700_7mm_50th_BDL_84063_Right

By Lance Strahl

Let’s face the facts; Remington has fallen on hard times. From the R51 debacle to the rumored closing of several of its Freedom Group counterparts, Remington is not looking particularly sturdy. Of its many recent boondoggles, few stand out in the minds of avid shooters as starkly as the failure of the Remington 700 trigger. This failure is just another example of Remington bringing a product to market that was nowhere near ready. All of these mistakes could spell the end of one of America’s greatest rifles, but it shouldn’t . . .

What makes a rifle great? Is it accuracy? Reliability? Safety? How do we judge the greatest rifle? Clearly most rifles possess these features to some degree. What about availability? There are certainly some grail guns out there that truly embody these qualities, but very few can actually afford them. Is cost a factor? Certainly, but where do we draw the line? What are we willing to sacrifice or gain for a dollar? The truth is it really comes down to personal choice. What each man (or woman) values most within their means. Having said that I offer this: for over 50 years the 700 has offered the qualities we desire in spades at a price every man can afford.

A Brief History

While the Remington 700 first appeared on the market over 50 years ago in 1962, its development goes back an addition 18 years to 1944 when Remington began a project to revolutionize the sporting arms industry. Remington had completed its military contracts, and decided to take what it had learned during the war years to make the first truly modern bolt action rifle.

721

The 700 started life as the 721 and 722, less sophisticated, but no less important rifles. Many of the lessons learned on these early runs would lead to the perfection of the 700. The cylindrical receiver that is now used in most high quality actions started here; so too did the internally mounted extractor and ejector. Remington’s growth during the war years meant they had the ability to invest in new technology that put them leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. This advancement in manufacturing technology not only allowed Remington to produce more precise components requiring less hand fitting, it also drastically reduced the cost. A savings Remington would continue to pass on to the customer.

When in 1962 the 700 was introduced, the kinks of earlier models had been ironed out, and the 700 was ready to claim its place at the top as the best modern bolt action. The 700 had a stronger action (“Three Rings of Steel”), a better trigger (borrowed in part from the 40-x target rifle), a more advanced safety, and better aesthetics than any other rifle on the market.

Since 1962 the 700 has undergone several updates, most cosmetic or minor, and is now is available (depending on how you count) in approximately 40 variants and a dizzying array of calibers. This count does not include the left handed variants, which Remington brought to the market in 1972, another major accomplishment.

Accuracy

The most important factor for most marksmen is accuracy. What good is a rifle if it won’t shoot straight and true? Whether the shot is at a swamp donkey less than 100 yards away or a Dall sheep on the next ridge over, the shooter must have no doubt that his rifle is capable of making the shot. The 700 offers up the features that make this sort of certainty possible.

Remignton Action

The accuracy starts with the 700’s receiver. While we all take the cylindrical action for granted its introduction is what has made many of today’s long range rifles possible. The cylindrical action provides a better bedding surface that the previous actions produced by Springfield, Mauser, and Winchester. This means the action has considerably more attachment to the stock making for a much more rigid system. Without going into too much detail, this ensures there is less chance for the bullet to be diverted as it goes down the barrel and each shot falls directly on top of the last.

The 700’s trigger is also another major factor in its accuracy. With the average 700 trigger breaking at 3 lbs. with nearly imperceptible over-travel, it is exceptional among out-of-the-box systems. Many other rifles in its price range feature heavy triggers without a clear break and a significant, spongy over-travel. Without a crisp, clear break, it is much easier to pull a shot, a devastating situation for any hunter and potentially deadly for military personnel. This can be cleared but at the hands of an adroit gunsmith  and at considerable cost by polishing and truing the trigger ledge.

Remington Trigger

Remington engineered the solution at the factory; a simple trigger connector on the 700 that allows for a clean break without perfect surfaces. The sear may begin to slip on a typical rifle before the trigger is fully clear, resulting in an imprecise break. The 700’s spring-mounted trigger connector does not release until the trigger is clear and a simple over-travel screw prevents any further rearward movement. All of this can be adjusted by the user to achieve the perfect trigger break and weight-of-pull if it’s not 100% satisfactory out of the box.

Reliability

What good is a rifle if it only fires once? True, that first shot may bring down the trophy buck, but what about when one shot is not enough, or a competition requires more than one bulls-eye? Again, the 700 has you covered. By machining clearance into its bolt lugs and lock ring, the action will not bind on dirt, hair, or an errant grain of powder. While these tolerances may seem to be the antithesis of accuracy, they are not enough to allow significant gas leakage. The “tighter” actions of other rifles may reduce gas leakage by a small margin, but do not demonstrate improved accuracy, and have a greater tendency to bind and fail to close, especially in harsher conditions (likely the places you expect your rifle to perform).

Remington 700 Bolt

The Remington 700, unlike many of its predecessors and even some current competitors, operates on a push feed system rather than controlled feed. Both systems are reliable, and the biggest selling point on the controlled feed is its strong grip on a case. The Remington 700’s internal extractor bucks the trend for push feed systems and grips a case in the chamber with approximately 300 lbs. of force. On par with many controlled feed extractors. It also does not jam on short stokes, and is inexpensive to produce. Both shortcomings of controlled feed systems.

Safety

The 700 also offers more safety features than most other rifles on the market. This is particularly important with the continued growth of reloading and experimentation in the mainstream firearms communnity. Where many other rifles have sought to strengthen their firing pin stop to mitigate the blow back from a case failure, Remington instead created the three rings of steel. The 700 has a very deep counterbored bold head, nearly encompassing the entirety of a case head. From there the bolt goes into a counterebored lock ring, adding another layer of steel around the case. This lock ring is in turn set in a recess in the barrel, adding a third layer of steel between the shooter and a blown case. While other rifles try to reduce the risk of injury to shooters from a blown case, the 700 eliminates it.

It could be said that the clearances around the lugs allowing greater resistance to binding reduce this effect, however, the bolt head on a 700 is specifically engineered to expand in the event of failure and completely seal off the breech. This eliminates the need for a secondary firing pin stops employed by other actions.

