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Old January 3, 2009, 05:03 AM   #1
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Rem 700 vs. Savage 111

Okay I have come to a cross roads. I am having a lot of trouble deciding between the two.

I was originally leaning on the side of the Savage. However some more reading came into play and now I'm stuck. Any insight would be appreciated.

I like the idea of the free float barrel and the accu-trigger on the Savage. However I have read that the Remington is more "upgradeable".

I have also read that they are both accurate rifles.

In all honesty it was after reading the thread "The wisdom of Gale McMillan" that I started to double back and rethink things.

He says
While there is good arguments in favor of the Savage if a production rifle will meet your future requirements but I always urge a new buyer to consider
as far into the future as he can and make the procurement of a rifle a long term project. What I mean by that is to start with something to build on. I
recommend starting with an action that over time he can build a system which will meet all his requirements. My choice is a Rem. Pick up a cheap one
used if he can, Shoot it until he is able to get the most out of it that it can give and then upgrade as finances will allow. With the installation of a good
fiberglass stock, blueprint the action, and installation of a match grade barrel and he will have a rifle equal to any custom rifle and for one heck of a lot
less money spent over a longer period of time. You might say that it is easy for me to say as I make my living from stocks and rifles so I am prejudiced
to that point of view. To that I say that having spent a career in the military when any purchase was a long time effort that I still think like a poor man
and understand how difficult it is to make large purchases when your busy raising a family with all its expenses. The approach that I lined out will be
by far the cheapest way for a shooter to wind up with what he will be satisfied with rather than buy what he can afford and keep replacing it till he
gets what will finally satisfy him.
I give all respect to him but I was wondering what you guys think.
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Old January 3, 2009, 07:17 AM   #2
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Well, I own both. I have had a 700 BDL for quite a long time; it's older than my kids, who are both in college.

I love my 700. It is a beautiful gun in 30-06 and is my "go to" gun for hunting. It will handle anything that I will run into, is reasonably accurate, shoots a variety of bullet weights well, and it just "fits". I am very happy with it.

Last year, I bought a Stevens 200 in 30-06 from a fellow who was in financial trouble and needed to liquidate some assets. The Stevens 200 Long Action is a Savage 110 without all the final finishing that goes into the 110 and a cheap plastic stock. The Stevens does not have the Accu Trigger. The Remington equivalent would probably be the 700 SPS. The finish is dull and that is fine with me, since it is what I prefer in working guns.

Right off the bat, the Stevens was shooting inside my trusty 700. I attribute this to two things: (1) the headspace is controlled by the barrel nut system that Savage uses, and this gun had been adjusted with a tight headspace, and (2) the floating bolt head allows for more potential for a bolt face surface that is exactly perpendicular to the bore, assuming the chamber and lug seats are cut correctly.

So, there I was with a cheap bolt rifle that shot well, and I said to myself, "I know this thing works, so why don't I fix it?

I decided to build a long range rifle in a long range chambering. I chose 300 Win Mag.

The Savage 110 platform is an extremely easy rifle for the hobby gunsmith to work on. Once I had the parts and barrel nut wrench, I converted my Stevens deer rifle into a precision "tactical" sniper in about 30 minutes. Oh, and here is the really great part - instead of having to buy a complete bolt for $200+ like the Remington in order to change the case head size, I spent $30 on a bolt head that is held onto the bolt with a cross pin.

Of course, it wasn't precision right away. I bedded the new stock, reworked the Stevens trigger into a Savage 3-screw trigger, and worked up a handload. Now, I have a rifle that will hold 6 inches at 600 yards (the longest range I have access to) if I do my part.

I can and do swap back and forth between the heavy barrel/stock combo and the lightweight sporter barrel/stock combo. I still have to zero the scope, and with the swapping, I will have to re-bed the action from time to time, but it works.

There are almost as many aftermarket accessories for the Savages as there are for Remingtons, with more on the way. There are not as many gunsmiths that specialize in Savages because there does not need to be. If you can change the oil in your car, you can work on a Savage.

So, now I have less than $1k invested in a rifle that can shoot, and shoot very well, in multiple chamberings. Heck, you can just barely do that with a T-C Encore, and it is not a repeater.

