Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review

Review: Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless


A Remington 700 built by the new RemArms company is noticeably better than the rifles that preceded it and if the accuracy and quality of this test rifle is a guide then the Model 700 is back as one of the best hunting rifles around.

This Model 700 SPS Stainless in .300 Win Mag is the first of the RemArms-built rifles we’ve reviewed and it shows that there’s a strong focus on undoing the reputational damage suffered under the old Remington Arms company as quality, consistency, manufacturing tolerances and finishes went downhill.

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The Remington 700 SPS Stainless is a good looking sporter-style rifle designed to beat harsh weather and hard hunting conditions

Some key changes include:

  • 416 stainless steel for both receiver and barrel that’s claimed to be better than before
  • Tighter tolerances and great consistency in manufacturing
  • A workforce said to be briefed to look out for problems, even to the point of shutting down the production line if required
  • The chamber is machined entirely on a CNC machine, which should negate any chance of variance or out-of-spec finishing. 

The rifle tested here showed absolutely no signs of being anything less than perfectly finished and fitted. I saw many Remingtons made in about 2017-2019, towards the end of the Remington Arms era, and none were up to this new rifle’s standard.

Many thanks to our local gun shop, Mudgee Firearms, for assistance with transfers of the Remington test rifle and the usual friendly service.

The stainless steel is bead blasted to a dull finish, the stock is straight and true, surfaces are evenly finished, brazing is neat and on it goes with no complaints to bring up. 

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The Remington is a great hunting rifle and in .300 Win Mag it’ll reach out hundreds of metres to kill game

The 700 SPS in magnum calibres comes with a 26-inch barrel (24 inches in standard calibres), which should get the best out of the .300 Win Mag cartridge. It’s good see Remington stick with longer barrels while so many other rifles seem to be dropping a couple of inches.  

It has the expected 1:10 twist rate for the .300 Win Mag.

All the RemArms 700s have 5R rifling, something that was being brought in before the new regime. It’s not the only brand using this five-groove rifling, which has rounded edges instead of sharp, square ones. The claimed advantages are lower friction, higher velocity and reduced fouling compared with typical six-groove, sharp-edged rifling.

The prettily jewelled bolt is typical 700 with two locking lugs, an extractor formed from a grove inside the deeply recessed bolt face, a single plunger ejector and a handle brazed onto the rear of the body. 

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
Deeply recessed bolt face with extractor inside the rim and a plunger ejector: all familiar Model 700 design
Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The slender bolt body is nicely jewelled along its central section

The body is a skinny (by contemporary standards) 18mm diameter with lugs protruding to the equivalent of a 25.5mm diameter. 

The right lug has a slot in it that runs along a guide rail in the receiver and the bolt has very little play when it slides smoothly in and out. 

The bolt has a 90 degree lift and the straight handle angles out just enough to clear the scope’s ocular housing. The ovoid knob is chequered for good grip. 

The bolt release is still a little button inside the trigger guard, between the trigger and the magazine release button.

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
Screw inside trigger shoe is the primary adjuster; square button in front of it is the bolt release; and the serrated button is the magazine release

You’ll fit three rounds of .300 Win Mag into the floorplate magazine, which top-feeds them into a staggered row. The bottom metal is metal — an alloy that’s a near perfect match for the bead-blasted stainless of the barrelled action. The magazine is about 94mm long, plenty for the .300 Win Mag’s COAL of 85mm, maybe giving handloaders some leeway with seating depths if the chamber allows (but I didn’t check).  

New 700s made since July have Timney triggers and RemArms crows about the fact, most likely to get away from the long-ago controversy associated with the defunct Walker trigger that was last employed well over a decade ago. The less said about that, the better, as far as Remington is concerned. 

However, this particular rifle was made before RemArms did the deal with Timney earlier this year, so it’s one of the few built with the X-Mark Pro adjustable trigger that had been fitted to Model 700s since 2009 (and not without its own bit of controversy). 

The X-Mark Pro has two adjustment screws. I had to adjust both to get the release down to 1.5kg but could not get it any lighter; 1.5kg is fine for a hunting rifle, though.

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The X-Mark Pro trigger on the test rifle is no longer being fitted to the 700, which will come with a non-adjustable Timney in future

The let-off initially had a notch in it but that wore off after about 30 shots to leave a crisp release. Not much point saying more, though, because the majority of SPSs will have Timneys. 

Either way, the trigger incorporates the familiar two-position safety that allows bolt to be cycled, a feature mainly provided for Model 700 ADL buyers because that’s the only way to empty the magazine.

The round-bottomed receiver sits snugly into the synthetic SPS stock with two action screws. The stock polymer is firm and supportive enough not to need fancy bedding or aluminium pillars; there are certainly more solid systems out there but the SPS performs perfectly well as is.

