Rem 700 Rifle Question & Some Comments

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by Old CW4, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Old CW4

    Old CW4 Banned BANNED

    Sep 8, 2006
    I caught the tail end of a tv documentary two evenings ago about problems with Remington 700s and some of their other rifles firing with the safety on and no trigger contact. Supposedly, there was a court trial in progress seeking damages for the accidental fatal shooting of a man's son when his rifle suddenly discharged with safety on and no trigger contact. The tv program claimed Remington was aware of this and had been covering up the problem for years. All news to me. Did any of you folks see this, or have you had such a problem with a Remington?

    As a long time gunsmith, I had not previously heard of such accidental firings with Remingtons although I have had some concerns a couple of times about their quality control. My issue with quality was two customers in one week who had bought Remington 700 BDLs. One was a 30-06 and the other a 270. Both beautiful new rifles were brought in to me with split stocks and I mean split! From the action back to the buttplate. The cause was easy to diagnose, both rifles had a 1/16 inch or more gap between the rear of the recoil lug and the front of the lug recess in the stock. Such a gap lets the rear of the the action turn into a blunt splitting wedge when firing. Both guys only fired a couple of shots, factory ammo, from their brand new rifles before acquiring 'two piece' stocks.

    BTW, I can't speak for other smiths, but I use candle smoke on recoil lugs when fitting new stocks or rebedding one with epoxy. I smoke the back of the lug and work on the stock recess with riffler files and so on until I have a nice even layer of black over the entire face of the recess. At the same time I always relieve a bit just behind the action so there'll be no 'splitting pressure' as the rifle 'works in' and somewhat compresses the wood at the stock recoil recess.

    Such fitting is usually a non problem with stocks made of basically inert artificial material formed in precision molds. However, wood stocks are a horse of another color since they were living matter, absorb moisture, and will slightly change dimensions throughout their service lifespans as their environment changes. (See my previous post about coating the hell out of wood stock interiors with stock oil if you refinish one to help seal the wood from moisture absorbtion.)

    Anyway, I refused to service either rifle because they were brand new and advised the customers to send them back to Remington for warranty repair.

    Just to share the wealth with bad reviews, I had a customer come in with his son carrying a new Ruger bolt action 243 just gifted to him by dad. The complaint was trigger pull and it read FOURTEEN pounds on my pull gauge! I'm a big, strong old dude and I had trouble with that trigger. No way anyone could get off a decent shot with that rifle. I assumed this would be an easy fix but not so. The entire trigger was sealed inside a welded sheet metal 'box' which blocked all access to any adjustments. There were also stern warnings in the manual to the effect that any tampering would void the warranty. Again, I advised the dad to return the rifle to the maker and gave him a short writeup as to the trigger pull I'd measured.

    The incident with the Ruger 243 was several years back when the PC about guns and gun safety was at its peak. So I don't know if this was standard procedure with Ruger at the time or not but that rifle was worthless with such a heavy trigger pull.
  2. Bruceter

    Bruceter Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2000
    I saw part of that on TV also. I worked in a couple of gun shops on and off from the mid '80's to about '90. I have also been reading gun mag's for even longer than that and this is the first I have ever heard of this.

  3. dttomcat


    Apr 14, 2007
    I MAY have had an issue once with my 700 CDL. I took an old girlfriend to the range one day and she had never shot before. Before we left the house I spent a couple of hours teaching her all she needed to know about firearms safety and she passed the NRA test 100% when we got there. Anyway, with the rifle pointed down-range, and the stock not quite firmly against her shoulder she went to release the safety and POW the gun discharged. She immediately got a scared and questioning look on her face,asked what had happened, and she had split the tip of her thumb nail on the safety switch. I took her out to the counter and got her a band-aid for her thumb. Now, I believe that she made the mistake of having her finger on the trigger as she went to release the safety with her thumb making her responsible for the accidental discharge and not a rifle malfunction but I'm not positive. From what I've read the accidental discharges occur when the safety is released. The rifle has a good firm out of the box trigger, about 8 lbs., I think, that has never been adjusted. This girl was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, though. Ten minutes after she split her thumb nail she staples herself in the finger while attaching a target to the carrier and she started bleeding like a stuck pig. I had to take her back out to the counter for another band-aide. The lady behind the counter just shook her head. However, I will never, once, un-safety this weapon unless it is pointed in an absolutely safe direction.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  4. dttomcat


