For many years I used a brace of Remington .223 bolt-actions; a 26″ VSSF M-700 varminter and a compact, 20″ M-7. Both shot extremely well but, as accurate AR-15s became practical alternatives, the bolt-guns saw less use. I decided to roll the two Remingtons into one do-all .223 bolt-action capable of handling everything. The replacement M-700 Compact Tactical has proven useful and accurate during the past 18 months.
There are plenty of great choices in the crowded bolt-action market. However, the rifle of choice for most custom builds is a Remington Model 700. This says something about the intrinsic accuracy of the system, which in my experience has been very good. Between work and personal use we rely on a diverse battery of these rifles. A common manual-of-arms is a good thing and with no inclination to switch, the Compact Tactical seemed like just the ticket.
It’s similar to Remington’s “Light Tactical Rifle” with a short, stiff, but heavily fluted 20″ barrel. One difference: the barreled action is stainless steel. I’ll take that feature whenever possible as insurance during inclement weather. A black TriNyte PVD coating cuts glare and affords an attractive but business-like appearance. The trigger is the same one offered with custom shop 40X rifles that are famous for their excellent accuracy. The stock is a green, synthetic HS Precision with an integral aluminum bedding chassis. Three QD sling studs are installed, including an extra in the wide forend for attachment of a bipod. The barrel free-floats with lots of clearance. A hinged BDL floor-plate permits easy magazine unloading. The whole package is attractive and seems to handle very well. Remington lists bare rifle weight at 7.5 lbs.
I was happy with the trigger as it came from the factory so I mounted a Leupold VXIII 4.5×14 in a pair of Talley medium height scope rings. Each integral base & ring is lightweight aluminum but strong, owing to its one-piece construction. Initial zeroing was uneventful and subsequent groups were rewarding. I spent the better part of last summer shooting benchrested 5-round series during optimum conditions, using an assortment of ammo.
Like my older 26″ VSSF, this 20″ CT is a tack-driver. Either is a true 0.5 MOA rifle with the right loads. And herein lies the catch. My trusty old VSSF was rifled 1×12. The newest CT is 1×9 and so inscribed in a barrel flute. I have experience with twist rates running from 1×14 through 1×7. While generally, you’d want a faster 1×7 if using the heaviest .223 bullets much weird science remains with mid-weight and lighter projectiles. The latest genre of polymer-tipped and solid-copper pills only complicates matters. A 55-grain bullet so constructed is longer than a conventional one and may behave like a heavier projectile regarding rate-of-twist.
I’m really not interested in the heaviest .223 bullets, or anything much over 60 grains. If more punch is required I’ll just drag out a M-700 in a bigger caliber. Interestingly (at least to me), the 1×9 CT barrel really liked 40 grain Hornady TAP. After firing many 100-yard groups I switched to 200 yards and shot lots of sub 1″ clusters. Moving up to 55 grain TAP, results were nearly as good. Another favorite Federal 55 grain Ballistic Tip was a close third. It’s hell on our big Maine coyotes whereas the the TAP loads are better for smaller critters.
The one load this rifle didn’t like was my pet 50 grain Sierra Blitz handload that has proven accurate in many other .223s. Speaking of which, I’m guessing Remington uses a SAAMI chamber instead of the sloppier NATO dimension. Regardless, I have no real desire to fire anything through this rifle other than quality ammunition.
A short barrel is typically stiffer than a longer one of the same diameter, which may provide accuracy benefits. However, velocity will suffer at around 40 fps per inch. My Leupold VXIII has a “varmint hunter” reticle with hold-over lines that coincided perfectly with 40 grain TAP right out to 500 yards in my 26″ VSSF. Losing 6 inches of barrel translates to at least a 200 fps velocity loss. Sometimes it’s possible to compensate by a magnification change. Worse case, the hold-over lines still work at odd-ball distances.
Many folks will be interested in the .308 offering. I’m happy with my .223. Remington lists them for around $1500 but street price may be considerably less.
“I use a Browning .308…”
*Green* with envy.
Very cool carbine, I love those little short rifles. My go-to deer gun is a Remington 600 in .308 Winchester. Looks a bit strange, but Its worked for me for close to 30 years now, no need to change.
As far as long range goes, I have a Remington 788 with those 70’s vintage ‘rangefinder’ reticles. You know, you turn the power ring and bracket the animal’s brisket and read range so you know the distance. I don’t know if that works, but if you leave them set at one distance, you have two zeroed crosshair locations ready to go. That is kind of handy in some circumstances – reading the wind is a whole other animal.
I have the SPS Tactical and Im grouping at 750….with ease.
Review by Robin Leary for Rating: My 10 yr. old son got this as a Santa gift last Christmas. Within less than a half an hour of shooting off of the back porch with me suevipisrng the gun quit cocking/loading. I carefully examined the gun and found that all the important cocking mechanisms are made of plastic. Plastic?? This is supposed to be a Daisy! I still have a fully functioning Red Ryder Gun from the sixties that although being somewhat a little weaker in fps is still cocking and firing like a champ. Anyway, I gently reboxed the defective gun and took it back to WalMart for exchange. Brought the new gun home and gave to my son who was very happy. Guess what? This brand new replacement Daisy Buck and it’s plastic parts stopped cocking/firing within about 15 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. This model has some type of defect and I’m also writing calling Daisy to complain. Trust me, don’t buy this Buck model and spend a little more for metal parts, not plastic!! Yuck, this is a lemon!!
Those are great short range deer rifles. (200 yard). that 223 is just not a good killer above 300 yd. Love the 30.06 myself. (to each his own) but 700’s are DAMN fine rifles. I gave my brothers oldest a 700 rebult with a shelin air gauge 308 palma chamber 31 in. tube on a A-5 stock . SWFA SS mildot on top. My old “plinker” . I think he liked it. Ray in ky
Whatch out…those 700’s have had a few safety issues. Accurate as all get out from the factory, but be careful. Properly handled (let alone any) guns should not go bang by themselves. https://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2010/11/remington_700_s.php