We recently performed a review on the Remington 700 SPS-Varmint to test the suitability of that rifle as a tactical rifle, but this time around we will be testing the Remington 700 SPS Tactical rifle to see how well it performs. The SPS Tactical is only available through Remington premium dealers, but in reality they should be fairly easy to find. These rifles are specifically labeled and marketed as a tactical rifle and as such we will be evaluating it as a tactical rifle and not a varmint rifle filling a tactical rifle role. We ordered a rifle from our supplier and prepared for the evaluation.

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The 700 SPS Tactical is setup to be a compact tactical rifle that is easy to transport and usable in any weather condition. To achieve this at a reasonable price, a SPS trademark, Remington used a shortened varmint barrel (20″) and an off the shelf Hogue Over-molded stock. These stocks have been around for a while and are fairly popular with shooters. The design is fairly typical for a rifle stock with a flatter type forend that remains fairly wide to provide a stable shooting platform off of sandbags or other shooting rests. I would prefer a pistol grip that had a bit more girth to it and was a bit more vertical, but it works okay as is.

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The thing that sets the Hogue stock apart is the soft rubber compound that the exterior is made of. It provides and excellent gripping surface in all weather conditions and is warm to the touch. Another interesting point about it is that it is very quite if you bang it against something. While the audible quietness is perhaps not a major factor to consider, it is still a benefit. The rubber is molded over a ribbed plastic frame like many injection molded stocks, and like those stocks, this stock is not as stiff as I would like a stock to be. In fact, while using a bipod, the forend flexes enough to touch the barrel slightly. While it did not seem to affect the accuracy of this particular rifle, it is still a precision rifle no-no that should be avoided. This stock has the two aluminum pillars which work well enough for an economy rifle like this, obviously glass or aluminum bedding would be preferred, but that would raise the price considerably. The forend also only has a single stud without a specific 2nd stud dedicated for a bipod, making another minor inconvenience.

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The Barrel is free floating (until you use a bipod or a sandbag way up front on the forend) and is 20″ in length. It is the standard Remington heavy barrel contour and does have a nice 11 degree target crown. The barrel channel gap on this example was nice and even the whole length, again, unless using it off a bipod causing it to touch at the very end. The action is a typical Remington 700 SPS action with the fairly rough matte finish over the entire barreled action. Unfortunately the SPS Tactical comes with the new Remington X Mark Pro trigger which I am not a big fan of, though I will admit it had a fairly clean 4 pound break. I just do not like the trigger shoe itself, the color, or the adjustment of it… perhaps I’m just a traditionalist. The trigger was kept at its factory setting for all testing here.

Even taking the flaws into consideration, the overall package is not bad for the money. The 20″ barrel is just about right and the rifle balances well and is fairly light and easy to carry in the field. For the money it appears to be a solid package though obviously not perfect, but we still needed to check the performance before making any final conclusions.

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The Remington 700P LTR with its fluted 20″ barrel has a reputation of being the most accurate of the mass produced tactical rifles that Remington makes and many people believe that the 18-20″ barrel lengths are ideal for the best accuracy with a .308, though you do give up some velocity. With the trigger left breaking at 4 lbs we expected some decent performance, though the stock sometimes touching the barrel did concern us. We used a Swift 6-18x scope for this evaluation and the groups were fired at 100 yards on about 16x. We used some cheaper 150gr 308 range ammo for the initial sight in, and things were not looking good with groups about 3″. But then we changed to federal gold medal match 168gr ammo, things got better… MUCH better.

Here is a picture of three consecutive groups fired with the gold medal match ammo.

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Now, they were not ALL that good primarily because of shooter error, but when you do three in a row like that, it is a pretty good indication of accuracy. All groups were fired at 100 yards using a sandbag upfront and sandsock at the rear. The three groups above measured .381″, .362″ and .313″ respectively. The overall average for all groups fired with Federal GMM was .466″. So, this particular rifle, even with the front of the rubber stock touching the barrel slightly, is clearly sub .5 MOA rifle out of the box. That is quite impressive for a $550 lower end tactical rifle. We did not try any of the other match grade ammunition, but it certainly likes the Federal. The trigger on this one didn’t perform too bad at the range, though the recoil, as should be expected with the lighter weight and shorter barrel, was more brisk with more pronounced muzzleflip than a typical 700P or other longer and heavier .308 tactical rifles.

As is not totally uncommon with Remington rifles, the mounting holes were a bit off center and it took a decent amount of left scope adjustments to zero. There was still enough for wind situations, but it is still a sign of a bit of sloppy manufacturing.

