I purchased a 700 VTR about a month ago, to used as coyote/pig gun and targets for fun. I wasn't real impressed with how it shot 100 gr federal blue box, which is all gun shop had on hand when I bought it. I have since gathered components to work up some hand loads, and switched scopes to a nice Conquest 4.5-14X50. I'm ready to sight in and work up a load, but am know thinking of replacing stock with a B&C medalist first.
On a different note, this gun seems to have a ton of freebore. Like .33". Anywhere close to lands not possible. This concerns me, but I was assured by gun shop where I purchased these guns will shoot well.
Long post I know, here are my questions for those with more experience than me:
1. B&C medalist good idea?
2. Free-bore concerns? Possibly having to have barrel set back and re-chambered?
3. Should I be looking to sell gun and pick up something else or just start into this one and do whatever it takes to make it shoot?
Its a rather oddball rifle with a bunch of (pricey) add on features ? V shaped barrel, integral break, overmold stock... Have you had the stock off the action yet ? Does it have a full length aluminum bedding block in there or is it just an overmolded SPS type stock ?
Remingtons that I have owned have always needed the trigger worked on / replaced (the Shilen trigger is the least expensive and a huge improvement and is sold at midway/brownells). Then was the stock. The Remington site does not mention an aluminum overmold and if there is none there, look at a laminate replacement, at least. One can hog out the fore-end to free float properly, but it needs a LOT of clearance due to the flex. The last SPS I had I cleared 1/16h of an inch so that it would remain free floated when on a bipod. Your model has a shorter barrel, so it would probably balance better than the 26" barreled SPS.
Finally, Remington generally had the worst factory barrels I have ever seen. TC probably being a close second if my Icon was anything to go by. The thing is that with a Remington, you need machining to accomplish anything and there are a lot of Remington owners keeping the better smiths occupied, especially the last couple of years. Lead times for barrels has gotten a lot longer than it used to be.
Having said all of that, shooting some factory loads (unless you experience a fluke) is normally a very poor way to judge the capability of a rifle. Trigger issues would be obvious regardless of the ammo. If the POI is constantly moving around, that points to bedding and the stock.
Certainly a single stage press, some dies powder primers and some Hornady SST bullets would be one place to start. I am using H100V Hodgdon powder in mine and it is a screamer. Even now you can buy H100V since it is not too well known. You will not be shooting 95gr or higher Bergers out that short tube with a 9.25 twist, I should know, my Savage 12 LPV had a 26" x 1:9.25 and it could not shoot them either. But the SST should work fine. Tune the load and seating depth and upgrade the trigger if needed and see where that takes you.
I agree with Rev. I would do up some handloads and see how that works before changing the stock or even selling it. I don't think the free bore is an issue. Seems the barrel has a 9 1/8 twist so it should handle 100gn bullets well. Stock could be junk, but I would at least shoot some groups with handloads first.
Try some Nosler ballistic tips, they are usually pretty easy to tune and do not require a short jump.
I have a .243 that didn't shoot factory ammo well at all, but was very easy to work up handloads for.
You did not mention the actual size of the groups?
Its been a month since I shot it but I believe the groups were in the 2" range, not real consistent at all. I think I will go ahead and get a B&C stock to get it fully free floated, then work handloads until I either get it to shoot or prove it needs more work . I have 70gr NBT's, 85 gr HPBT Sierras, 58gr Vmax and 75 gr Vmax. As mentioned above, I may look into some SST's as it seems the really long berger's will probably not stabilize. Thanks guys