Gun Review: Remington Model 700 VS

Go on. Admit it. You want a precision rifle. For hunting. Target practice. Picking off zombies from your bedroom window. Does it really matter why? No. The only thing that matters is how much. A well-sorted precision rifle with pillar bedding, free-floated barrel, high quality bases and rings and killer optics will melt your credit card faster than a butane blowtorch. Alternatively, you can scratch that itch for Old School Cool with a Remington Model 700 VS. With a few odds and ends, you can built a precision setup that will exceed your shooting capabilities (in a good way) without breaking the bank. Yeah, let’s do that.

Why not? The Remington 700 bolt action rifle has been a tried and true platform since America embargoed Cuba (1962). The police still turn to the 700 (PSS) for sniper duty, while the Army and Marines deploy 700 variants (the M24 and M40). And no wonder. It’s rugged, simple and, above all, accurate.

The Remington Model 700 VS (Varmint Synthetic) features the legendary Remington 700 short action receiver nestled in an HS Precision composite stock. The rifle has a full receiver-length aircraft-grade aluminum bedding block for maximum stability.

Our VS came with a 26-inch free-floated heavy contour barrel and concave crowned muzzle, chambered in .308 Win with a 1 in 10” twist. The barrel and receiver have a matte finish, while the two-lug bolt is nicely jeweled. Remington sends the rifle from the factory drilled and tapped for scope mounts.

Nothing screws-up a precision rifle’s ergonomics faster than a narrow trigger. Some manufacturers forget that trigger control isn’t everything—it’s the ONLY thing. Fortunately, the VS’s adjustable trigger is wide enough to comfortably accomodate the index finger’s entire pad. It also sports a series of vertical grooves that give the shooter plenty of non-slip contact surface.

Remington has set the VS’s trigger to break cleanly and crisply at around three pounds with virtually no take-up and no creep. You get 4+1 chances to send lead downrange without reloading; there’s a hinged floor-plate magazine for unloading ease.

The main difference between the 700 VS and the PSS: the VS’s fore grip is not as wide, the bolt handle is smaller and the civilian rifles comes with only two sling swivels. In terms of accuracy, the mass-produced VS runs with the big dogs.

The $1200 Leupold Mk4 optic is the standard by which precision rifle optics are measured. Meanwhile, we fitted our VS with a $500 Shepherd Model 310 P2 on Leupold rings and two piece bases. The Shepherd P2 is a 3x10x40 adjustable objective scope featuring an innovative stadia reticle that provides a highly effective Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) out to 1000 yards.

Shepherd P2 Reticle

Our test VS had a major issue right from the start. The extractor refused to grab onto and extract the empty casings. Tapping a spent casing out of the chamber with a cleaning rod after every shot doth not a great shooting session make.

Under most circumstances, the FTF would have been a deal-breaker. But the few shots fired proved the Remington rifle was capable of serious accuracy. Remington customer service told us to send the rifle to a factory-authorized repair shop in Las Vegas.

When the gun returned, the extractor still wasn’t working properly. Worse, the composite stock was chipped at the rear of the action. Remington sent me a new shipping label to return the VS to the factory. Nine days later, the Big Brown Truck brought the rifle back to papa.

The extractor was properly riveted and functional. Remington had polished the chamber. I added a Harris ultra-light bipod, a butt-cuff ammo carrier and a sling. Then it was time to get down to business.

Business was good. Using Federal Gold Medal Match 168 grain boat tail hollow points at 100 yards, the 700 VS was easily grouping between 3/4” and 1/2” from a solid bench rest. Before long, I was putting together my own handloads using Hornaday 168 grain BTHP Match bullets, shooting consistent 3/4” groups.

The rifle was hit with my friends. They found great satisfaction in demolishing clay pigeons placed out on the 300 yard berm. When we stretched out to 500 yards, the 700 VS was landing consistent hits on a 12” square steel plate with both match ammo and surplus ball ammo thanks, in part, to the Shepherd scope’s excellent BDC.

In steadier hands than mine, the 700 VS was capable of scoring hits at 1000 yards on a five-foot section of vertical steel I-beam, though that’s really pushing the upper limits of the .308’s effective range.