The safety itself on the 700 is also superior to many other rifles. Many other actions use a trigger block system, which holds the sear in place. If the trigger is unable to re-set due to wear on this mechanism, the rifle may discharge when the safety is removed. The 700 lifts the sear completely off the trigger allowing for full reset of the trigger. This means that even if the sear slips when the safety is disengaged, it will still rest on the trigger, eliminating the risk of an accidental discharge.

Options

As mentioned before, the 700 has over 40 variants not including left handed models or caliber options. This means that there should be something in the lineup for even the most particular buyer. Models vary from the most ornate presentation grade options to synthetic and Cerakoted options designed to hold up to the harshest environments and still bring home the bacon. All of these are available in a wide range of calibers.

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What if you can’t find what you want in the standard lineup? The 700 is something like the iPhone of the gun world. There are a bevy of aftermarket upgrades and add-ons available for the 700. Triggers can by swapped for a wide variety of options including two stage target triggers. Stocks can be interchanged as easily as putting on your pants and are offered from the most simple wood or synthetic to the daunting Accuracy International aluminum chassis system. Bolts can be replaced with single-piece bolts like the ones made by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool and Gauge. Even the bolt handle can be augmented with upgrades from companies like Surgeon. There is truly a smorgasbord of aftermarket possibilities for the 700 so it can be truly customized to the user.

Legacy

Few rifles have the enduring legacy of the 700. Its revolutionary designs have been copied by most major gun makers in one form or another. Even before all of the customizable options, it had become a staple of the shooting community. Now, thanks to its wide acceptance and standardization of parts, many boutique and custom gun makers are using its exceptional design in their products.

Surgeon

Take a good long look at the rifles winning most shooting competitions. You will notice almost all have one thing in common: from the highest tech to the simplest rigs out there, most are variants of the venerable 700. GAP, Stiller, Surgeon, BAT Machine and many others have based their actions on the 700, and while many improvements have been made, they still retain the same DNA.

Conclusion

The Remington 700 has one of the most storied histories of any rifle on the market. Its history shouldn’t be enough of a reason to save it though. Plenty of once-fantastic designs have been overtaken by technology. The Colt SAA is one of the most iconic American sidearms, still few readers would trade in their GLOCKs for one as a daily carry. So does that mean the 700 should be relegated to the shelves as just another show piece or niche rifle? No. The 700 still offers more performance out of the box than almost any other rifle at its price point, and comes in enough variants and accommodates enough add-ons to satisfy even the most critical shooter.

And what about the recent hiccups? Let us not forget the lessons of the 721 and 722. They were revolutionary and successful, but Remington never stopped improving and the result of that improvement is possibly the greatest sporting rifle ever produced. So let’s not give up hope that the 700 is just experiencing some growth pains. If Remington continues to make improvements and work out the flaws as it has always done, there could be even better things to come for the 700.

123 Responses to P320 Entry: Why the Remington 700 is Still the Best Bolt Gun

        • I’d hardly call it a “stupid comment,” it was simply my way of expressing my distaste for the Mauser style action. Pointed, succinct, and conveys my opinion without having to reiterate the myriad reasons that the Mauser style action is an inferior technological achievement.

        • @AP, you don’t have to call it a “stupid comment”. I’ll do that for you.

          If you don’t like the Mauser style action, it would have been better for you to just come out and say it like an adult rather that resort to a stupid retort. (hey, that has a nice ring to it! Resort/retort… 🙂 )

      • Could you name a few? Not being pejorative but you said there’s a myriad of reasons and I’ve never heard about this.

    • Push feed model 70 is the best winchester, its underatted but actually more accurate than any of the original pre-64s. Any Rem 700 pre-1996 is as good as the Winchester M70. The current crop of Remington 700, or anything else from them is crap, same for any current Marlin.

  1. Does this article take into account the “new” (about a month old) recall notice for Model 700 (and Model 7) triggers?

    http://www.remington.com/pages/news-and-resources/safety-center/safety-warning-recall-notice-Remington-model700-modelseven.aspx

    Nice rifle, I own an older one and love it, but this model has had a lot of problems over the years. When you have a problem with a trigger on your company’s most popular rifle, and your company’s REPLACEMENT trigger for this rifle also has a problem, that is NOT a good sign.

  2. My father has one of the first 700 BDl’s ever made, its my favorite bolt gun ever. Sadly it was heavily customized (trigger, barrel, etc) so its not worth much more than a modern 700 would be. The old 700’s were sweet guns, I wish they still made them like that.

  3. Ahhhh, … Remington 700 BDL. Just a beautiful rifle. I don’t hunt and have no practical use for it but I’ve always wanted one, just to have. If it’s good enough for Robert De Niro …

  4. I’d rather read an article of why the Remington 700 is considered to be better than the Savage long action or short action platforms…it seems comical to me that this is the general opinion. For a moment ignore the fact that Remington’s have better aftermarket support; compare rifle to rifle: bolt design, barrel exchange system, accutrigger, etc. Remington seems to think highly of Savage rifles seeing as they have more or less copied Savage’s barrel nut design: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/01/foghorn/new-from-remington-model-783-bolt-action-rifle/.

    I hear a lot about Remington’s bolt being faster but really, how many of us have suffered from slow bolt syndrome? I guess at a tactical match it could be an issue…maybe.

    I still can’t believe what an incredible value the Savages are and how easy they are to work on and accurize.

    If and when I decided to purchase a 700 bolt gun it would be a Rem 700 copy (i.e. Surgeon, etc.). I don’t plan on buying any products from Remington in the foreseeable future.

    • Savages have a stronger bolt/action than the Remington. Yes I agree Remington copied their barrel nut which makes barrel swaping all that much easier. Then there is the knock off of the Savage trigger. The Remington bolt is faster but Remingtons have to be trued for very precise shooting because they can be a little off dead center. The floating bolt design of the Savage locks up true every time. There is a reason Savage has captured a lot of Remington’s territory with their rifles which shoot better off the rack than Remingtons do. There is even classes of rifle competition that are nicknamed the “savage class” because the rifles that come to dominate are unaltered Savages.

