Remington unveiled the Model 700 in 1962 (although the bulk of the design work was done in the '40s with the 721 and 722 series rifles), and it has been making them ever since. The Remington 700 is popular for a lot of reasons, chief among them being the performance offered for the price. There have been a lot of Remington Model 700 variants over the years, but the one in current production that is my clear favorite is the Remington Model 700 Long Range chambered in .30-'06.
I'm not a huge fan of injection-molded polymer stocks. They're absolutely necessary to bring the price of a solid bolt-action rifle down to the $400 mark, but they have a hard time ensuring that the barrel remains free floating, they allow more action movement under recoil, and they don't really accommodate aftermarket bottom metal and today's standardized detachable box magazines.
The Long Range Remington Model 700 comes only in a long action and has a Bell & Carlson M40 tactical stock, although it's not really tactical; it's just a beefy hunting stock with a slightly square forend that rides bags and other supports well. The comb is as high as Remington can make it without interfering with bolt travel, so we have our best chance of getting a consistent cheekweld with this model without adding the weight and expense of an adjustable cheekpiece.
This subtle detail is an important one for helping us get maximum accuracy out of our rifle. Without consistent head placement on the stock, our accuracy degrades. If we need a little more comb height, there are a number of different stock packs that can be accommodated with negligible expense.
In addition to the well-apportioned size of the stock, it also has an aluminum bedding block that provides a very stable foundation for the action. The bedding block runs from underneath the chamber to the back tang and is surrounded by fiberglass. It puts a solid chunk of aluminum between the action and the triggerguard. This makes it very difficult for the action to move under recoil and, once torqued into place, minimizes point-of-impact shifts that can result when a rifle is roughly handled.
The 26-inch barrel on the Long Range Remington Model 700 is Remington's varmint contour that handles heat much better than lighter, traditional hunting-barrel contours. Should we ever want to dabble in long-range shooting where we might need to fire more than three rounds every few minutes, this heavier barrel will be invaluable. The 26-inch length also makes good use of all the powder in the cartridge case, even if we get one chambered in the big magnums.
The best part about the Long Range model is that many of the big outdoor retailers carry them for less than $700. That's for a long-action Remington Model 700 with a premium fiberglass stock that won't need to be replaced even if we like to shoot our rifle for hours at a time. The heavy barrel is also up to the task of prolonged range sessions ringing steel as far out as we can see it. When we look at what's being offered and what we're asked to pay, this model easily gives us the most bang for our buck.
It comes chambered in .25-'06, .30-'06 (one of my favorites), 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum and .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Each rifle weighs 9 pounds, so they might not be the best choice if we plan on climbing up a mountain. That weight makes the Remington Model 700 more pleasant to shoot, though.