Well, I got a package from Lawton Machine today from the nice man in brown!! I was chambering a barrel when they came in and had to shut things down just to get a look at these new toys!!!
In the package were two M7000 receivers and a barrel I ordered for myself which was a 270, 1-9 6 groove with 8 of Barneys heavy flutes.
First off, here is a pic of the two receivers, both M7000 which is the option for a drop in fit for the Rem 700 receiver. They are not a direct clone though!!!
You can see one receiver has the standard bolt and the other has the optional fluted bolt. Also, the one receiver has a 20 MOA steel rail fitted to it already. All I can say about the rail is that it is VERY stout!!! It is also very nicely finished and is attached by four attachment bolts. I think they are 8-40s but I would have to check again to make sure.
These receivers use all the same accessary items as the Rem 700 such as triggers, floorplates and stocks but there are differences for sure. You will notice that the ejection window is much narrower then the Rem 700 which results in a MUCH stiffer receiver design. The Lawton receivers also has a full diameter for both the scope rail base attachement locations. Unlike the Rem 700 which has a thinned rear support area. Again, much stiffer and dramatically improved consistancy. How many rails fit perfectly on the Rem 700 receivers??? NONE!!!
There are also some other slight differences that most would never really notice. The bolts measure 0.702" in diameter roughly. This is compared to a Rem factory bolt that is on average around 0.695" in diameter. This is not much and does not effect strength but it does effect bolt fit to receiver and the Lawtons are MUCH tighter then the Rem 700 bolt to receiver fits.
Also, the bolt lugs on the Lawton are roughly 25 to 30 thou longer then a factory Rem 700 which does add to the strength of the receiver over that of a factory Rem 700.
The Lawton receivers also use a Sako style bolt stop which is very nicely machined into the off bolt side of the receiver. This may require some minor inletting for some Rem 700 stocks but this is not a problem at all, easy to do.
Another feature I like is the extractor which is positioned on the forward portion of the right bolt lug. It is similiar in design to the standard Sako extractor but not as large. It actually looks like the Superior Shooting systems 2000 extractor but I am not sure.
What I really like about it is that it is positioned to eject the cases straight out level with the axis of the receiver. Unlike a traditional Sako extractor which is positioned above the lug that throws the cases up as they are ejected.
Anyone that has used a Sako extractor with a scope that has large target turrets have seen the brass smears on your windage turret and at times this can cause ejection issues.
There will never be a problem with these receivers and this extractor design.
Here is a pic of the left side engraving and it is done very nicely. Its funny, in talking with Barney, he told me his receivers were sort of a working mans custom action and as such not to expect the finish of say a BAT or Nesika. While the finish may be a bit heavier matte, I see no real difference. Very impressed with the fit and finish.
BUT, now it was time to see how they stacked up as far as receiver sqaureness goes. Keep in mind, these are standard receivers, not the BR spec receivers from Lawton. TO check for receiver squareness, I like to clean a receiver totally, getting rid of any oils, grease or chips from machining. Then I set the receiver with its bolt in locked position, up so it is pointing vertical, position the recoil lug(included by the way)on the receiver face. I then take my 0.0001" depth micrometer and take four measurements across the bolt face. One at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. To do this properly I pull the striker assembly and the plunger ejector. Just want a stripped bolt body in the receiver.
For comparision sake, I took three out of the box factory Rem 700 receivers, one Sako TRG-S receiver, two Win M70s(one CRF, one push feed), one BAT 2"x10" match receiver and two Nesika Bay model M receivers.
Set them all up the same way using match grade recoil lugs on all that needed them(all except the Win and BAT receivers). Took the same four measurements on all of the receivers. TO figure how square the receiver is you simply take the total variation from the four measurements.
Taking this measurement tells you the relation ship between the following surfaces and their squareness to the axis of the receiver: Forward recoil lug surface, rear recoil lug surface, receiver face, receiver bolt lug locking recess, bolt lug locking surface and the bolt face.
All of these surfaces have to contact each other to come up with the total squareness of the receiver system. It does not take much variation to add up quickly!!!
I will be totally honest here. What I found with the custom receivers and the factory receivers really suprised me!!! Especially from the very expensive custom receivers.
I will list the receivers as most variation to least amount and their variation beside each receiver.
Win M70 CRF............0.0028"
Win M70 PF.............0.0018"
Now if you notice the first five factory receivers are all between one and three thou in variation across the bolt face. Only one factory receiver, one of the Rem 700s got under the 1 thou variation range, not very impressive.
All of the custom receivers were right at or under half of a thou in variation across the bolt face. To my suprise, the most expensive receivers, by far, the Nesikas were on the top of the pile. Even more impressive was that the "econo" model of the Lawton, the M7000 was as good or better then the Nesika Bay in receiver squareness and only 1 and 2 "ten-thousandths" of an inch behind the huge BAT receiver.
Now, I have used alot of Nesika receivers and I have yet to have one that did not shoot EXTREMELY well at any range. What I see from this test is that the Lawtons should offer just as true of a platform to fire off from out of the box as a Nesika Bay receiver. Only for 1/2 the price!!!
The big BAT was not a suprise to me being the best of the test receivers as it is a full blown BR receiver. That said, it is not much better then the Lawtons and remember I have yet to get the Lawton M7500 BR receiver in to put the mic to. I suspect I will again, not be unhappy with the findings.
Now the test for these receivers is to get barrels on them and get some bullets in the air. Thats really the only test that counts!! That will be coming soon. The barrel I ordered is my personal test barrel that I will fit to the M7500 BR receiver I have coming from Lawton. Barney tells me its pretty much ready to ship so that should not be long.
Here is a pic of the unique round flutes that Barney mills into the barrel. There are eight of them on this barrel which is a 1-9 6 groove to test the 195 gr ULD RBBT Wildcat bullets.
More testing to come but so far, it appears that the Lawton M7000 repeating receiver will measure up to the BATs and Nesika Bay receivers. So far very impressed!!!