The recent 700SPS I've seen left some to be desired in the finish department. They metal isn't a deep bluing, but a paint of sorts it seems. Some say the XM Pro trigger is pretty good and you may not need to replace it. I've not shot the newest ones with that tritter.
Howa1500- First, in the caliber you want it comes in a 24" barrel. The finish on them is a nice (bluing). The triggers are really fairly good IMO, and I'd not replace it if it was up to me. There are getting to be more stock, etc, for this gun all the time. Weight...since when did a little extra weight hurt the 7RM? Also, there's nothing wrong with going for the 1500's twin, the Vanguard, and the Vanguards stocks are decent. My Howa has been a real shooter, BTW.
Savage: Some seem fairly nice some the finish is basic. Getting a nice bluing, etc., is going to cost you. Almost all I've heard of are quite accurate regardless of the quality of finish you pay for.
None are are a bad choice...your on the right track.
Pat- sorry for your loss. we must live close. snowy today. i can't tell what you are shooting at. for a sporter weight hunting rifle i would consider the special ones they have at sportsmans 700 adl stainless with a scope and mounts. inexpensive. other i would consider the vanguard and the tikka . they are probably more .
sorry to hear the bad news. I know a few guys with savages and howas, and personally for the performance, and useability found the savage far better. I got a savage hmr17 for my fiencee, and since shooting it have fallen in love with it, she now shoots my 7600 .308 and I have the savage. Iv never shot a 7rm but would assume a savage in that calibre would be just as sweet.
Thieves suck, that's about the nicest thing I can say about them.
One thing you might consider since you like the remingtons is to hold off a bit and save a few more bucks and pick up a 700 CDL or CDL SF. They are awfully nice, come with a great factory stock and you can just do a trigger job on the Xmark and have a nice trigger without spending more than about 80 bucks if you hire a gunsmith to do it, or a few hours time and some lapping compound will produce a very clean crisp trigger yourself.
Just remember if you adjust it, you void the factory liability guarantee but most of us don't care too much about that.
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