Re: Need a new rifle
Sorry about the loss.
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.