      • First thing to go is the stock on a Savage, at least in the stuff I shoot, and then some guys will have the chamber recut, aftermarket trigger put on and that’s pretty much it. Though you can skip most of that and still outshoot an out of box Remington 700.

        • Savage model 10, Accutrigger, Accustock, No bolt lapping .25″ MOA out of the box and same price as base Remington 700? You can keep the 700. Hill Country Rifles can’t build a $3,000 HB tactical rifle that holds more than .625″ MOA.

    • Savage is an incredible good rifle and very good value for the buck. I have owned my Savage 10/110 for 35 years, been hunting all over world with it and it still shoots like the first day. I take any Savage over a Remington, any day!

    • Indeed. My first thought was “Freedom Group plant,” knowing how much venom TTAG has spewed at their products in the past.

      But whatever. I’d put the Ruger M77 I just bought up against any 700, and a 700 against a Winchester Model 70, CZ 550 or Mauser isn’t even close in my mind. Hell even Savage and Mossberg make rifles I’d think about long and hard before I’d look into a modern 700.

      • I’ve heard really iffy things on the M77’s accuracy on several message boards. How’s your experience been? I want a nice bolt gun sometime and I’m evaluating options…

        • Mine is a Guide Gun chambered in .30-06, with the express iron sights and muzzle brake (switchable to a compensator/thread protector in case you value your ears). Stainless steel barrel and internals, 20″ barrel, laminate stock w/ adjustable pull. Think Gunsite Scout except without the detachable magazine, about 8 pounds even.

          I literally JUST bought it a couple days ago so it hasn’t seen much range time. For the role I’m intending it for (general purpose hunting in NE woods) its accuracy is just fine. I plan on keeping it with the irons so I may not be anywhere close to its true potential which I’d gather is around 1-1.5 MOA, but I had no problem busting 20 oz soda bottles at 60 yards with 180 grain Winchester soft points. The action could be a little smoother but the trigger is around 3 pounds, no overtravel or creep from what I could discern and is the crispest pull of any of the rifles I cross-shopped (used Browning BAR, CZ 550 FS, used 700 BDL). The CZ did have the set trigger option, was about a pound lighter with comparable finish and an excellent set of sights, but it just didn’t feel as solid and the regular trigger pull was gritty and stiff (adjustable though, which the Ruger isn’t). The 700 BDL had a slicker action (albeit push feed) and nice furniture but the irons sucked and there was no discernible recoil pad, and I decided against a semi-auto due to the weight and complexity.

          Apparently most of the Rugers with accuracy problems dated back to the ’80s and early ’90s, when the Ruger-made barrels were decidedly lacking. Since the Hawkeye line came out they’ve been much better made from what I understand.

        • I have heard that it was the M77MkII guns that had accuracy issues. My dad has an old M77 with the tang safety in .22-250 and with the right ammo, it can shoot 1/2 MOA groups.

        • I keep hearing that same story but have yet to meet someone that actually has/had am M77 that would not shoot. I have an M77 in very large caliber which shoots very well with open sights. I have a M77 Varmint in .243, an early M77 in .22mag The Varmint will deliver 5 shots you can easily cover with a nickel at 100 yard on a regular basis if I do my job. The little .22 mag even tighter groups 75 yards with good ammo. I also have a couple of No 1’s and a pair of Mini 14’s. The Bolt actions and the No. 1’s have all had mild trigger work performed as they were all heavy and gritty as delivered by Ruger. I always liked the Remington short throw bolt versus the 90 degree item on most other rifles it also proved very smooth but just not enough that I was willing to take a chance on a newer Remington.

        • i’ve got two M77 MkIIs, one in a .300 win mag and one in .270, both of mine shoot 1″ groups at 100 yards with crappy remington factory ammo. The .300 will put 5 rounds in a quarter at the same range with the handloads i’m feeding it now. And being left handed its hard for me to find a better deal on a bolt gun.

  5. The Remmy 700 of today is not the Remmy 700 of just a few years ago and would not purchase one. I will, however, purchase a Stiller, BAT, Surgeon, Defiance “copy” as those are far better in quality.

    • I am actually a fan of Remington and Savage. My Savages shoot like lasers out the box. And I can do 75% of my smith and work on them. I have older legacy 700s (ADL/BDL) that are awesome and very accurate. Modern offerings from both are no comparison. The Savage is superior in accuracy and function. The Rem 700 still looks like a rock star but falls short of its thorough bread history. Its a shame too. I am a bolt action guy for sure owning 63 of them. (Savage, Sako, Ruger, Rem, McMillan, Mauser, Howa) These are not in order of precedence. I will pay more for a well built rifle because it saves me money. Seems a bargain always cost you in the end. IMHO..

  6. I’ve owned 4 Rem 700’s over the past 46 years, and one Savage. The most recent Rem 700 is JUNK and I’ll sell it at a lose so I can buy another Savage to keep my Old Savage company. From now on it’s Savage and ONLY Savage

  7. This is a nicely written article. Sometimes, I just wish TTAG readers would simply say, thank you.

    • When you are writing a technical article intended to be read by aficionados, and the end result not only reads like a PR blurb from the manufacturer but makes a subjective conclusion on something being the ‘best’ of anything, just saying ‘thank you’ might be a bit naive. How about, ‘Thank you for your opinion. I have my own opinion, and it’s not the same as yours, but, again, thank you.’?

        • I do not have to prove him ‘wrong;’ It’s his OPINION. Neither would I ever write an article saying that ANYthing was the ‘best’ of ANYthing, ever. If the 700 was the BEST of bolt rifles, it is patently obvious that no other bolt rifle would be sold unless a 700 wasn’t available. This is obviously not the case; People, stupidly, still buy such mediocre rifles as Savage, or Winchester, or Browning, or Weatherby. Perhaps their opinions are different? Perhaps opinion is subjective?

          Get a grip. As someone said earlier, opinions are like excretory orifices. Neither should be regularly exposed in public.

    • Good point. Thank you Lance. I’ve been interested in the 700, and wondering about differences between it and my Win70, and worth thinking ahead for another. Great background and history.

      thanks to the many posters who have so much experience and wisdom to offer on bolt rifles and hunting.

