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Thread: The Remington 788

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    The Remington 788

    Recently there was a discussion here about a Remington 788 chambered in 7mm-08.
    That thread got me thinking about the 788 and I decided it was worth its own thread.

    The 788 was Remington's *economy* bolt action, centerfire rifle from the late 1960's well into the mid 1980's.
    Like a lot of American made economy rifles, people seem to love them or hate them and there's not a lot of middle ground.

    The people that are in the pro- 788 camp tend to speak of the rifle's excellent value, excellent accuracy, strong receiver and general utility.

    The people in the con-788 camp tend to cite the weak bolt handle to bolt attachment, expensive and hard to find magazine, bolt body compression (due to the rear locking lugs) and general cheap materials.

    Like most things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
    There's more than a little Model 700 snobbery involved with the anti-788 crowd but some of the criticism is founded in reality.

    Like the Savage 110 series, the 788 comes in at a lower price point and is a very serviceable rifle. It some ways, it may be a far better utility rifle or "truck" gun than its more expensive siblings.

    One thing I could never understand was Remington's decision to go with the 9 lug, rear locking bolt on an economy rifle?
    Those multiple lugs and corresponding locking recesses must have been expensive to machine. It always reminds me of a Weatherby 9 lug bolt except the lugs are on the rear of the Remington bolt. Critics claim there's no way all 9 lugs can be seated against the shoulders in the receiver at the moment of firing and I suspect they're right. However, considering the accuracy displayed by most 788's, it must not be an issue. I've always assumed that one row of lugs would solidly seat when the bolt was closed and were strong enough to withstand the forces involved. The remaining 6 lugs are likely redundant and serve as safeties. That's pure speculation on my part.

    In any event, the 788 was one of those American firearms that hit a price point and filled a market segment.

    What say you?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Can't disagree anywhere in your proffer. Market forces rule.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    My first 788 was a .308 left hand , the choice to get it was because Remington at the time did not offer the 700 in left hand in that chambering .

    I wasn't disappointed in the rifle in any way and yes I did manage to snap the bolt handle ....... once . My gunsmith knew an excellent welder who put it back on without softening the lugs . It shot as well as I could hold it and never had any other problems . Even finding magazines was easy , because back then they were making magazines too . Today is a different story but like any other removable magazine it's best not to lose it .

    As for the locking lugs bearing evenly , of the two rifles I have left . I see five to seven lugs bearing solidly enough that I'm not worried . If I was going to re-barrel either one even that would not be a problem .

    I would have been happy to get a 700 back then but Remington did not offer the left hand in .308 until the nineties and then I did buy one . Personally , I don't think it shoots any better than the 788 did and the stock is less comfortable in handling recoil . One thing that stopped me from breaking the handle on the other four 788 rifles I had was , if the bolt doesn't close easy , don't force it .

    I still have my .223 and .30 WCF 788's and they are fun and useful . If I ever need parts as I did for the 30WCF I call Jack First and see if they have or can make parts .


    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  4. #4
    Boolit Man Markopolo's Avatar
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    I sure like my 788... it is rarely in the safety of the "safe" ... I grab it and go and it hasn't let me down... so far the bolt handle has not been an issue. And I love how short the entire rife is.. easy to maneuver in tight brushy stuff, and accuracy if awesome for my short range shots in heavy brush and timber.. I have never tried to shoot past 100 yards with it though, as there is no clear ground around here that is more then 100...
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


    williamwaco's Avatar
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    Everyone I have ever known who actually owned one loved it.

    I tried for years to buy one in 30-30 but never could.
    First reload: .22 Hornet. 1956.
    More at: http://reloadingtips.com/

    "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the
    government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."
    - Henry Ford

  6. #6
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    leadhead's Avatar
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    I bought one in 22/250 probably in the mid 60's. Paid $85.00 for it brand new
    and I've had more fun with it than any other rifle I've owned.
    Killing groundhogs at 400 yds was no problem as long as the wind wasn't
    blowing. Wish they still made them. They put a hurt'in on the sales of the M700.
    Denny

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by williamwaco View Post
    Everyone I have ever known who actually owned one loved it.