Now, the Stevens/Savage is not near as pretty as the Remington. And if you do not like to tinker or you don't want a switch barrel rifle, the Savage holds no particular advantage. I still consider the 700 to be the factory accuracy standard by which to judge other rifles. Buy the one you like the best. BUT, if you want versatility and would rather buy only a new barrel (and possibly a bolt head) to try new cartridges, the Savage is your best option.

I am sold. As much as I love my 700, if I were limited to just one rifle, it would be the Savage.

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Old January 3, 2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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Savage. Been a fan of theirs for several decades.
I recommend you google Savage Shooters Forum and take a look there.

I am another gun-carrying liberal veteran.
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Old January 3, 2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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It seems like all anyone posts about is accuracy ln the forums. And all I hear shooters say is how accurate their Savage's are. I have some Savage's and some shoot well and some don't. Just like any other manufacturer. However all this shooting is done off the bench. And off the bench shooting is not very important in a hunting situation.

The biggest problem Savage has is it's stock. Most of the Savage stocks are "JUNK". It is that simple.

I defy anyone who says they can shoot a Savage more accurately in a hunting situation over a 700 Remington. The shooter may shoot both rifles the same. But there is no way in "He**" they are going to shoot a rifle with the type of stock Savage has-better?? Come on??

To compare a 700 BDL to a Stevens in a hunting situation?? Sorry but there is no way!! The Remington 700 BDL stock is designed much better, and a shooter will perform better with that stock in a "HUNTING" situation.

And isn't a hunting situation why we own a "HUNTING RIFLE"??

I am not telling a shooter not to buy a Savage. And I am not saying that you do not get a great rifle for the money when you buy a Savage rifle.

What I am saying is that the most important part of "Accuracy" in a "Hunting" situation has more to do with stock fit and design over being able to shoot 1/4 inch tighter groups on the bench!!!

However I will put my Remnigton's up against a Savage any day. And the so called fantastic barrel nut is there for one simple reason. It is cheaper to do it that way!!! Tom.
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Old January 3, 2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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Let's not get emotional about this.

The low end Savage models have crappy stocks. The high end models have fantastic stocks. For the price of a low end model and a good aftermarket stock, you are still below the cost of a Remington.

Hunting situation are the most forgiving. You only have to shoot minute-of-animal. Paper is what defines accuracy. I can, and do compare a Stevens with a Remington 700, because I own both and can compare them. Do you own both?

I own rifles for many reasons as do many other shooters. I don't call my rifles "hunting" rifles. I call them "bolt action rifles", of lever rifles, or some such. Like I said, I own them (and use them) for many reasons.

The human body is highly adaptable. That's the reason that the same human can shoot an AR-15, an FAL, a Remington 700, and a Swiss K-31 equally well. Guess what? None of the stocks in the aforementioned list fit the same. It is not the stock fit and design that make a rifle more accurate in any situation, except maybe benchrest. You can take a crappy designed stock and still shoot well with it, at least for a few shots. And while I sit here looking at my 700 BDL and Stevens 200, it appears that the stocks are very, very much alike from a design standpoint...

Yep, you are right about the barrel nut. It is less expensive to manufacture. Guess what? The savings are passed on to the consumer. Yet, despite being less expensive, it does not mean that the rifle does not perform better. In fact, most engineers who study guns will tell you it is a superior system system for rapidly achieving accuracy, all other things equal.

Next time I drive up to WV, I'm bringing my Stevens 200. You and I will have a shoot off. Winner goes home with the other's gun.

Start practicing.

Last edited by FALPhil; January 3, 2009 at 03:40 PM.
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Old January 3, 2009, 04:57 PM   #6
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I actually own more Savage rifles than I do Remington rifles.

I can not possibly see how a better stock would not make you a better shooter in a hunting situation. We have to disagree on that one.

As far as a shooting contest is concerned, I am game. Let's shoot 45-70's at a 3 inch gong off handed at 100 yards. With open sights. Now that is a test of shooting skills. Or at least I do believe it is a test of shooting skills.

And leave your Stevens 200 at home, I have no interest in winning that rifle. Please do not take that the wrong way. But the last thing I need right now is another restocking job.

Are you honestly saying your Stevens stock fits you as well as your 700 BDL stock?? Really??