Anyone who shoots precision rifles will tell you that consistency is the key to accuracy.  The accurate shooter needs a consistent sight picture, trigger control, breathing and body positioning. One of the biggest keys to the rifle’s consistency: figuring out which load it likes best. This requires serious range time.  I know, I know: “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch,” right?

In a recent precision rifle class with a few members of a local sheriff’s department SWAT team, the Remington 700 VS with the Shepherd scope more than held its own against several tricked-out PSS’s sporting Leupold Mark 4 scopes [see: above]. Having leftover scratch to buy more of that dollar-a-holler match ammo was even better.

After firing approximately 1200 rounds through the VS, a curious weakness developed in the magazine spring. Under the pressure of two or more rounds, it would occasionally fail to exert enough upward pressure to position the cartridge high enough for the bolt to pick up. Manually stretching the z-shaped magazine spring provided a temporary fix. But it’s a sure bet the spring will need replacing.

The Remington 700′s quality problems were not what you’d call endearing or, for that matter, reassuring. But you get what you pay for. If you want a precision rifle that challenges your skills every time you pull the trigger and you’re on a budget, the Remington Model 700 VS is a bargain-priced weapon that gets the job done. Unlike some weapons, even after fixing its foibles, the 700 VS proves that the key to happiness is to want what you have.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Caliber: 308 Win.
Barrel: 26”
Overall Length:
Weight w/Scope: 11.5 lb.
Action:  Bolt action
Finish:  Black matte
Capacity:  4 round internal magazine
Price:  $595 (at time of purchase)

RATINGS (Out of Five)

Style****

A great example of how simple can be sexy.  The looks of the 700 VS are understated, but it’s clearly built for action.

Ergonomics****

Not a rifle you’re going to want to pack up and down the hills.  It’s heavy.  But the HS Precision stock is comfortable and soaks up the 308 recoil well.  Controls are well placed and easy to manipulate.

Reliability***

The extractor and magazine issues on this rifle have given me some heartburn over Remington’s quality control, but the simplicity of the bolt action has proven utterly reliable and it has shot everything I’ve fed it from plinking junk food to match grade filet mignon.

Customize This ****

Once you’ve glassed and slung this rifle and attached a bipod, it’s pretty much good to go.  A cheek piece may be necessary for some shooters to achieve a solid cheek weld.

Overall Rating ****

I’ve seen guys bail on rifles with far fewer issues than this one. But its accuracy has ensured this straight-shooting thunder stick a place in my heart. For the money, it’s hard to beat.

23 Responses to Gun Review: Remington Model 700 VS

  1. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    Exactly why I would never buy a new Remington 700, 1911R1, or any new Remington shotgun! The first time I had to send a new rifle back to them, I would have been SUPER peeved. The second time, I would have sent them a letter that simply stated "Keep this!”

    Their quality, and more importantly quality-control, has gone out the door. From now on, I'll stick to Savage rifles or early model M700's. Remington really needs to get their head out of their asses and build quality firearms again. The old 1967 700 in 7mm Rem Mag I have is a WONDERFUL firearm and will likely last many lifetimes. It is unfortunate that I cannot go out a buy a new firearm of the same quality.

  2. avatartom swift says:

    Hmm, $600 and it won't feed. I don't really see that somebody got what he paid for.

    Too bad. Several of my favorite rifles are Remingtons, but they're pretty old; one from just before the merger with UMC, another with a barrel date of a few weeks before the Armistice.

    Maybe the newer ones just aren't up to it.

    Rugers are pretty crappy, too. Regular Jam-O-Matics. There's really no excuse for it. Guns are not terribly complicated devices, and the art and science of making guns which work like they should was mastered over a century ago.

  3. avatarChris Dumm says:

    It is a great disappointment to hear that Remington sent a defective gun out the door. Malfunctions happen, but it troubles me that such a defect was not discovered during test-firing. (They do test fire, don't they??!!) For a "factory authorized" repair shop to botch the repair AND damage the rifle further is absolutely unforgivable. Would you mind sharing the contact information of this so-called repair shop, so others might escape your fate?

    Remington 700s can be phenomenally accurate. My own example was a $250 loss-leader in the less-desirable (to others) chambering of .270 Winchester. With an aftermarket pillar-bedded stock and my own handloads, its Mountain Rifle-contour barrel produces sub-1" groups at 300 yards. When I do my part it is more accurate than rifles costing five times as much.

