Remington 700 SPS in 204 Ruger
Did you ever avoid a gun or caliber just because you knew you would become an addict?
You have to walk past the magazine racks with blinders on and if you accidentally stumble across a web page about the gun or caliber you are avoiding, you hit you back button as quick as possible just to get away from it.
But seriously, I have read articles on the 204 from the start. I didn't buy a magazine necessarily because of a 204 article but if it happend to have one, I'd read it. So I have kind of stayed up with what is going on with the 204 and what people think of it.
Finally, I decided to jump on the band wagon and buy a 204. But which one?
Honestly, price and features other than accuracy drove my decision. I know that Savage, Ruger, Remington and CZ all make very accurate rifles. Howa, H&R and others are out there on the table as well.
For a gun just to toy with for coyotes and plinking, I had a hard time justifying the price of a Ruger or CZ. Even if price were not a factor, the decision would still have been tough.
Ruger would have been my first choice but then you throw the Savage Accutrigger into the equation and it complicates things. You can have a great looking gun with a so-so trigger or you can have a Savage with a great trigger. CZ falls out of the picture because of the detachable magazine. Just don't care for magazines. Give me a blind box or a floorplate.
Since price was a consideration, Ruger and CZ dropped out. I looked at Howa but have no experience with them or even knowledge of their product for that matter. In pictures, they look like a nice gun, they have nice features and good pricing, but it seems I've spent a lot of my time trying to put square pegs in round holes. The little things can become major problems and I didn't have time to spend figuring out before hand if the hurdles could be overcome. Hurdles such as scope mount availability, stocks, in case I wanted to trade out stocks down the road. And the list goes on. H&R rifles impress me all to hell with accuracy but, I don't need a single shot either.
So I'm down to Remington and Savage, beauty and the beast. Though Savage is a time proven tack driver, it just doesn't get it for me in appearance I have always tried to put my finger on exactly what the heck it is about a Savage rifle that turns me off. So I walked into my gun shop, put a Savage on the counter and laid a Remington next to it. Not that much difference really until you get to the receiver. Then you have the barrel nut and a different looking bolt and firing pin shroud. Maybe it boils down to a childhood spent looking at my Dad's 700 hanging in the rack, maybe it is all just about familiarity. Either way, the Remington won. I had sold a SPS 204 and the customer had nothing but good things to say about it's performance so that helped tip the scales too.
On November 10, 2006, Fedex delivered my new 700 SPS in 204 Ruger. The brass and dies had arrived earlier in the week.
Let the games begin.
I took the gun home and disassembled it for the break-in procedure. In a nut shell, clean the action and barrel with boiling water and then polish the bore. Lather rinse repeat.
For optics, I swiped the Elite 4200 off my Ruger 220 VT and mounted it on the SPS. I have not decided what scope I want to buy yet so for now, this will work fine.
I had planned to run a few rounds through the gun on the 11th but the weather did not co-operate.
I shot the gun for the first time on the 15th. Pretty cool except just about the time I was getting comfortable with working on groups, the scope rings got loose on me. I guess I never put a screwdriver to the side screws to lock it to the base. I tightened it up and the groups came back but I had burned up my reloads and had to actually fire some factory ammo. The gun will never be the same. :)
The reloads that I shot on the 15th showed some pressure signs and after reading in the Forum in Ruger Hunting.Com I came to the conclusion that my bullets were probably seated too deep. I sliced a case neck with a drimmel tool and started a bullet into the case. Chambering the round carefully and then extracting it, I could then measure OAL "bolt face to lands".
Seating the bullet shallower and reducing the charge eliminated the pressure signs. Now I will work back up slowly and see what happens.
So far, I have tried IMR4895 and IMR4064. Both loads hit the same spot and both group very well, (under .750). I was pretty impressed considering the wind while shooting.
I will put together a review on the 700 as soon as I can.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 24, 2009 11:28 PM