Gun Digest Greatest Guns: Remington’s 40-XB

Author's Remington 40-XB, ready for testing. Hollywood tool, set up at the bench, allowed reloading at the range. The rifle delivered excellent groups, favorite loads beating the factory guarantee. Scope is a Bausch & Lomb 6x-24x.
Author’s Remington 40-XB, ready for testing. Hollywood tool, set up at the bench, allowed reloading at the range. The rifle delivered excellent groups, favorite loads beating the factory guarantee. Scope is a Bausch & Lomb 6x-24x.

Much of my shooting in recent times has been with the shotgun, more particularly the trap gun — one year I spent 50 Sundays shooting the clays and only lousy weather prevented my going out the other two days.

One day not long ago, though, I read with renewed interest an article in a recent Gun Digest by Field & Stream’s gunscribe, Warren Page, called “Half-Minute Rifles.” In it I learned that Remington had a centerfire rifle available, guaranteed as to accuracy. My ears perked up, my interest increased, and I knew I’d have to have one of ‘em! After much hard thought on caliber choice I ordered a 40-XB heavy barrel model in standard 6mm Remington caliber, with a twist of 1–10″.

I was, of course, impatient to have the rifle in my hands as soon as possible, but because the 40-XB is a special order rifle it takes time — in my case it was close to 8 weeks.

Specifications

The 40-XB can also be had with a light or “standard” barrel. The heavy barrel model weighs in at 111⁄4 lbs., less sights, the standard is 11⁄2 lbs. lighter. Both barrels are about 271⁄4″, and for some $20 extra, stainless steel barrels can be had. They’re recommended, by Remington, for such hotter cartridges as the 7mm Rem., 30–338, etc., and they will also give increased barrel life for the 6mm Rem. and 22–250. This is something for the varmint hunter to consider.

Most 40-XBs supplied are single shot; repeaters can be had, again for an extra $20, in cartridges up to the 7.62 NATO, better known as the 308 Winchester. The SS style has a slight edge in accuracy usually, the action being stiffer because there is no weakening cut-out through the bottom of the action and stock.

One other option is a $40-extra trigger with a 2-oz pull, for bench-rest and target shooting. It is generally considered too light for field use. However, the trigger on my 40-XB can be adjusted down to about 8 ounces, with safety, and it’s a joy to use.

Every Remington 40-XB, before it leaves the factory, must fire three 5-shot groups at 100 yards, these not to exceed a certain accuracy standard for the cartridge being fired:

Test groups and loading data are furnished with each rifle, the targets with my rifle averaging .47″, well under the .60″ maximum average allowed. Interestingly, these groups were fired with custom made bullets, not factory! Whether this will continue now that Remington offers match grade bullets in 22 and 6mm (the Power-Lokt stuff) is moot. Note that Remington doesn’t guarantee that the user of their 40-XB rifles will obtain the same accuracy shown by their test targets, and in watching some reloaders at work I can well see why.

All 40-XBs have scope blocks attached, but some short target type scopes, at least, are too short to reach the bases. My 10x Unertl Varmint scope wouldn’t fit. The base separation is 10.6″ instead of the older 6.8″ or 7.2″ dimension, with one base on the barrel and the other on the receiver bridge. The receiver ring, also tapped, comes sans base, and would allow a 7.2″ separation. The longer target scopes present no problem, of course. The 10.6″ separation has an advantage; it takes 6 clicks instead of 4 to equal 1 MOA (1″ at 100 yards), giving more precise impact adjustment.

The walnut stock is of target type, the wood plain and straight grained for strength. Barrel and action are hand-bedded, with the barrel free-floating. A barrel bedding device at the front end of the stock controls tension between barrel and fore-end, and can also be used with electrical bedding devices. The underside of the stock has a rail inletted flush with the wood, permitting adjustment of the attached front swivel and handstop, designed for target shooters. The handstop is easily removed for field or bench shooting.

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