Military First
Military First
Available from whsmith and all good newsagents
The official website for Gun Mart Magazine, What Gun? and Shooting Sports Magazine.
Previous Page

Remington SPS Varmint

This must be a first for Remington – a budget-priced Varminter that does the business even in its standard, synthetic stock. Join Pete Moore as he marvels at the SPS Varmint in 22-250

If you’ve been out of the loop a little bit I need to fill you in on the developments at Remington and in particular their Model 700. Their good old ADL synthetic version, which was the entry level gun with its closed bottom magazine system, is now no longer produced. The ADL might not have been that pretty but it did the job, and has probably served as the base for more custom 700s than anything else. My first Riflecraft Light Sporting Rifle (LSR) was nothing but a 308 gun re-stocked and fettled.

To replace the ADL, Remington introduced a new model called the SPS – Special Purpose Synthetic. In truth it was the same tried and tested, 700 barrelled/action with a slightly tidier stock and also the option of a detachable magazine (DM) version too. Not bad for what was still a cheap rifle. But unlike the ADL, the SPS series seems to have more about it in terms of options, which is a good thing.

Cheap Varminter

In the Remington scheme of things you have basic rifles, intermediates and the heavy barrelled varmint and precision models VSF, LVSF etc., which are nice, but also cost a lot more. But if you wanted an accurate gun from the box; this is what you bought. So it was with some surprise that last year Derek Edgar (MD) of Edgar Brothers, the Remington importers, asked me if I would like to look at the SPS Varmint. The concept of a cheap rifle in this format intrigued me and I agreed.

The gun duly arrived and what came out of the box really impressed me, even before pulling the trigger. Most obvious is the 26” heavyweight barrel, which offers an OD of around the 0.900” mark that tapers slightly to the muzzle. Mated to the usual M700 action we already have the recipe for accuracy and performance.

The finish was that flat, semi-matt that we have come to know on the ADL and SPS series, so no fancy blueing or stainless. The stock too was a partial departure with the back end showing the now familiar SPS build with cast-in panels of stippling on the pistol grip and the low combed butt with its American-style cheek piece. However, past the action and more panels of stippling, the forend swells out into a rather nice semi-beavertail shape with tandem QD sling studs and slots in the sides. For what is a one-piece synthetic moulding this is quite a sophisticated and practical design, given the varminting role it promises.

X- Marks the Spot

Two more slight deviations are the solid rubber recoil pad, which replaces the R3 unit found on all SPS rifles, and what appears to be a new trigger. The only reason I twigged this was the fact it’s smooth and not the usual vertically grooved blade I am used to. More importantly it’s been sorted prior to going into the box. This is a vast improvement over the earlier guns; even though it doesn’t take much to adjust any 700 mech down to something a whole lot more useful.

Remington call this the X-MARK PRO TRIGGER and say all internal components have a mirror-like finish on them and it offers up to a 40% lower out-of-the-box pull weight, virtually zero creep and 100% adjustability.

Remington are the second company to my knowledge to go down this improved trigger route recently, along with Ruger and their new LC6 unit that are standard in all their M77 Hawkeye rifles. Doubtless this has been done to keep up to speed with Savage who originally offered their AccuTrigger in selected models and now fit it to their whole range. A bit of a mini arms race, but one that all of us will benefit from…

Suffice to say the new X-MARK PRO is smooth, crisp and breaks at around 2 lbs, which is good enough for me!!! Another plus is that this new rifle does not have Remington’s horrible key lock system integral to the bolt shroud. This I believe has been discontinued due to safety problems according to Remington’s website. I have to say that I had a Model 700 25-06 VSF on test a few years ago and it simply locked up on the range, due to a malfunction with this system. Since then I have never trusted it and - as I have an SPS with it on a 7mm-08 - I always take the key with me when I go hunting, just in case.

So for what is still essentially an entry level rifle - even though in a heavy barrelled format – there are improvements all round.

22-250 Rem

For the test I fitted a Swift 6-24 x 50 scope in a Leupold, one-piece base using their 30mm tactical rings, so a good solid platform to start off with. Up front; what else - a Harris BRS bipod in the second QD stud position. This moves the pressure point nearer the action so will slightly reduce any tendency of forend-influenced movement. The rifle came in 22-250 as requested, along with a quantity of 50-grain, Remington Premier Accu-Tip ammo. For this model there is a choice of other calibres too.

