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Remington 788 Rifle

Every now and again one rediscovers the joy of a rifle that has sat for decades without any use.  In my case, it was a Remington 788 bolt action rifle chambered in .223 Remington.  I bought it back in the 70's when I was nearing the end of my military service.  I was living in Virginia and varmint hunting was something I'd not done before moving there.  I found a good deal on the 788, went hunting a few times, and then moved.  So much for VA varmint hunting. 

Fast forward to a month ago when I was leafing through some old 3 ring binders stuffed full of old reloading info.  I found some very old paper targets from when I was working up a load for my 788.  All in all, it did pretty good considering I was a lot newer to reloading some 30+ years ago.  I decided I needed to pick up some bullets for it, load some rounds, and take it to the range.

Remington 788 rifle chambered in .223 Remington

The 788 is no longer offered by Remington.  It was introduced in 1967 as a lower cost alternative to the more expensive Remington 700, which is still marketed today in a variety of models.  Remington ceased production of the 788 in 1983 after making more than a half million in some 9 different calibers. 

Remington 788 nine lug bolt

The bolt in the 788 is a bit different than others.  The locking lugs are located at the rear of the bolt, all 9 of them.  Remington's design gave this bolt one of the fastest lock times ever produced.  If a person spends time reading some of the older threads in various firearms forums, the rear locking lug design isn't the best design.  This holds true mainly for the larger caliber offerings, such as .308 Win, 7mm-08, or a hot loaded .243 Win.  For the smaller .222 and .223 Remington cartridges, this isn't nearly so much an issue due to the lower operating pressures.  The end result is shorter case life as the bolt compresses and stretches the case under recoil.  (we are talking a few thousandths of an inch)

Remington 788 trigger

The stock trigger isn't the best on the market but I've found worse on guns costing notably more than the 788's price.  Mine has no creep or take up but the weight is a little more than I prefer.  Back in the 70's, I came across a trigger shoe (don't ask me where I got it, too long ago) and found it helps "distribute" the trigger pull over more of my finger.  The apparent trigger weight feels less.  I just checked on line and noticed that Timney makes a replacement trigger for $130.  Not sure if I'll go that route or not....but it's nice to know the option exists given the 788 is long out of production.

Remington 788 magazine

The biggest issue that a 788 owner faces, in my opinion, is the lack of magazines.   To the best of my knowledge, no aftermarket companies are making them and Remington sold out many, many years ago.  It seems that some of the large parts companies may have bought up Remington's stock.  While it is not likely it will wear out, losing it while walking through the woods is a reality to consider.  I found one comment in a forum where it was stated that some folks had made their own magazines.  Seems like more of an undertaking than I would want to do but a good gunsmith might not find it that daunting.  I would be more inclined to turn it into a single shot if it came down to that.  A check on e-bay shows a couple of sources selling them.  Many folks don't realize that the .222 Rem magazine works perfectly with .223 Rem cartridges, so finding a source with either one will work in either rifle. 

More Remington 788




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