In conclusion, it may be wise to mention the direct attack on FN-PBR sales that this rifle will have. The FN PBR is about $300-$400 more expensive, uses the same stock but with the full aluminum bedding block, the action isn’t as smooth, and the one I tested was not as accurate. But, the FN-PBR does have a detachable magazine, claw extractor, wider gap in the barrel channel for no stock touching, that full aluminum bedding block, and it is available in some other barrel lengths. But to be honest, FN is probably not very happy about this little rifle, especially if Remington decides to keep it in the lineup after this year. Don’t get me wrong, the SPS-Tactical has some legit weaknesses, but at the price, and if they all perform like this one, it will be hard to chose a PBR, or possibly even some other lower end rifles. Of course, you do give up some velocity with the shorter barrel, and some of the workmanship isn’t the best, and some minor things like only a single stud up front keep it from being a truly great rifle, but the rifle does shoot very well and is completely functional in its intended role and deserves some consideration.

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30 Comments

Thomas

I like the look of your new website but it is very difficult to read due the broken words in each paragraph during line changes. It appears that even this comment has the same issue.

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Mel Ewing

Thomas,

Let me know where you are seeing that… all the posts look good here. Different device? Browser?
thanks

MEL

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Sascha

works fine with iphone;) and free on your review of the remi 700 sps tactical outstanding accuracy even with a bipod use it in africa (hunting) excellent finish and rugged

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westley

I have a 700 sps tactical aac-sd. Same gun just has a threaded barrel and same stock just different color. But my stock did affect my groups so a lot of epoxy in the for end and a couple shims later it shoots like a dream it has a 1-10 twist so it really likes the heavy rounds (blackhills 168gr.) And the 175. HSM. Mine has a muzzle break on it and the got rid of any muzzle jump. I paid $600 for it and it out shoots $1000+ guns all day long

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Nathan

can you send me pictures of what you did to your rifle. nhale1955 at gmail dot com

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Nick Dadamo

Hi had good read on the SPS tactical, I was wondering what your thoughts would be if the trigger was changed ? I have a 223 in same set up using T8 sound moderator. But really not happy with trigger pull!

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Mel Ewing

Yes, if you drop a timney trigger in the (510 or 517), then it really is a nice improvement!

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John vinblad

I have a Sps tactical 308 timney straight trigger. It’s glass and pillar bedded in a laminate stock shoots great also added an ase utra supressor..

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Pete Sobieski

The rifle shot consistant groups right out the box with Federal Gold Metal 168 gr. All holes touch each other on group of three’s. I have the short 16″ barrel with a suppressor. You can walk the perimeter of a 1″ square all day long at 100 yards. Put a NightForce SVH 4 x 14 x 56 on it and it is pig eliminator. I have the same set up in .223 Remington and have not got the right factory load figured out. Can put three touching at 50 yards and then it changes at 100 to only two out of three touching. Agree with the comments on stock above that it can touch the barrel and need to pay attention when putting it on sand bags etc. Was shooting 55 and 62 gr on the .223 Rem. Will try 69 or 75 gr next and see how that goes.

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James Brown

I have recently acquired a 308 Remington 700 sps tactical threaded 1/10. Basic Nikon Prostate 3x9x50.
Have read post, threads….etc.
My simple start with this rifle is nothing but good.
My son, son-in-law and myself had a day at the farm shooting different guns, from ARs, different bolt actions. Had a “blast”.
The 700 really impressed us all. 100 yard shots were just too easy and thought we were wasting bullets. 200 yard 300 yard and ended up at 350 yards for now. Will be setting targets at greater distance.
350 yard shots stopped with the last two being one, 1″ high &1/2″ left, another perfect vertically and 3/4″ low.
Had to learn to use scope w/out dots but was a great day of fun.
Used Hornaday ammo. Their ballistics on the box are a very close for this barrel length.

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James Brown

Forgot to mention the exposed allenwrench trigger adjustment. Love it at about 2#s. One great gun for the money. I have custom built 30.06 for hunting antelope but want to compare these two fruits. Good day gentleman / laides.

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Burt ( H) . Hickey.. Please delete last name..

Hello..I’m new to this ..who better to ask. I was looking at/for reviews for 700sps. Many questions,how do I get answere, Glass bedding how much, timney trigger installed, etc..AND…is 700 legal, in NY w threaded barrel muzzle break ,see my problem . Finally..is the .308 sufficient for Alaska Grizzley inside 200 yards…Ak state guide advises against magnums/ big calabres …access to NY Techs hard to find.. TY..Burt..

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Mel Ewing

The SPS tactical stock is not able to easily be glass bedded due to the internal structure of the stock. A timney trigger is no problem and a bolt action should still be legal in NY even with a muzzlebrake. The 308 can take a grizzley with the right bullet and good shot placement, but you may want a bit more insurance.

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Dave

Burt, as someone who spends much time in brown bear country I’ve given it a lot of thought. With a stone cold and calm demeanor, excellent fundamentals, perfect shot placement, and some luck, a .308 would do fine against a griz. However, I hedge my bets with a larger caliber. For handguns I carry a .44 Redhawk with 330 grain Hammerheads and prefer a heavy 12 gauge slug over a rifle. A lever action in the 45-70 class allows quick follow-up shots. A bolt action .338 Win Mag is an Alaskan standard but you must train for fast bolt work. Good luck. And by-the-way, I usually just carry bear spray.

