In my opinion, other than aftermarket parts availabiltiy, there is very little to recommend about the Remington 700 when they were being made with even a moderate level of quality. That time has long since passed and the quality of anything made in the last ten years is ****.
If you must use a 700 pattern, one would be much better served by starting with a custom action and purchasing quality parts to round out the package.
I have a 700 CDL made in '09, I have no complaints at all with this rifle and I am hard to please. I got the rifle because it was a great deal and I thought it was pretty, it happens to shoot very well also. When the factory barrel goes I'll screw a new one on and I'm sure I'll be happy with it too! It is a quality rifle in all respects.
I've had a number of Remington's and none shot very well. They've all needed something. Remington's "friends" with the military and gun writers and as such, enjoy a manufactured reputation. The aftermarket supply industry flourishes because it's necessary. It's about the same relationship as the old VW Bug and a JC Witney catalog. Lots of parts because you'll never be satisfied without fixing it.
It's only since the Internet that things have gotten better. The Consumer goes right around "lobbyist gun writers" and gives it to you straight in places like this here. I mean hey... if your going to fall for a flashy magazine ad over the reports of 100 people who own the product, you deserve to get stung. You saw what they did when they got their hands on Marlin Firearms. As soon as they bought Marlin, they virtually destroyed the lever action industry due to poor manufacturing.
You look back on this thread and there's people who just go out and replace the stock on a new rifle. Why would you do that unless it sucked? Would I buy a Remington... Well your not going to change the product without changing the people. It's a company that's broken and adrift with it's key focus on profitability. Remington left me, I didn't leave them. I'll be happy to purchase another when they've earned it and can maintain high quality over an extended period of time. For now, I can do much better elsewhere.
I have two Remington 700's and while I'm no rifle expert I do shoot them semi-regularly. Now that I'm preparing for an antelope trip I've been shooting the rifles more.
Rifle 1 (.30-06 BDL made in 1995) is a great rifle. My only grip is that the factory stock is not free-floated. I'm getting 1-1.25" accuracy @ 100 yards using factory Hornady ammo.
Rifle 2 (.243 ADL bought brand new in 2012) is a 'decent' gun. Same as above, it's not free-floated. The no-drop plate is kind of a pain for hunting and I'm getting 1.5-2" groups @ 100 yards. I haven't spent enough time developing a load for this gun....so testing is on-going.
Both rifles need to be bedded and free-floated. I guess for a $400 you can't expect much more than what I'm currently getting. I think some stock work will help them both tremendously for accuracy.
But for 'hunting accuracy' both would suffice very well. I'm just picky and want to see the holes touching @ 100y.
Modifying junk is nothing new. There will always be a segment of the market who has to upgrade everything. Go buy a new pickup it immediately needs new tires and a lift. Same with ATV's, motorcycles, etc., blah, blah, blah. A lot of it has more to do with perception and wanting something different than what everyone else has. And the internet is also now as much to blame for that as anything which I don't think is a bad thing. I tend to upgrade a lot of my junk because I can. When I bought a Rem 300 RUM 12 years ago, most had never heard of it. Almost before I had a box of shells through it the thing had a $1000 in upgrades. Overall. I'm happy with my Rem's, but that was the last one I've purchased, so can't comment quality...
My personal personal opinion and recent experience:
Weatherby Vanguard "Series 2"
I have broken in two of these so far and also own one (in addition to a Vanguard Series 1 with the horrible trigger but otherwise great super accurate rifle)
Here are my thoughts:
The Vanguard 2 has a fantastic match grade 2 stage trigger now. I compared this with someone that has a very expensive custom rifle. The Vanguard 2 series trigger is almost exactly comparable if not exactly the same!
The Vanguard 2 all around quality is just remarkable. the asthetics, balance, bolt feel, 3 stage trigger among other incredible features.
Weatherby gaurantees it will shoot .99 or less at 100 yards. This is confirmed for both a 30-06 (165 gr) and a 7mm-08 (140 gr. and 120 gr custom load) Both shooting Wally World Federal $18.95 ammo and yup, always under 1". The 7mm-08 also shoots the Federal Fusion consistently at .88 at 100.
No I do not work for Weatherby. Yes I like my fellow hunters to get an incredible bang for their buck!! Most places selling them for approx $469.00+ tax. Personally I think they blow away the competition.
Thanks all for allowing me to state my personal opinion