Remington 700 Rifle Review
Peter Jones Reviews the Remington 700 and considers if it is still a good buy for deer stalkers.
What can I possibly say about the Remington 700 that has not already been said?
(Remington 700 SPS Varmint)
Well I am not going to try and be too clever here and provide you with countless stat's and specifications, instead I am going to aim to concentrate simply on whether or not you should buy one for deer stalking.
First of all a little history.... I'll keep it short. Remington Arms introduced the Model 700 bolt action rifle way back in 1962, since that date there have been a whole host of variants produced with a whole variety of differing specifications, materials, stock designs and calibers. Models include the 700 ADL, Model 700 BDL, Model 700 CDL, Model 700 Safari Model 700 SPS etc, etc, you get the idea!
The Remington 700 has in fact also been adapted not only for hunters but for use by both the Police and the military, both the M24 & M40 Sniper rifles were both built on the Remington 700 action. The simple common denominator however is that all Remington 700's are produced with the aim of being an affordable mass produced rifle, and my god did Remington achieve it. There are probably more Remington 700's knocking about (especially in the U.S) than any other bolt action rifle in the world.
The action of the 700 itself is designed with this mass production in mind and has two forward dual opposing lugs. The bolt is made from three pieces forged together (body, head, and bolt handle) and the ejector is constructed as a C clip sitting within the bolt face.
(Left: A modified Remington 700 SL)
Rifles can usually be obtained in one of three action lengths, ranging from short actions such as the .308 all the way through to Long actions for the large Magnum calibres. Detachable box magazines can be obtained however many 700's are of the drop plate variety. These days this is to the Remington's detriment. Drop plates are out of fashion and to my mind rightly so. Unloading the rifle in the field and having 4 rounds spill out in the dirt can be irritating to say the least.
The exact model that I have been taking a closer look at is the Remington 700 SPS Varmint. With a heavy 26 inch barrel with 1:12 twist and injection moulded stock the rifle is quite heavy weighing in at 8.5lbs. The finish is matt bluing and the fore end of the stock is a triangular style wedge with vents. The overall impression is one of a military style rifle rather than the traditional sporter that we are used to in European rifles.
Triggers on Remington's are on the whole, let's just say decidedly average. They simply can't compete with the likes of Sako and Sauer and other European made rifles however that said they can usually be adjusted anywhere from 1.5lbs to 4.5lbs in weight. It is not uncommon however to find in a well loved 700 that the trigger has been modified or replaced completely.
(Above: The Remington SPS Varminth)
So let's get back to the point, should you buy one for hunting deer? As well as having taken time to take a look at this rifle myself I also took some time today to speak with a number of gun dealers. The overriding advice seems to be yes by all means buy one but only if it's extremely competitively priced.
I would agree entirely with these sentiments. The Remington 700 is a solid and well tested bolt action rifle of that there is no doubt, however the competition today is stiff and the old 700 Remi can simply no longer compete with the out of the box accuracy and build quality of other cheap rifles.
You can buy a new Tikka T3 these days for around £795-00. So ask yourself this. What would it be worth me buying an inferior Remi 700 for? Well all I will say is it's got to be cheap, dirt cheap or else you might as well spend that little bit extra and get something else.
If you are on a tight budget and do decide to opt for a Remington 700 then take a while to check that you have a good one because an anomaly with the model 700 is that they can vary in quality and build. As a result amongst my shooting clients I have had some owners who simply adore their 700's and others who swear that they will never pick up a Remi again.
The Remington 700 love it or hate it. It has been and remains an iconic rifle and will no doubt be around for many years to come.
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