    Remington has produced some low-quality, ugly, or just plain pointless rifle designs in the decades since the 700 was introduced. None of them survived long, but the 700 is still a timeless classic. That status may not be safe if Remington can't bring their quality control up to 21st century standards.

  4. avatarFrankInFL says:

    HS Precision? Isn't that the group that uses Lon Horiuchi as its spokessniper?

  5. avatarJulie Hyde says:

    Great review! I own one now and I'll be looking forward to shooting it out with you

  6. avatarTTACer says:

    Has anyone compared these to the cheap Tikkas?

  7. avatardave says:

    i have 3 700's and i would put them up against any rifle out there except bench rest guns
    with my custom loads and when i do my part they all ( 270 w,223 r, and 7 mmm mad) shoot close to 1/2"!
    im not usi ng 1m $$ scopes either 2 are tascos and 1 bushnell

    im not new to rifle shooting as i have been shooting rifle since the 70 and i know what will shoot in my guns

  8. avatarfaciamus says:

    I thought they stopped making 700 vs in '99. Where did you pick yours up at?

  9. avatarJohn says:

    I can’t say I have ever wanted a precision rifle. If I was interested in hunting then it might spark my interest.

    Not to mention the price of this rifle seems a little on the high side.

  10. avatarKarl Gustoff says:

    I own two 700-P.S.S. Remington’s they were built at the same time, in Ilion NY. They may be custom shop rifles, but they were assembled in the LE division and not at the newer plant down south. One is in .223, the other in .308. Both have 24″ barrels, 1:12 twist rates, and a heavy trigger pull which is non adjustable. I have had to replace the ejection spring on both of them. They shoot very well matching the groupings of the 40 series rifles, the .223 shoots under 1/4 M.O.A., the 308 shoots under 1/2 M.O.A. using GM308M in the 308, and Black Hills 52 grain O.T.M. in the .223 . On one freakish day the .308 soot a 200 yard 5 shot group under 1/2 M.O.A. I bought both rifles from a dealer in Albany N.Y. in 1995, they were over runs on the N.Y.S. Police supply contract. To this day they still shoot as well, having been to the range last week, and using inexpensive reloaded almost match ammunition from a local shop. With the .223 a 20 round one hole group @ 100 yards less than 1/2 M.O.A. with a cross wind of about 15 mph. Not bad for a 16 year old unmodified rifle . But the truth be told, my Marlin 917 shoots better than both of the PSS’s up to about 75 yards

  11. avatarJ says:

    This article does a good job of explaining the VSS, a budget precision rifle. I purchased mine (with a left handed bolt even) in ’04 or so and it has been a great gun. I’ve only recently started stretching its legs and putting a lot of rounds through it. It makes hits at 400 yards with boring regularity. 900 yards gets a bit more dicey, but that’s also 900 yards.

    Mine did not come with a user adjustable trigger, and it is pretty awful. It’s gritty and feels very heavy. It has been picky about ammo but once I started reloading and found a load it liked, it holds right around .5 MOA pretty consistently (if I do my part of course). To be fair, I have not fed it FGMM or Blackhills to see how that grouped.

    I have not experienced any problems with feeding or extraction or anything that has required a call to Remington like the author did, so he might have just got a lemon.

    From what I understand this gun basically is the same thing as a PSS just scaled up a bit and a slightly different stock, but with a smaller price tag. I imagine the PSS has better fit and finish as well. It was this article that turned me onto the VSS http://www.snipercountry.com/inreviews/remington700vs.asp

    Would really love to get my hands on a Savage to compare it against.

