Can You Make It Shine? Yes! and Here's How!
In my last post in The Badger's Den I detailed how my first encounters with a "Canadian 209" modification on my Remington 700 MLS and subsequent years left me disappointed. I knew the rifle could be more. Over the summer of 2012 I began a journey through forums of dedicated muzzle-loader enthusiasts to find that there was a better solution; I just didn't know about it. The solution was a bit buried in forums full of customization, tinkering, some bad ideas, and dead ends. I hope to spare you all the details, cut to the chase, and share with you the product that has finally let me love my 700 MLS.
The kit I found and fell in love with was developed by a guy named Fred, who sold it on a few dedicated muzzle loader forums. It was called just a bolt nose kit. But what we offer is more than just a bolt nose, ours is the complete kit. So here at Badger Ridge we call it the "Hunter Remington 700 ML/MLS 209 Conversion Kit, by Badger Ridge".
First let me truncate and summarize years of posts over many forums and years of development: Fred developed the kit to modify the OEM Remington 700 ML/MLS black powder muzzle-loader to work properly with 209 primers. At first he made the parts for himself and a few friends. Then the friends started sharing on the forums their success and general pleasure with the kits and from there it grew. Then people started tinkering with smokeless modifications to the 700ML/MLS. That required a barrel swap and and the original bolt nose was too short for the breech plugs that fit the smokeless barrels, so a second bolt nose was made just a bit longer and was called a "Smokeless" like the one you see below the OEM and the smoker, but... ah... well I promised to keep it simple... and now I'm rambling... so I'll explain the "smoker" (standard black powder) modification kit we sell.
Like I said, I'm just going to focus on making your "Smoker" work. I suggest you keep it simple as well, and leverage the work and info I'm putting in this blog and my reference section... and end up with a great black powder rifle without breaking the bank.
FINALLY THE WAY THE 700 ML/MLS SHOULD BE!
The Badger Ridge Remington 209 Conversion Kit is all you need to modify your 700 ML/MLS to use 209 primers without blow back, no special tools to carry in your possibles bag, and it protects the primer from weather (without plastic shrouds to lose). Any questions? No? Good, Now rush off to Our Products and buy it! Oh, wait you got questions... OK so read on:
Back to what makes this kit so great:
Those familiar with the successful Savage ML-II may recognize some of it's innovative features applied to the Badger Ridge Kit. First should be the bolt nose. The original 700MLS bolt -needs- our bolt nose placed over the bolt body. Its a firm press fit that is also held in place by loctite so it won't move on you (unless you put a torch and a wrench to it). The nose holds the primers firmly in place and 'feeds' them into the breach plug. It works a lot like a single shot rifle, except you slide the primer into and out of the bolt nose. No back pressure will be able to push the primer back and blow combustion gases all over the action because the bolt nose holds it firmly into the breech plug.
Next is the breech plug. The original Remington breech plug was designed for percussion caps, not 209 primers. So with this kit the original breach plug is removed and discarded. The kit's breach plug is used in its place. The kit's breech plug is noticeably longer with a nose that protrudes in to the barrel. Thus a specific breech plug is required for each caliber; each kit is caliber specific. The longer length (and larger internal diameter) creates a much larger 'flash chamber' that allows the 209 primer to reach its maximum effectiveness with minimum blow back through the breech plug. And even so, the flash chamber is sealed by the primer so that it functions as a sealed breech system; the primer keeps any blow back inside the flash chamber.
The kit's breech plugs have the hole for the primer purposely tight. This is so that it can be 'tuned' to the particular brand of primer you choose. See the info in the references section for more info on tuning your breech plug with a letter "C" drill bit.
Also your OEM breech plug wrench (or a 7/16 socket on an extension) can remove or install the kit's breech plug. So no new or additional tools are required.
A vent liner is threaded into the end that abuts the powder charge. A vent liner 'focuses' the fire made by the primer into the powder charge. As the vent liner receives a lot of heat and pressure, it erodes over the course of many firings, however it has an 7/64 Allen head that allows removal for cleaning, inspection, and periodic replacement. We provide a Lehigh vent liner with each kit. The Lehigh is regarded by many as the best and is interchangeable with the Savage.
A Real Firing Pin!!!
Finally we get to the firing pin. Yes it is a real firing pin. I couldn't make myself call the OEM nor the Canadian 209 mod's anything but a striker. The OEM striker is removed and replaced by the kit's firing pin. The kit's firing pin is purposely too long; it will need to be shortened to the proper protrusion and shaped to properly discharge a primer without piercing it. Every kit's firing pin requires fine tuning to the individual bolt.
DIY or pay us? You choose!
The bolt modifications may be something you do, something you have a gunsmith do, or you can just send us your bolt and for an appropriate fee we'll do the bolt modification. If you choose us, all you'll have to do is purchase the kit with installation, mail us your rifle's bolt, we'll do the modification (we always replace the main spring with a new one) and send it back with a new breech plug and vent liner (see this installation service page for the details). Once you get your bolt, all you'll need to do is assemble the rifle per the Remington 700 ML owners manual (You may need to tune the breech plug with a letter C bit to feed your choice of primers).
For you bolt mod Do-It-Your-Selfers, you'll need to drill a hole into the new firing pin during the installation (a bit is provided in the kit), and install the cross pin to hold the firing pin in the cocking piece/firing pin guide. In-case you lose the original bolt's cross pin, a spare roll is included in the kit as well. You will also need a vice with jaws that open atleast 6 inches or a hydraulic press, and the ability to file the firing pin to tolerances held to 1000ths of an inch. A detailed Instruction guide has been posted to the reference pages.
Start making Gems out of rough stones!
Our Remington 209 Conversion Kit alleviates blow back by solidly holding the primer into the breech plug. It improves the accuracy and the performance of the 209 primer by using an improved breech plug, it promotes longevity by using a common replaceable, inexpensive vent liner, and strikes the primer with a real firing pin. Now you can turn that rifle you couldn't give away into a real performer.
So get that old 700ML out from the back of the closet and breathe new life into it with a Hunter Kit. Or when you are walking through the local gun shop and see the lonely 700ML/MLS sitting in the corner with the discount sticker on it, go ahead and pick it up. You know how to turn that rough stone into a gem.
Soon in The Badger's Den, I'll get on my stump about the only powder I shoot in my 700MLS: Blackhorn 209.
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