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Rem/Age Conversions Explained

In Blog by Rich29 Comments

Ever hear the the term Rem/Age? It’s a play on the brands Remington and SAVAGE and what a hybrid design offers the shooter. There is a huge aftermarket full of accessories and options available for the Remington 700 action. Unfortunatley, SAVAGE rifles get less aftermarket support. However, one of the features commonly found on a SAVAGE rifle has to do with how the barrel is mounted to the action. Remington barrels have a shoulder that butts up against the action face and when installed and torqued provides proper headspace for the cartridge the Remington rifle is chambered for. SAVAGE uses a nut to secure the barrel to the receiver. The barrel threads into the receiver, headspace is set with gauges, and then the nut is torqued against the SAVAGE action to secure the barrel. The term Rem/Age refers to combining “best of both worlds” by adding modular barrel changes of a SAVAGE to a Remington action!

Rem/Age Conversion

Northland Shooters Supply is the group usually referenced in this discussion. Specifically Jim Briggs who has been supporting this conversion for a long time. The concept of the Rem/Age is pretty simply, convert the Remington 700 action to use and work with a barrel nut for securing the barrel to the receiver. This allows the shooter, at home and without the support of a Gunsmith’s Shop full of machinery, to swap barrels and calibers on their own. Why would that be an attractive option? For one, there’s no waiting or shipping of parts and materials. There’s no added expense of insuring a firearm or having one damaged during shipping. It allows a user to swap calibers within the same bolt face family, for example 308 –>6.5 Creedmoor–>6.5×47 Lapua–>243 Winchester–>6×47 Lapua–>6mm Creedmoor–>260 Remington and so on and so forth.

Rem/Age-rifle

6×47 Lapua Rem/Age Rifle! This thing is a tack driver!

A shooter could swap between different calibers in just a few minutes with the right tools, which you will need to purchase to do this properly. Specifically, you need an action wrench to hold and secure the action while the barrel is threaded into place. You will need a wrench for the SAVAGE style barrel nut provided by Northland Shooter Supply. The wrench is used to tighten the nut against the action face after you have the barrel properly headspaced. The reason I opted for doing things this way with this project was I had plans to make this action my new Match Gun. I had already settled on the 6×47 Lapua caliber for the first barrel. I knew going into it that the barrel life on the high performance 6×47 Lapua caliber is diminished by the velocity and performance gained. Basically, I knew I would have to rebarrel the action more often with this caliber, hence the setup for the Rem/Age system!

Rem/Age Conversion Requirements

What do you actually need to make one of these conversions happen? Component wise it comes down to this:

  1. Remington 700 Action
  2. NSS Barrel Nut
  3. Criterion Barrel (There are others that offer barrels for this system)
  4. Action Wrench
  5. Barrel Nut Wrench
  6. Go / No Go Gauges
Rem/Age-tools

NSS Action Wrench (Vise Configuration), NSS Barrel Nut Wrench, GO/NO GO Gauges in front of the Remington Action!

The only reason I didn’t include the NSS Recoil Lug in the list is because it, in and of itself, is not a required item. Any recoil lug will work, but alignment of the lug can be an issue as you torque the nut if the recoil lug isn’t pinned. Personally, if I did the same project again next week…I would purchase the NSS Recoil lug but I would have it pinned to the action by a Gunsmith. As opposed to having the action notched and lug free to be removed.

Project Rem/Age

I had a shorty 16″ Remington 700 in 308 Winchester that I got as a Christmas present a while back. I did some load development and worked up a custom handload for the gun but the accuracy just wasn’t there. Sometimes you’ll have that, a factory gun with a factory barrel won’t always deliver match grade performance. So I looked at what I wanted in a new match gun and planned out how I wanted to do this build. I had good success with my 6.5 Creedmoor AR10 but had been reading about the flatter shooting 6mm cartridges for a while. I’m wasn’t crazy about the number of cycles I was getting from Hornady brass, so I had ruled a 6mm Creedmoor out.

I had talked to a few local guys at the T3 Matches and even tried a buddy’s 6×47 Lapua out. He had nothing but good things to say about the cartridge and had over 20 cycles on the Lapua brass he was using. Obviously, one requirement here would be a Rem/Age barrel in the caliber I was interested in. I headed over to the Criterion Barrels Rem/Age page to see what my choices were. Suprise! 6×47 Lapua was on the list! I have seen many of the “cut rifled barrels are better than button rifled barrels” debates online. However, I’d also heard great things about Criterion’s barrels. They are a division of Krieger, who make excellent cut rifled barrels.

