Well I don’t think any of us can pretend to be surprised. (If we did a shotgun tourney, the 870 would surely win, too.) But getting here was fun, and in the end it came down to mystique vs. legendary accuracy.
Here in the northeastern big woods, where pinpoint accuracy is not paramount, I tend to favor mystique, which is probably why my cabinet holds a Rifleman’s Rifle in 7mm-08 (not to mention a Savage 99 in .300 Savage and a Model 94 in .30/30, among others). But I must say that I’ve long lusted for a Model 700 Mountain Rifle in .260. The 700’s incredible popularity and proven out-of-the-box accuracy make it a deserving winner, you must admit (although you’re welcome to complain about it below).