Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.
You may have heard about free-floated barrels before. This means that the barrel on the rifle does not touch the stock of the rifle at any point. So do Remington 700 feature free-floated barrels?
Many models of the popular Remington 700 come equipped with the barrel free-floated. Some lower-end models, however, do not include a free-floated barrel, and this must be done after the gun is purchased.
In this article, you will learn about the advantages that a free-floated barrel can give you, which Remington 700 models already come with it, and if it is worth the extra money or not. Continue reading to decide for yourself if a free-floated barrel is right for you.
What is a Free Floating Barrel?
A barrel that is “free-floated” simply means that the barrel does not make contact with the stock of the rifle. The barrel is attached to the rifle’s receiver, which is attached to the stock, but the barrel itself “floats freely” over the forend of the stock without touching it or any other parts on the gun (except the sights and/or scope). This will help minimize any variances with barrel alignment, as well as helps to cut down on felt vibration during shooting.
What is the Point of a Floating Barrel?
In addition to barrel variance and vibration reduction, the largest advantage to having a free-floated barrel is to increase accuracy. Contact between the barrel and the stock could cause problems with the natural movement of the barrel while shooting, especially as the barrel heats up with repeated firing. This contact can cause the barrel to move inconsistently from shot to shot, resulting in less accurate hits.
For example, if a stock is made of wood, you may see things like warping or movement over time which could also cause the barrel to shift if the two are in contact. This will alter the bullet’s ballistics and point of impact, severely reducing a gun’s accuracy.
The Remington 700 line of rifles has a deep and rich history of being some of the most accurate guns on the planet. In order to keep any rifle, especially a Remington 700, shooting accurately, the barrel needs to be free-floating in order to decrease the chances of any external factors.
Which Remington 700 Models Have a Free Floated Barrel?
There are many different models of the popular Remington 700 rifle. Many of these models include a free-floated barrel, so the work is done for you. These models include those such as:
- Long Range
- Sendero SF II
It is important to note that even though a particular rifle may claim to have a free-floated barrel (including a Remington 700), it may not. This is due to the imperfections and flexibility of a synthetic stock. Although manufactured as a free-floating production, once it is put together, the barrel may ever so slightly touch the stock. This is most commonly seen at the very tip of the forend.
A quick and easy test that you can use to see if your rifle barrel is freely floating is to take a dollar bill (or any other small slip of paper) and slide it under the barrel. Work it down to the stock and try to take it all the way to the receiver of the gun.
A rifle with a free-floated barrel will allow you to move the paper anywhere you want under the barrel as it does not make contact with the stock. On the other hand, the paper should be stopped should the barrel and stock make contact together, showing you where there might be a problem.
Luckily there is an easy fix if you are using a synthetic stock as you can work down these imperfections in order to free float the barrel yourself. Most people can do this themselves with only a few simple tools and avoid an expensive trip to the gunsmith in the process.
Should You Free Float a Synthetic Stock?
If you find out that your Remington 700 barrel is not free-floating and you have a synthetic stock, should you free float it anyways? Because the process is so easy and the results can be some significant increases in accuracy, the answer will most likely be yes! Not only is it easy to do, but there are major benefits to the accuracy and consistency of your rifle if the barrel is not able to make contact with the stock of the gun.
How to Free Float the Barrel Yourself
To start, simply lose the bolt that holds the stock and action together that is found on the underside of the rifle. Once you have the stock removed from the rest of the gun, you can now take a better look at the problem area where the barrel and stock make contact.
For minor cases, you can simply take some sandpaper and work down the area to ensure you have a large enough space between the barrel and stock. For larger problem areas that require a little more work, a Dremel tool can be used to work down the plastic material.
Once you sand down the area, put the gun back together and use the paper test once again. If your paper still does not freely slide around the underside of the barrel, repeat the process again until it does. This is a cheap and easy way to ensure that a synthetic stock can be made to accommodate the free-floating barrel. As we mentioned earlier, even those synthetic stocks that are marketed as “free-floating” will often flex and still contact the barrel if you are not careful.
Wood stocks are much more solid and less prone to needed work straight out of the box but are a little more difficult to work on should they need it. They are also more prone to soaking up moisture and warping over time, whereas synthetic stocks are not.
While most Remington 700 rifles will come with a free-floated barrel, many will not. A free-floated barrel will give you many benefits, including a large increase in accuracy. If you want to take your Remington 700 rifle to the next level, you will definitely want a barrel that is freely floating away from the stock!
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.