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".
Over the years I have seen several elk and deer hides left in the woods by hunters and I have to wonder why they do this? I fully understand and agree about getting the hide off the animal as soon as possible to cool the meat, but why not pack out the hide with you and use it? As far as I know there are no state laws that require you to take the hide home, but to me why waste such a beautiful part of the animal? Some might think they have no use for the hide or it costs too much to tan....