The first thing I did was order the barrel, recoil lug, barrel nut, and tools from Northland Shooters Supply. When those arrived, I sent the donor Remington 700 out to Phoenix Custom Rifles along with the recoil lug for the modifications necessary to complete the Rem/Age project. When the parts came back, all I had to do was paint them and install the barrel!

Rem/Age Barrel Installation

When it comes to installing a barrel on a Rem/Age system, things couldn’t be easier! Simply thread the Rem/Age barrel in until it makes contact with the bolt in the closed position. Hand tighten the barrel nut and open the bolt up. Drop the NO GO Gauge into the chamber and see if the bolt closes on the gauge. If so, loosen the nut, thread the barrel a smidge deeper into the action and repeat. Eventually the bolt will not close on the NO GO Gauge. Now drop the GO Gauge into the chamber and make sure the bolt does close on the GO Gauge.

You may have to back the barrel up out of the action a pinch until you find the happy in between point where both gauges work. What you are doing here is setting the headspace for the chamber. You want the bolt to close on the GO, you do not want it to close on the NO GO. When you have it where it needs to be, open the bolt, torque the nut to between 40ft/lbs and 50ft/lbs. I just set my wrench to 45ft/lbs. When finished, check the chamber with the gauges again to make sure nothing moved on you and if not, congratulations! The barrel is installed and ready to go with proper headspace!

In addition to the Rem/Age barrel conversion I had Phoenix Custom Rifles add a few other features to the Remington 700 action I was using for this project. Here you can see the bolt knob conversion and bolt shroud modification performed by Phoenix Custom Rifles. All the work the guys at PCR did was excellent. There are no complaints to be had about their work and their communication and turn around times are excellent. If you need a competent smith to do some work, give Brad and Keith at Phoenix Custom Rifles a call!

This video shows the Remington 700 receiver after the truing work was completed. The face of the receiver was cut square with the threads. The threads themselves were cleaned up, but not altered. This is critical! Typically during the course of truing a receiver the thread pattern can be enlarged or cut deeper to allow the Gunsmith to make sure the threads are square and cut properly. If the thread pattern is altered, the Rem/Age barrels will not work with the action. The action has to retain the original Remington thread pitch of 1 1/16-16. The Rem/Age barrels produced by Criterion and ordered/supplied by Northland Shooter Supply use that specific thread pitch.

You can also see the notch in the action face for the NSS Recoil lug. The lug has a pin on it and this allows you to slip the recoil lug over the barrel, and have it in place with the pin in the action notch where it can’t move or rotate as you tighten the nut. In hindsight, and for future projects, I would probably just have the recoil lug pinned to the action. By making the recoil lug and action one unit you accomplish the same thing and it’s probably a less complex modification to make. Likewise, custom actions that have integral lugs or pinned lugs from the factory can be made to work the same way. I know for a fact that the new American Rifle Company Mausingfield actions can be fit with SAVAGE small shank barrels and nuts. Other actions that share the Remington thread pitch can also be made to work the same way!

In this next video you can see the side bolt stop and release that were added to the Remington 700 action by Phoenix Custom Rifles! This is a modification I highly recommend. It’s so much easier to swap triggers or work on the gun in general when you don’t have to mess with the traditional Remington bolt stop and spring. My next action will likely be a custom action, and most of those already include this feature. Having had the benefit of a side bolt release for a while now, I’ve begun to see why it’s standard on custom actions. It’s just a better setup all around! Phoenix Custom Rifles uses Defiance bolt stop hardware for this modification.

Rem/Age Results

So how does it shoot? That’s what everybody really wants to know, right? It’s the most accurate gun I own. No joke, no exaggeration. This gun is a solid 1/4 Minute gun. It repeatedly shoots at or under 1/4″ at 100 yards with minimum effort. The long range accuracy is equally impressive. There are lots of people that make claims like this absent any proof or substance. I don’t want to be labeled as a “tall tale” writer. I’m going to post pictures of groups that I’ve shot, most of which were after two or three confirmation rounds when zeroing. I figured, what the hell, toss two more down range and see what the 5 round group looks like. I’m stunned, and quite proud to say that any time I’ve shot a string of five and measured, they have all been excellent.

withmagnetospeed.jpg

5 rounds, measured outside edge to outside edge with the bullet diameter subtracted…under 0.25″! This was with a Magnetospeed attached, thus ending the “It hurts load development” argument!

