Remington 700 versus Savage 10/110: Comparative design notes

Having built custom rifles on Remington actions and clones for years, and starting to build custom rifles on Savage actions, I felt it would be useful to compare the receivers of both rifles side by side.

Both models have been around a long time.  The Model 10/110 has been manufacturer since 1958, while the 700 has been since 1962.  Initially, these were marketed as fairly affordable rifles, as time, production methods, raw material costs, and the economy has changed, these have both grown into mid-level offerings with both manufactures offering alternate models for budget conscious shooters.

For reference purposes, a schematic of the Savage 10/110 can be found here, and one for the Remington 700 can be found here.

rem vs savage right side 2

In this post I’ll be comparing a Savage Model 10 action (top), that was taken off of a current production (2016) Model 10 FCP-SR chambered in 308 Winchester, to a Remington 700 short action receiver (bottom), which was purchased as a new, virgin receiver, with .223 Remington bolt face.  Note the larger ejection port on the savage.

rem vs savage left side

Note the external dimensions of both receivers are similar. The Savage (bottom) is equipped with Savage’s Accutrigger while the Remington (top) uses the current factory trigger.  Nominal outside diameter of both receivers is 1.35″.

rem vs savage promary extraction

Primary extraction for the Remington 700 (top) occurs when the bolt cams against the rear of the receiver.  Primary extraction for the Savage. occurs when the bolt handle cams against rear baffle assembly.

rem vs savage safeties

The Savage (left) uses a tang mounted three position safety.  In its rear most position, the bolt is locked and rifle won’t fire (Full Safe), in the middle position the bolt can be manipulated without firing the rifle (Mid Safe), when the safety is off, the bolt can be manipulated and rifle fired (Off).  The bolt release lever is located on the right side of the receiver, forward of the bolt handle.  The Remington 700 (right), uses a two position safety.  When the lever is to the rear, the rifle cannot fire and the bolt can be manipulated, when the lever is forward, the rifle can fire and the bolt can be manipulated.   Note: on older Model 700s, the safety locked the bolt when it was engaged.front rem v savage

A front view of both receivers.  The Savage (right) had a notch located to the bottom front edge of the receiver, this allows for indexing of lugs with an indexing pin.

rem versus savage bottom

A bottom view of both receivers.  Note the location of location of the action screws for both models.  The Remington (left) has an action screw located at the front of the receiver and on the rear of the tang.  The Savage has both screws located in front of the trigger guard.  The proximity of the screws to each other on the Savage, make bedding with bottom metal a little more difficult.  The magazine well on the Savage is longer.

rem versus savage bolts

Remington (top) uses a one piece bolt bolt body and fewer parts.  The bolt head, body and handle are all soldered together at the factory.  Savage has a floating bolt head, secured by a removable pin, that allows the bolt head to be easily changed if a different size is needed.

rem versus savage bolt facesA front view of both bolts.  The bolt lugs of a Savage (left) are flush with the bolts face, while the lugs on the Remington (right) are set back approximately .150″- this is necessary for the “three rings of steel” Remington advertises (and shown below) as a safer system for rifles.  Both use a spring loaded constant tension ejector.  The Savage extractor slides in from the side and engages the case rim, it uses an extractor, spring and pin.  The Remington extractor is a one piece spring that does not cut into the continuous ring of steel around the bolt nose.  I’ve personally found the Remington extractor more reliable than the Savage extractors.

rem and savage barrels on actions

Perhaps the most noteworthy difference between the Remington and Savage, is the method used to attach the barrel to the action and determine headspace.  The Savage (top) uses a barrel nut system, while the Remington (bottom), uses a precut shank.

rem vs savage barrel shank 3

Both rifles use a flat metal recoil lug on the barrel shank.

rem v savage recoil lugs

The design of both lugs is fairly similar (Savage, left, Remington, right).  Neither has a reputation for being particularly flat.  Both are often surface ground flat or exchanged for an aftermarket product by custom gun builders.

rem versus savage threads

A comparison of barrel shanks with the Savage’s (bottom) barrel nut removed.  The threads have an external diameter of 1 1/16″, however, the Remington (top) has 16 threads per inch, while the Savage has 20 threads per inch.  Due to design considerations, the Remington can use barrel with a shank up to 1.250″, however, the Savage is limited to 1.060″.  The Savage system head spaces with the barrel nut system. This allows barrels to be changed and head spaced without a lathe and is often considered a major advantage.  Note: the Savage barrel shown above is a so-called “small shank”, a larger shank diameter is used on rifles chambered in magnum and short magnum cartridges.

rem vs savage barrel shank

The rear of a Savage’s barrel tenon (left)  has a flat surface.  The Remington (right) has a bolt nose recess.

rem vs savge bolts in barrel

The Remington’s (top) bolt is surrounded by the rear of the barrel tenon when it is installed.  This is intended to slow down escaping gases and protect the shooter if a failure is experienced with ammunition.   The savage bolt has a slight gap between the rear of the barrel and the face of the bolt.

Both receivers work well and can be used as the foundation for accurate rifles. So what are you thoughts?

Similarly equipped Savage rifles tend to cost less than Remington. The barrel nut system and interchangeable bolt heads on the Savage make for easier caliber changes.  If you like to tinker around with guns, are on a budget, and don’t have access to a lathe- the Savage is hard to beat.  While it wasn’t discussed above, the factory Savage Accutrigger, is one of the best mass produced triggers I’ve encountered on a rifle.

The Remington action is more refined, with fewer parts and smoother lines.  Barrel changes are more complex and require either access to a metal lathe or the use of short chambered barrels (some shooters will convert their Remington 700s to a Savage style barrel nut system, for more information see: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe). A wider variety of aftermarket parts are readily available for Remington 700s.

Either one will serve you well, if you can’t decide, try both!