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August 21st, 2009

Thomson/Center Introduces ICON™ Precision Hunter with Accuracy Guarantee

Thompson/Center (TC) has started shipping its new, ICON™ Precision Hunter varmint/deer rifle. From what we’ve heard, these guns should be shooters. Five chamberings are offered: 204 Ruger, 223 Rem, 22-250, 243 Win, and 308 Win. TC’s Precision Hunter features a 22″ heavy-contour, fluted 5R button-rifled barrel. The action mates securely to the stock via a machined aluminum bedding block (see photo below). All models feature a 3+1 detachable magazine with single-shot adapter. Tom Manners of Manners Composite Stocks has tested some wood-stocked ICONs with 5R barrels, and he says they “shot really well”. The ICON™ Precision Hunter comes with a 1 MOA accuracy guarantee, and we’d expect it to shoot quite a bit better than that with quality handloads.

TC Icon Precision Hunter

The ICON Precision Hunter features a laminated hardwood stock with a beavertail fore-end incorporating vents on the underside. TC claims these vents allow better barrel cooling. Hmm… well those vents can’t hurt. The action, which has a 60° bolt lift, is very smooth to operate. The action comes standard with integral Picatinny-style bases for scope mounting. The trigger adjusts from 3.5 lbs to 5 lbs. On the prototype units we tried, the triggers broke clean and crisp, with very minimal creep. It’s a nice hunting trigger and we expect that with a spring swap you could lower the pull weight a bit.

TC Icon Precision Hunter

TC is now owned by Smith & Wesson. It appears both S&W and TC are committed to building a quality varmint rifle with serious accuracy. “Thompson/Center has continued to push the definition of accuracy in a production rifle with the new ICON Precision Hunter, which is certified to deliver sub-Minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy right out of the box,” said Tom Kelly, Vice President of Marketing for Smith & Wesson. “We have listened to the bench shooters and varmint hunters, heard their ideas on what a perfect gun for their style of hunting would be and have designed the ICON Precision Hunter to exceed their expectations.”

What’s the price? MSRP for the ICON Precision Hunter is $1,149.00, so we figure street price will settle around $950.00. For more information, visit

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August 21st, 2009

Remington Recalls 17 HMR Rifle and Ammunition

Here is an important notice for anyone who owns a Remington model 597 rifle chambered in 17 HMR or who shoots Remington 17 HMR ammunition. Remington has learned that safety problems can arise when its 17 HMR ammo is used in semi-autos, including the model 597-17 HMR. Accordingly, Remington is recalling both the ammo and the gun.

The Firearm Blog reports: “Problems with the Model 597 and 17 HMR [are] not uncommon. Gun manufacturers seem to have a very hard time in trying to convert .22 blow-back actions to the more powerful .22 Magnum and … the 17 HMR.” Prompted by safety concerns, Remington has instituted a buy-back program for its model 597 17 HMR rifle. Remington will also provide $10.00 coupons for each box of Rem-brand 17 HMR ammo returned by customers. This ammo must be returned directly to Remington, not to the dealer where it was purchased. Remington’s Safety Recall Notice reads as follows:



Remington has been notified by its supplier of 17 HMR ammunition that 17 HMR ammunition is not suitable for use in semi-automatic firearms. The use of this ammunition in a semi-automatic firearm could result in property damage or serious personal injury.

If you have a semi-automatic firearm chambered for 17 HMR ammunition, immediately discontinue use of Remington 17 HMR ammunition. If you have any Remington 17 HMR ammunition that you wish to return to Remington contact the Remington Consumer Service number below.

Do not return the ammunition to the dealer. Remington will provide you with a $10.00 coupon for each complete box of 50 rounds of Remington branded 17 HMR ammunition you return to Remington. This coupon will be good for the purchase of any Remington ammunition at your local dealer.

In light of the ammunition manufacturer’s notice, it is very important that you immediately stop using your Remington Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle. If you own a Remington Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle and wish to return it to Remington please contact the below Remington Consumer Service Number. In return for your Remington Model 597 17 HMR synthetic stock semi-automatic rifle, Remington will provide you a coupon valued at $200.00 good for the purchase of a replacement Remington firearm. If you have a laminate stock Remington Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle, Remington will provide you a coupon valued at $250.00 good for the purchase of a replacement Remington firearm. Remington will also reimburse you for the actual postage to return your Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle to Remington.

Please allow up to 6 weeks after Remington receives your Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle or your Remington branded 17 HMR ammunition for the appropriate coupons to arrive. Instructions for redemption of the coupons will be contained on the coupon.

For any consumer questions or instructions on how to return of your Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle or your Remington branded 17 HMR ammunition, please contact the Remington Consumer Service Department at 1-800-243-9700, Prompt #3.

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