The Remington 700 PSS

< 1999
By Scott Powers

The Remington 700 Police Sharp Shooter (PSS). For years, this rifle has been in service with countless law enforcement agencies across the United States. Based originally on the old Remington 700 Varmint rifle of days gone by, the PSS shows its fine, tack-driving lineage. Over the yeas, the rifle has undergone many minor improvements that have kept it up to date technologically, yet affordable to the average police unit. Moreover, this rifle has led the march for many toward ever increasing accuracy and, in its current form, is quite capable when compared to a custom-built rig, especially because of its reasonable price. Most recently, Remington changed the designation of the PSS to the 700 Police, or 700 P, and has made available a detachable magazine version, the 700 D.M., though this review will only focus on the PSS model.

The Remington action has long been considered the best of its type for strength, rigidity, and safety. Many shooters have based their custom rigs on this action and many manufacturers have built actions in its image. And in factory tactical rifle offerings, the 700 PSS is the rifle by which all others are judged. There may be better systems out there, in terms of pure accuracy, but generally they far exceed the price. In short, Remington continues to be the standard.

The current PSS sports the H.S. Precision kevlar and fiberglass-reinforced synthetic stock with a full-length, aluminum bedding block. Except for two modifications, this stock is identical to the M24 stock currently used by the Army. The M24 comes with an adjustable length-of-pull stock; the PSS does not. The M24 barrel channel is wider also as that rifle's barrel is almost a straight taper whereas the PSS has the same contour as the current Remington varmint line of rifles. The stock is sturdy without being overly heavy. It has a wide fore grip and is quite stable off a bag, bench, or bipod. The H.S. stock is molded with a non-slip pebbled finish and is black in color. It has a palm swell at the pistol grip that fills out the hand nicely and makes trigger control easy by positioning the hand properly. The stock has two sling swivel studs, the forward of which is for a bipod. The stock attaches to the action with Allen screws set at 65 inch pounds. A helpful tip: If you purchase any Remington with an H.S. Precision stock, consider getting the appropriate torque wrench. This will save you much anguish the first time you want to pull the stock off for trigger work. Further, with the torque wrench, you are assured proper bedding tension when you re-install the action.

This brings to mind an oft-repeated question. Shooters, looking to buy a sniper rifle and considering the Remington line want to know "What is the difference between the 700 PSS and the 700 Varmint?" Or, more appropriate to the current model offerings, "What is the difference between the 700 PSS and the 700 Varmint Synthetic (VS)?" Beyond the stock, there is virtually no difference! This similarity in offerings says a lot for the excellent work Remington does. The 700 VS has an H.S. Precision varmint weight stock. It has a moderately wide fore end and comes with one sling swivel stud. It has the aluminum bedding block. The pistol grip is narrow, about what you'd expect for a normal hunting rifle. In contrast, the PSS has the M24 non-adjustable stock, with a wide palm swell and a wider fore end. Now pay close attention -- the barreled action is virtually identical! There is no difference. Let me repeat myself. They are one and the same -- same barrel, same non-trued action, same trigger, and same recessed concave crown. Put a PSS stock on a 700 Varmint Synthetic action, and you have a 700 PSS. This must be a consideration if cost is an issue. On average the 700 VS costs about $100 less than the PSS. For sniping purposes, the M24 stock is far superior to the varmint weight stock, but it is not really worth the extra cost if you are on a tight budget. Accuracy levels are approximately the same with either stock but the PSS stock has a much better feel.

To reiterate, the PSS, like its close relative the VS, is a well-crafted firearm sharing many of the latter's positive attributes... but that's not all! Getting more technical, the PSS and VS share a few problems due to the modern plague of plaintiffs' lawyers and the idiot owners who hired them to shift responsibility for their own mistakes -- the PSS and VS have unacceptably long throats or "free bores," and heavy triggers. Most rifles shoot at their peak accuracy when the bullet is seated just shy of the lands and groves. This generally means a gap somewhere between .010 and .030 between the rifling and the ogive of the bullet. For product liability reasons, the PSS -- like most factory rifles -- has a long throat, as compared to that found in a good match-chambered rifle. This assures you won't get a pressure spike by seating a handloaded bullet too long and thus jamming it into the rifling. Unfortunately, this means you will not see the rifle's true accuracy potential with a standard length cartridge. This is not to say that the rifle is not accurate -- quite the contrary. However, it has far more potential than a non-handloader will ever see.

For example, the PSS I am currently testing will place the 168-grain .308 Federal Gold Medal Match into about .5 to .8 minutes of angle (MOA). This variation covers the spread for a typical five-shot group from this rifle. This is very acceptable as far as sniper accuracy goes. . . but, when I seat the bullet out to where it should have been in the first place, those groups shrink to .2 MOA to .5 MOA! The problem then becomes that the overall length (OAL) of the hand-built cartridge is too long to fit in the magazine!

I know what you might be saying to yourself right now, "Hey, Scott, this rifle's a tack-driver." Sure, the PSS I am testing has proven itself to be a solid .6 MOA rifle with factory loads; with handloads (probably not acceptable for sniping purposes because of "due process" and liability concerns), the rifle will happily shoot into the .3 MOA range and occasionally exceeds that measurement. Remington, as well as every other manufacturer of whom I know, does the shooter a great disservice by making the throat so long. Our manufacturers are letting the legal system push them around a little too much in my opinion. If a firearm builder is going to give us a weapon specifically made for tactical shooting, then at least give us chamber dimensions worthy of the purpose. Damn the liability! Accuracy above all else!

Notwithstanding the throat problem, the PSS has proven to be a reliable, accurate, and repeatable tactical rifle. My cold barrel shot (CBS) has consistently been dead-center and one-quarter inch high of the average group. If I were to place a series of CBS targets from different days on top of one another, you would see clean through each hole as though a pencil was driven front to back. I can not complain about that level of consistency.

The second major liability-related problem is the trigger; the factory pull weight is too great. Plan on lowering it to about three pounds. Thankfully, the Remington trigger is easily adjusted. The trigger is wide and is excellent for mating finger to weapon. Moreover, it is crisp, clean, and without creep. It's just too heavy from the factory and that extra weight will affect accuracy.

In summation, I heartily recommend the Remington 700 PSS for your tactical needs. My voice is just one in a chorus of many who have, over several decades, found this rifle more than adequate for the job.


Specifications

Calibers :
7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester) and 5.56 NATO (.223 Remington)
Barrel :
26" Heavy Contour, Free floating, 1:9" and 1:12" twists available
Stock :
Matte black, HS Precision semi-beavertail, Palm-Swell with aircraft-grade aluminum bedding block
Magazine :
4-round internal box magazine (7.62)
4-round internal box magazine (5.56)
4-round detachable box magazine (700 D.M. in 7.62)

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