  8. This is a joke! The 700 was a solution of how to make a centerfire rifle CHEAP! Bar stock for a receiver really helps make it cheap to produce. “3 rings of steel” is a marketing gimick that both Remington and Weatherby have capitalized on. Since when is a barrel threading into a receiver a “ring of steel” and a safety feature? Workable? Yes. The best? Hardly!

  9. I’ve seen a few 700s that were very nice … primarily older ones. I own Sako. So the words Remington and Best seem out of place to me when used together.

  10. While I liked hearing of how the 700 did its thing, I can’t help but wonder why, when this is supposed to tell us the 700 is still the best bolt gun, that those descriptions were very weak on comparison. Yeah a few competition names showed up, mostly toward the end, but I didn’t see enough compare/contrast with specific competing models. It was almost sales brochure-like in hitting its points.

  11. When was the most recent time you checked the out of the box trigger pull of a Remington 700. I rather doubt that it was three pounds. I would expect eight based on my experiences with them prior to the most recent (and recalled) trigger. As to the safety, it had been troublesome from the outset, although, in fairness, a goodly number of those problems were created by people fiddling with the trigger who shouldn’t have. You just can’t beat a three position safety of a Model 70 in my opinion because the user can unload the rifle while still in a safe condition.

    That said, the 700 “clones” are successful for a reason. The basic design is sound. It is manufacturing friendly and it I a well understood by accuracy ‘smiths and has a weight advantage over many other designs in weight limited competition classes with severe weight restrictions. It is the “small block Chevy” of rifle actions in the sense that accessories, stocks suited to it and so on have proliferated. A properly put together 700 is a fine rifle.

    • I have quite honestly never encountered a Remington 700 trigger that broke cleanly under 5 pounds that wasn’t tuned up first. I’m sure there are old guns out there from Remington’s glory days that might be that good stock, but it’s been decades since they were that good. I’ve worked on some nice old 700s, but three-pound glass rod breaking triggers weren’t standard on any of ’em.

  12. Obviously the author has neither trigger time with a Savage nor an understanding of the engineering innovations in the design of the model 10. If he did, I think he would draw a different conclusion

  13. The Remington 700s you see today have quality issues that go beyond the trigger, especially in the last couple of years. Even 700s made five years ago are quite clearly head-and-shoulders above anything coming of the factory right now.

    I would much rather save my pennies and get something that isn’t languishing in QC hell. I’ve had my heart set on some Desert Tech hardware for a while now. I might even get their new MDR-series carbines instead of an AR-15 or AK-variant, truthfully.

  14. “What makes a great rifle?” How about not having faulty parts? And besides, im sure absolutely no one cares about the 1894 winchester /sarc

  15. What Remington copied from Paul and Wilhelm Mauser did make it a great platform. Most American rifle makers at that time realized what Mauser made, and cloned it. It’s ok. A bit from the Swiss, a bit from the Germans, and a bit of American ingenuity made a great rifle.

    But it’s not original. Sorry . Plus, Savage,Tikka, Weatherby, might contest the claim.

    • Remington actually copied very little from the Mauser 9x actions. They took out most of the safety features, in fact, and their marketing substituted slogans (eg, “three rings of steel”) for actual safety features that do things like block venting gas from ending up in the shooter’s face.

      In a bit of historical irony, a European sales rep for Remington helped get the Mauser brothers’ rifle company off the ground in the 1860’s with a dubious patent and sales contract agreement that wasn’t wholly approved by the management in Ilion, NY.

      • Thanks Dys, what bolt gun would you suggest to someone looking for a quality at a good price, that fits the purpose of the 700? New or old?

        For now I am sticking to my Win 70 in 270, as I have a lot of shooting to do, to max out its capabilities, but I am guessing there are others out there, who are thinking- “how to get started hunting with a decent rifle, I can keep for life, or hand down”.

        • I’d like to chime in as well. The model 70 is still one of the best but the old ones garner a premium sticker. I have never been a fan of the Savage because of that butt ugly barrel nut. Upside is when you’re shooting the thing you never notice the nut. I have yet to have a deer or elk wander over and tell me it did not hurt.
          If you are looking new or near new that rifle may be the single best buy on the market. I have a preference for Browning, Ruger or the new Thompson bolt rifle these all carry a price tag greater than the Savage.
          I also have one of the commie Remington’s like a Yugo the rifle is a crap copy of only a slightly better POS. It goes bang and serves as a backup but I’ll never warm up to it and usually wear a paper bag over my head when shooting the thing.

        • @rlc2: pick up a used savage, you can get them for a ridiculous steal. Dollar for dollar you are unlikely to do better than the savage platform. Go over to the http://www.savageshooters.com forum and have a look at some of the used rifles.

  16. Great article Dan!

    I bought a Remington SPS 700 Tactical back around Christmas 2013 to turn it solely in to a long distance shooting platform and stretch it out to 500 yards, which is the longest range around me (South Florida). While saving up and buying everything that goes along with it piece by piece (glass, rings, base, bipod, match dies etc) this recall mess erupted.

    3 weeks have passed from my last chat with Remington customer service and according to UPS my box to send the rifle back for repair is ETA in 3 days. After that I don’t know how long I will have to wait for my rifle to be returned back to me.

    I have no ill-will towards Remington, I understand things will happen and I am certain it’ll get fixed properly, while I save up for optics & other necessities. I just wished it had irons so I could have at least taken it out to the range once, but oh well…

    In the meantime I have my Gewehr 88, Arisaka T38, and my Frankenrifle AR15 to keep me happy & on target…

  17. The storied 700 of days long ago is indeed one of a fine rifle. The newer versions are an entirely different story. My freedom group LTR purchased in 2011 was subject to the trigger recall. I was not impressed. It now has a Timney short action trigger with safety. I’d easily choose a Winchester 70 or Savage 110 over today’s 700. This from a 700 / 70 / 110 owner.

  18. Great to see an interesting article actually ABOUT GUNS.

    How about a similar examination of the the Savage 110-based rifle evolution?

