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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you sure about the twist rate? Several other websites are showing 1:10 twist
The original SPS tactical was a 1:12″, the SPS Tactical AAC was a 1:10″. Right now, with Remington’s current state of affairs, I’m not sure which they are using on the tacticals.
I have a new 700 spa tactical in 308 with the threaded barrel and twist is 1:10.
The Weaver T36 (l think it was) wsnt exactly a Leupold but it was a really good scope that didnt kill the bank. Anyway, was this scope discontinued?? Of the not “so expensive” scopes, what is a good target scope that would be a great coice? I cant afford Leupold so I’m looking for a bright, airey viewed scope. Please help!
The T36 was a fixed 36x scope, probably not a good choice. The vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-12x40mm is a good affordable choice that is not made in China and it does okay.
Thanks for the reply, Natchez shooting supply hsve “blemished” scopes for often at discounted prices. What exactly do they mean by blemished? I hope it doesnt refer to anything internal. Anyone have any knowledge as to this?? Inquirering minds would like yo know.
Blemished typically refers to the exterior finish of the scope. A scratch or scuff on the finish, maybe ring marks, etc. The internals will be fine, its just exterior look.
Agreed that once you found your load- pretty good accuracy! (for a $500 rifle)
Would have liked to hear what you thought of the 6.5 Creedmoor AAC version of this rifle with 1:8 22″ threaded barrel.
Also “quiet” not “quite” (damn auto-correction)
I just bought the exact same rifle but with a threaded barrel and mounted a Vortex Viper. I haven’t had an opportunity to test it on the range yet, but I hope to get some good results. I also noticed that the stock does make quite a bit of contact with the barrel when a bipod is mounted up front. What is your opinion on adding an aluminum chassis to add a detachable magazine and stop the stock from touching the barrel? My next project was going to be building a precision rifle, but maybe I can build this to fit that role instead?
Dropping the barreled action into a better stock usually yields pretty good results. Free floating the barrel seems to help these rifles. It certainly can feel that role without getting too expensive. Should be easy sub MOA rifle, some go below .5 MOA
I did a budget build with an SPS .308. I dropped the barreled action into a KRG Bravo chassis, installed a CG X-Treme Mod 22 Tactical trigger with safety and solid trigger shoe, and ran an inexpensive Vortex Diamondback Tactical scope. Shot .5-.75 MOA groups with ease out to 200yrds. Started to see some noticeable grouping diameter increases at 300-450 yrds. Still happy with the performance for the price of the rifle, though the stock, IMO, is practically a throw away for anyone who wants to do precision shooting. Oh yeah, added a KRG bolt lift for easier manipulation. This is an easy to install and affordable modification which I suggest, at least for what I like to feel when manipulating a bolt action. Just my $0.02.
Yep, you pretty much hit it on the head. The barreled action has been solid and performs well. good for building off of.
thanks for the report.
I just tested the AAC treaded version with the 1:10 twist and wasted a box of 168 A-Maxes. Going straight to the 175gr projectiles with that twist – that was my experience
Thanks for the report.
Stock off the shelf my Rem. 700 tact. With cheap center point scope was shooting 1/2″ groups at 100 yards all day with federal 150gr. power points.
Upgraded to Bell and Carson stock with Vortex Viper scope.
Now shooting 1/4″ 5 shot groups all day.
Wow, if that rifle is shooting those groups with that ammo, it is a certain keeper!!
Every once in a while a gem rolls off the line and it sounds like you got one! Thanks for the report.
Question having trouble with feed. All videos shows bolt moves forward with a smooth feed. My 24 inch tactical bolts catches on bullet rest when no bullets are in magazine and have to push down on bullet plate to clear. Plus when moving bolt forward it brings up two bullets. Took apart and bullet magazine is loose. Is there supposed something to secure magazine to trigger system?
With just the standard BDL hinged floorplate, no, there is nothing holding the internal magazine inside the cut mag well on the action beyond tension. It sounds as if the follower is not positioned correctly (or the wrong one). When you flip the floorplate down, make sure the follower spring is correctly positioned on the floorplate
Dropped one into an archangel stock with a Vortex Viper PST and it shoots sub MOA all Day long
I bought one when they first came out mine doesn’t have a threaded barrel in but it did shoot sub MO a groups out of the box using Remington 165 grain PS peas solid shooter!
I shot my Remington SPS Tactical a few years back at your class in Butte. I’m still shooting it out to 1,000 yards. I have been shooting FGGM 175 gr with good groups. I put a Magpul Hunter stock under the action with great reults.
Thanks Rob for the report!
Anyone know if this rifle is discontinued? I can’t find it anywhere.
Remington declared bankruptcy about 2 years ago. They have been acquired and are “slowly” starting to produce stuff again, but no completed rifles yet.
who aquired Remingtom.And who is making their rifles now?
Well, I’ve heard the company name several times, but I cannot recall it off the top of my head. But the new owners are bringing Remington back online, they are not having anyone else make their rifles. I believe I heard they are moving their manufacturing to a new facility though.
Just got the AAC. Was a little surprised once the box was opened. Mel, did the one you tested have plastic bottom metal (trigger guard and floor plate)? Went to pull the barrel/action from the stock and there was, literally, zero torque on the bolts. They weren’t loose, but they weren’t tight either. There is no date code on the barrel either (though there is a single “x” where that normally is). Was quite a difference from the 5R I bought 13+ years ago.
Plastic floorplate? That does not sound good. While the “pot metal” is not the best, it was at least not plastic…
I bought one of the original SPS Tacticals years ago, mounted a Leopold Mk 2 on it, and was pleasantly surprised when it laid down a 1/2” group at 100m while running the barrel in with cheap 180gr Winchester super-x ammo!
It hasn’t had a lot of rounds though it over the years, being used mainly for deer stalking in the Australian Alps,
but I’ve recently acquired an aluminium bedded Bell & Carson stock for it, and will start exploring its real potential at the range with some quality ammo
. The hogue stock always annoyed me, firstly, because of the flex you mentioned, and also, even with a relatively low scope I could never get my cheek “spotweld” right without an ammo saddle or padding and duct tape to raise the comb up.
Great rifle for the money though!
I’m shooting the SPS in 223 .looking for a magazine conversion kit . Magpul said they don’t carry it for the 223 . Any know what’s out there ?
I’ve had a SPS .308 for over ten years now. It’s the older non-threaded 1:12 twist barrel and loves the 168 gr. slugs. Shoots MOA with less expensive ammo and sub-MOA with FGGM. I dropped the action into a Magpul Hunter stock and very happy with it.