    Apr 14, 2007
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  5. scarysharp


    Mar 4, 2008
    I saw the same show and watched the whole thing. They even had guys on the firing line who could MAKE the gun go off apparently while just moving the bolt. I've always been a Wichesteste guy so I dont know the Remington, but they did go and find the man who designed the trigger and he claims there could be an inherent fault. He had recommended a different design that cost a few pennies more back then in '48 but Remington didnt use it.
    As with all things on TV one has to wonder, but the fact remains that there are mutliple documented cases including the little boy from which the documentary begins.
    As far as me buying a REmington -I'll opt out. They always seemed a little cheesy to me. Its also the model that is on sale EVERYWHERE, that alone will keep me away
  6. dttomcat


    Apr 14, 2007
    In fairness to Remington I wanted to let people know that they have both a written and a video response to CNBC's show on their website. I tried to copy a link to the video but I could not. Just go to if you are interested.


    Oct 19, 2010
    I personally did not get to watch this episode, but a friend told me about it. I have 4 of the 700BDL's (.223 / .22-250 / .220Swift / .308 ), all from the mid 80's, & I have had not one incident with either of them. The .22-250 had a "trigger" job in 1993 to lighten the pull, but have not had one problem with any of the guns. I also have (don't laugh) a Remington Nylon 66 & it is still shooting just as well as it did waaaaay back when it was new. Could this be a case of 1 bad one in the barrel ruins the rest ???
    Be safe.
  8. mete


    Jun 10, 2003
    I saw part of that show and the most interesting was the interview with Mike Walker .I didn't know he was alive still ! He designed it .When they were having problems [he retired in 1975] he found it to be a QC problem with dimensions . He set up a QC program and cured the problem . When he left, Remington cancelled the program !
    I've worked on a number of 700 triggers to deal with the 7lb 'lawyer triggers' and never had a problem [I've been to gunsmithing school !] I've also fixed pistols of various brands where releasing the safety would fire the gun ! It's all been a dimension problem .
    It's a PITA to deal with QC because it seems no one wants to bother .I say that as an engineer with lots of experience in that field.
    The fact that Remington guns 'killed and injured' people makes lawyers very happy $$$ and TV producers happy also. Of course those who were injured had a loaded gun pointed at them --a violation of basic gun safety rules !
    Corporations often cut corners and this seems to be Remington's attitude too. BTW if you ever send your gun back to Remington and they see an adjusted or aftermarket trigger , it will be removed and a 'proper ' lawyer trigger installed !
  9. Nimick


    Jul 26, 2005
    I've had that happen to me with my 700 SPS.

    I've stopped mentioning it because everybody I tell it to assumes that I'm a moron and had my finger on the trigger, but I know I didn't because I didn't have the gun shouldered. I always carry the gun by the forestock ever since I added 7 pounds of lead to it. (yeah, it was a little too much)

    I just popped the safety off and it fired. scared the crap out of me.
  10. dttomcat


