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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided to make this a new thread, as my previous thread was getting pretty messy and wanted to refocus my question.

I am looking to buy my first rifle, and have decided on .308 calibre. I have been looking at a bunch of different models including the Browning X-Bolt, Ruger 77, Winchester 70, Marlin XS7 and a few others.

Now, the two models that stand out for me are the Remington 700 SPS Stainless (or SPS Varmint) and the Sako A7.

My main focus is target shooting between 100-500 yards, and I am looking for quality and accuracy with minimal modification - I am a newbie and don't feel confident customising a rifle just yet.

The Remington 700 seems to be very popular, tried and tested as a good, reliable shooter. With the only complaints I have come across related to the cheap synthetic stock, though I am not really a fan of the internal magazine.

The Sako appears to be better quality, has a detachable magazine, floating barrel (not sure what difference this makes, but seems to be more of a higher end feature), and has a guarantee for accuracy from Sako. The complaints I have found here is that Berretta seems to be bringing the higher end Sako product down to the cheaper Tikka level.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had first hand experience with one or both rifles.

I would prefer to keep this thread focussed on these two firearms specifically, and avoid the "buy a XYZ instead" posts, as that is what the previous thread was for.
 

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i have an x-bolt .308 and love the rifle to death. it eats anything i feed it while giving me .75 MOA or less accuracy out of every load i've tried so far. the trigger is one of the best i've ever used. if you do a lot of high volume shooting, the slim contour barrel may not last quite as long as the heavier remington, but it should be every bit as accurate. when my tube wears out i plan on re-barreling with a heavier bbl anyway.

the only downside to a browning is the lack of aftermarket, where the remington is the honda civic of the gun world... thousands of accessories.
 

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Well Remington did make the 700 in a detachable magazine model chambered in 308 Winchester as I have one. Haven't shot mine much since I use it mainly for hunting white tail deer not punching paper. It has adquate accuracy for that purpose and can't tell what the accuracy is at ranges other than the 100 yard zero. Since its a hunting rifle I shoot whatever ammunition I have available whether reloads or factory. Only down side was it has been the hardest kicking rifle I've ever shot. Ended up having a gunsmith install the thickest Kick-Eez pad available which makes it a pleasure to shoot.
 

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Rem 700 vs Sako A7

Quinn,

Over here, you're talking about two different level rifles. The Sako is a few hundred bucks more expensive than the Remington. I still prefer the Remington. I've shot both and both are accurate rifles. If you can buy the Sako for the same price as the Remington, then pick the one that fits you best. They're both top quality rifles.

:)
 

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A freind of mine just bought the MArlin in 308, and I hate to say that it outshot everything else, but it did. The 308 is just an inherently accurate cartridge anyway, but that rifle beat them all.
When the A7 was brought out, I didn't like the barrel/forearm fit. The barrel was pushed up against the forearm on one side and too far away from the other side. Sloppy!
Since then, Sako has fixed that problem, and has a better trigger than the Remington. I like my Remingtons, but over time every Remington I have ended up with a custom barrel and trigger, too.
Of the rifles you mentioned, I think I'd choose the A7.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think I may have to throw the Remington 700P into this fight as well - it seems to have the good bits of the 700's without the dodgy stock, and the detachable mag is a bonus - thoughts?
 

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Quinn,

Since you specifically mentioned not doing any modifications to whichever rifle you choose, I'd give the nod to the A7. The Remington has great, "out-of-the-box" accuracy (a little truth in advertising) but I don't think you'd be disappointed with either, from that aspect. The cartridge itself, the various target ammo available, and a quality scope, will likely result in you being the limiting factor, not any of the above. If your shooting form is solid and you find the right ammo, both of those rifles are capable of making you grin like a boy with his first puppy.

I wouldn't worry too much about the detachable mag feature, since you're just target-shooting. A detachable magazine is only of any import if you actually hunt. Many dedicated target rifles have no magazine at all, being either single-shot rifles by nature, or bolt-actions with no magazine well, requiring hand loading of each round into the chamber.

