The Model 597 is constructed with a lightweight frame and stock, manufactured from a polymer. Initially the magazines were made of plastic as well, however this was changed to a lightweight aluminium alloy to make the design more efficent. Like other Remington rimfire rifles, the receiver is cut with grooves to allow custom scopes to be mounted to the Model 597. Weaver style mounts can also be added as the customer demands.
The Model 597's internal components are largely made from synthetic materials, Teflon being a prime example (with the sear and hammer made of Teflon and then nickle plated). The bolt is guided using two steel guide rails which mean that the bolt is better aligned and re-engages properly. The bolt is also held open after the last shot is fired as a safety feature.
The Model 597 is one of Remington's rimfire rifles, firing the .22 Long Rifle cartridge (the most popular cartridge ordered with the Model 597). Other calibres that can be ordered for the Model 597 are the .17 HMR and .22 WMR cartridges, with a ten round magazine being sold as standard (aftermarket magazines can have capacities up to thirty rounds).
The Model 597 is Remington Arms' most modern rimfire rifle (in terms of release date anyway), with the two 1950's designs (the "Speedmaster" and "Fieldmaster") still in production alongside it. The Model 597 is one of the lightest rifles Remington manufacture, largely due to the use of polymers and lightweight materials.
A safety concern with the .17 HMR version of the Model 597 in december 2012 prompted Remington to recall all models of the .17 HMR Model 597s, despite the fact that the that specific series of Model 597s had been out of production since 2009. A small value coupon would be given to the customer, should they return it, however the coupon's value is significantly lower than the value of the Model 597 when new, hence only a few Model 597s have been returned to Remington.