Remington’s Heavy-Duty Tack Driving Varmint Rifle

This rifle may be heavy but shoots like a house on fire—just like a thousand-dollar rifle. I have used Remington rifles since I was out of three-cornered britches. I have enjoyed excellent results and more than a little pride of ownership. Among my favorite rifles is a Remington SPS in .308 Winchester. This rifle sports a 16.5-inch barrel and has proven very accurate. I named this rifle after Kate Beckinsale’s vampire character, Selene. One bite and you are gone—I was searching for a super accurate rifle that would make for useful range work at 200 yards or so. The old adage of a 200-pound deer at 200 yards spelled .308 Winchester. The main requirement was simply that the rifle was accurate. I enjoy accurate rifles and if the short barrel Remington was any guide the new SPS would be exceptional. I was correct. The SPS Varmint is a heavy rifle at 8.5 pounds without a scope. The barrel is 26 inches long. I didn’t expect it to handle like the shorter version. And it doesn’t. However, it shoots like a house on fire and delivers excellent performance. It is heavy and at its best from a bench rest. I can see using the rifle for that occasional long shot or be sitting on a hill blasting varmints. For me, the joy is in just shooting. The extra barrel length of the SPS Varmint rifle means that the rifle is 46 inches plus in length. After adding a scope, the rifle weighs in at 9.4 pounds, and I have not added the sling or a bipod yet. As for the scope, I added an inexpensive Barska 3 x 9 x 40. I have enjoyed reliable results with the brand and this was no exception. I will upgrade at some point. In the meantime, I also tested the March rifle scope 3 x 24 x 52mm scope and it did not overmatch the Remington at 200 yards—but that is another story.

Remington SPS Varmint in action

Firing off hand is a chore with a heavy rifle, but the Remington is well balanced.

Some may question a varmint rifle in .308 Winchester. It isn’t like there are large critters in the varmint category and I do not live in the Great American West so 200 yards is a long shot. The .223 Remington would be a fair choice. I agree. I have quite a bit of .308 ammo, including several accurate combinations I handloaded. Sure, the .308 kicks more but it is not noticeable in this heavy rifle. I will fire fewer rounds and have more fun. Besides the .308 kicks up more dirt on the berm at long range. The rifle features the standard Remington 700 action. This is a smooth action proven in many years of use. Remington mounted the safety on the rifle side of the receiver and it presses forward for fire and to the rear for safe. The internal box magazine is foolproof. Take down is easy, and the rifle will survive many years with minimal maintenance and regular cleaning. The reliability and accuracy expected from a Remington 700 are present in this rifle. The stock is a reasonably good fit to the action and the forend gives a good hold when firing off from the bench. As for long range hunting of larger thin-skinned game, the rifle is much easier for the occasional shooter to use well than the 7mm Magnum or the .300 Magnum rifle. With proper loads and a 26-inch barrel, the Remington churns up a lot of velocities. It is in the original .30-06 Springfield category and that is not a bad place to be. I also fitted the excellent Huber trigger. This trigger gives the shooter the option of a perfectly clean break at 1.5 pounds. For accuracy work, it doesn’t get any better.

Temington SPS Varmint,scope close-up

The stock is a good fit with good eye relief.

For accuracy work, I fired a number of combinations that gave excellent results. The Federal Fusion 150-grain JSP is among these. The Federal 168-grain MATCH is among the most accurate combinations I fired. I also fired the new Hornady Black Rifle loads with the 168-grain A-Max bullet. They demonstrated excellent accuracy to 200 yards. Handloads using the Hornady 168-grain A-Max have proven accurate. For true long-range use past 300 yards I would consider the Sierra 175-grain MATCH KING, but for what I do the 168-grain loads are plenty accurate. My son Alan has experimented with the 220-grain Sierra and sent along a few for practice use. These loads are very accurate and while velocity is modest they kick up a lot of dirt at a long 200 yards! The 220-grain bullet was once a standard for bear and the .30-06. I am not commenting on their lethality, but I am able to state that they are very accurate. How accurate is this rifle? With carefully crafted handloads and premium factory loads 1 MOA was a constant. The Remington SPS Varmint is accurate enough to ride with.

Remington SPS Varmint, right profile

The Remington Varmint rifle is long and heavy and shoots well

Specifications

Overall length | 46.5 inches

Barrel length | 26 inches

Overall height with scope | 7.5 inches

Length of pull | 13 3/8

Weight unloaded | 8.5 lbs.

Weight loaded | 10.4 lbs. as tested

Weight scoped as tested | 10 lbs.

Capacity | 4 rounds

Action finish | Blue

Action type | Bolt

Barrel finish | Blue

Magazine type | Fixed box

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Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting, police, and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice, and is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills, and others. He is a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications also. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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