The SPS is a lot like the 870 express(shotgun) because it is the same rifle as any other 700 but lacks the "frills" such as polished barrels and expensive wood stocks. It will serve you very well and with its dull appearance, it will be hard for game to see it.
After doing a lot of research and shopping around, we decided to purchase a new Remington 700 SPS Stainless 30-06 as a gift for my son's earning the Eagle Scout Award.
Rifle was $469.00 from Sportsman's Warehouse in Utah and included a 24" stainless grade 416 / parkerized barrel and Limbsaver Recoil Pad.
The blued version was discounted to $398.00, but we liked the stainless at $469. (Note: The 2005 Stainless version retails for $613 and has replaced the 2004 BDL's Stainless. The 2005 SPS in blue ($520 retail) has replaced the 2004 ADL line which was dropped.)
We piller bedded the action / free floated the barrel, and adjusted the stock trigger to a crisp 2 3/4 lbs. So far, results have been 7/8" MOA with Federal's 180-gr. (Nosler) Solid Base ammo.
While Winchester Supreme 180-gr. Ballistic Silvertips are my favorite load for deer (front half of the bullet explodes like a grenade & rear half keeps on penetrating for a complete pass-through like a Nosler Partition), the 700 SPS with 24" barrel only shoots 1 1/4" groups with the Ballistic Tip - plenty enough for deer.
Funny thing, Federal High Energy Nosler Partitions at 2,880 fps measured 11/16" groups on 7/21/06 and Winchester 180-gr. factory Nosler AccuBonds were about 1".
Elk have been killed close to roads where they could be loaded whole into the bed of a pickup. But it doesn't happen often and I'm not sure that is the experience that I long for. The type of elk hunting that I prefer requires rigorous physical exertion that can cripple someone who is not in shape. Being a college hockey player I have to be in at least fair physical condition most of the year but when one of my buddies got back from the Navy Seals he changed the way I think about physical...