    Apr 14, 2007
    Man, now I'm wondering if the girl I mentioned actually did have her finger on the trigger or not. If you are familiar with the safety then I think you could understand how moving it to the off position with your thumb while having your finger on the trigger could cause accidental discharge by virtue of the back and forth motion as opposed to a side to side type switch on some other rifles. As I stated above I believe she may have had her finger on the trigger. She was so shaken by the unexpected shot and the jolt to the shoulder that she wasn't even sure when I asked her. Obviously, you don't put your finger on the trigger, but it seems as if, on a few of these guns anyway, that offing the safety might be just as dangerous as pulling the trigger. Or even jostling the bolt. It is a shame because of the history and the wide use of these rifles. They are very versatile with more after-market parts than just about any other rifle I know of. What would you guys who are gun smiths suggest. Is this a problem that could be rectified by an experienced smith or what. I'd hate to have a high-powered rifle (mine is .30-06) go off when I'm not really expecting it to. Every time I take the safety off now I will be wondering if the gun might fire. I've probably put 60 or 70 rounds through it.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  11. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    I had one that would do it. Remington SUCKS ass as far as I'm concerned. I've had 8 different 700's and only ONE of them didn't have issues of some kind.

    I had a Remington 700 LTR (Light Tactical Rifle), the really cool looking one with a 20" barrel, three flat flutes on the barrel, and an HS Precision stock. This was a $900 factory tactical rifle. Many military and police SWAT units used this gun. It came with a 7lb trigger pull. 7lbs on a tactical gun!!!

    I couldn't get that rifle to group less than 2" with ANY .308 load I tried, factory or custom reloaded. Most were 3" or more. I tried almost 50 different loads in the gun, hoping for ONE that would group under 1". I even let a couple of SWAT guys I know shoot (they can SHOOT) and they couldn't get it to shoot either. The barrel copper fouled so badly that I had to clean it after 10 shots.

    I wrote Remington and sent the rifle to them. 2 months later (yes 2 months!) I get a letter and the rifle back. I was told that everything with the rifle falls within their acceptable mechanical and accuracy parameters of groups of 3" or less. WTF? For a sniper rifle? YEAH.

    I ended up stripping the gun and selling it as parts. There was no way I was going to shaft someone with that thing, the way I was shafted. That was the last straw. I don't/won't buy anything with the Remington name on it. Guns, knives, gear, none of it.

    I almost cried when Remington acquired Marlin Firearms. I haven't shot any of the new Marlin's, but I hope they left the Marlin folks alone and let them do it the right way.

    The only Remington gun that's worth anything is the 870 Pump Shotgun.
  12. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    71 yrs. old & the most dependable rifle in the world is the 700. i shoot a 721 & have known people all my life with 700s no problems. the basic armed services sniper rifle is built on the rem. 700.
  13. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    I have nothing bad to say about 721 and 725 rifles. The older guns before the 700 are great rifles.

    The 700 is a different animal. Cost cutting for increased production has taken it's toll.

    The only reason that the military and police people use the 700 is because it's really just a steel tube and all the parts are independently attached to it. You can chuck the tube into a lathe and square everything up quickly. It's also easier and quicker to bed since there are no angles or flats to deal with on the bottom of the action. They have so many of them around that it's easier and cheaper to keep refurbing them than it is to go through the process of getting a different gun designated for the role. That is straight from a Marine armorer that my cousin served with recently.

    That means that it's really easy to refurbish the rifles compared to actions like Howa and Winchester which are integral forgings. What I find very amusing that many of the popular aftermarket accessories for 700 actions are 3 position safeties, one piece bottom metal, larger extractors, and externally adjustable triggers.... all standard equipment on Winchester Model 70's.

    The current FBI Special Teams sniper rifle is an FN bolt action rifle that is based on the Winchester Model 70 action.

    More and more countries are going away from Remington 700 actions. They are using proprietary bolt action designs from McMillan, Accuracy International, Ed Brown, or converting to accurized semi-auto platforms based on the AR-15/AR-10 series of guns.
  14. dttomcat


    Apr 14, 2007
    At what range?
  15. 338375


    Nov 4, 2006
    I collected and hunted with Vintage Winchesters Model 70's for years. I have owned Pre-64 Win model 70's in every caliber that they ever offered. A fair amount of those were Super Grades.

