Are you a Remington enthusiast looking to build your collection? Or are you a new shooter looking for a dependable rifle to introduce you to shooting? In either case, there is no doubt you have noticed multiple, nearly identical, models designated ADL, BDL, and CDL. But what is the difference, and which is right for you?
If you are looking for an iconic rifle that has stood the test of time and will provide you with many years of faithful service, it is hard to beat the Remington 700. But the 700 is not a single rifle, it’s dozens of designs all based on a single original design. Before you can determine which model is right for you, it’s important to understand the basic differences between these three major sub-groups: the ADL, BDL, and CDL.
The ADL, or Average Deluxe
… is one of the original 700 models. Until its end of production in 2005, the ADL was considered a budget friendly field rifle aimed at providing a quality rifle to the average sportsman. It featured a blind, or top feed, magazine, and a generic walnut stock. Later models were available in both laminate and synthetic stocks.
The BDL, or Better Deluxe
… was also one of the early 700 models. It features the same actions as the ADL but includes a hinged magazine which allowed unloading from beneath. The walnut stock was a bit more rigid and included fancier artwork. Additional features include a fore-end cap, recoil buffer and front sight hood. Although it was still a trusted field rifle, the additional features were aimed at the more experienced shooter.
The CDL, or Classic Deluxe
… is the top of the line 700 model. At first appearance there is little difference between the BDL and the CDL. The iconic walnut stock, front hood sight and, of course, the tell tale 700 action are all present. But upon closer examination you will notice small differences. The walnut stock includes a satin finish, and the barrel is not only fluted but constructed from stainless steel. From an appearance standpoint the CDL is obviously the fanciest of the 700 subcategories. It is also the most expensive.
Do the Differences Matter?
Originally, the biggest difference between the ADL, BDL, and CDL was cost. While that still holds true when it comes to the BDL and CDL, the ADL is no longer in production. That means, any purchased ADL today, will be second hand.
Next, there are the stock options. While the higher-grade walnut stocks of the BDL and CDL are often considered more rigid, experts agree the difference is not significant enough when used in normal hunting applications. Even the ADL’s synthetic stock shows little difference in terms of accuracy. However, the synthetic stock is slightly lighter and more forgiving when exposed to harsher field conditions. In terms of finish, this is more a matter of personal preference, than a matter of function. Although the CDL includes what is thought to be a higher grade satin finish, there are many shooters who prefer the BDL’s Monte Carlo high-gloss finish, especially with the contrasting black barrel.
Finally, there is the magazine. If there is a single feature that is a “make or break” when it comes to choosing between the ADL, BDL, or CDL this would be it. As stated before, the ADL utilizes a blind magazine which must be loaded and unloaded from the top. The BDL and CDL both utilize a hinged magazine, allowing the firearm to be unloaded from underneath. Both the BDL and CDL can also be fitted with a detachable box magazine, with several after market brands to choose from. Although both designs function well, and have provided reliable service for decades, there is the matter of personal preference. If you are a shooter with an affinity for one or the other, it will narrow your decision.
So what does this all mean?
In the end, the Remington 700 is a classic design that is a time-tested American icon. Regardless of which subcategory you prefer it will provide many years of faithful service with unparalleled out of the box accuracy. The ADL, BDL, and CDL all include the groundbreaking 700 action and are available in the most popular hunting calibers.
Which subcategory you select depends more on personal preference and availability than performance. Personally, I believe the ADL is best suited for those in search of a hard-working field rife. The BDL is equally capable of addressing all your daily field needs, while also providing a more modern wooden stocked take on a classic design. The CDL is aimed at the upper end of the hunting class, as well as the entry level collector. Its extra features and satin finish do produce a handsome firearm that would make a nice addition to any collections but do little to increase its field performance.