I've used them all and like them for different reasons.
One of the best deer rifles I've owned was a Ruger M77 in .284 Winchester. I like the tang safety on the M77, since I shoot an over/under shotgun this style is very natural. I'm not a big fan of the blocky stocks.
The Remington Model 700 is one of the best rifles of all time. Until recently, most Remingtons had stiff triggers and needed a trigger job. The newer trigger group is much better. Accurate, simple rifles. I like the titanium version for lightness.
Savage has the Accutrigger. Very crisp and clean, and the quality of their barrels is good. They seem to have an action that is more loose and prone to wear than other brands.
I own a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in .300 WSM. Very versatile gun and I like the 3-position safety and controlled round feed.
I have the new Savage model 12 in .223; totally love it, the accutrigger is priceless. The newer Winchesters are actually made with/by Browning, not bad, not much experience with Ruger, I do have a ruger p77 9mm, no complaints and no experience with the Remington.
Out of those four, I would say I like Ruger the least. I've had problems with bolt lock-up and I've had bad luck with warranty repairs with them.
Now for the good:
My top choice is the Remington 700. The fit is perfect for me, and I prefer the lines and overall appearance of a Remington rifle. I've had good success with accuracy from them, and I think they have the strongest and smoothest action out of the four listed. Also, it probably has the most after market parts and accessories available for it. The down side is the trigger. It's a pretty easy fix, but I don't see why they don't come out of the factory better. I've read a lot of good things about the new trigger group, and I am anxious to try it out probably with my next rifle purchase....a .308.
A close second would be the Winchester 70, and for pretty much all the same reasons as the Remington. I was really disappointed when they discontinued this, along with the Model 94 and 1300, because I felt those were Winnies most solid offerings. There are still a lot of parts and accessories for the M70, so I would not hesitate buying a used one if the right deal came my way.
So Savage would place third. I love the Accutrigger they've been putting on all the newer Savages. That is definitely one of the strong points of their rifles. The trigger combined with their barrels makes for a very accurate rifle right out of the box. I do wish they would improve their actions because I find them to be a bit on the clunky side and prone to wear faster. However, I do like how they put the big bolt handle on a lot of their target/varmint rifles. That's something you usually have to get after market for a Remington or Winchester. Savage pays the least attention to detail as far as looks go, but if it is something that's going to get all banged up in the brush then who cares, right? I enjoy the Savage rifles I have now, but I would steer clear of their magnum offerings because they are often too light and kick like a mule.
There are a few others that I like, but I think they stray from the theme of American made rifles that seems to be the point of discussion here.
i myself am a remington man. i have the remington 700 in 300 win mag and a rem 700ml 50 cal. love them both they are great guns however i do need to go and get a trigger job done on my 300. it is just a little bit too tight.
I'm a Remington fan as well. I own or have owned all but the Winchester.
I can't knock my Savage too much, but I can't really brag about it either. JKust a plain Jane gun that is fairly accurate. But, It's an old 110 and I hear good things about the accu trigger.
You don't see many custom rifles built on the other three. :wink:
Now, For my last rifle I would have gone with the Kimber with the Mauser claw extractor, but they are just too damned pretty and I'm like a bulldog with guns. So the Remington 700 XCR did the trick. I've killed 7 critters with it in the last year and agree, the triggers are better these days. It definitely shoots better than I do!
For me it is a toss-up between the Remington 700 and the late Winchester Model 70 for #1. Quality seems equal and accuracy seems equal.
While Remington is often cited for accuracy, the 4 Winchester Model 70s I have owned have been extremely accurate. I recently traded a sub-MOA 70 Ranger .270 for a 70 XTR .25-06 but haven't played with that yet to see if it can shoot as well as my other Winnys. Marine sniper Carlos Hath**** had no problem hitting at long range with his pre-64 Model 70 .30-06 on his first 'Nam tour and the other Marine snipers loved theirs. I really think the pre-64/Classic type Model 70 controlled-feed Mauser 98/03 Springfield derivative action is the ultimate reliable hunting action and the one that got the Model 70 the name "The Rifleman's Rifle". Their push-feed models are also the equal of any push-feed Rem 700. Sadly, with the closing of the New Haven plant (been losing money for years they say) the Winchester is no longer an option except on the used market. The Featherweight is my favorite M-70 version.
The Remington 700 is a nice rifle with a great trigger (new ones often need more work) and its cost-saving round action make it easy to bed and easy to make shoot well, plus they have good barrels. You can't go wrong here and is my #1 choice in the major rifle maker field with the demise of the Model 70. Yes, my two examples shoot very well when fed stuff they like (my '06 doesn't like lighter bullets.) I think the Remingtons have great aesthetics with a nice finish and decent stocks. I like 'em.
Third for me would be the Weatherby/Howa Vanguard/1500 with the nod going to the Weatherby version for some upgrades they insist on. A good action that is very nice and very, very accurate from what I have seen. Trigger is ok, but Timney can help you there. Nice choice of stocks and versions.
Fourth would be the Ruger M77. I, too, love the tang safety of the original M77 and the scope ring set-up. Barrels were outsourced on these for low-bid and quality varies a lot. My .270 M77 never will be a MOA performer, but is accurate enough for intended purpose. My .243 is very fussy but will shoot well with the right load. It has an extremely long throat. The new Mk IIs have barrels made in-house by Ruger finally that helps accuracy a lot. Their trigger drives me nuts, and the dished-out synthetic stock is the worst thing I have ever seen on a good rifle (but sturdy!) I don't plan on buying another Ruger however, even Mk II version.
Lastly would be the Savage 110. I had a Model 110 7mm Rem Mag that I struggled with. It exuded "cheap" and tinny. If I tightened up the middle action screw it would lock up the bolt. The trigger was thin and had sharp edges. The scope mounting distance was so long that I required a special mount to put on a Leupold 6x42 scope. When working up loads, top loads would give me .280 Rem velocities in the Savage chamber (a 7mm Mag issue with many rifles though). Accuracy was average only. However I think that a newer, more costly version with the AccuTrigger would be better, and a lot of people are very happy with these newer ones, especially heavy barrel versions. I was happy to sell it and get the cheap birch stock Win. Ranger that seemed to have much more quality and aesthetics all the way around, plus better accuracy. No more Savages for me however.
Actually, you are both right. For the first part of his service in Vietnam he used a Winchester Model 70 in .30-06, and then was later issued a Remington 700 in .308. The USMC decided on the Remington because they found fault with the post-1964 versions of the Model 70.
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