    ..............
    /\ Pretty much what I've run across.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I've had three of them over the years. One each in .222 and 30-30, both sold years ago to fund a boat. They were both great fun guns to shoot. Now I have that nifty little 7mm-08 that I have not fired. I'm still on the ropes as to where to go with it. It's in great shape and doesn't look like it has a box of bullets through it but I haven't decided yet if I want to invest in brass, molds and dies for 7mm-08. I've been trying to cut back on quantity and focus more on quality, this gun doesn't really fit that plan.

    I love the way this one feels in hand. I've never owned anything with this short of a barrel (excluding the M1 Carbine). I'm into it cheap so maybe dies and such aren't so bad on the wallet. (-:}

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Got my 1 and only 788 in 1979, used, .222, currently sitting idle as it has had a great life and accounted for many species and numbers of critters. Due to barrel/throat/muzzle wear it needs rebarreling. I'm in a different shooting regimen now and will probably have Jeff Hankins install a 45 Brux SML barrel and HIS ignition system. Should make a great shooter for bench or hunting depending on whatever stock I put on it. Yeah, another project, soon I'll have lead and stuff to sell for some financing. Happy 4th to all! 10
    10 gauge: as per Robert Ruark, "use enough gun"

    MOLON LABE

    "I have a list, and am prepared for widespread civil disorder!" 10 ga

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    arlon, I would suggest buying a couple boxes of factory ammo and get a few different bullet weights. See what your rifle likes. Then if you want to get dies you'll have some brass and know which bullet weight to start with.

    The 7mm-08 is a great cartridge

  11. #11
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I had one back in the late 70s in 222. It shot well enough but was prone to severe impact point shifts with even a small load change. I'm talking up to 6 inches sideways at 100 yards.
    I traded it for a Winchester 70 in 22-250. I don't have it anymore either.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I had four, 222, 223, 22-250 and 243. All of them shot very well, the one I should have kept was the 243 Win. It was a very early walnut stocked one. I sold it and kept a 270 Win. The 243 would have served me better for a varmint-deer rifle. I sold it in 1978,he still has it and has never fired it and it's not for sale.

    Dave

  13. #13
    Boolit Master woodbutcher's Avatar
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    Way back when they first came out,I wanted one in .223.Could`nt find one,so I got .222 and had it rechambered to .223 by the Mt Dora gun shop in Mt Dora Fl.How did it shoot?On any day it would stack 20 rounds in 11/16 to 3/4" at 100 yds off of a sand bag.
    K4 Weaver duplex cross hairs and acra glass bedded.Still kicking myself for having to sell it.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo
    People never lie so much as after a hunt,during a war,or before an election.
    Otto von Bismarck

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I'm lucky enough to have one in 44 mag. Killed several deer in IN where it is legal. Prefer it over Ruger 77/44.
    Perhaps my learning skills have diminished in my senior years.. 50 years ago I could read something once and then "have it"... Now I read it about three times, do it a couple of times and then... "have it" only about half the time.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I had one, incredibly accurate rifle. Mine was in .243 win. My main load was 30 grains of dupont 3031 under a 60 gr Hornady BT hollow point.

    My favorite game was busting crows at over 200 yards. Crows got so they would not play. They saw my truck then went to one of the 3 of 4 spots where it was a mile walk with no road access to get a shot at them. And they would sit there and sulk and scream at me until I gave up and went home.

    I had busted too many of them at 300 to 400 yards. They were not playing that game anymore.

    My mistake was allowing my big heart to try to help a vet who was down and out.

    And he got busted shining a deer with my rifles. And he did not tell me so that I could buy my own rifle back.

    And there is a particularly nasty corner of hell waiting for him I suspect.

    Yes if you jammed the bolt, and if you beat on the bolt handle with a 2 x 4 you could knock the bolt handle off.

    The way to avoid that was to not overload it and jam the bolt.

    Any tool will have its distinquishing characteristics. That one was better than most.

    Wish I had not been a fool and let a fool borrow my prized rifle.

