You read a lot of opinions on rifles on the internet from people who probably have never shot the guns they are bashing. For example the Ruger m77 is hated by many, but my Dad’s 7mm Rem Mag is one of the most accurate rifles I’ve ever seen, although a 257 that I bought used was crap. I’ve had the ability to compare hands on two low cost rifles that are close to the same price and came with almost identical features. The Remington 770 in 270 (a kid’s in my youth group) and my Savage 111 in 30-06. These are both package guns that are long action, came with cheap scopes, plastic stocks, detachable box magazines (DBM), I believe the 770 is a 20 inch barrel and the 111 is a 22inch.
Let’s start with the actions and caliber
270 vs 30-06: No I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of each. Basically the 270 is a necked down 30-06. Both have more than proven themselves as excellent hunting cartridges over many decades. The nice thing for comparing these two rifles is that the bolt lengths are about the same. The 770 is a 3-lug bolt with a shorter throw than the 111’s 2 lug bolt. The 111 action is far superior in smoothness and solidness. The 770 action feels plasticy. OK that’s not a real word but the 770 does feel like pot metal to me. I feel as though it would eventually break under use. The Savage is nice cold, solid steel. 1 Point Savage.
The 111 did not come with Savage’s much praised accutrigger, but it also came at a clearance price that I couldn’t pass up. So for the stock trigger on the 111 vs 770 the winner is the 770. The trigger on the 770 is pretty good, not as good as some premium rifles I’ve shot, but a very respectable trigger. The stock trigger on the 111 was heavy and I disliked it. I spent $85 on a Rifle Basix trigger and I’m glad I did. Now the Savage has the better trigger. However, I feel no need to change the trigger on the Remington. 1 Point Remington. (I should also point out that on the savage you can actually upgrade the trigger, not so on the 770, and if the Savage came with an accutrigger the winner would be the Savage.
The Savage came with a Bushnell 3-9x40mm, the Remington with a no-name 3-9x40mm. I have no idea what is the better scope. I had a Nikon on a 22mag so I put it on the Savage. I’ll call this one a tie.
As you can see I’ve painted both. Both stocks are horrible. The advantage goes to the Savage for being free floated and pillar-bedded, but don’t count on it being free-floated with a bipod. The Savage does have metal sling studs. The Remington stock is very bad, not free floated, the action is poorly attached to the stock, the sling studs are molded in and feel flimsy. You could improve the Savage stock by epoxy bedding, many have, I don’t know where I’d start with the Remington. 1 Point Savage
The quality, reliability, and ease of use goes to the Savage 111. The mag solidly locks in place the hardware is metal and solid (note: this is the newer bottom release style) It is the same system used in all levels of Savage rifles. It’s a winner. The Remington DBM system has shown problems in feeding and is finicky in seating properly. It mounts through a hole in the plastic stock with a small spring loaded clip to hold it in place. Not the robust metal hardware of the Savage system. 1 Point Savage.
The winner is the Savage @ 1 MOA average (1/2 MOA best ever). The Remington gets about 1 1/2 to 2 moa. Both have been shot of the same rest, same day and conditions. 1 Point Savage.
These prices are from Able Ammo, I shopped there when they first started and their prices are fair. They price the Remington 770 with Scope at $338. They Savage 111 with scope AND accutrigger is priced at $443.74. Without an accutrigger the prices should be the same. I found my savage on clearance and payed $300 after Texas sales tax.
Total Scores: Remington 770 (1), Savage 111 (4). I tried to be objective but my conclusion is that the Savage 111 in it’s cheapest configuration beats the snot out of the Remington 770. It is well worth the extra money, I personally would not own the 770 the quality is just not there. To be fair I’m comparing a budget rifle to a lower featured rifle. This would be an entirely different comparison if I were comparing the cheapest Remington 700 to this Savage 111. My conclusion is the 770 is just not worth buying when you can spend a little more and get a substantially better rifle. Also the short comings of the low-end Savage 111, the trigger and the stock, are easily dealt with with the hundreds of aftermarket parts available. For example I put in a great trigger for $85 which means that for $385 I overcame the one shortcoming of the Savage 111 to the 770 for only about $50 more. I can also upgrade the stock when I get the money. You may be saying “I could do the same thing with the 770?” No, no you can’t. There is zero, zip, nada aftermarket support for the 770. And that is the number one reason to buy a Savage 111 or a Remington 700, even the cheap ones, over the budget rifles like the Remington 770, Savage Axis, or Ruger American. Aftermarket support, not only are you getting a superior barrel and action for not much more, you have the ability to upgrade your rifle as you get more money. Once I spend $200 on a stock I’ll have a $585 rifle that will be of exceptional quality and shoot as well as rifles costing much more.
This isn’t written for the guys who can go out and by a Browning X-bolt, Sako, or a premium rifle when they feel like it. This is for the guys like me who love to shoot but don’t have much money. Guys who have to scrape together money for months to buy a $300 rifle. I write this for guys like me who want the nice things but would also like to shoot not save for years to buy a $1000 rifle. So if you’re a poor youth minister like me then buy a rifle like me. One that you can enjoy shooting, and upgrade as you continue to put pennies in your pickle jar.
Peace be with you.