Among agencies that refuse to let their officers carry patrol rifles, one of the primary concerns is public relations. Local administrators and politicians don't like the idea of their cops carrying military weapons. These agencies need a short, handy rifle with suitable range, accuracy, and firepower but without the threatening appearance of a military-style rifle. Remington's new Model 7615 Police Rifle meets these requirements.
Readers familiar with Remington products have probably already ascertained by its name that the Model 7615 is based upon Big Green's popular Model 7600 pump-action rifle. The 7615 and the 7600 both feature a machined steel receiver, removable box magazine, and rotating bolt with four lugs that lock into matching recesses in the barrel extension. The bolt assembly rides inside a bolt carrier attached to twin action bars, which are mounted to the forearm.
As the forearm is pulled to the rear, lugs on the inside of the bolt carrier mate with helical grooves on the bolt turning and unlocking it and allowing it to move rearward, extracting and ejecting the spent case and cocking the hammer. Moving the forearm forward chambers the next round, and turns and locks the bolt. The forearm moves on a tube attached to the front of the receiver and does not bear on the barrel.
Any cop who has ever shot a Model 870 Remington pump shotgun knows exactly how to shoot the Model 7615. Its controls and operating drill are identical to those of the nearly ubiquitous Remington police shotgun, which means agencies that adopt the weapon will not have to spend much of their increasingly precious training funds teaching officers how to use the rifle.
Out of the Box
The 7615 is available chambered for either the .223 Remington (5.56mm NATO) or .308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO) cartridges. Remington kindly supplied me with a .223 caliber version to evaluate.
Taking it out of the box and eyeballing it, I realized very quickly that the Model 7615 offers a number of unique features that make it especially suitable for police operations.
For example, the Model 7615's 16.5-inch barrel makes it a short, fast-handling rifle that's easy to maneuver in and out of a patrol car. The 7615 is also, in many ways, cop-proof. It's high-impact polymer stock and forearm not only save weight but are resistant to abuse, environmental extremes, and oils and solvents. And its sights are outstanding, especially if you've shot a Model 870 shotgun. The Model 7615 comes with Wilson Combat Ghost Ring/XS sights that allow fast target acquisition accuracy and are rugged to the extreme.
My favorite feature of the Model 7615 is its M-16-type detachable box magazine, which aids fast loading and unloading. I've used a Model 7600 for deer hunting for years, so I didn't expect any surprises in this rifle. But I really was thrilled to see this detachable M-16-type magazine.
The Model 7615 has been engineered to accept M-16 magazines by fitting the receiver with a special housing. The housing is located where the generously flared mouth of the receiver ensures fumble free reloading. Equally well designed is the magazine release button on the right side of the weapon. This configuration makes it easy for the shooter to remove the magazine and reload quickly.
OK, enough looking at the gun; it's time to shoot it.
Test firing was performed with .223/5.56mm ammunition from Remington, Winchester, IMI, and Federal, with bullets running the gamut from 62 to 69 grains in weight. Besides the 10-round magazine that came with the rifle, I brought along several 20 round M-16 magazines to check the rifle's feeding reliability.
On the 100-yard range, I trekked out to the backstop and set up a series of targets. Then, shooting across sandbag rests, I proceeded to fire three five-shot groups with each brand of ammunition. It took a few rounds to discover that the Model 7615 was shooting a bit to the right but, as I had forgotten to bring my tool kit with me (oh right, like you never forget anything?), I was unable to adjust the ghost ring sight. This in no way affected the actual group results, so I proceeded to send projectiles downrange.
It should be pointed out that at this distance the front sight covered the entire target, but careful centering allowed me to shoot some very respectable five-shot groups, ranging from two inches to slightly over three inches. While a smaller bead up front, or smaller aperture at the rear, would no doubt tighten the groups, I found such performance more than acceptable for an iron-sighted, combat rifle.
During the same range session, I loaded up a pair of M-16 magazines and proceeded to send rounds toward a USPSA target at 50 yards. Firing offhand as fast as I could obtain a sight picture, I went through 40 rounds of ammunition at a fairly rapid clip. (Man! did the barrel ever get hot.) I am happy to report that the 7615 fed, chambered, and ejected cartridges as fast as I could shuck that forearm back and forth. While not actually necessary in a rifle of this weight, chambered for the .223, the recoil pad was very useful as it kept the rifle secure on the shooter's shoulder when operating the pump action.
Try as I might, I could not find anything negative to say about Remington's Model 7615 Police Rifle. Light, handy, accurate, and simple to use, the Model 7615 just makes a lot of sense as a patrol car rifle for those situations in which the officer's pistol or a shotgun are not adequate.
Paul Scarlata has served as an auxiliary police officer and writes for several firearms publications.