I will not argue with you about who is the better shot. I do a pretty good job at it. But there are many other shooters who are much better than I am. You could easily be one of them. The above comments were meant to be taken in fun. However If you are in WV then stop by, I have two ranges I shoot at. One is 600 yards, and the other is 1,000 yards. However I will admit that I am not capable of the 1,000 yard shots. But I am getting better. Tom.
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Old January 3, 2009, 05:26 PM   #7
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Everyone is made differently, what fits one will not always fit another. If that were the case there would be little work for stock makers.

Personally the Stevens 200 fits me better than any 700 BDL, but my new Remington Model 7 Predator fits me near as perfect as a few of my custom rifles. It is all in what you prefer and fits you best.

As far as the 700 vs the 111 the prices are climing on both, Savage is no longer the cheap rifle that it use to be.

Both are fine rifles and as it has been pointed out you can change the savage barrel in your home workshop, the 700 will have to be changed by a compitent smith.

It all boils down to what you like.

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Old January 3, 2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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It seems the knock on Savage stocks from many on this site is in the synthetic stocks. Are their walnut stocks good?
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Old January 3, 2009, 05:48 PM   #9
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Savage makes very few Walnut stocks. They make some hardwood stocks that I do not care for. They also make laminate stocks, IMO their laminate stock is there best stock. However for me their palm swell grip is too large, and I have large hands.

The Walnut stocks they do make are alright. However when you buy their rifle with their walnut stock then the Savage price is pretty high. And the reason most buy a Savage is for the cheaper price. Tom.
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Old January 3, 2009, 06:05 PM   #10
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I was just asking because this package has a walnut monte carlo stock and retails for around $520:
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Old January 3, 2009, 06:34 PM   #11
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That is not a walnut stock. It is a hardwood stock. Probably Beech. Tom.
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Old January 3, 2009, 06:45 PM   #12
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I see now..."walnut finished"...duh
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Old January 3, 2009, 11:04 PM   #13
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i just bought a savage 111 with a laminated stock, i bought it because i wanted to see if they was as good as everyone said they were... well, i went back the day after i bought/shot it, and bought a remington 700XCR. then sold the savage to my friend. the action is not nearly as smooth or refined as my 700's are. accuracy was not as good, it was shooting about 1.25" groups at 100yds, and all of my 700's shoot sub 1" groups. as a matter of fact, the 700XCR shot a 4 round group of .5" at 100 yards using only a bipod and my shoulder. however, i liked how easy the trigger is to adjust on the savage. but, the new mark x trigger in the 700's is excellent down to 2lbs. i set mine right at 2.2lbs, and it is awesome, no creep, breaks like glass, and is 100% reliable. none of my remingtons have been bedded either, so i am willing to bet if i spent the time to do so they would all shoot better then .50" groups. THE SAVAGE AND THE 700XCR ARE BOTH 30-06.
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Old January 4, 2009, 12:18 AM   #14
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Both great rifles... The Remington looks somewhat better than the Savage to me. I have two Remingtons that are sub-MOA out of the box and one of them is sub half MOA when I'm up to it.

I've been looking to Savage for the Mark II in 17HMR and will buy one some day. for now, my 700 LVSF .223 does the job nicely.

What Hogghead is trying to get at I think... We all argue over tack driving when a .30-30 levergun that shoots 4" groups will kill a deer as well as a .300" group tack driving Savage. It matters even less when you are in a field with nothing to steady up on.

I've seen some accurate Savages, but none really beat my 700 VSSF in .22-250.
I've also seen a guy disgusted with his new Savage.. Had me try a group.. We were both shooting 3" groups. He headed back to Joe's that day to exchange it for another. Hopefully the second one was a shooter.

That new Remington trigger is a dream!
"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." The Dalai Llama (5/15/01, The Seattle Times)
"That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there." George Orwell
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Old January 4, 2009, 02:29 PM   #15
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I bought a "poor man's" Savage, a Stevens 200, 25-06, for a project gun, you know, new trigger, stock, and barrel. First was the trigger, a Timney. It now gives me 3" groups at 400yds. with the "Tupperware" stock. So I won't be doing anything else to it until the barrel burns out. I would like to put a laminated thumbhbole stock on it only because I like their looks.
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