Be sure to let us know which you choose and how they shoot, along with pictures! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. I am certain that any of the rifles I listed are more accurate than I am. Pretty much what I want is a reliable, accurate and decent quality rifle which I will not need to upgrade or throw money at for a while - even if it means spending a little more than my original budget. I can go up to $1100-ish USD (up to $1800 AUD). I want to get the best I can afford - I don't want to spend good money on a piece of junk that I will be disappointed with after the initial thrill has worn off.

It seems to be a general agreement that the Rem 700 action is a good one, and they are good reliable shooters - the 700P seems to address all of the issues with the SPS - better stock, floating barrel etc.

Is the 700P worth the extra money over the SPS or Varmint - or indeed the A7?
 

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Only rifles I even look at with plastic stocks is the Stevens/Savages which will be restocked with a laminate. I have no use for plastic stocks what-so-ever. Especially with some shopping you can usually find the same rifle with wooden stock for same money. When the buying public stops buying them unless there priced considerably less will they be priced accordingly. I might be able to live with some of the higher end plastic stocks but I'm not spending my hard earned dollars experimenting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That is part of the reason I was considering the 700P - because it has the HS Precision tactical stock.

I like wooden stocks as well, but it seems that the guns suited to my purpose tend to be plastic stocks...
 

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Believe if you do some checking the manufacturers offer other stocks but the dealers only order what they think will sell. Hit it right and you good to go but hit it wrong and its hard moving that inventory. Nice thing about the internet, its easy to log onto the manufacturers website and see what they offer rather than trust a dealer who's trying to unload a poor decision he made buying inventory.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I went to the gun shop tonight and had a look at a Rem 700 Varmint, a Tikka T3 and Marlin XS7 - and all of them had the same problem with the stock - feels hollow and like a toy.

I also had a look at a Savage 12, feels much better. I think I will definitely be giving the Savage a second look when I am ready to part with my cash.
 

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It's a shame the Savage rifles cost so much down under because they tend to be just as accurate, but less expensive here in the States, than the Remington or most other bolt actions. Is the XS7 offered for less than the Rem. 700, in Australia?

FWIW, I have an inexpensive Ramline synthetic stock on my Model 70 Ranger and even though it does feel "cheap", and rather like a toy, at first, the gun will shoot very tight groups and has done the job on about a dozen white-tailed deer. In fact, I put the synthetic stock on the gun because the wooden one that came with it was severely effected by changes in temperature and/or humidity. Since I lived in California at the time, but hunted in north-central Wisconsin (hot to cold, dry to humid), every time I took that gun hunting, the wood stock would shrink up and the point of impact would change, rather dramatically. The synthetic stock (and a powder change in the load I was using) essentially eliminated that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Savage rifles are not stupidly expensive in Australia, but they start around the same price as a Remington 700 SPS. The Accustock definitely feels better than the Rem, plus you get a floating barrel, detachable mag etc. I very much like the look of the Model 10 FCP-K and the 16 FCSS - definitely worth consideration. I still want to have a look at a Rem 700P and Sako A7, but so far the Savage looks like it will be great value for money.
 

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Take a look at www.savageshooters.com forum which will possibly answer any Savage questions you might have. Fairly good site if you can wade through the repetive questions being asked. I started on the last page of there archives going forward to present and after twenty pages just couldn't believe how repetive the questions became. Other than that nussiance many of my questions were answered before I became of member of the brotherhood of the barrel nut. Another bonus with Savage rifles is the ease changing chamberings. Some can be a simple barrel change if case head is same diameter as present caliber and action length is correct. Recently changed a 270 Winchester chambered rifle to 7x57 Mauser by simply changing the barrel and setting the headspacing for less than $140 barrel cost. Been acquiring take off barrels from other shooters who changed chambering and then sell the old barrel many times unfired. Prices range from $40 up to $100 but usually run in the $60 range with S&H extra. Could buy a short action and a long action thus having practically any possible rifle chambering available just by barrel changes and bolt head changes. Until I did some research couldn't believe the flexibility Savage offers.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks, I will check that site out.

I just noticed that the Savage 16 FCSS is not a heavy barrel, which probably isn't ideal for target shooting. I reckon the FCP-K would be the go... if I can find one in Aus...
 
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