Remington 700 SPS Tactical
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- Last updated: 22/01/2020
Remington’s Model 700 series has become an industry standard as far as reliability and accuracy are concerned and continues to evolve in various guises. Now with the new distributors Raytrade at the helm, they are once again in safe hands and a complete range of rifles are now on offer. With tactical being the buzz word these days, I decided to look at the new 700 with adjustable aluminum modular stock. The gun can be bought as standard in Hogue rubberised sporting furniture, but you can upgrade to various options, mine came with an AB Arms Mod-X Gen 111 offering both looks and handling. I opted for the .223 Rem with a fast twist rifling, as that calibre and 1 in 9 twist rate is good for vermin as it is for small species deer, when fed right.
This is a modular system, that uses the generic AR15- type buffer tube to offer a telescopic length of pull in fixed or folding options. There are six components excluding the magazine: action frame, pistol grip, scope base, hand guard with Picatinny rail, butt and stock tube. These are fashioned from aircraft grade aluminum for strength and lightness. It’s a drop-in design that comes with all the relevant fitting screws and torque settings.
The barreled action drops into the frame with the recoil lug engaging in the pre-machined pocket. Fit the 6.25-inch Picatinny scope base with the supplied Allen screws, then slide on the 11.5-inch hand guard and secure it with two Allen screws from below through the action frame, with another on top so that both rails connect together, giving an overall mounting length of 17.75-inches. The forend is ventilated with slots and shows K-Mod locators for adding bipods etc., as required.
The buffer tube can now be screwed in and tightened with the castle nut, to accept the butt assembly. This can be length adjusted in ½-inch increments by means of grub screws that lock it to the tube. For finer adjustment, the T-shaped butt pad section can be slid out up to 3-inches by means of a sprung button. The cheekpiece/comb is a plastic, horseshoe-type moulding and is height adjustable too by a slotted thumbwheel. I found it a bit thin, but it was rigid enough for a good eye/ scope position. The recoil pad is slotted rubber and locks the rifle into the shoulder securely.
The action frame is configured to accept any AR15- type pistol grip. In this case a textured, rubber Ergogrip was included. Shaped to the hand, it offers a secure and comfortable hold and good control. Feed is from a 10-round, single column, polymer AICS-compatible box that locks securely into the well, with the release catch inset into the forward bow of the trigger guard.
Chambered in 223 Rem, the Tactical is a short-action, overall finish is a tough, scratch-resistant, satin black oxide skin. The generic 700 has a reputation for strength; locking is by two large forward lugs that makes for a precise and strong engagement, that forms the fabled ‘three rings of steel’ around the chamber and bolt head area. On inspection of the rear of the bolt lugs, where they contact the action abutments, you can see a good overall contact, so you know it’s locking up true to the cartridge and chamber, so maximising accuracy potential.
The semi dog legged, and flattened bolt knob remain unchanged for years, as it works and the metal bolt shroud and is still better than most.
The trigger is vastly improved over older models and now wears an X-Mark Pro unit that is adjustable. If you want to upgrade, then it’s up to you, as that’s the beauty of a Remy 700, it has so many aftermarket kits to choose from. To me, that trigger performed well, as the accuracy testing showed. This one broke at a clean, single stage, non-creep but heavy at 5.25lbs, practical but a fine tune would help. The safety is nice and simple as always. A 2-positon rolling lever is sited rear/right of the receiver and pushes forward to FIRE and reverses for SAFE, with bolt operation. It’s easy to use, uncomplicated and works and if you ride with the thumb it is quiet too.
Finally, is the short but stout barrel. This is a perfect size for this model and calibre, as it is 20-inches long with an 0.835-inch muzzle diameter with little taper. This means a rigid and accurate profile to aid accuracy, that will not be adversely affected by heat build-up, as a longer, slimmer sporting tube might. I fitted a superb MAE Scout mod to this one that was superbly quiet and its over reflex build added little to the overall length. Threaded 18 x 1mm makes use of the large muzzle diameter and is less likely to loosen and cause problems with longer suppressors.
