick said

    Good review on the 597. Although the 597 in .17HMR has already been recalled by Remington. it is hard to beat a ruger 10/22 with a Volquartsen trigger group and tactical solutions barrel.Sub MOA at 100yds with W

  25. Gunner said


    Thanks I appreciate it:-) Yep I think the 17HMR was a bit much for the design to handle. I couldn’t agree more on the Ruger 10/22 it’s a fine 22 and with a heavy barrel and refined trigger group it’s hard to beat. The Ruger is also very reliable and stands up to a lifetime of use with no problem.

    All the best,

  26. ed said

    Worst .22 ever made, own 2, a std model and vtr both very dangerous with predetonation, fail to feed, fail to eject, fail to fire (bolt not closing)accuracy is awful. remington missed the boat on this one. ANY and I mean ANY .22 is better than these pieces of crap

  27. Gunner said


    I respectfully disagree but we all have our opinions:-)


  28. ed said

    Phil, Thank you for your response, but I own several .22’s (23 at the last count)from squire bingham to marlin to ruger and not one has ever given me the grief that the 597 has, check out you tube on the 597 vtr and you will see what I mean. this pos needs 2b recalled and gone back to the drawing board obviously u got the one good one. I have been shooting for over 30 yrs and and I know a dud when I see one. I’m not kidding these guns are dangerous with the predetonation. Thank you.

  29. Gunner said


    I have heard of the predetonation on I understood from Remington it was a problem with some and had been fixed. At least that’s what I was told.
    I’ll take your word for it and yes that can be dangerous.

    Take care,

  30. Malcolm said

    I have a number of 597’s as well as three new VTR’s and other than pure pleasure I have no gripes about them at all and I blow out at least 1000 rounds a weekend, I blend my own oils and lubricants for all my guns out of synthetic polymers which makes a difference and I stick to high grade ammo, I am getting 1″ groups @ 100yrds with Remington Golden bullets and since changing to them get negligent amounts of either miss fires or miss feeds, hope this helps.

  31. TODD said

    have had my standard edition 597, with sheap bushnell 3 to 9 scope on it for a few years now, and have 2 friends with similar set up, shoot the hell out of them with no hickups, off hand dead red fox at 90 yards , one shot, under 1 inch groups, no complaints here,,Todd

  32. TODD said

    will buy wife one soon,

  33. Bob in TN said

    I own a 579 HB in .22 WRM. Hav had excellent experience from accuracy view point. It’s still near perfect condition and fitted with a Simmons Super .22 Mag. that is a very versital 3x9x32 W/OA. Shoots .442 groups as long as I skip the AM coffee. Shooting was done w/o sand bags or any target type support and in an indoor range whose distance limit was 50 yds. I’m extremely happy with quality and Winchesters WRM Supreme ammo.Can you recommend an custom stock maker (Boyd’s or similar) that has laminate or synthetic thumbhole 99% fit stocks in inventory for a 597 Bull bbl..22 WRM? Are there any reliable source after market accesories you’ve seen or heard of? Thanks for being such a knowlegable + constructive resourse.

  34. Gunner said

    What can i say they are wonderful rifles!

  35. steve said

    ive had the same model 597 hb in .22lr for 2 years now and ive never had any issue with it other than the typical magazine feed issues. i use remington subsonics for ammo and i average 5 shot groups that i can cover with my thumbnail at 100 yards and even shot a coyote at 200 yards in the eye if you believe it. i have a 4x bsa scope on it and this gun is by far the most accurate .22 ive ever shot. with the exception of an old remington targetmaster which routinely hits quarter sized targets at 150-170 yards.

  36. steve said

    also if i get the cash i will be investing in the new version of the 597 hb this summer with the thumbhole stock, but i have to come up with the 450 for it which i dont think my girlfriend will allow.

  37. Skunkworks said

    I recently picked up a 597 from Dick’s after much debate between it and a 10/22. I still want a Ruger some day as it is an icon. However, I’m VERY happy with my decision and the 597 is a great rifle. Mine is just the standard model with the ugly OD-green stock (maybe it will grow on me?). With a Barska 3-7 x 22 rimfire scope, I’m getting great groups up to 100 yds. I’m still experimenting with ammo so I think I’ll get better than my current 1.5″ groups as time goes on. I’ve run about 1,000 rounds through it (600 today) and only have trouble with the Winchester Wildcat stuff. FTF all over the place. CCI Blazer, Federal, Thunderbolts, and CCI Velocitor work great. I had an amazing group at 50yds using Rem. Target as well. Golden Bullet work well, but I have a FTF in every 50 rounds or so and it’s pretty dirty.
    All in all, I’m very happy and this is my new favorite plinker. I just wish the trigger was a light and smooth as my Revelation Western Auto/Marlin MOD 60.

  38. Aaron said

    I have several Ruger 10/22 rifles, and was a bit reluctant to pick up the 597. Once I did, I was pleasantly surprised. It really is a nice little rifle. I did not have the troubles with the trigger weight that so many of you did, but I do prefer a slightly heavy trigger pull because my kids and I shoot together and I find they are less prone to pulling off target than wiith a super light trigger. The only problem I did have was with a hi-cap mag. It seems the action cycles faster than the magazine can present a fresh round. A minor problem having nothing to do with the gun, of course. As for the ugly stock some of you mentioned, I agree it is ugly, but it is nicely designed and very tough. Overall, a nice plinker or small game hunter. I get the best performance out of mine with CCI 36Gr jhp mini-mags. To the people having mechanical issues: Most failures are due to improper cleaning methods; just saying.

  39. Brett said

    What do you guys recommend for a high capicity magazine for the 597? I found three differnt kinds from various retailers.
    Remington has a 30 rd magazine, Shooters Ridge has a 25rd magazine, and a Pro Mag 20 rd.

  40. Gunner said


    I’d stick with the improved 30 round Remington:-)

  41. Mike Carbone said

    Hey does the 597 HB with the nice laminated stock have a plastic trigger group, or is it metal? I thought for the price premium they might have upgraded it. Thanks

  42. Gunner said

    Mike they do have a Teflon coated nickel hammer and sear which is only common to this model. Now one thing I would do is purchase the Volquartsen extractor just for the added reliability and wear resistance.Here is the link for those.,29-remington-597

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