Snowy Mountain Rifles

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by el matador, Aug 8, 2015.

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  1. el matador

    el matador Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    Just wanted to let everyone know my impressions of SMR. A local shooting club asked me to come up with some rifles that could be used to teach long range shooting. Also tactical movement and so on. We already had a couple of Cooper 300 WMs that shoot around 3/8 MOA, but they are pretty spendy at $3400 apiece. I thought the Snowy Mtn Paladin rifle would be a good option, priced around $2500. So we ordered one to check it out. I liked the package deal they gave us: Paladin rifle w/brake, 20 MOA rail, Vortex PST mounted w/bubble level, Pelican case, and Harris bipod. The whole setup with shipping was around $3500, a full $2k cheaper than the Cooper/NF setup which had none of the extras.

    Greg was fantastic to work with during the ordering process. I told him we were looking for up to 10 rifles, and wanted a test gun to see what we thought. He expedited our rifle, though he did say it took a while to find a factory load that would shoot under 1/2 MOA.

    Initially I really liked the gun. It looked cool and all the metal work was awesome. The stock was not as great of a fit, but I know the Paladin is geared toward being less expensive. Shooting it was very comfortable with their brake installed, but I had trouble getting it to group well. After a moderate amount of load development my best load was 5/8 MOA. I've shot a few groups with that load out to 225 yards and it is fairly consistent...which is good.

    Since I was looking for a gun that could be carried with some degree of ease, I tried slinging up the SMR for a walk up the hill. It was not easy. The thing is very end-heavy and very unwieldy to carry with a traditional sling. Plus the magazine hits you in the ribs. So in light of this I talked to Greg and told him my concerns. I asked if we could go with a slightly shorter, lighter barrel contour, and also a different bottom metal that would be more geared toward slinging. He said that any mods to the rifle would make it a full custom, and would cost significantly more. OK, I said, let's go ahead and order one! How much more are we talking? This was via email...and I never heard back from him. So I tried calling a few times. Left him voicemails, and still no reply. I guess he got miffed that I wasn't chomping at the bit to order 9 more Paladins. Since they didn't want our business we have decided to buy some Remington 5Rs and call it good.

    Final chapter: I was looking at the SMR recently, noticing how poorly the stock was inletted. I also noticed that the stock would contact the barrel if I applied slight pressure on the fore end. I removed the stock to smooth out the inletting and free float it a bit more, and discovered that this rifle is not even bedded! Yes, a $2500 gun that is not bedded. The good news is that I now have hope of getting it to shoot better than 5/8 MOA, but I was pretty disappointed with how they installed the stock. It took me 10 minutes to fix the shoddy inletting and a couple of hours to bed it with Devcon.

    Overall impression of the gun itself: It's a great bench gun but a pain to carry. And you know how I feel about the stock. I think it will be a fun shooter for us but not anything I would hunt with.

    Overall impression of the company: They were great to work with at first, but then customer service went out the window. I will not be calling them any time soon.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015