Inspection of the forend showed that the barrel was not free-floating, but that big, 26” tube would probably provide some stability, even though the stock was touching it and this proved to be so. Recoil was smooth and pleasant, as might be expected, and the gun shot sub-3/4”. The trigger did impress me, giving a smooth, light and crisp release every time; normally with any 700 I have to adjust it from its factory-set, litigation-free pull, but happily not this time.

The ammo was producing 3725 fps, which translates into 1540 ft/lbs. Zeroed at 200 yards you are only ½” high at 100 yards and the drop at 300 is 4.75”. So a nice flat shooter for foxing and hopefully for CWD and Muntjac by the end of this year too.

Obviously the synthetic, varmint-style stock is a bit of a compromise, as it’s not totally ideal. Though the barrel channel could be opened up to fully float the tube and the action bedded. But even as it is, it shoots well enough. Now we come to the price, which combined with the trigger and build is little short of amazing; especially when you consider the high end varmint Remingtons are easily in excess of £1000. The SPS costs just £719 including VAT. Now that’s a hard act to follow…

Remington seem to be doing a lot more with their SPS range than they ever did with the ADL, as the Varmint ably illustrates. They now also have a Tactical model, which looks to be similar, but in a slightly heavier stock than the standard sporting guns and with a heavier barrel, which looks to be 24” long.

Technical Specifications
Name Remington SPS varmint
Calibre 22-250 Remington (on test)
Capacity 4
Barrel 26” heavy
Stock black synthetic
Trigger X-MARK PRO (adjustable)
Price £719

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

Distributer information
Gun Mart Shooters Forum - Get Involved in the Discussion!
User Comments
  • nice write up, looking for a rifle for fox , rabbit and range work , looking to do stock convertion on rifle, i know the list is vast, thinkin of .222 with moddy to do the job what do you think ? will re-load own ammo. is a .222 deer legal ?
    great magazine, i read it , with out fail for the past 2 years.

    Comment by: nick d`adamo     Posted on: 08 Mar 2009 at 09:36 AM

  • The SPS Varmint is a good choice, though since the printing of this first article the price has risen by around £100. The standard stock is very good for a moulding, but you can of course go up market with makes like H-S Precision (Viking Arms), McMillan (Jackson Rifles) and Wild Dog (South Yorkshire Shooting Supplies). In most cases they will just drop-in, but if you want to get the most out of them then consider synthetic bedding too.

    Calibre-wise if you’re thinking 222 Rem think 223 Rem instead, as it offers just a bit more. 22-250 Rem is another great choice too. Any of these will be small deer (CWD and muntjac) legal in England and Wales.

    Another good choice for a varminter is the Howa 1500 Varmint Supreme. With a big, laminate thumbhole stock and stainless action it’s an accurate and good looking rifle for just under £700. It would also mean you don’t need to get a new stock as its T/H unit is more than good enough. This review will soon be on the website so check it out.

    Let me know what you decide.
    Cheers
    PM

    Comment by: Pete Moore     Posted on: 08 Mar 2009 at 01:29 PM

  • hi its nick dadamo,thanks for your reply,i have just re-stock my remy pss with Mcree ally stock from nwcustoms who live 5 mins from my house,talk about inpressive is a under statement, now you have given me my calibre alternatives, i will opt for 223 as i think the 22/250 may be a over kill and has i beleive a big bark as they say. the new remy will drop into my Mcree stock as this is the idea of the stock. so i have the ideal set up 2 rifle actions and 1 stock with inter changable fore ends being short, long, bench rest fore ends.if i can work out how to send a picture of the rifle to you i will just bear with me on that one.

    Comment by: nick d`adamo     Posted on: 15 Mar 2009 at 02:02 PM

  • Nick

    I have not seen a Mcree stock yet but spoke to NW Custom at IWA last week and have been told one is coming soon, so am looking forward to seeing how it performs. Yes 22-250 can be a bit loud and won't moderate as well as a 223 Rem, so good call on the mouse rifle...

    Cheers
    PM

    Comment by: Pete Moore     Posted on: 17 Mar 2009 at 12:21 PM

  • Hi all i have the exact rifle in .223 it is a joy to shoot and is great out to 400yrds i shoot rem cases with 55grn heads and 25.2 grns of hogdon 4895 recoil is good does not jump about and take you of target you can pull the trigger chamber another round and you are ready for the of again changed from a .308 to the .223 and for me it was a good move my barrel is slighty of the stock dont know if this was changed by Remington or not but accuracy is spot on down at the club the rifle will shoot 1/4moa at 100 and i have it set 1-1/2" high at the 100 this is a new rifle and i have only put so far about 40 rounds through it but as time goes on it is getting a group that is getting tighter love the rifle wont swap it for any thing else well done Remington another great shooting rifle and good to look at as well.