    • Yeah, seriously, 90% of the p320 entries have been about politics, I guess that’s important too, but when we all mostly agree with each other already, it’s just one big circle jerk to see who can articulate the hive mind’s opinion best. I want to read about guns!!

  19. If you want to read a much more detailed analysis of “which is the best bolt gun?” issue, I highly recommend people find and read “The Bolt Action Rifle” volumes 1 & 2, by Stuart Otteson, a mechanical engineer. People would probably be surprised at his assessment.

    There’s nothing about the 700 action that makes it inherently more accurate than a M70, Ruger 77, Mauser 98, etc. Why do so many bench guns use a 700-style action? Because they’re faster/easier to ‘smith, and therefore you can put more money into everything else on the rifle. That’s it. If you’re trying to make the most accurate rifle on a budget, you’re going to go with a 700-style action. They’re easier to set up in a machine to true up because they’re round, that’s all.

    They’re not the stiffest action, they’re not the slickest action, they’re not the safest action, strongest, or anything else. They are, however, cheaper to produce than any other type of bolt action. Overall, the Savage-style rifle, with the barrel nut, is the cheapest type of rifle action/barrel fit-up is the cheapest rifle to produce. The advantage of the Savage-type action/barrel fit-up is that you can pre-chamber all the barrels, then headspace them onto the action/bolt and screw down the nut, and you can do all of this with greater allowances than with a conventional bolt action/barrel fitting.

    Of course, with the Savage-style barrel nut, you’ve got that butt-ugly barrel nut hanging out there. Since American gun buyers now think that parkerized/cerakoted/bead-blasted finishes are the bee’s knees and black synthetic stocks are all the rage, there’s no limit to how ugly a gun you can make and sell quite effectively. Just make it cheap enough, attach the word “tactical” to the description and you’re off to make bank.

    As for building a benchrest or F-class rifle: You’re probably even or money ahead to buy a custom action and build your rifle on that rather than pay a ‘smith to blueprint a 700, surface grind the recoil lug, etc, etc.

    • Any thoughts on Montana Rifle Company? I’ve been looking at various makes and models for around $1k and people seem fond of them.

      • I’ve only seen some of their actions. The ones I saw were not highly finished below the wood line.

        • Thanks. Other than your standard Rugers, Savages or Tikkas, there seems to be not much choice for quality rifles under $1500. I thought a Kimber bolt action might be nice, but for every one positive opinion, there are two or three negative ones. The new Winchester model 70 Supergrade looks nice, but it’s over 8 lb. I also looked at the new Mauser M12, but that’s a push feed and reviews are just OK, nothing special. Seems like I’d have to make a jump to a Sako for over $1800.

        • I think my M39 Mosin weighs around 9 lb and you definitely feel it. Put a scope on a rifle like the Supergrade which weighs over 8 lb and it’s not something I’d want to carry around. I think Kimbers are just shy of 6 lb. The ironically named M70 Featherweight is 7 lb (but I just looooove that Schnabel forearm).

        • @Mr. Pierogie, to each their own. My advice to someone that is bothered by an extra pound would be to get into the gym a bit more before hunting season – good advice regardless. Not meant as a flame to you by any means, so please don’t take it that way. I hunt elk with my Supergrade and can tell you that in the Rockies, if you can’t hump an 8lb rifle, you don’t have any business trying to hump out elk quarters either.

          But …. to each their own.

        • What caliber is your rifle? I don’t hunt yet (first I need to escape NJ), but I was thinking of getting a .270 Win. But an 8+ lb rifle seems like overkill for that caliber, no?

        • @Mr. Pierogie, I now hunt with a .30-’06 in the Supergrade. Before that, I hunted with a buddy’s .300 Win Mag. in a Custom Rem 700…and that thing make the Supergrade feel like a lightweight. Good luck with your escape from NJ. I wish you and yours the best! Wherever you go, make sure you can hunt there…

    • If you want to read a much more detailed analysis of “which is the best bolt gun?” issue, I highly recommend people find and read “The Bolt Action Rifle” volumes 1 & 2, by Stuart Otteson, a mechanical engineer.

      Volume 1 is $3,115 on Amazon.

  20. It’s safe to assume this is eithe satire, or written by someone who has never fired a sako, or a savage, or a blaser, or a tikka, or even a recent Winchester model 70. Or is reviewing his $2000 heavily customized Remington as if it was one of those overpriced rattletraps the factory has been shipping the last several years.

  21. “There are a bevy of aftermarket upgrades and add-ons available for the 700. Triggers can by swapped for a wide variety of options including two stage target triggers. Stocks can be interchanged as easily as putting on your pants and are offered from the most simple wood or synthetic to the daunting Accuracy International aluminum chassis system. Bolts can be replaced with single-piece bolts like the ones made by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool and Gauge.”

    After you’ve done all this aftermarket stuff, doesn’t seem like you have much left other than a receiver and a mediocre barrel. And of course you can replace the barrel also. So what is the point of buying this rifle if you are going to throw most of it away to get something really good?

    • Exactly.

      Quality components, manufactured to tight specifications, cost money. Remington’s 700 design is all about making things cheaper, cheaper, and cheaper.

      They start with the action being machined from a piece of round bar stock, rather than having a receiver with a flat bottom like most other bolt action receivers.

      Then they move on to modular construction in order to minimize the components that need to be heat-treated. The bolt is made in three pieces, with only the bolt head (nearest the chamber) heat-treated, then silver-soldered onto the bolt body, and the bolt handle is attached to the body. Bolts on the Mauser 98 were forged and then machined, then heat treated at the head end.

      Instead of putting a recoil lug on the receiver, Remington 700’s use a fancy washer between the barrel and the receiver that doubles as a recoil lug. The washer gives another bit of cost reduction in that their barrels don’t need a relief between the part of the barrel that mates up against the front ring and the threads on the tenon.

      It goes on and on.

