Savage vs. Remington

Savage vs. Remington
by Lucas Beitner

There are many excellent actions that one can use to build accurate long range rifles. Mauser, Winchester, Sako, Tikka, Weatherby, and many others have been used with excellent results. Action selection is a personal choice. The two that seem to be the most popular are Remington and Savage. Both these actions have excellent aftermarket support, the Remington 700 is by far the most popular. The Savages have been gaining momentum over the last few years. What are the key differences in these actions with regard to long range accuracy, and which is best for you?
The Remington 700

The great variety of stocks, triggers, floor plates, scope bases, speed lock kits, and any other replaceable part, available for the Remington 700 is a testament to its following. When you look into aftermarket actions you’ll find a great deal that are built with the same bolt spacing and outside diameter as the 700. This is not only because the its of sound design, but also to take advantage of the aftermarket support. The 700 has one of the faster lock times, from factory actions. This is an advantage when accuracy is the goal. Any gunsmith will be familiar with the 700, this may also result in lower costs for work. The 700 comes from the factory with an adjustable trigger that when tuned properly can result in a light pull, crisp brake, and no over-travel. A good trigger can be the difference between a rifle that is a joy to shoot and one you must struggle with to shoot accurately. It is generally agreed that the new X-mark pro trigger available from Remington are inferior to the original. It is a joy to cycle a well used 700 bolt. The feel is smooth and solid. The action can be worked fast without issue. Excellent detachable magazine systems are available. Accuracy from the factory is generally very good.
The Savage 10/110

Savage definitely has less aftermarket support but it’s getting better all the time. Lock times are slower because the sear must drag across the trigger, instead of a dropping free. There are aftermarket triggers like Sharp Shooter’s which help alleviate this problem. One can also replace the firing pin spring with a heavier one, but this will increase trigger pull weight. Older factory triggers all but non adjustable. Lightening the trigger requires removal of material from the sear and trigger itself. I don’t recommend trying this unless you’re prepared to replace the trigger or have experience modifying the factory triggers. The new accu-trigger is a better design than the original and it’s adjustable. The accu-trigger is adequate for long range accuracy but I would still recommend replacement. Cycling a Savage bolt is not as nice as the 700 in my opinion. It has a heavy bolt lift and feels cheaper when operating (Some are better than others). There are solutions to the heavy bolt lift available from Stockade. The Savage action works just fine. The bolt face is replaceable on Savage bolts. This makes changing from small, standard, and magnum, bolt faces possible (without paying a smith or ordering a new bolt). Head spacing on Savage actions is done with a “barrel nut” rather than an indexed shoulder like Remington. Having a barrel nut allows one to change a barrel themselves. Barrel makers can make chambered and threaded barrels ready to install. One needs only to have a barrel wrench, action vise, and head-space gauges (there are other ways if an action vise is not available). This allows one to save money while experimenting with different cartridges and calibers. Accuracy from the factory is very good.

A book could be written on these actions, the above is only a quick overview. There are many aspects  of these actions that  don’t impact  long range shooting (and accuracy in general).  I’m partial to the Remington 700 although I have both. I grew up shooting Remington and will continue to do so. The Savage’s have allowed me the satisfaction of building my own rifles (as much as possible). If you like to work on rifles and don’t have a lathe, Savage may be a good choice for you. The ability to change from magnum to standard cartridges (and back again), is a definite plus. Part of Remington’s popularity is the fact that it has remained essentially unchanged. This allows the aftermarket to design a part that can be used by many. Savage seems less content with their design and changes have been made, causing a scramble to design parts that will work with the new design.   Both actions can provide outstanding long range accuracy. Like anything else the action you choose is a personal choice. I know one x-professional marksmen (sniper) that grew up shooting Savages and will not buy anything else. You’ll find most tend to go the other way, but there is no wrong choice. If you are more comfortable with one, you’ll likely shoot better with it.


  • http://http://http://www.passthebrass.com Heath C.

    I’ve shot a Rem 700 for the last year or so and I ended up purchasing a Savage mostly to have that trigger pull they are renowned for.

    I can’t say I have a favorite in that both really operate on their own level. The Rem 700 is a very solid action with extremely smooth performance. In over 5K rounds I only had the action lock up on me once due to excessive heat and expansion. We were firing hundreds of rounds with short breaks on a hot day so it was to be expected.