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Jonah

Bought a remington 700 sps tactical and it performed well but then I changed stock, trigger and put a Kahles k634i scope on it and now it’s a killer. Half a moa 10shot groups at 100yards

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Joseph

Question on accurizing:
(1) Do you believe this rifle should be accurized/action trued/blue printed right out of the box? Or do you think that money should be spent on a better scope/ammo?
(2) Is there a point I should reach a certain point (e.g. Get 5″ groups at 500yds) before even considering? When should o consider?
(3) what do you consider accurizing/truing/blueprinting should entail? Everybody seems to have an opinion on what that should entail.

Really appreciate any feedback.

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Mel Ewing

Certainly truing the action helps and will make an improvement. But if you are working on a factory Remington rifle, I would see how it does first. If the rifle is shooting sub MOA out of the box (which most will do) then it may not be worth it until later. A consistent 1 MOA rifle has a lot of capability. Many of these rifles will do even better, and if you have one that is shooting .5 MOA, then the extra money truing the action is probably not worth it. Also, the best money spent is usually on the operator behind the rifle. To shoot better, it usually requires ammo and time. So if your rifle is doing sub MOA, then I’d work on practice until your skills go beyond the capability of the rifle, and then start working on the rifle.

Just my $0.02

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Tekapo Sam

I purchased this rifle in 7.62×51 last year. I initially brought it as a backup client rifle for bush stalking red deer in Fiordland New Zealand and chasing Himalayan Tahr in the Southern Alps.
A great accurate rifle, which offsets the additional weight, however the main problem I have encountered, is that it is extremely susceptible to surface rust, something that I have not encountered in other rifles. While our conditions are some of the toughest in the world, I did not expect that I could literally smother it in oil (the same that is used on all my other firearms) only to have the red stuff shining through within 2 hours! Even in 60% humidity!
Has any one else found this or is mine a “one off”?

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Mel Ewing

Yes, the factory bluing from Remington is not very thick and they can surface rust pretty quick, but 2 hours is abnormal in normal conditions.

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Evin Brocato

Yea my sps tactical did the same thing after about a year or so of owning it. Every time I clean it I generally just wipe a light coat of oil on it and i haven’t really had a problem since.

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Kirk

I just bought this rifle used. The guy said it was a 1:12 twist? No markings on barrel, other than remington arms etcetc 308 Tactical . Would you Know for sure what twist it may be? I bought it hoping it is the 1:12, As I really want to load lighter grain bullets for it 110 grain up to 155 grain range . . Think It is a couple years old since he had put a Timney trigger in rather than send it back on the trigger recall. I shimmed it a tiny bit with a small piece of aluminum from a coke can and dremeled a little bit of the very front area of the stock, still flexes with bipod but no touching, Thanks

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James C

Had this for several years now. I added a Bell & Carlson Tactical Medalist Style 4 M40 stock and a SWFA SS 12X42 MQ scope on TPS TSR low rings & EGW 20 MOA picatinny base . The only thing that will make this a better rifle is a Timney trigger and my pet 168 gr A-Max loads. Get it, you’ll be glad you did.

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hekeas

Shot my SPS Tactical for the first time today. Initial grouping at 100 yds was about 2″. I believe the fore end taking the weight of the rifle and contacting the barrel was a contributor, but I certainly don’t relieve myself of responsibility! Subsequent groupings were within 1″, but only after moving the forward rest to the rear. So, I will consider rebedding the Hogue stock, but really want to pick up another stock, with a DBM. The 20mil scope mount makes loading difficult, particularly for the 4th round in the magazine… my thumb endured much abuse! So, all in all, had a great time. Next upgrade is the M4-72 Precision Armament Compensator, then the Timney trigger. The stock will be the icing on the cake…

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carson

New to hunting and looking to get a deer/ whatever else I can get into rifle. Specifically I am looking at the rifle thatyou reviewed (great article) and the 700 LTR in .308 which has an aluminum bedded stock, but is a few (4) hundred dollars more. After reading your article I was thinking of going for the more expensive rifle figuring that the stock is stiffer and less likely to have the issues that you described in your review.
Any advice for/against? Thanks!

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Mel Ewing

The stock is a major difference on the rifles and that HS precision stock is much more stiff and a higher quality stock, but as you indicated, the rifle is more money. The 700P LTR also has the older remington trigger, which we view as being better than the new XMarkPro triggers, as well as parkerized finish and some fluting on the barrel. So you do get some additional features as well.

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Andrew Stiles

My 700 AAC-SD shoots touching groups back to back @ 300 yds.
Mounted a Vortex HST 6-24×50 and an AAC blackout 51T muzzle brake.
Can’t say I’d give the rifle up for anything in the same price range.

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