Only in load development did I see any groups larger than 0.5″ appear, and even then, only in the .6s! Every group since load development has been sub half minute and most are at or just a tick over a quarter minute. With results like this, I’m hard pressed to look elsewhere for any options other than what I already have in front of me that’s proven to be exceedingly accurate! I fully expected this to be an accurate rifle, but I had no idea the Rem/Age was to become my MOST accurate rifle I’ve yet put my hands on. I attribute the results to the outstanding barrels produced by Criterion Barrels and the flawless gunsmithing work from Phoenix Custom Rifles!

wpid-imag0516.jpg

From load development, six different seating depths, two sets of 3rd groups each…the results speak for themselves!

wpid-imag0544.jpg

Pulled one shot and opened it up to just a pinch over 1/4 MOA!

Wrapping Up the Rem/Age Project

So in closing I can honestly say this was a fun little project. I took a factory Remington 700 that wasn’t living up to my accuracy expectations, even after custom load development, and transformed a substandard rifle into the most accurate rifle in my house! If only every project would turn out that successfully! I’ve since shot this rifle in a couple matches and turned in some of my best scores yet. The 6×47 Lapua is an incredible cartridge. It really is the cutting edge of performance when you pair it up with quality handloaded cartridge components and an accurate rifle to fire them through. The barrel life won’t be as good as my 6.5 Creedmoor or 308 Winchester but installing a new barrel won’t take me 20 minutes when the time comes.

Rem/Age-Clover

Best group of my life, under 0.2″ at 100 yards!

In the meantime, this last photo illustrates what has become the rule of accuracy for this gun, rather than the exception! Its a reliable rifle that consistently performs better than I could have hoped for. The old adage is true, garbage in->garbage out! I used quality components and a reputable Gunsmith for this Rem/Age project and the result was the most accurate rifle I own. In fact, its the most accurate rifle I’ve fired in my life. If you have an older Remington 700 that needs a barrel, or even a new one that isn’t performing to your expectations…consider converting it to a Rem/Age! If you’ve built one, or have any experience with Criterion barrels, leave us a comment below!

Just an update here, NSS has released a recoil lug alignment attachment for their action wrench. This negates having to modify the action in order to install the new barrel. You also no longer need to notch your stock!

Remage lug tool

Owner and Proprietor of AccuracyTech, LLC. Rich is a Firearms Enthusiast, Precision Rifle Competitor, and Writer. He is committed to bringing readers quality reviews and articles related to the Precision Shooting Sports. If you have any questions for him, please use the contact form on the site.

Comments

  1. Good post.

    Pinning the lug isn’t mandatory. You can index the lug with the proper lug indexing fixture (Badger and Kleinendorff both make them) to avoid making that pin slot. I’ve always disliked the idea of cutting through those threads.

    I’ve found the 6×47 Lapua to be finicky with some pretty small accuracy nodes on the two I built. Looks like you found a load that shoots well.

    1. Author

      I looked at those lug alignment tools, they seem simple enough. Pinning the lug definitely isn’t mandatory, just seems like the simplest solution.

      That or buy a sexy custom action with an integral recoil lug 🙂 You’re the second person to say the 6x47L was finicky with regard to load development. That hasn’t been my experience. I’ve wondered how much the projectile plays a role in that regard. What bullets were you using?

  2. 108 Bergers , you can see my load development here: http://rifleshooter.com/2014/11/6×47-lapua/

    My buddy tried the 105 VLDs in his gun chambered with the same reamer and it wasn’t happening. I think I tried three loads with them and walked away.

    We looked at doing the 6 creed first but the brass was all over the place. I’m still going to make one in the next couple of months, but don’t expect much in the way of improved performance over the Lapua.

    The 6.5×47 Lapua is more forgiving and has a longer barrel life. My 6.5 loads have the same external ballistics as the 6 loads, the 6 just kicks a little less. My barrel was a 243 win I gave up on. The up side of my 6×47 Lapua is that it rocks with that load. I shot a regional match with a 20 round strong of fire at 300 yards and was under .3MOA vertical with that gun.