    I also liked the older Rem 700's and 721's. I always found them to be reliable and reasonably accurate. Some, very accurate. It seems on the ones I had that wouldn't shoot as well as I knew they should, the culprit was over torqued action screws. Which holds true for a lot of production bolt action rifles.
    Some needed a little pressure at the tip of the stock, others like to be free floated. Even 50 year old rifles are usually easily capable of 1- 1 1/2 inches at 100 yards, even with factory ammo.

    I've have also owned a couple Remington 700's from their custom shop. They are very nice rifles, but definitely cost more than a production 700....

    I haven't heard of the issues you originally talked about Larry, but I've been a little out of the loop for awhile. 700's have always been known for good accuracy, smooth actions, and decent triggers out of the box. It sounds like those days have passed.
    It is sad, that the liability because of idiots, has changed how guns are made and sold.
    Remington use to be very concerned about customer satisfaction, and were good about taking blame for issues that, may or may not be safety related, and doing whatever was needed to repair the gun.

    I'll just stick with the older stuff. BTW, I hope this made sense, I just took an Ambien :D
  16. UffDa

    UffDa Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 1999
    Interesting. I have worked for a gunsmith for over 15 years. We are a Remington repair station and have never had a 700 sent to us for this problem.

    I do remember several incidents that happened a long time ago. In all the cases, the person holding the rifle admitted that they pulled the trigger BEFORE they released the safety. Still, the gun should not fire.

    I have personally tried to get at least 75 700s to fire by pulling the trigger and then, with my finger off the trigger, release the safety. Not one fired.

    Unfortunately, the owners of many of the firearms companies are not gun people. Most are golf people and are only interested in the bottom line. :rolleyes:
  17. dipbait


    Feb 9, 2008
    I know two people who have had Remington 700s go off accidentally. They both said it was a gun malfunction.
  18. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    100 yds.

    What made it even more frustrating is that I had another gun with me at the time, a CZ 527 Carbine in 7.62x39 with a light 18.5" barrel. So a 6lb gun with a light barrel in a chambering not exactly known for stellar accuracy. The CZ was grouping cheap Wolf 122 HP ammo into 3/4" 5 shot groups.

    Yet right beside it was an expensive, renowned for accuracy, Remington 700 tactical rifle that wouldn't put any 168gr match loading from Federal, Winchester, or Hornady, or the custom ammo companies into less than 2" at the same range. That was my last straw with Remington.

    I don't expect most rifles to group 1" or less, it's not as common as the gun rags make it sound. IMO though, anything like a tactical rifle, beanfield gun, what-not, should do 1" or less at 100yds with several loads.

    I do have one Remington rifle that I will always keep. It's a 7400 in 30-06 that my girlfriend (now my wife) bought me for x-mas 15 years ago. (I knew she was a keeper then! :thumbup:) It's been tweaked a bit. Had the barrel cut and re-crowned at 20" due to a rough spot in the last inch or so of the barrel, got a new trigger spring for a 3lb pull, put an overtravel screw though the trigger guard (like a T/C Encore), had it parkerized and then put a Bell & Carlson stock on it. It'll group Hornady 150gr SST's into 1" at 100 yds. Barrel still fouls quite a bit, IMO, even though it's had over 800 rds through it. I also have to clean the chamber every 15rds or so, or it will start to jam. Not the fastest or the prettiest horse in the stable, but I've killed at least a deer a year with it, and they've all been one shot kills. It carrys nice too.
  19. dttomcat


    Apr 14, 2007
    I may take mine to the range later in the week and see what happens. You can bet I'll be extremely careful. I may also take it deer hunting in a couple of weeks but you can bet that my cross-hairs will be squarely on the heart and lungs before I off the safety. I have complete confidence in my ability to safely handle this rifle, especially, knowing what I know now, but I have no intention of putting it into the hands of someone without much experience. I may look into an after-market trigger system. The bummer is that this was not my first choice in a deer rifle. I originally wanted a T/C Icon but they had just been released when I bought and they were impossible to find. I've heard mixed reviews of the Icon since then but I think I'd feel better than I do right now.

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