  22. Up until the recall I’ve had no complaints about my VTR…but, it took 2 months just to get a box to send it back. Which is about 8 weeks longer than it took to receive and install the Timney trigger I ordered a day later. I thought the Remington trigger was pretty good, but the Timney is definitely better. I have a much bigger issue with the customer service than the quality. I’m convince that with a better marksman and match ammo the rifle will shoot 1/2 MOA. I’m thinking of putting the stock trigger in the 4 foot long box and sending it back with a note saying “too late I already installed a Timney”.

  23. The 700 has had trigger issues since its inception. Two words, Walker trigger.

    I’ll stick with my pre freedom group Marlin 336 and current Savage .308.

    • Yup. Remington fans don’t want to admit it, but the hardened/polished connector that floats on the front of the trigger bar and is held back against the trigger bar by only the pull weight spring… that design issue has been there since Day One of the Walker Fire Control System.

  24. For a cheap bolt gun I would go for the Savage or Weatherby. If more money is available the it is either a CZ 550, Sako or Sauer 3000 (kinda expensive the last one).

    Also, it is really stupid to call something the best when it comes to guns, vehicles and food. Don’t know how you other guys read it, but for me it seemed like an advertisment for Remington.

  25. I own three 700’s and love all. The first was a .270 and is a outstanding deer rifle. My second is a.308 with a 24″ fluted barrel. I routinely make shots of 800 yards with a 5″ circle. My third is also in .308 on a police platform. Shots of 1300 yards are easy with the nightforce 15X55X50 scope. Now I have been somewhat successful beyond 1600 yards with my Savage 110 in .338-LM. But that’s compairing apples to Orange’s.

    The point is the proof is in the pudding. Who can shoot 1300 yards with a Masuer consistently. Thought so!!

    • What kind of Mauser? A 70 year old one from WW2 or a newer one like the CZ550? Even the old ones have been used for distance albeit a bit modified.

      Also, 15-55x scope? How do you even see anything through that without using a bench?

    • Depends.

      Are we talking of a Mauser 98 reworked with a modern barrel in a modern round?

      Or are we talking about a 8×57 Model 98 that was dumped into a huge pile of armaments in the snow in Russia as the Nazis piled them up by the 100’s of thousands when they were marched off into captivity, which were then left in the snow for a few months, inventoried by the Russians over the next coupled of years and later sold into the US market, hidden rust and all?

    • I’m thinking just about any of the quality heavy barrel actions based on a Mauser design can easily equal this: the Savage, Browning, Winchester, Tikka and just about any other heavy barrel rifle custom on a Mauser is at least that good. I have a Howa in .338 win mag with the action and trigger smoothed and a good barrel float, put the $2,300 Nightforce scope on that action and from the bench I can better that.
      Let’s see 1,300 yards (3,900 feet) (1,188.7 meters) (73% of a mile) that is 33% farther than the famous 1,000 yard matches which, is a long way.
      Let’s pick a good .308 round the 168grn HPBT Macthking and you manage to get this out the barrel at 3,000fps (pretty hot for a .308) at 1,000 yards you are down to 1,369fps and the bullet drop is -337.19 inches. Add another 300 yards? I grabbed one of my manuals for this info so it is valid. Sierra does not bother past 1,000 yards in the book.
      I know it’s possible I do 1,000 yards on a regular basis at our long range camp, usually use a modified Ruger in .375 H & H or a .50 BMG bolt gun. I have a laptop with a ballistics calculator, my record book for each shot, a huge spotting scope my ipod and usually a friend along helping with record keeping. The .50 by the way is simply a Mauser type action on steroids.
      The only way the Remington is going to be more accurate than any of the quality Mauser actioned rifles is if you have the tracking point attached and then it has very little to do with the action.
      More fuel on the fire: I don’t really like a bolt action the Mauser with the long throw is awkward my preference if for a good Single Shot action which by design is more accurate and stable than anything which has a moving bolt.

  26. If other rifles out there are based on the 700 action, but have made improvements, doesn’t that mean they are better rifles?

    • Don’t go asking logical questions. It confuses people.

      Another bit of irony in the 700 “debate” is that some of the improvements take apart “features” of the 700 design.

      Example: Don’t like the 700 extractor? Have problems with that little bit of spring steel slipping off the rim? Well, you take it to a ‘smith, ask him to put in a Sako-style extractor. Solves your extraction issues in a hurry, but there goes one of the “three rings of steel” that was such a marketing point.

  27. The 700 is good design. I have owned them and passed one down to my son. However, Its design is no better than a Browning X-bolt or a Winchester Model 70. I don’t see how you can claim that the 700 is more reliable than the combat proven Mauser action. Like the 1911, the Mauser action is designed for the extreme conditions of the battlefield. This is an environment that far exceeds the requirements for a hunting rifle.

    • IMO (to which I’m entitled, because last I checked this AM, I’m still in possession of an anus 😉 ), the Win70 pre-64 design is the best overall blend of features, workmanship and safety of the mass-produced, non-military bolt designs out there. The three-position safety on a M70 is vastly superior to the Rem700 safety/trigger design, which as we all know, has come back to bite Remington in the ensuing years.

      Something that most people don’t understand about the Mauser 98 design is that, until the AK-47 and clones came along, the M98 was the single most produced weapon in the world, with over 100 million instances of the design built by either Mauser or Mauser’s licensees or proxies in Nazi-occupied countries during and after WWII. Compared to the numbers of Mauser 96/98/variants combined, the Rem700 (and variants, clones and knock-offs) is just a johnny-come-lately flash in the pan.

      • So Dyspeptic Gunsmith are we saying the AK is more accurate than the Remington? LOL I just had too get that in…
        I am in agreement with you the pre-64 model 70 is perhaps the best of all the designs as the Mauser action evolved over the years and that rifle had all the best features and nothing bad plus the quality lavished on these rifles was probably the best ever for a mass produced rifle.
        I recently sold a 1903 Springfield that I purchased when the owner/gunsmith of a small town gun shop died. The rifle was from his private collection and was an unfired example. I had to strip the rifle down and use kero to removal of all the grease. When clean the rifle was near perfect, 5 pound crisp trigger, a proper length barrel and a really smooth action. Put a scope on that rifle and I bet you could shoot as well or better than anything made by Remington in the last 20 years.
        Putting my Engineer’s hat on: A bolt action is the simplest form of an interrupted thread. I recall the Spanish even made a .308 Mauser action with only one locking lug. I never felt comfortable firing one given the questionable quality and metallurgy that many of those rifles displayed.
        The Remington should have been a better action than the Mauser because you have 60 degree bolt throw instead of the 90 activity from a Mauser. The Remington design was nothing new, all artillery and Navel guns of any size use the interrupted thread they simply downsized the breech and the marketing department took over. After having a great idea Remington seems to have simply cut every corner they could followed by using the cheapest components and no product testing.
        By contrast I have one of the Remington Nylon 66 .22 rifles. Cheap, ugly and as reliable as a stick, go figure how they could make such a great rimfire and have so many issues with their bread and butter rifle.