    I don’t think those integral lug actions help much, if anything they are a pain to coat because their tolerances are so tight. The defiance allows you a double column mag which is nice, but the Surgeon doesn’t even do that.

    1. Author

      That’s a great article! You are confirming some of my suspicions. VLDs are pretty notorious for being jump sensitive. My testing of the 105 Hybrids confirmed their selling point of not being jump sensitive at all.

      I’ve spent some time on your site a number of times, thanks for the great articles!

  3. Thanks. I’ve been reading your site as well. Keep up the good work.

  4. I really appreciate all you people do as far as furthering the accuracy of our firearms and then, writing about it. The last thing I wish to do is attempt to appear to bust anyone’s bubble but a person by the name of Norm Darnell who lives in Phoenix has been doing something very similar to what you people are doing for quite some time now. I know he approached me well over a year ago with something very similar. He is very instrumental with Savage as he is contacted by them quite often and also by Dave Kiff of Pacific Precision in their design of their action truing assemblies. He is a retired engineer, although you wouldn’t know it. He also writes for the “ASRPA Bullet Trap” (AZ St. Rifle & Pistol Assoc.) Thanks for all you print and do and keep up the good work.
    Allen Elliott

    1. Author

      Thanks for the compliments, Allen! I’m sure it’s been done before by a number of people and different Gunsmith Shops. Just wanted to illustrate how simple it can be and the results you can achieve if it’s done right!

      1. You are correct on their being a wayward black smith somewhere in Phoenix that does some writing (explanation for others) on what he does relating to accuracy. His back ground goes from designing stuff for the SR-71, mapping Venezuala and Brazil, plus other more exciting things.

        If you would like any of these articles in PDF for mat send me a email address to send them to. One relates to the making the Remington +.010 blue print coupled with a bit relating to the cops, varmint shooters, and Palma types.

        My name is Norm and that is all I go by since too many people have too many questions. Most of what I do is for disabled veterans which I am one.

        Shot Master in PPC.

        Norm

        1. Author
      2. Oddly enough I’m walking directly in your path so thank’s lot’s for the article.I’m using a Rem 700 Tactical 308 for the conversion to a 6.5 x 284 Norma Rem/age from Jim at Northland as well.I have the barrel and the tools already and after reading this I believe Phoenix might be the company as well for the clean-up and truing of the bolt-receiver.Jim was very punctual about not changing the receiver threads and If they already have experience with this particular procedure I’ll have to give these guys a shout…….

        1. Author

          NSS has a recoil lug alignment tool that mounts to their action wrench now. So you don’t need the notch in the receiver any more. Definitely give PCR a ring and tell them where you read about their work!

          Those guys rock!

          1. Yeah Jim hooked me up with one,long as this thing shoots I’ll be doing plenty more business with him…..

    1. Author

      In the article it’s an XLR Industries Carbon chassis. It worked like a charm. I’m currently using a Manners TF4A for the same barreled action from the article.

  5. Does the stock make much difference when considering the barrel nut. I am looking at doing this with the new magpul Hunter 700 stock and just want to try and find more information in regard to it working or not. I assume you would need to recess the stock to provide additional room for the barrel nut.

    1. It dropped right in my Bell and Carlson.I’m like you I was expecting to have to dremil.

  6. I would like to get the Rem/Age barrel chambered for the 6mm Remington. Is that available?.

  7. I’m just wondering if NSS has chosen to chamber only in their listed calibers or will they use a reamer provided by the person who wants the Remage barrel chambered in their desired Cartridge. Some of us like 6mm Remington. It is a great hunting cartridge. Bull berry in Utah set up a barrel for my Thompson center. The had only Douglas XX barrels but they chambered the barrel with my Reamer made PTG in 6mm Remington match. Has anyone ever asked NSS if they will chamber with requesters reamer or a reamer manufactured by NSS choice paid for by the requester.

    1. Author

      NSS is the distributor of sorts for the barrels, Criterion does the chambering. Check their list of calibers. They would probably do it custom for you though I don’t know if the expense would be worth it.

  8. Did you have your bolt firing pin hole bushed?? I’ve heard of guys having issues with the small primer on R700’s.

  9. Rich – Are you still shooting this rifle? what contour did you go with? I am thinking the bull personally I kinda wish they had a few more contour options.

    Thanks,

    1. Author

      Still shooting it, Nate! Went with the bull contour and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again!

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