    Cost of higher education is not cheap.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I have to agree with almost everyone so far.....probably the best "bargain rifle" of all time. I had a couple and they were not only durable, but very accurate. Also a bit homely, but hey, beauty is only skin deep.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    My Tikkas Remind me of all the 788s I've owned- stiff receiver, 3 shot mag, small ejection port, stunning accuracy. I like the Tikka's light weight better!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Uninformed critics often ruin a subject by bad mouthing an item they do not understand. The 788 bolts and receivers were designed to be manufactured on automatic screw machines. The 788 bolt could be turned complete less the cocking notch, gaps between the lug banks and the handle using a screw machine without the operator attending the machine. The same pretty much goes for the receiver. It did not really matter that there were 9 lugs or 3 lugs, the machine tool could cut the extra lugs in maybe 5 to 10 seconds. So what if they did not all seat? In many 2 lug Mauser type rifles only 1 lug takes the load. The critics never say much about that. The safety lug on the 98 Mauser did/does not bear either. On the Model 70 and 700 the bolt handle formed the safety lug and the bolt handle does not bear on those rifles.
    I bet the same expert critics never looked at a large sample of M70 Win or M700 Rems.
    I have had a number of 788 rifles. Most had at least 6 lugs bearing. One had 9 lugs bearing. I am sure that with some more use they would have all had all 9 lugs bearing. With my 788s the action was never an issue.
    Remington could have given the 788 a good boost by chambering it for the .223 Rem from the beginning. The .250 Savage and .35 Rem would have been useful rounds too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    Recently there was a discussion here about a Remington 788 chambered in 7mm-08.
    That thread got me thinking about the 788 and I decided it was worth its own thread.

    The 788 was Remington's *economy* bolt action, centerfire rifle from the late 1960's well into the mid 1980's.
    Like a lot of American made economy rifles, people seem to love them or hate them and there's not a lot of middle ground.

    The people that are in the pro- 788 camp tend to speak of the rifle's excellent value, excellent accuracy, strong receiver and general utility.

    The people in the con-788 camp tend to cite the weak bolt handle to bolt attachment, expensive and hard to find magazine, bolt body compression (due to the rear locking lugs) and general cheap materials.

    Like most things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
    There's more than a little Model 700 snobbery involved with the anti-788 crowd but some of the criticism is founded in reality.

    Like the Savage 110 series, the 788 comes in at a lower price point and is a very serviceable rifle. It some ways, it may be a far better utility rifle or "truck" gun than its more expensive siblings.

    One thing I could never understand was Remington's decision to go with the 9 lug, rear locking bolt on an economy rifle?
    Those multiple lugs and corresponding locking recesses must have been expensive to machine. It always reminds me of a Weatherby 9 lug bolt except the lugs are on the rear of the Remington bolt. Critics claim there's no way all 9 lugs can be seated against the shoulders in the receiver at the moment of firing and I suspect they're right. However, considering the accuracy displayed by most 788's, it must not be an issue. I've always assumed that one row of lugs would solidly seat when the bolt was closed and were strong enough to withstand the forces involved. The remaining 6 lugs are likely redundant and serve as safeties. That's pure speculation on my part.

    In any event, the 788 was one of those American firearms that hit a price point and filled a market segment.

    What say you?
    Last edited by EDG; 07-05-2017 at 05:07 PM.
    EDG

  19. #19
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    rintinglen's Avatar
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    TEx, if the Tikka was as inexpensive as the 788, I'd join you. I have to join the crowd of mourners who let a fine rifle go for one reason or another. Mine was a .243 which shot wonderfully well, but I got married, had a baby with a 3000 dollar deductible and it went down the highway along with several other guns I wish I had kept. I never broke mine, nor did I have to buy a magazine, but I ran hundreds of 70 grain bullets down range. It liked 3031.
    Last edited by rintinglen; 10-01-2017 at 12:36 PM. Reason: grammar
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I bought two 788's upon my discharge from the USN in 1973. A .308 Win and 6mm Rem, both of which I still own and would not part with. I've won a pick-up truck load of cash with the 6mm shooting bench rest competitions and running deer shoots. Only ever killed one deer with the 6mm but it dropped instantly. I would have to check my log book for the number of deer I have killed with the .308 Win but it is a bunch. My 788's are not fancy or pretty, but they always shot super small groups and killed deer, no matter the weather conditions or temperature.

    358 Win

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check