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The barrel has been put in an appropriate clamp and an action wrench used to break its seal in the receiver tenon threads. The tools seen below are a mechanical trigger-pull gauge and Brownells 700 receiver raceway polishing file


this versatile cartridge. This objective dictated my choice of model with the .223 SPS Varmint still using the original slow VS rifling twist rate. I really cannot understand why Remington hasn’t updated it to the far more useful 1-9. (See the twist rate table.) Conversely, if I’d been in the market for a .308 Win rifle, I’d have plumped for the Varmint with its 26 inch barrel, even though I really dislike its stock.


This begs a question - why not simply pay the extra money for a VS or PSS with an H-S Precision or Bell & Carlsson stock as OEM? They have become very expensive lately with RRPs well over £1200 and looking around, I don’t think you’ll get a new one for under £1000. Funds availability aside, I’d say it depends on what you plan to use the rifle for and how ambitious you’re feeling in the increasingly important ‘pimp-your-gun’ stakes.


The VS and PSS models have a solid reputation for out of the box accuracy, subject to maybe receiving a little fettling on the lines of that carried out by Valkyrie Rifles that I’ll describe this month and next – witness Toni Young’s single-figure 1000 yard benchrest competition groups with her .308 Win PSS! Another issue is magazines - do you want/need high capacity detachable ones? Whilst the VS/PSS can be fitted with detachable box-magazine (DBM) ‘bottom metal’ conversions, it’s easier and often more cost effective to restock the rifle with an AI Chassis Stock System or other design designed for DBM operation from scratch.


Mouse Gun So, in the end it was a £500 plain-muzzle SPS Tactical in .223 Rem calibre that joined the Holland rifle collection in early 2009. A Warne Picatinny scope-rail with 20-MOA slope from Fox Firearms


was screwed on and one of the same gentleman’s £115 Chinese-made 8-32X50 target scopes attached to it via meaty steel Leupold QRW rings. With a Harris BR-S bi-pod attached to the front sling swivel stud we were ready to rock!


Ammunition components, dies etc were already on hand, although I did buy some Remington 62gn OTM (Open Tip Match) ammo that was on offer at my local gunshop to get a factory ammo baseline. I now had an attractive, handy and really compact little rifle, although no lightweight in this form. Much of this was down to the scope, which while superb optically, is big and heavy compared to an equivalent Leupold or Sightron. I hadn’t realised this in the scope’s previous application, but putting it on this little rifle made it look and feel out of place – further thought needed here.


Out of the Box The next step was to take the rifle to the 100 yard benchrest range at Diggle to sight the scope in and see how the combination handled and performed in ‘out of the box’ form. Bolt operation was relatively rough and ‘sticky’ which I put down partly to its being new but more to the nasty surface finish that Remington now uses on these rifles. Much inferior to the thin and smooth but very hard wearing, attractive black finish that used to be applied to the VS and PSS and survives intact on my VS based 6mm BR bench gun, despite the passage of 13 years and getting on for 10,000 rounds through it.


We come now to the second component that distinguishes the Tactical from other SPS variants – the trigger assembly, this being one of the select few models to have Remington’s ‘improved’ X-Mark Pro™ system bestowed upon it. Despite this, the pull was still heavy for a target rifle at five pounds


Target Shooter 35


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