Being in 223 Rem with 1-9-inch twist rifling, I wanted to try some heavier weight .224-inch bullets for a spot of longer-range use. With this rate, you can use up to 75-grain pills for beneficial BC values down range, and for small species deer a viable heavier hitter, although the Tactical stock might raise a few eyebrows. Handling is good, as the balance is correct, even with a mod and scope fitted. I used a Kahles K10- 50x56mm, which is a large, but a superb sight for precision shooting. The rear butt section sits solidly in the shoulder with minimal recoil and enough adjustments so that an offhand or benched shot will fit your position correctly.
Despite its fast twist barrel, I still wanted to see how the regular .223 ammunition weights in the 40- to 55-grain weight range would fare. Starting with factory fodder, I tried some Remington 50-grain Accu-Tips. These gave a healthy 3219fps/1151ft/ lbs average, 5-shot groups that achieved some nice sub inch groups, a good start. The same weight Winchester Silver Tips produced 3075fps/1050ft/ lbs with 0.75-1-inches at 100-yards at temperatures hovering around zero-degrees.
Upping the bullet weight a tad, I switched to some Geco 56-grain loads, which have proven to be nice Scottish Roe or small species deer cartridges. Average figures produced 3148fps/1233ft/lbs, which is pretty impressive as too were the groups, all hovering around the ¼-inch mark. The heavier Remington 62-grain Match were up next and these shot 2904fps/1161ft/lbs and again printed just under the inch mark. When you consider that these are factory loadings, that is good shooting in any one’s book. Next up were the reloads that hopefully would shrink those groups a tad more?
I started with some light 40-grain V-MAX, always a good fast and accurate bullet, but you do have to be careful with over rotation in a fast twist barrel. At .223 speeds it was okay though and achieved sub-1-inch groups with a load of 24-grains of Vit N120 powder, Federal Match primer to achieve a figure of 3415 ps/1036ft/lbs. You can switch to Reloader (RL) 10 X powder and with a charge of 24.5-grains and the same primer velocities averaged 3387fps, slower but good 0.65-inch groups.
The 55-grain bullets, i.e. Sierra Game Kings transcend vermin/fox and deer and with 23.5-grains of Vit N 133, you get 3166fps/1224ft/lbs with three shots going into 0.55 inches, nice. Upping the weights to the fast twist ethos, I shot some Berger, 70-grain, Match VLD bullets. These need a good seating depth to achieve best accuracy and often a shorter cartridge overall length (COL) too is beneficial. A load of 23-grains of RL 15 is good, but a little medium burning in a short barrel but achieves 2846fps/1259ft/lbs for 0.75-inch, 100-yard groups.
75-grain bullets were good and a load of 22-grains of Vit N140 or 20.5-grains of Vit N133 achieved similar results with Hornady A-MAX or Berger Match Boat Tail bullets and 0.75-inch groups. Berger 80-grainers were about the limit of stability in this barrel, here a tighter, 1 in 8 twist would stablise them better. But I still had just shy of inch groups with a load of 20.25-grains of Vit N 133 for 2588fps. Some Berger 60-grain bullets would really be nice, but I had none, but would be a good weight for a compatible ballistic ratio.
Initial testing and use showed you needed to be firm and fast with the bolt operation and not baby the action. If you did the, result is a ‘stackpole’; here the round jumps up from the magazine vertically rather than sliding forward. Apart from that, this little Remy shot like a dream. I like the short, stout barrel that was accurate with the loads tested, factory or reloads for that matter. The Tactical stock was versatile with plenty of good feature and that full-length scope mount/Picatinny rail is very handy for any length scope or NV attachment. Whether you opt for the original Hogue stock design or this Tactical version, it’s good see Remington back in the shops again.