  28. I don’t know. Those Chipmunk’s and Cricket’s are pretty cool. My son learned safety, maintenance, sight picture (on the irons – needed Loctite to hold them in place), and trigger on it. We put a sling on it and he Barney Fife-carries it right next to me in the field. I figure preparing a youth for a lifetime up there, too.

    • Meh,
      Depending on the caliber you need a good selection of bolts I have 1/4-20, 5/16-18, 3/8-16, and 1/2-12 for the really big holes. You can usually cross thread one of these into the bore of your rifle

  29. Sounds like a shill for Remington. Personally a Savage 10 or 110 beats a Remington, easier too re-barrel, and better trigger with AccuTrigger! the 710 was a piece of trash, had too send one back 3 times for major work when it was new I fired it 3 times and Bolt handle fell off
    Remington 700 line got a big boost with the Corps making it their base platform for Sniper rifles in .308, before that Winchesters were the rifle in 30-06
    Tikka or sako make a better Firearm, along with Rugar and mossberg

  30. I’ve owned both a Savage 10 and a Remington 700. Let’s just say I still own the 10. In econ terms that’s called a revealed preference.

  31. X-Bolt, Tikka, Sako & Weatherby get my vote over Rem
    Had a Savage- gave it to a friend in need
    Accurate, but a little clunky

  32. Got my 700 Varmint with 26″ bull barrel on Black Friday deal at Dicks in 2012 for $349. Just sent the gun in on the recall. If the problem is fixed, then no big deal. Nobody can argue that its a hell of a deal price wise (which is probably one of the reasons, along with parts and maintenance, the gun has been popular for so long). They have worked through the years for police and military as well.

  33. I own a vintage 1980’s 30-06 Remington 700. IT’s accurate and good quality. I will say the model got sloppy a little it the quality department. I truly love my older model. Bring back to good o’l quality and care you had in the past and you’ll see people owning them.

  34. Everyone has their own opinion,and they are certainly entitled to it.I have owned a remington 700 for over thirty five years,and never had a problem with it. I hunt with this weapon, I don”t use it to shoot beer cans and I have killed my share of both deer and hogs.I expect this rifle to shoot where I point it,and remington 700 does the job for me..Remember owning a rifle is only half the solution, spend some good money and purchase a good scope.

  35. We all have our opinions but I have observed that most remington faithfuls are just that, blind faithful because that is what Dad bought. I had a 700, only POS I ever sold as I DO NOT sell guns but that 700…many factory, many handloads, never 1 moa, probably lucky to carry 2 moa usually. Bought a mkii Ruger in 2005, same thing, maybe pull about 1.5 moa average. Gave up and bought a savage in 2010. The Ruger is high gloss and looks nice so I allow it to soak up space in the safe but I bought 3 different 300 wins in about 12 years. As long as the savages keep shooting like the 5 I now own I will never buy anything else, especially that silly 700 that now has another recall? Come on and go broke so a company with some intelligence and morals can get the market share remington has. Good shotgun shells, close the other factories.

  36. Frank De Haas had good things to say about the Savage system, partucularly the modular bolt, and the barrel attaching system. I have owned three or four of them and they are generally quite accurate out of the box. Two negatives in my opinion, and the latter is why I will never own another one. First bad is the flubber stock, I have never handled an entry level syn stock as flexible as the Savages, forget ever using a sling with one, and secondly, another poster mentioned it earlier, used ones can be had for a song because Savages have zero re-sale value. I buy and sell lots of guns and good luck getting $.40 on the dollar on your “accurate” Savage.
    I have owned lots of 700s, and by and large they have been reliable and accurate. Thirty or twenty years ago nobody bought Remmys because they were top notch rifles, they were utilitarian workpieces. ….today I look at my 35 Whelen Classic or my 1984 BDL and I am blown away by the quality of the bluing, and wood figuring when I compare them to any current production rifle on the market. The old Remmy triggers could be tuned by a monkey in about ten minutes to equal any trigger extant. My 1984 .06 BDL, that I glass and pillar bedded and trigger tuned will literally put quality loads one on top of the other all day long.
    Someone mentioned the 600 trigger as being not great even when tuned. Are you f***ing nuts? Both of my 600’s triggers “v” stamped, and tuned my moi, I will put up against ANY trigger on ANY rifle.
    I am not a Remmy shill, have had a few lemons, and today, like all other mfgs, they produce $300 rifles because thats what consumers want. All of my “customs” are Mauser variants, ’03A3s, Husky 1640s, Mexicans, because I like CRFs, but I will never get rid of my old Remmys. You think any Savage bolt ever made will ever have any collector value? (Rhetorical question)

  37. I just read the part where the author argued a cylindrical receiver is somehow better than a flat bottom, Mauser style action. His defense of it was pure opinion & retarded. The flat bottomed Mauser action counters torque caused from the bullet going down a rifled barrel inherently better, end of story.

  38. People, please. Savage 10/110’s are good, Remington 700’s are good, Winchester 70’s are good, Howa 1500’s are good, Tikkas, Mausers, Rugers, etc are good.

    It is true that Big Green has had some issues of late, mostly stemming around that new X-Mark trigger. But they’re fixing it at their own cost. It’d be like saying that people shouldn’t buy Toyotas anymore because they had an airbag problem (they fixed that, too).

