Company Website: http://www.remington.com
Remington needs no introduction. They have been producing fine firearms since 1816. Among those is the Model 700 bolt action rifle. The Model 700 has been a favorite amongst hunters for quite some time and is the preferred action for the Marine Corps M40 and Army M24 Sniping Systems. The 700P and it's predecessor the 700PSS have become the standard for Law Enforcement Snipers. The rifles are capable of amazing accuracy in skilled hands. It should be no surprise that when I decided to build a tactical rifle I chose the Model 700 action. For tactical rifles, the .308 Winchester is an excellent chambering. There are numerous factory loads that will give the marksman sub-Minute of Angle accuracy. It is accurate, but still carries enough steam to drop a target at 1000yards away. It also happens to be the cartridge that I have the most long-range experience with. After researching all the .308 models available I settled on the SPS (Special Purpose Synthetic)Varmint. Since I knew that I would eventually be disposing of everything but the action, there was no need for me to go with one of the more expensive choices in the 700 line. The stock would not be a hindrance when shooting prone or from the bench and the heavy varmint barrel would work well until the budget would allow me to upgrade to a custom tube.
- 46.5" Overall
- 26" Varmint Contour Barrel
- Recessed Crown
- 1 in 12 twist
- 8.5 Lbs
- Matte Blue Finish
- Synthetic Stock
- 4 Round Magazine Capacity
- X-Mark Pro Trigger
- MSRP: $663.00 (Street Price: $544.99)
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My example was the result of a Gunbroker.com Auction. In my opinion Gunbroker is one of the best firearms auction sites. Sportsman's Safari & Southeastern Gun Company had a SPS-V in .308 listed for a "Buy it Now" price of $544.99 (plus $25 shipping). I could have waited and saved a couple bucks by bidding, but I had seen quite a few of these sell quickly. The closest local offer was quite a bit more so I punched the button and closed the deal. SGC was easy to deal with. I sent off my check and a copy of my dealers FFL. A short while later I received an email with a "paid" invoice and a tracking number. Some more waiting and my local FFL called me to come pickup my rifle.
No special packing. Just a cardboard box with some styrofoam inside. No big deal, since the rifle will probably never see that box again.
This stick feels like a rifle should. The Varmint contour barrel gives it some heft. The matte blue finish is nice and even over the whole rifle. It gives it a subdued look that is perfect for an “unpainted” tactical rifle. The bolt is a bit gritty right out of the box, but after several days of dry firing and some CLP on the lugs it smoothes out quite a bit. The wear patterns on the lugs indicate it could probably use some lapping. The bottom metal is a disappointment. It’s a thin alloy casting. I am not sure it would survive any kind of impact. It doesn't’t make the grade and will be getting replaced as soon as the budget allows. The stock is too slim and too light. I am sure it would be fine for a general purpose hunting rifle, but not for something with a barrel this heavy. The stock only contacts the barrel at the very end of the forearm by two small “pads”. There is no bedding. The stock is flexible enough that I don’t believe it can be easily free floated. It will probably be replaced in short order. For my accuracy testing and initial shooting I had to tape 1/2" of foam to the comb of the stock for proper eye relief. This is nothing new to me and was standard practice on Marine Corps issued M40A1's for quite some time. It looks like crap, but works well and has no possibility to work loose (if you do it right).
The proof is in the pudding. Since this is not a top end rifle it doesn't carry any kind of "precision accuracy" guarantee. If I remember correctly remington only guarantees 3 MOA on their rack grade rifles. I mounted up my new Falcon Optics 4-14x44FFP and Seekins Precision mounts then headed off to the range. The weather was not conductive to ultimate accuracy. It was 40* F and snowing. The wind was a full value and gusting from 15-20mph. While that's not a big deal for 100 yard shooting, it does cause some issues when gusts are actually changing your point of aim from the bench. After getting a 100 yard zero I put five rounds downrange and cleaned the barrel. That's my half-assed version of a break-in. I then proceeded to put three more groups of five downrange. The last group was the best at 0.89". All were under 1". That's pretty decent considering considering the conditions, shooting from a front rest and the fact that the barrel is not free-floated. The groups were getting smaller, so the rifle appears to be "settling in". Now I have to begin to work up a good hand load for this rifle. I am hoping that I can break 1/2 MOA before I replace the stock. This rifle is being built for a Precision Rifle school that I have later this year. While the accuracy out of the box is enough for the school (1.5 MOA), it's not enough for me.
A few comments on the X-Mark Trigger. For those of you who don't know, Remington M700's used to be equipped with a wonderful adjustable trigger. The user or a qualified gunsmith could adjust it down to a nice light pull with no creep and little over travel. It appears that some time back Remington's lawyers got the better of the design team, and the X-Mark trigger was released. This trigger is only adjustable for pull weight, not take up or over travel. Remington also advises that it is only to be adjusted by an Authorized Service Center. My impression of the trigger was that it had no take up, broke clean and had little over travel. My only gripe was that it felt a bit heavy and that they replaced the wide ribbed trigger bow with a narrower polished one. I have been shooting the old M700 trigger adjusted to ~3.5lbs for awhile. When I got to the range with the X-Mark it felt a bit heavy. I took the rifle by one of my local shops and had him throw a Lyman digital trigger gauge on it. It measured a consistent 3.5lbs over 3 pulls. My only guess is that the narrow bow makes it feel heavier to me. In all fairness many seem to like the X-Mark and some have reported reliably 2.5lb pulls. Obviously if you monkey it up, it will probably void your warranty and be replaced at your cost.
I will update this review as I get more trigger time and after I get a good handload
Overall I feel that this is an excellent rifle for someone just starting out in long range shooting, or for someone looking for a place to start for a custom build..
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