    Comment by: Paul Smith     Posted on: 20 Mar 2009 at 07:24 PM

  • 223 Rem is an excellent cartridge and will do a lot more than you might first expect, given you get the bullet weight and rifling twist right. Setting up 1.5" high should give you a single aim point out to 200-yards, which is a smart move. Keep an eye on accuracy as if you have not yet cleaned the gun it might suffer as fouling builds up, as small bores tend to foul faster than large ones. Also keep an eye out for copper build-up too...

    That aside it seems the SPS Varmint is proving very popular and it would be interesting to see how it stacks up against their more expensive Varmint series.

    Comment by: Pete Moore     Posted on: 23 Mar 2009 at 06:01 PM

  • Hi all just an up date as to my earlier post well the rifle shot great in the cold weather but as the temp went up so did the lack of accuracy of the .223 SPS V well i can tell you had i shot the rifle when the weather was hotter i would not of wasted my money on the Rem as i say as th weather got hot in the summer i shot the rifle at the club and it was crap the groups opened up to nearly 2" over the 100 yrds the stock in the hot weather went like a bit of jelly you could hold the front and the back with the action mounted and you could twist the stock,so if i new who to go about it i would take legal action against Remington for miss leading people by saying the new stock design was a ground breaker IMHO Remington have ripped people off the action is as always with Rem first class but the Varmint stock is going to drive people away from them. Remington if you read this do the decent thing and give every body who bought the SPS-V a free replacement stock.

    Comment by: Paul Smith     Posted on: 21 Sep 2009 at 03:32 PM

  • Interesting... When I tested my example it did not show that problem, but as I recall it was not blazing hot either; need to keep an eye on that for the future.

    Cheer

    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 25 Sep 2009 at 11:10 AM

  • Didn't know the SPS Varmint was available in 222. .223 is definitely best for varmints--unless a real need for a 22-250. Here in the states, gobs of inexpensive 223. Cabela's is running V-Max at 9.99 a box (20).

    Comment by: Johnny Edwards     Posted on: 02 Dec 2009 at 09:11 PM

  • $9.99 a box that is amazing. Here in the UK a box of 223 Rem ballistic tip or V-MAX is going to cost well in excess of £20. In the UK we also favour 223 for most of our foxing and mid/long range varmint chores as well as small deer species like muntjac.

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 03 Dec 2009 at 10:12 AM

  • I have a SPS Tactical in 308, it has a 20 inch barrel came with a Houge stock and shoots great.
    The only thing i have done to it is to fit a Tactical Floorplate System from South Yorkshire Shooting Supplies so i can use Accuracy International 10 shot magazines.
    A Jet-Zed moderator helps reduce muzzle flip to almost zero.

    Comment by: Peter Foley     Posted on: 03 Dec 2009 at 11:07 PM

  • I would like to know is the sps varmint worth buying or sould i go for the better varmint rifles. Any info would be helpful thanks!!!

    Comment by: travis bowers     Posted on: 28 Jan 2010 at 03:33 PM

  • From the guns I have tested the SPS Varmint is a sound rifle and far more affordable than Remington's full blown Varmint series. Not that pretty I grant you but they shoot. well enough...

    Or you might consider the Howa 1500 Varmint Supreme - laminate, thumbhole stock, heavy barrel, threaded and floated at the last count you would get a few pence back from £700, which made it a real bargain and that too is a real shooter.

    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 28 Jan 2010 at 04:54 PM

  • Thanks for the info pete, i will give them a look

    Comment by: travis bowers     Posted on: 28 Jan 2010 at 06:13 PM

  • Well written review, i've had this sps 700 in 22-250 for about 5 yrs now, since then i've added a aluminum spine and glass bedded custom a5 mcmillan stock.
    As a retired infantry sniper I had the opportunity to fire a plitheral of insanely accurate and expensive rifles, however, now on a retiree budget I found the sps 700 to be the petfect foundation to build on.

    Comment by: trig     Posted on: 13 Dec 2011 at 08:31 PM

  • Yes the addition of a decent stock with proper beddign tends to turn a good shooting rifle into a great one; well worth the effort and expense...

    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 14 Dec 2011 at 10:01 AM

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Remington SPS Varmint
Remington SPS Varmint
Remington SPS Varmint
Remington SPS Varmint
Remington SPS Varmint
Remington SPS Varmint
Remington SPS Varmint
Brand New - Video Reviews

Latest Video Reviews NEW!