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Rem 700 SPS - 20" vs. 26" bbls

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by cwyngarden, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. cwyngarden

    cwyngarden Member

    hey guys,

    I'm looking at the Remington 700 line, specifically the 700 Tactical and the 700 Varmint. I like the way both of them feel, and the 700 series seems to be universally recommended.

    my question is one of distance. how much farther will the Varmint's 26" bbl shoot accurately vs. the 20" bbl of the Tactical?

    at this point, the question is purely academic and to satisfy my curiosity - but I guess you never know when information will become extremely pertinent.

    thanks :)
  2. rrflyer

    rrflyer Well-Known Member

    it wont

    26 is really to long for a .308(which is what I'm guessing your talking about) anyhow. It does make for a slightly heavier rifle.

    Really the shorter barrel should be more accurate since it should be more rigid but in reality you will see no difference between the two.

    People are shooting both out to 1,000+ yards regularly and both have shown to be sub-moa shooters out of the box.

    The stock on both sucks.

    I bought a 26inch barrel PSS because I like the stock it comes in and I can cut and thread the barrel down to 22inches for a suppresor.
  3. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    The question of range might be an issue for you since the shorter barrel will generate less muzzle velocity with the same load so if you're reloading, you may have to increase the load to attain the same velocity. You might find that you can't safely do that and that may affect long range performance. The 26" barrel on my Remington .308 was VERY accurate and easily sub 0.5MOA. I recently posted a picture of two groups shot at 200 yards on another thread. One was under 0.5MOA the other was slightly over 0.5MOA. If you don't plan on shooting long range then it won't be an issue and both rifles will be more than accurate enough. The PALMA guys shoot .308 out to 1000 yards with a 30+" barrel if I remember correctly. They shoot a 155 grain bullet.

  4. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    When shooting long range, aside from the accuracy of a particular rifle (and accuracy varies from one rifle to the next, even of the same model), you reach a certain distance where a bullet's speed goes transonic, and the bullet becomes unstable and accuracy goes all to hell. Since the .308 is a marginal 1,000 yard cartridge at best, if you intend to shoot out to 1,000 yards, go with the 26" barrel. This is not to say that you cannot make the 20" barrel shoot out to that distance, it's just alot more work getting your load up to a suitable muzzle velocity to do so.

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  5. cwyngarden

    cwyngarden Member

    thanks guys for your responses - so much knowledge here, and good people willing to share what they know.

    the question of caliber is an interesting one - most assumed I'd be using .308, and that is the direction I'm leaning.

    however, I will also be picking up an AR, and the idea of being able to shoot the same ammo is somewhat appealing - and would simplify a home reloading setup, also.

  6. Gunner4h1r3

    Gunner4h1r3 Well-Known Member

    I own a SPS varmint in .223 Rem and also a DPMS Sportical. It is nice to buy one type of ammo and be able to shoot it through both guns. I handload a 65 grain Sierra Game King with 20.3 grains of H322 just for the SPS. Damn good accurate gun with the right setup.
  7. CoryS

    CoryS Active Member

    I have the varmint and it is heavy...Im getting it cut down to 20 since Im gonna gonna get a can for it, and I have read a lot about the shorter barrel being stiffer and better at long ranges.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member


    Look, you are not shooting some 30 pound rifle. Within the weight of the rig you are talking about, if you see any difference on paper between a 20 inch barrel and a 26 inch barrel, I would be surprised.

    I have 308's with 26, 24, 22 and 18 inch barrels. Accuracy is more dependant on the quality of the barrel, the quality of the bullet, and the quality of the bedding.

    What you do get with shorter barrels is a lighter rifle, maybe a handier rifle. A shorter barrel really cuts your velocity, so think of the velocity increase with a longer barrel as "free". A short barrel has a loud muzzle blast. Don't knock less noise till you have lived with a huge muzzle blast.
  9. cwyngarden

    cwyngarden Member

    heh...I'm 6'2" and 260 lbs...not too concerned about a 10 lb rifle :D

    so, about the .223 vs .308 choice...what am I giving up with .223 vs .308? what am I gaining if I choose .223, besides the aforementioned AR/Rem 700 ammo sharing?
  10. gotime242

    gotime242 Well-Known Member

    I would personally opt for the 26" due to the lessened muzzle blast/noise and possible less recoil due to increased weight.
  11. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    You can always buy an AR in .308 too.

    The .223 is cheaper to shoot in terms of bullets, brass and powder if you reload and also if you buy factory ammunition. That may or may not be important to you.

    I don't feel that "matching" a .223 bolt action and .223 AR is a particularly good thing unless you plan to only shoot factory ammunition in both. If you're going to reload, you may well discover that the best load in the Remington (or other brand) may not even function/feed in the AR. If you're reloading, you're going to be full-sizing the .223 cases for the AR anyway and may only be neck-sizing the cases for the bolt action. Of course, these arguments apply to a .308 AR and .308 bolt action combination too. The extra cost associated with buying two sets of dies isn't a deal breaker for me either.

    Anyway, what do you hope/plan/intend to do with both rifles? If you plan on long-range shooting then the .308 may be a better choice (flatter shooting depending on bullet choice and load) compared to the .223 but a 168, 175 or 180 grain bullet will have a lot more energy when it reaches the target compared to a 77 grain bullet. That said, the .223 may be more than sufficient for your needs. As for accuracy, they're both accurate rounds and I'd say inside of 600 yards it's a toss up. Personally, I have a .308 bolt action rifle and an AR in .223 (24" barrel) and another AR lower waiting for a 16" to 20" .223 or 6.8SPC upper. I wouldn't care too much about "matching" the two ... just about which does what best.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  12. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

    900 yards is no problem at all with my 20 inch SPS Tactical using 168 grain Ballistic Tips.

    1,000 yards can be done with 175 grain SMK's at a muzzle velocity of just over 2,600 fps...or moly'd 208 AMAX's at just over 2,500 fps.

    The short barrel does not "hold back" the 308 nearly as much as most people think it does.

    I can get 168 grain bullets to 2,700 fps...but the accuracy is at 2,635 fps.

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