Remington, which is well known for its popular sporting firearms, also has a somewhat lesser known tradition of developing firearms for the military, law enforcement and tactical communities. Seeing no need to reinvent the wheel, most, if not all, of these firearms are developed as variants of Remington’s established hunting firearms, such as the Model 870 and 11-87 shotguns, the 7600-series pump-action rifle, and the Model 700-series bolt-action rifle.
In fact, the latter of these is the basis for one of Remington’s newest and more unique offerings, the Model 700 VTR, which stands for varmint/tactical rifle. Officially part of Remington’s sporting firearms line, the new rifle is designed around a dual-role approach that covers both varminting and tactical use. However, it eschews the usually heavy weight and lengthy barrels of such guns in exchange for a 22-inch barrel and 7½-pound total weight. Also of note is the fact that the rifle features a surprisingly low retail price of around $800. The short-action rifle is available in four chamberings that include the popular varminting cartridges of .204 Ruger, .223 Rem. and .22-250 Rem., as well as the .308 Win., which is traditionally seen in most tactical rifles.
While the Model 700 VTR’s appearance is visually distinctive from the tip of its muzzle to the base of its buttpad, the barrel is particularly unique. Taking the concept of barrel fluting to an extreme, the VTR’s hammer-forged carbon-steel barrel features a triangular exterior contour that is machined from a heavy blank. The thinking behind the design is that it offers increased structural rigidity over a conventional heavy contour barrel while also offering lighter weight and increased heat dissipation.
Another unique feature of the Model 700 VTR is its integral muzzle brake. Sporting three vents perpendicular to the bore axis, the VTR’s muzzle brake is counter-bored from the muzzle end and features a recessed, internal barrel crown.
The VTR features Remington’s new X-Mark Pro factory-adjustable trigger. Highly polished and nickel-plated surfaces on key components provide crisp, clean breaks, as well as significantly lighter trigger pulls set from the factory. Functionally, the X-Mark Pro operates the same as traditional Model 700 triggers and features a safety that blocks the sear and trigger, with two positions that allow the rifle’s action to be cycled with the safety either on or off.
Just like the barrel, the VTR’s synthetic stock represents a conscious effort on Remington’s part to make the rifle’s appearance as distinctive as its design. Displaying an overall color of matte green, it features black overmold gripping areas on both sides of the pistol grip as well as two panels on the lower portion of the fore-end. The stock features a beavertail fore-end with three horizontal cooling vents and dual sling swivel studs for equipping the rifle with both a bipod and a sling. Working in concert with the VTR’s muzzle brake to help tame perceived recoil is a 3/4"-thick synthetic buttpad.
Somewhat surprisingly, the barrel of the VTR is not free-floated, instead it seats on built-in pressure points located in the stock’s barrel channel. Remington claims that the positioning of these contact points improve barrel harmonics and increases accuracy. The rifle has a hinged floorplate magazine system that is robust and sturdy, and its release button is located in the upper inside face of the trigger guard. The rifle is not supplied with sights, but the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts.
The rifle received for testing was chambered in .308 Win. Immediately upon handling, our testers commented on the light weight and handy size of the rifle, as well as the pleasant tactile qualities of the black overmolded sections on the stock. All metal parts featured an evenly applied matte-black finish. For testing, we fitted the rifle out with a Leupold Mark 2 3-9x40 mm scope mounted in Brownells steel rings.
Over the course of several boxes each of three types of ammunition, the rifle performed flawlessly. Accuracy was good, and the rifle exhibited a loyal streak through its preference for the Remington ammunition. It also showed a general preference for lighter rather than heavier weight bullets. It was noted during testing that the VTR’s trigger had an extremely clean and consistent break, with a trigger pull gauge later revealing a consistent 3 pounds pull.
For the individual who wants a bolt-action rifle that offers the uncommon combination of light weight, compact size and good accuracy, as well as one that can serve in a variety of roles, the Remington Model 700 VTR is an excellent choice.