  12. avatarBen says:

    I built a long range unit similar to this on a VS some years ago. I replaced the stock (came with a nice looking laminate) with the top of the line fully adjustable H.S. Precision unit, the trigger with a Jewell, the bottom metal with a stainless detachable magazine setup, and mounted a Lothar Walther match barrel (which really makes the gun shoot). This is one of only three rifle I own that will pick the thumb-tacks out of the corners of my target at 200 meters. The rifle has given outstanding performance, and I have no complaints. I have experienced several serious quality issues with new guns of various manufacture over the past five years or so. I know three people who have bought brand new Remington 700′s that would not operate properly. One had a rough short-chambered barrel on it, and would not come close to chambering the round it was marked for, one was slightly short chambered (would chamber some casings, and not others), and the third was a similar extraction issue to what the author experienced. I have to question the philosophy behind running a gun company with such poor quality control as that. There is no excuse for selling a weapon that hasn’t even been properly headspaced, let alone test-fired. I am afraid that the industry in the U.S. is being cashed out by the big investment houses, and the once-proud names in the American arms trade will be in the gutter by the time anything turns around. I buy used guns that show a little mileage exclusively, now. I want nothing to do with any newly manufactured weapons until the industry decides to get back to making weapons, rather than weapon-like objects that may, or may not function as advertised.

  13. avatarLee says:

    I aquired my Remington 700 VS in early ’90s, .223, with 22″ Barrel (1st. year production). Very accurate out of the box, Never any problem. Mounted Matte Leupold VXIII, 2.5X8, in Redfield Rings and Mounts. Any Ground Squirrel out to 300 yards, is in Serious Trouble! I agree with comments about Quality going downhill (pick ANY mfg.), especially the last 20 years or so. Notice how older mfg. guns are getting scarcer on Used Gun Racks? Not only are new ones OVERLY Spendy, Thier quality doesnt come close, to older, hand built/fit firearms, one might want to “upgrade” to.

  14. avatarLeeP says:

    I have a .223 VS (late 90s I’m told) I put a Luepold VXIII 4.5-14 x 50mm LR & went PD shooting last summer. Loved and will be doing it often. I get sub 1/4″ at 200yds with Black Hills and will stay with it until I get my reloads worked out. I’m looking to install a detachable 10rd(?) magazine system in it. Will it fit the VS? I believe the VS is considered a 700 CDL, correct? Has antone do so and how did it work out?

  15. avatarTuler says:

    I got mine in a 30 06 and sighted it in at 200 yards, I love it, definitely taking it deer hunting this year!

  16. avatarCraig says:

    Last year I shot 8 deer and my first elk (all in the same trip). I shot 3 of the deer at 150 to 200+ yards in the head (these are antlerless- so better kill that way for the sake of meat and more humane). The elk was at 121 yards also in the head (antlerless). I have to say I am very pleased with my 1970′s model 700 30 06 (leupold goldring 3-9, shooting Federal’s trophy bond ammunition)! Next year I hope to make all the kills as head shots! I was thinking of getting a newer rifle, but not after reading the posts… Maybe a custom rifle?

  17. avatarJimmy R says:

    Hello Folks
    If you check the Weatherby vanguard series II you might be pleasantly surprised. This company has mastered the barrel, the bolt, the trigger, the safety and the precision issues. Also it is a pleasantly beautiful gun to look at. Not to mention the very affordable price.
    I own guns from most brands, but lately most of them have gone bad. Be careful where you spend your money and don’t listen to the first reviewer. With the internet now it is really silly not to generously review and let others do the mistake of buying an inferior product. I am not associated with the Weatherby Company in any shape or form.

  18. avatarJON LENNON says:

    I have 3 of the 700 vs rifles.Crying about not feeding over a simple 3.00 spring is like peeing in the wind.All three can and will shoot well under 1/2 minute of angle.Mine are .223,22-250,.308. The most consistent is the .308.It will and has shot in the .2′s at a hundred and under a 1/2 inch at 200 with my loads.These are really good rifles.These 3 rifles wil die with me.I wouldnt take 2000.00 for each of them.These rifles are definitely a great unexpected value.

  19. avatarJim Cottrell says:

    I have the 700VS in 22-250. It’s a well made tack driver. My best are with 50gr loads and I am zeroed at 200 yrds. I have never had any of the issues advertised with the 700 and I have had several others over the years.

  20. avatarEd says:

    I really appreciate this review. I am new to riffles but this review spoke to me. I want to get an affordable but accurate riffle. Every gun I have purchased new has has some glitchy thing and I have taken most to the shop to get something filed, smoothed or replaced. I have not bought anything over $1000 – this may be why.

    I like that you mention top-of-the-line Scope and one that works good enough. Also thanks for listing the exact part names, it helps a beginner go read reviews and such.

    I am looking for a setup just like this as my next purchase!

    Keep up the good reviews!

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