New Remington 700 Varmint in .223 with pics, review, and range report.


December 14, 2009, 08:00 PM
I have had the itch for a new bolt rifle for target work for a while but didn't want to spend a lot of money.

I wanted .223 as I already load for it and it is pretty darn cheap.

I have read some good reviews of the new 700's and with a little bit of shopping my mind was made up.

I located a 700 SPS Varmint with 26 inch barrel at ( I set up the transfer with a local dealer and placed my order.

While waiting I went to ( and ordered a Tasco 6-24X Varmint scope. I know a lot of you will roll your eyes at this but I LOVE these Tasco varmint scopes. I have been using one on my K31 for several years now and it has been flawless. For $73.00 I feel like I can't go too wrong anyway. I also ordered a nice Burris 2 piece steel scope base and their Xtreme tactical rings in the "high" style, to top everything off I got a Caldwell 6" to 9" bipod.

After that I ordered some Sierra Match King 52 grain bullets and just for fun got a pound Hodgdon Benchrest powder as I had never tried it before and am always on the lookout for new powders.

The rifle showed up first and it pretty much met my expectations. Like most reviews said, the metal finish leaves something to be desired for sure. It is not entirely uniform but again, I didn't pay a fortune for the rifle. The black plastic stock certainly doesn't look as pretty as a nice piece of walnut, but I don't care, I was going for the budget bolt rifle here. It felt nice and seemed very sturdy.

Later in the week my other stuff showed up and on Friday night I had the scope mounted and the bipod on. It looked awesome!

I boresighted the rifle and then had to wait until today to get to the range. It was worth the wait!

I did a barrel break in procedure using Wolf 62 grain FMJ. As expected accuracy was pretty poor with the rifle managing a best of about 3" groups. But I was doing the shoot/clean/shoot/clean/remove copper etc. etc. etc....

I wasn't trying for accuracy but just getting the scope close to zeroed and getting the barrel broken in. After 30 rounds of boredom I was ready to see how she would shoot.

Here she is, ready to get to work.

Looking down to the hundred yard line. The read arrows indicate my targets.

Your truly getting ready to send one downrange!

And the first pretty promising results. This group was achieved with handloads. Just some quickie blasting type handloads that I did up on my Lee Classic Turret. Nothing special, just fun ammo made with mixed brass, speer 55 grain spire points, and Win 748. But I thought that for what it was it was OK. Center to center measured 1.365 inches.

As an experiment I had made up 5 rounds with the Benchmark powder, 52 grain Match Kings, and Radway Green once fired brass all from the same lot. I hadn't planned on any accuracy work today but at the last minute I put these together just to get a starting point for my handloads with the Benchmar.

All the Speer rounds have been shot and 3 of the 5 SMK rounds have been fired. I just like this pic so I included it. :D

And now the real surprise. I think I like this new powder! I erred on the side of caution with these 5 rounds as it was a starting load and still got stellar results. Center to center of .680 inches on a 5 shot group! I was very happy to say the least. I have never had this kind of success before on a first batch of handloads.

So now I have some more benchwork to do. I am sure I can get the group size to shrink. I would be tickled if I could get 1/2" groups out of this factory gun with a cheapy Tasco scope on it. I am pretty sure it can be done.

All in all I love my new rifle. The trigger is REALLY nice in my opinion. I had read some complaints about the triggers on the new 700's but mine is beautiful. And I really think this is a bargain, especially considering the sub 3/4" group on my first attempt. Here is my total cash outlay.

Remington 700 SPS- $545
Tasco 6-24X Scope- $74
Burris scope base- $20
Burris rings- $49
Caldwell bipod- $40

Total- $728

So I met my bargain price range and ended up with a tack driver. I'm very happy tonight!

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December 14, 2009, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the report! Still working on loads for my identical gun as yours, but with a B&C Medalist stock. 52gr SMKs look promissing, as do 50gr VMaxs. 25.5gr H335 has worked best for me, but I've been playing with some other powders, and longer seating depths. Just waiting for some better weather to shoot!:)

December 14, 2009, 08:32 PM

my first thought when i saw the first picture was, 'wow, never seen a silencer like that before"

December 14, 2009, 08:35 PM
Cool! Have fun wringin 'er out!

December 14, 2009, 09:08 PM
Good luck with her! The SPS Varmints (in my experience) are very nice guns. My .308 started life as one, and has since become a monster.

Big Russ
December 14, 2009, 09:09 PM
I was sooooooo close to buying a 700 VTR last month but I had to sneak in an AR while I had the funds for it. Thanks for the report, have fun with it!

December 14, 2009, 09:09 PM
Congrats, and nice report. But you need lower scope rings. :D

December 14, 2009, 09:43 PM
great report! i just picked up the same gun in .308 two days ago. i don't have any complaints about the finish so far. it looks fine for what i paid. the only thing i found that i didn't like was the gritty feel of the bolt from the rough matte finish but it functions so that's all that really matters.

it's not even going to get a chance to prove itself with the factory stock. i have a Choate Ultimate Varmint on the way and a Millett LRS-1. same bases that you got too and a harris bipod. it's going in for a recrown soon.

so far, i have yet to read any negative reports on the SPS-V's. they're excellent values for the money and the trigger is indeed quite nice!

i won't be able to try mine out until after the first of the year though, sadly. full report will follow when i do.

congrats on the new toy!


Uncle Mike
December 14, 2009, 09:53 PM
Sweet, looks like your on your way to those tiny little groups!

December 14, 2009, 10:49 PM
Very nice and good review! The scope rings are a tad high, though.........

December 15, 2009, 04:24 PM
Thanks for the replies all!

A question though, two of you mentioned the rings were too high. Why do you say that?

The view through the scope seems fine to me and is quite comfortable on the rifle.

Is it better to have the scope closer to the bore centerline? The furthest range I will shoot is 600 yards. Will lower rings make me more accurate at that distance? I have heard that before but never understood why.

December 15, 2009, 04:41 PM
The lower rings would allow a good cheek weld.

December 15, 2009, 06:13 PM
Shooting groups like that, I wouldn't worry about the rings;)

December 15, 2009, 06:26 PM
I would venture to say you're already at the 0.50 range. It looks like you need to add more filler to your sandbag. That is what kills me. So long as I have a solid rest, I can nail some fantastic groups.

FIW, try the UMC (yellow box) 45 grain HPs. The best group I have fired out of the identical rifle is 0.182 or 0.186 (can't recall which). Whichever, that's a durned good group for factory load, and factory stock rifle. I use a BSA 36X scope on mine. It isn't the best glass in the world, but it serves its purpose.

Last, you've seen the foam pipe (tubes wrap) that plumbers put around piping, right? Buy an 8' length and a roll of double-sided tape. Tape up the stock and attach a 1/4" thick or 1/2" thick piece of that foam. Cut it to the length of the stock where your face rests (about 6" works for me). Just check for bolt clearance. It will give you an extraordinary check weld, and it's comfortable in cold weather...nice and warm.

Good shooting!


December 16, 2009, 09:50 PM
Is anything actually visible past 12x with that scope?

December 16, 2009, 10:52 PM
Nope, nothing visible past 12X with this P.O.S. scope. It's like looking into a solid fog bank once you exceed 12X.

I should have bought the lower magnification scope since it all goes to crap once you exceed 12X. What were those guys at Tasco thinking?

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