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
Round-bottomed action beds well into the synthetic stock. Note typical recoil lug sandwiched between receiver and barrel
Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The stock has firm bedding for the action and applies upward pressure to the barrel at the forend

In highly unfashionable fashion, the SPS stock does not allow the barrel to float. In fact, just the opposite: it hugs the barrel sides all the way along the channel and has two small, moulded pads that apply a little upward pressure against the barrel right at the tip of the forend. 

You can moan and hypothesise all you like about this but, as you’ll see in moment, the SPS shoots very accurately. 

It looks a lot like the stock on a Weatherby Vanguard, and the basic design with the grippy panels of contrasting rubber is the same, but Remington’s stock has a very different shape — it’s a classic American sporter.

The straight comb is about the right height to get your eye in line with a low-mounted scope; with the rail, low rings and a 30mm tube, I found it just a bit low to be ideal with this scoped setup. 

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The classic-style stock is very comfortable to shoot with, even in the magnum chambering

Stock has a nice, slim forend that’s not quite flattened along the bottom and what I’d call a medium angle on the pistol grip. 

Felt recoil is reduced significantly by the soft recoil pad and the subtle rise of the comb from front to rear of about 3mm, so even the .300 Win Mag is nice to shoot. The SPS is a pleasure to shoot in the field and I didn’t find it a chore on the bench, not something you can say of all .300 Win Mags.

Maybe the ease of shooting helped the groups, but accuracy was very good. I used only four factory loads, so I’m sure more experimentation as well as handloading would bring even better results. I stuck with three-shot groups for the main testing, but tried some five-shotters later and was pleased to see they didn’t grow by much at all. 

AmmunitionSmallest groupBiggest groupAverage group
Barnes Vor-TX LR 190gn1.62.42.1
Federal Power-Shok 150gn0.92.01.6
Hornady Am. White Tail 150gn0.61.61.1
Remington Core-Lokt 150gn1.21.81.4
Group size is in MOA. Average is taken from four groups of three shots each at 100 metres
Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
The best group was just 0.6 MOA, one of a number that went under that benchmark

During testing, cartridges fed smoothly into the conical breech, whether out of the magazine or if they’d been dropped into the large ejection port. 

Hunting with the 700 SPS reinforced the good impressions. The SPS was lovely to carry, handled very well in every sense (allowing for the magnum-length barrel) and was accurate from all field positions. 

The biggest test I gave it was a string of long cross-gully shots culminating in a sixth shot through a hot barrel that dropped a goat at a measured 346m. The five shots leading up to that were all hits (including a finisher into one that didn’t drop quickly) starting at about 250m and increasing as the mob moved away. 

Cross-gully shots on sambar? I’d back this rifle any day. 

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review
This goat fell to a 346m shot through a hot barrel. The Remington is a consistently accurate rifle

Scoped up like this with a Bushnell Elite 4500 4-16×50, the Remington weighs 4.1kg, a good mass for a magnum. The Bushnell was a logical match for it, with a range of magnification that suits the magnum, clear optics, great light transmission and enough eye relief for a heavy-recoiling rifle, even at 16x. It also has side-mounted parallax adjustment and costs only about $450-$700, judging by current (2023) advertised dealer prices, so it is a great buy.

I haven’t regretted selling many rifles over the years but one that does nag my conscience a bit is my 1980s-vintage Remington 700 in .308 that was so well used I’d replaced barrel, stock, trigger and firing pin. Between 2004 and 2014 I spent at least the current price of this 700 SPS on it, including Cerakoting. It was great but I just wanted a change.

Testing the SPS Stainless brought pangs of regret about not having a Model 700. It is obvious why the Remington has become such a well loved rifle and it is fantastic to see that the RemArms iteration has the quality and performance to do the Model 700’s name proud.  

Remington Model 700 SPS Stainless review

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Manufacturer: RemArms, USA
  • Type: Bolt-action 
  • Calibre: .300 Win Mag (tested) plus .223, .243, 6.5CM, .270, 7mm-08, .308, .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag
  • Barrel: 26”, stainless, 5R rifling, 1:10 twist
  • Magazine: Floorplate type, 3 rounds (4rd in standard, 5rd in .223)
  • Trigger: X-Mark Pro adjustable (see text)
  • Safety: Two-position, does not lock bolt
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Length of pull: 335mm
  • Overall length: 108cm
  • Weight: 3.5kg (bare)
  • Price: Around $1800-$2000 (2023)
  • Distributor: NIOA

Thanks to our local gun shop, Mudgee Firearms, for assistance with transfers and the usual friendly service.

 

 

 


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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