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Author: Mike Schoby
The Remington Model 600 rifle and the .350 Remington Magnum cartridge were introduced together in 1965. Neither was very successful as a commercial venture, but both eventually gained the respect of knowledgeable shooters and hunters and became "underground" classics. Now they are back. Eventually, great ideas resurface.
Some would say Remington was simply ahead of their time. Maybe the shooting public was not ready for the futuristic look of the vent rib, the high sweeping sights and the laminated stock back in 1965, but in the 30 year production hiatus they have caught the vision.
For whatever reason, the Remington model 600 chambered in .350 Remington Magnum was not a huge success when first introduced, and it was quickly dropped from their lineup three years later. While other variations based on the 600 theme (the 660 Mohawk and the 600 Magnum) were chambered in various calibers, none ever really garnered the praise they deserved and all were discontinued in 1971.
Even though the original 600 chambered in .350 Remington Magnum failed from a sales standpoint, from a performance perspective the combination shined. The goal for Big Green's designers was to develop a cartridge/rifle combo that was compact, lightweight, fast handling, powerful, and weather resistant for guides and hunters who pursued their quarry in relatively close quarter situations. In this regard it was tremendous success, those that applied it to these purposes, have long lamented its demise.
New for 2003, Remington answered the demands of serious hunters and shooters and brought back the 600, now deemed the 673 Guide Gun (the 6 is for its 600 heritage, 7 as it is built on the model 7 action and 3 for, you guessed it 2003). While it looks virtually the same as the original 600 magnum, Remington did modify some aspects of this fine firearm and addressed some of the complaints of the original.
Instead of using the original 600 action (incidentally the same one as the now defunct XP100 pistol) they used the short Model Seven action. While being very similar in design, the Model Seven does use a straight bolt handle, as opposed to the sweeping "S" bolt handle of the original 600, and a bottom mounted bolt release. They also eliminated the nylon covered blind magazine for the more modern and user friendly metal hinged, drop-floor plate.
The original model 600 Magnum has highly criticized pressed checkering while the 673 sports nice cut checkering that adds both to its functionality and overall looks. While both the original 600 and the 673 feature the unique vent rib and high rise sights, the 673 uses a metal rib and sights as opposed to the breakage prone nylon version found on the 600.
Many shooters complained about the super short 18 1/2" barrel combined with the feather light 6-1/2 pound weight on the original 600. While the 673 Guide Gun is intended to be short and compact, Remington engineers did go with a 22" barrel and bumped the weight to 7 1/2 pounds. The longer barrel does improve velocity, as well as reduce muzzleblast and the increased weight helps control the recoil. I compared the new 673 to my own original 600 and found that the extra 3 1/2" and the extra pound is not even noticeable in swing or feel.
Some features that were criticized in the 1960's are now so common they are taken for granted. Take for example the laminated stock. Back in 1963, this was a revolutionary design. No one truly understood the features of a stable laminated wood shooting platform - all they really understood, was that it wasn't solid walnut; therefore it must be bad and in many people's mind, ugly to boot. Today the number of rifles that wear either a laminate or synthetic stock far outnumbers traditional, solid walnut. It is just a sign of the times - but Remington's wide strip laminate on the 673 could never be more at home and in many shooter's opinion, more handsome.
Why the .35
When Remington introduced the .350 Remington Magnum, it like the gun was ahead of its time. Short action magnums did not really exist, and the shooting public was not ready to accept good things in small packages. After the 600 variants were discontinued, the .350 Rem Mag ambled along, being chambered only in Remington's full size 700. In 1997 the cartridge was dropped all together.
Today the benefits of a short cartridge are widely known. Powder burn rates are more consistent, standard deviation is more uniform, bolt travel is shorter and the performance rivals many of the full-sized magnums. As the recent introduction of so many short magnums proves, shooters around the world are realizing the benefits of a short case - so why not the .350?
Since Remington discontinued the last .350 factory load over five years ago, a new .350 Mag. factory load had to be introduced. The new load pushes a 200-grain PSP Core-Lokt bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2775 fps, which results in a muzzle energy of 3419-ft. lbs.
As the numbers show, this is a tremendous mid-bore performer capable of tackling every North American big game species, but if the wonderful .350 is not enough, Remington is also offering the 673 in .300 Remington Short-Action Ultra Mag. The .300 SAUM is a potent short action caliber that turns the 673 Guide Gun into not only a good all around big game rifle, but also one with some long range reaching potential.
I think the shooting test should match the gun, and for this reason, I didn't mount a scope on my test rifle. On a gun like the 673, I feel that it should be considered a fast handling, reasonably close range weapon. Sure the gun is accurate enough and powerful enough to shoot farther than open sights will allow, but by scoping this rifle, you are defeating the purpose of the rifle (when chambered in .350 Rem. Mag.) As is, with open sights the 673 Guide Gun is capable of keeping 3 shots under an inch at 100 yards. I fired five, three-shot groups at 100 yards and averaged .97 inch groups.
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall length: 41 13/16"
Average Weight: 7 1/2 pounds
Stock Material - Dark and Light Brown Laminate
LOP: 13.75 inches
Rate of Twist: 1:16
Total Capacity: 4
Calibers: 300SAUM, .350 Remington Magnum