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Badger Ridge Industries Rem. 700ML Conversion: Making a Better Rifle

700mls_mn72New Life For the Old Remington Muzzle Loader

By Tom Hood
From 1996 until 2004 Remington manufactured and sold a muzzle-loader based on their venerable 700. The muzzle-loader was called the 700ML (and the stainless version: 700MLS). The ability to use standard 700 short action accessories and scope mounts, on top of the faster bolt action lock time aided initial acceptance of the rifle. The 700ML is bought and sold as a primitive muzzle-loader, and thus does not need to be purchased through an FFL. It must be understood that this is a different rifle from the current production Remington 700 Ultimate muzzle-loader (which is a modern firearm requiring an FFL) being sold today.

bOEM and Hunter breech plug72Remington originally released the 700ML with number 11 percussion cap and musket cap nipples for their breech plugs. Then, Remington and other companies offered nipples that threaded into the OEM breech plug that accepted 209 primers. All these designs were still very leaky, open breech systems that suffer from blow back problems. Blow back (corrosive black powder residues) entered the interior of the bolt, the trigger, and covered any optics mounted every time the rifle was fired. The difficulty and complexity of disassembling the bolt further frustrated shooters into not completing proper clean ups after firing, leaving the bolt interior covered in corrosive fouling. It is not uncommon to disassemble bolts and find the firing pin and mainsprings fused to the bolt body. Also shooters would receive a gritty covering of blowback in the face with each discharge of the rifle. Some called the rifle a “scope burner,” “face sprayer,” “grit in the eye,” etc.

Although the rifle typically shot accurately, the Remington 700ML ended up being regarded by many as a lackluster performer due to its excessive blow back. Its competition, the Savage bolt action inline muzzle loader designs that came soon after the 700ML’s introduction, didn’t suffer this deficit and essentially won the market. But today, both have gone out of production. Thus the current value of the 700ML is significantly lower than its original retail value, while the Savage still commands a respectable price.

bkitt72The Badger Ridge Remington 209 Conversion Kit eliminates all blow back and turns the issue on its head. The Badger Ridge kit modifies the 700ML to work very much like the Savage ML-II. It is a complete kit and is all you need to modify your 700 ML/MLS to use 209 primers without blow back. With the Badger Ridge 209 Kit installed, the shooter loads the rifle per the Remington 700ML Owner’s Manual, slides a 209 primer into the bolt nose, and closes the bolt.Primer feeding72 The feeding and caming action slightly swages the 209 primer into the breech plug and seals the breech. There are no special tools to carry in your possibles bag, the primer is sealed into the breech plug (protected from weather), and discharged primers are easily removed with only the shooter’s finger tips. This allows one to purchase a 700ML at a bargain price and turn it into a wonderfully performing muzzle-loader.bprimerfeed272

As the Badger Ridge kit is a sealed breech system it excels with modern black powder substitutes like Blackhorn 209. The kit is offered for sale at as a Do-It-Yourself (DIY). There is a complete detailed guide to installation on the website, or for a small fee a customer can mail their bolt to Badger Ridge and they will perform the modification.

bClose up of modified bolt72
Badger Ridge modified bolts always receive a complimentary new main spring and are returned with the new breech plug and vent liner. DIY are encouraged to buy and replace the mainspring as well. All a customer has to do is place the modified bolt and the kit’s new breech plug in their rifle per the Remington 700ML Owner’s Manual (which is available at as well).

The new breech plug has an extended flash chamber that projects into the barrel approximately ½ inch in order to improve the 209’s performance; the breech plugs are caliber specific. The breech plug also utilizes a standard “Savage Type” vent liner. The firing pin, bolt nose, and breech plugs are machined from 416 stainless steel and then heat treated. The breech plugs come with an exceptionally performing vent liner manufactured by Lehigh.

More information is available at or you may contact Badger via email at