    As for the Savage, it really does have a very unique trigger group which, as far as I know, gives them most of their fame. I was not too impressed with the feel of the bolt but I’m hoping it will smooth out over time. It still fees solid but out as much so as the Rem 700. Regardless, it is a very fine action and I expect much more performance from it. I also have yet to put even 1K rounds through the rifle so we shall see what turns out.

    Great article Lucas!

  • Lucas

    Sounds like we’re on the same page Heath. I hate shooting in high heat. It takes forever for the barrels to cool down. I go by the old adage “if it’s too hot to touch… it’s too hot to shoot”.

  • pete macdonald

    i shoot long range with both a savage 10fp in 223 and a remmy sps tactical in 308 . both shoot ragged one hole groups at 100,, the savage was alot more forgiveing with load developement and almost everything shoots scarry good out of it . the remmy was harder to figure out but now shoots like a house on fire!!! 43.6 gr of 4064 under a cc 175 gr and wow! the accutriger blew me away and i had to go to a gunsmith to fix the x mark on the remmy after shooting with the accutriger .
    i currently have 2 rem 260 barrels on order from e.r.shaw for my buddy and my first build on a set of 110 savages we picked up at pawn shops. the idea of makeing my own long range shooter in my gerage has really opened up the posibilities for me . i can always swap it to another cal in 10 minuts. maybe 7 mag….
    so,, if you can get a remmy you like, they are great shooters. BUT if you want real posibilities and great shooters ,,, SAVAGE all the way.

  • Mark, Eric & Michael Beatty

    Hi Guys, Love your comments on both of these rifle makers. In my spare time I work for Savage Arms as a Pro Staffer. I also think very highley of Remington rifles. My son Eric a survival instructor @ Fairchild AFB shoots the mod. 12F custom chambered @ Savage in 300 WSM. This rifle comes in left hand port or right. 30 inch x 1 inch stainless Bull.The Target AccuTrigger starts at 2.5 lbs & goes down to 6.0 oz. Were just getting started with break-in & load development, I would like to join in the fun with you guys. ***-5474 Take Care – Mark Beatty.

  • http://http://www.LongRangeShooter.com Mike

    awesome Mark, great to have you guys here, welcome!!!

  • Greg

    Hey guys I have a Savage 116FSAK chambered in 30-06 which I have shot (honest) a fuzz under 1″ groups at 200 yards! It doesn’t seem to matter which bullet I use as long as its a 180 grainer. It does not have the accu-trigger, but it is crisp at about 3lbs. I was not aware that you could change barrels on a savage as easily as you’ve described! I find that intriguing as I would really like to try a .338-06.

  • http://longrangeshooter.com Sean

    Well I personally am not a big fan of the 338/06. Its my opinion that it is to heavy of a bullet for the 30/06 but it is just my opinion. There is a guy on here and his name is Mike and he had a 338/06. Unfortunately there is not much he can tell you about that cartridge because the gun blew up before he had much of a chance to shoot it. If you were only going to shot to about 3 or 400 yards you would probably be fine. But if this is a gun that you really like then go for it. It is just my uneducated opinion and there may be lots of fans of that cartridge.

  • Eric

    Hi guys, just bought my first .308. It’s a Savage 10FP and I picked up a reloading kit as well. My question is this, what has everyone found to be the best components for reloading ie. powder, primers, casings ect. I know this is subject to personal preference but if anyone has any suggestions it would be appreciated.

  • http://http://http://http://http://http://http://http://http://http://http://shoot-farther.com Lucas

    Here’s what I’ve found to work well…

    Powder: Varget (4064 and 4895 are also good choices).

    Cases: Lapua last forever but I’ve had excellent accuracy with all others I’ve tried.

    Primers: CCI BR-2 (Rem 9-1/2 good too).

    Bullets: 155gr “palma” SMK’s, 175gr SMK’s, Berger 155.5gr “fullbore”, 168gr 175gr and 185gr Berger VLD’s.

    See the Benchmark Rifle review…

  • Mark Taylor

    Hello I am buying a 300 win mag and I have been a rem guy my whole life. That being said I have sighted in several savages and they have all been extremely accurate right out of the box! So my problem I really like the savage and know it’s few short comings. So if there are is any body out there that has shot both please let your opinion known. Thank you Mark