I'm shopping again (will this ever stop? Hope not).
I've been looking at the Model 700™ XCR™ Tactical Long Range rifle in .223 and .308. I'm going to sell my VTR to my son so I'm looking for a good .308 platform. He'll have a blast with it (pun intended) and I did all the work to get it tuned up. I shoot AR's and I would like a good .223 bolt action platform. The MSRP is around $1,407.00 for the rifle(s). It comes with a Bell and Carlson tactical stock which has a full bedding block. I'm pretty confident that it'll shoot pretty good out of the box but I'm also pretty confident that it would shoot better if it was accurized and a custom will shoot better still if it's a good one. So I'm looking at the MSRP and wondering-
(1) Can I get to where I want to get for less overall money or at least similar cost if I go the custom route? I'm not asking if can I get a custom for $1,400.00. I'm asking if by the time I sink money into a $1,400.00 rifle will I (A) get the accuracy I want and (B) end up spending the same money or a little more on a custom and get a better rifle?
(2) Does .223 make sense? Is it a good long distance round (for small animals and targets) or should I consider a different chambering? I have the dies/brass/bullets/powder for .223 so adding another caliber is another expense.
I guess I should mention that I will be hunting with both rifles so I'm not looking for a Benchrest rifle. I'm thinking more along the lines of a Tactical platform.
Glock Certified Armorer
Mike, buy a sps varmit model, adjust the trigger, ditch the stock, buy the stock you want, learn how to skim bed the action/float barrel. Take the barreled action to a smith and have the barrel chopped and crowned to the length you want.
I'd be scouring gunbroker, pawn shops, etc. and looking for a servicable 700 receiver with the bolt face your after.
Then I'd toss everything but the action once it arrived and get a barrel hung on it from a marquee barrel maker and by a guy who understands how to fit a barrel well.
Then I'd have it fitted to a stock by someone who understands pillar bedding.
Then I'd go shoot the snot out of it.
You may have to wait a little more, you might pay a bit more, but I personally think this is the way to go for anyone who takes accuracy seriously. The point being is if ALL the bases get covered you KNOW. There's no guesswork, speculation, and minimal head scratching when it's all done and your out enjoying it. Guys seem to run into problems when they attempt to save a few bucks and assemble parts that may not go together all that well or work well as a system. Not saying you fall into this, but just be aware of it if nothing else.
There are a few possible caveats to some of this also. You may want to tune up the receiver a bit and this will add to the cost. The fine line to watch for is ensuring you don't elevate the cost to the point where it'd be more cost effective to just go with a custom action. Also, make sure you do that BEFORE you fit a barrel to it!!
With the 1in9 twist the XCR Tactical should handle the heavier bullets up to say 70 grains and should handle some fairly long distance shooting. Sounds like a plan to me. The SPS has a slower twist and won't do as well with the heavier bullets. Just my take on it.
I bought the SPS Varminter in .308, put the same B&C stock that Stocky recommended, then sent it to Jim See @ Center Shot Rifles to recrown, bed the action, and align the scope. I did all this and my groups shot about 1/2". I am still doing different loading for it, but so far I found a load with 165gr Hornady SST's that shot .485" @ 100 yards. The factory ballistic silvertips in 168gr shoot about .7-.8" out of it. I want to eventually replace it with a good barrel, but this will do until I get done with a couple other custom builds I want to do. Overall I am happy with the options I did to turn this relatively cheap rifle into a decent shooter. I haven't shot it past 200 yards because thats the farthest the range here goes.
for what it's worth, i just shot a .474 " 5 shot group yesterday with my newly finished rifle. It's got a BERGARA .223 varmint contour SS bbl, I did it myself as it's very easy. they have .308 available. I'm sure you can find a "donor" remington action, (or , like me, have a few 06 and .270's in the closet) This BERGARA bbl system makes it VERY affordable to make what you want, and these things SHOOT !