Originally Posted by lloydsmale
Ill argue this a bit. The snipers in our various miltary branches are elite soldiers. Money isnt a big factor in the equipment they buy and use. They have used rem 700s for years because they have been proven. Not because someone got a good deal at walmart on a bunch of them. If that was the case im sure the bmgs they use wouldnt be barrets and the nightforce scopes they use would be replaced by tascos. For the most part specail forces decide themselves what equiptment they want and use and if a winchester or browning was felt to be better for there uses theyd have it. Granted they do modify them for there use but its still the best action to start with. Kind of like if you wanted to win a saturday night drag race. Would you buy a camero and modify it or a gremlin? both could win but you start with the best raw material you can get. Ask 50 snipers if theyd trade you there 700s for 70s or abolts or control round fed mausers and id be awful suprised if youd find even one that would go for it. Bottom line is in about any competitve shooting sport that uses bolt rifles remingtons are seen on the line 5 to 1 over any other actions. Id guess theres a good reason for that and it wasnt because of a clearance sale at walmart last week.
My comment about being one of cost was referring to the design level of the manufacturing process, not the end user cost of the system. When the Marine corp was planning what was to be their first official sniper rifle in the early 60's (M40-A1), the Winchester was the action that was in most use and most preferred. What changed that was the redesign that Winchester did in 1964 that went to a conventional push feed system. That along with other quality control factors that became an issue with the New Haven plant at that time was the deciding factor in choosing the Reminton. Had Winchster not made that move, the lexicon of the Remington 700 would simply never have existed. Naturally Winchster didnt stand still on the quality control issue and with the advent of CNC production machinery, was able to convert back to the classic CRF style for the model 70. Unfortunately for Winchester, the ship had sailed and Remington had the momentum and the aftermarket parts base captured. Winchester 70 and FN bolt actions (same thing) are now being made in a state of the art facility in Coumbia South Carolina where many of the US military machine guns and other weapons are manufactured.
If you go to any national level precision rifle shoot, you will have to look far down the finishers list to find an actual Remington. The custom actions that build on their footprint have long ago left the actual 700s in the dust. The realization has been made that a sporting action modified for sniper use has run its course. If you look at the finalists for the new SOCOM solicitation for the next generation sniper rifle that is currently in process, there is only one that is not a purpose built, designed from the ground up for the purposes of being a sniper rifle (Surgeon). Even Reminton has abandon the 700 with their MSR entry.
The knowledge base of the sniper community has dramatically increased as a result of the last ten years in the wars on terror. That knowledge includes tactics, optics, as well as weapons. The US in pretty much the only country that deploys with rifles that are esssentially modified sporting rifle actions. The time is coming where that too will change. The current administrations hostility to the military wont speed that up any, but in time, it will take place. Even in the civilian competition market, the AI, Sako and other purpose built sniper rilfe systems are being recognized for tank like durability while retaining near benchrest accuracy.