    I personally do disagree on the point about cylindrical actions being “better” somehow than flat-bottomed actions like Win 70’s or Howa/Weatherby Vanguards. Give an action a good bedding and a decent barrel, and it’s going to shoot lights-out if the shooter does his part. I also don’t care if there are “three rings” of steel; what I care about is that there is *enough* steel in the right places, even if it’s two rings like a Win 70. Rem 700’s, and Win 70’s, and Savages, and Howas, etc. have enough steel.

    Ford/Chevy/Dodge, folks.

    – T

  39. Remington used to be a good company but today it’s all about the money. I bought a new remington 799 in 22-250 for my grandson, when shooting, the bolt would bind so bad you could not move it. Called remington to have it fixed, they told me to hone it down. I did and cleaned it with gun cleaner, and that striped some of the paint off the stock.
    Say what you want but in my book remington is cheap. When it comes to quality and customer service Ruger is king hands down. Savage is also a well made gun and highly accurate with very good customer service.

  40. Accuracy – Factory 700’s shoot 3 MOA
    Reliability – 700’s do not eject reliably
    Safety – 700’s are so unsafe that every one ever manufactured was recalled
    Options – Everything you can do to a 700 requires a machine shop and custom making everything

    Everything you wrote in this article is total BS. TTAG is a sham for posting this.

    • I’ve owned probably 12-15 700’s over the span of 25 years. I’ve never had a trigger problem, and the original 700 trigger is one of the easiest triggers ever made to tune up. (Google “Remington Crisp”. Fifteen minutes and you have a trigger that pulls two lbs with no creep and no take up. Every one of my 700’s would shoot 1 1/2 moa before pillar and glass bedding. Every one of my 700’s was 100% reliable on extraction. I have had one NIB 700 SPS that would not close on a cartridge. It required my tuning the extractor with hand tools. 30 minute job. I am not a shill for Remington, I prefer CRF bolts to push feed. My favorite new production bolt rifle these days is the Winchester Featherweight coming out of the FN factory in Carolina. Beautiful rifles for $800. I have purchased two new Rugers this year, an American, and a Gunsite, both of which had to go back to Ruger before they were functional. I have a Rem 700 BDL 30.06, made in 1985 that I glass and pillar bedded, tuned the trigger, installed a pachmayr recoil pad, stripped the plastic, and refinished with hand rubbed oil. All of this work done by me with hand tools in my garage. No machine shops, no lathes, no mills………..it will shoot my handloads and Federal Premium 180 Partitions into 1/2″ groups at 100 yards with boring consistency. It is as reliable, and as accurate as any rifle I have ever owned. But the thing is, I have a Kimber Montana 270 WSM that will do the same, a custom 03a3 Whelen AI that will do the same, A Sears mod 51 lightweight (Husqvarna 1640) 270 Win that will do the same, another Rem 700 LTR .223 with 40X trigger than will do even better, and several more, if you get my drift. I would never claim that the Rem 700 is the best rifle ever made, but when they come out of the factory the way they are supposed to, and that’s a big if with any mfg these days, then the Rem 700 is as good as any.

  41. I had a 700 once, but I didn’t keep it. I now use a Ruger Hawkeye. I prefer the features of the Hawkeye and feel much better about the three position safety that when fully engaged blocks the stryker. I have bench rested My Hawkeye and shot nice tight groups with it. Plenty accurate for Me.

  42. I’m surprised to learn how the 700 has been going downhill in recent years, mine is a early 90’s .280 mountain rifle that shoots sub half inch MOA, does have a walker trigger though. I also have a family heirloom model 721 30-06 that I’m comfortable shooting for the rest of my life, totally solid rifle, but again it’s 60 years old and doesn’t suffer from the current Remington QC problems obviously. I used to think that the 700 was the best solely based on the fact it’s the standard sniper platform for the U.S. Military, but anyone who’s heard the name Carlos Hathcock knows that they used Winchester m70’s before that. It makes sense now that I learned that the 700 was cheap to produce… The U.S. Military chose the beretta over the clearly superior SIG p226 because it was $40 bucks cheaper per unit… (Special Forces use SIG over the standard m9 to this day for a reason.)

  43. I have a Remington 700 classic chambered in 300 Weatherby ,it has held up great to the high intensity cartridge,overready also have a savage 110 a ruger M77 1st génération and one of my sons has a winchester stainless classic in 300 Remington ultramag,all being said iam very happy with the accuracy of my 700 ,but I love the slick Mauser desings of the M77 and M70 .

  44. Remington 700 is a beautiful rifle which is simple, reliable and accurate. Choice of many special forces and law enforcement agencies. Also, there are so many upgrades for it like triggers, chassis, etc.

  45. I love the Rem 700 and the 870 that was built 20yrs ago, Also own a windham Bushmaster that I would never sell, Love the old Marlin 45-70, Would not touch any of the above today, simply not the same guns at all, The problems of the Savage during the Black and Decker days do not exist today, Same as Harley when they were mass produced by a golf cart company, Times change so do products Today I would take a Savage 110 or 10 over any Rem 700, Remember when Mossberg shotguns were junk, They out sell 870s today both law enforcement and military, And the 870s today seem like they have gravel in the action, The 700s need a gunsmith for anything to get worked on, And they need work compared to 20 yrs ago, Heck even Ruger is finally producing an half way accurate rifle, And they have never been known for accuracy, There revolvers are fantastic never owned a bad one

  46. Sorry but the Remington 700 was never the greatest rifle to begin with. That honor definitely has to go to the Winchester Model 70. The Remington 700 was designed for ease of manufacturing. The push feed action of the Remington is much easier to manufacture than the Mauser style action of the Model 70. Also the bolt handle is two pieces which could break off. Yes, the Model 70 did lose its great quality in 1964, but it’s back now and in fact better than ever.

  47. Nearly every statement in this article is a lie. This is the most dishonest crap I’ve ever read. The cylindrical receiver is a bad thing. The 700 extractor is the worst in the industry. The 700 trigger was both the worst in the industry and recalled because it was so unsafe. The accuracy of a 700 is 3-4 MOA, the worst in the industry, behind other Remington bolt actions.

    Was this satire or blatant lying?

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