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Thread: Rem 788 Bolt action rifle, the legend continues

  1. #1
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    Rem 788 Bolt action rifle, the legend continues

    I have a friend that bought a old old beat up Rem 788 in 308. It sparked my memory of my Riflesmith saying these were the best guns Remington ever made. They only made them in SA rifles, .223-243-7-08-308 stuff. So he said they were outselling and outshooting the more popular 700 so they dropped them. Who knows. But he said they are are crazy accurate and great guns. So I got a bug up my ass and grabbed one off gunbroker in .223 with 24 inch barrel so range report to follow. I'm taking my buddies 308 to sight in for him so Ill report on that s well. Sample of two but I hope to shed some light to this Ole gun!

    Oh , I took the 308 to Sportsmans warehouse to grab some rings and there was an old guy behind the counter and told the exact same story my Riflesmith said about these amazing guns...he said if I knew they were going to quit making them I would have bought more. He said its the only gun he ever shot the barrel out of he loved it so much.

    Small snippet from Wiki gunnery.

    "The Remington 788 has two distinguishing design features. The first is the rear-lugged bolt. The bolt has nine lugs in three rows of three lugs each. They lock into the receiver behind the magazine well. Due to this design, the bolt handle lifts only 60 degrees on opening giving more clearance for scopes compared to the 90 degrees required for the Model 700 and other two-lug rifles. The bolt travel is also reduced because of the rear lugs. The bolt pictured is a pre-1975 locking model from a .308 Winchester caliber rifle. The locking bolt requires the safety to be in the "fire" or "off" position in order to rotate the handle and actuate the bolt. Rifles manufactured from 1975 to 1983 have non-locking bolts which can be actuated while the safety is engaged. The second distinguishing feature is the receiver. It has a smaller ejection port than similar bolt-action rifles, and no bolt lug raceways. The single stack magazine design yields a smaller feed opening in the bottom of the receiver compared to rifles using a double stack magazine well. When machining of these smaller ports is complete there is more steel remaining in the receiver between the ejection port and adjacent feed port, and significantly more steel overall where all receivers have the least strength. These characteristics combined to make the Remington 788 receiver more rigid and stronger than most, if not all, competing designs, including the Remington 700 which shares the same outside receiver diameter. A rifle's accuracy tends to increase slightly as the rigidity of the receiver increases, as this slightly reduces barrel deflection during firing. Thus the Remington 788 has the structural foundation to be a very accurate rifle."
    Last edited by Pappabear; 11-03-18 at 16:18.
    "Air Force / Policeman / Fireman / Man of God / Friend of mine / R.I.P. Steve Lamy"

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    My first centerfire rifle was a 788 .243 with 24" barrel. LOVED that damn rifle. Now, I was too young & inexperianced and it was the 70's and I didnt have the shooting knowledge I do now, BUT..I took a lot of deer, crows, fox, groundhogs and other stuff with it. One & only complaint was the little 3 round box mag would rattle in the magwell, so I used to jam a stick or straw of hay up in there & be good to go. My shooting guru has a few of them, and amongst the several dozen rifles he shoots weekly, he will tell you right quick today, the 788 will hold its own with about anything else.
    In 2005, I was at the NRA Show in Houston TX, and while in the Remington booth..I asked some CEO about the 788, if they had plans to bring it back...NO..an why did they stop making it, was it because it was out-selling & out-shooting the M700..he just said it was to hard to machine and make then. BULLSHIT.
    They had the same playing field then as in 70's...it was a good bit cheaper rifle to buy than a M700, so how could they sell it cheaper if it was harder to make? I knew then the "rumor" was probably true...they WERE out-selling & shooting the 700's on the commercial market.
    Anyway- Ive seen them in all calibers made, even one in .44 Magnum once. They are just good, solid accurate rifles made when Remington knew how to make good guns, and did.
    Thanks PB for bringing back some fine memories.
    I sincerely looking forward to your range reports brother- Ill be sick & surprised if both of those guns dont shoot very well, especially the .223. Ive seen what my guru's M788 .223 does with reloads.UNREAL with thousands of rounds thru it.
    Last edited by Straight Shooter; 11-03-18 at 16:55.
    " Be NOT ye afraid of them..
    Remember the Lord, for He is GREAT & TERRIBLE!
    FIGHT for your bretheren..for your sons & for your daughters,
    for your wives & for your households"!

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    .

    I've got a 788 in a 308 carbine. The trigger lock-time was part of the reason they were so accurate. Supposed to be one of the fastest ever on an inexpensive rifle.
    If I remember correctly, they can develop firing pin or firing pin spring issues. But not hard to replace.
    My rifle has been loaned out to probably 5-6 guys and they all killed with it AND they always want to buy it even 20-years after having used it.
    Lot of love once you have tried short barrel in a stand.
    Congrats

    .

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    Those 788's were darn accurate due to a good solid lock-up of the 9 lug design. Plus the 60 degree bolt throw made them a quick operating SA

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    We took the 308 out and sighted it in and it shot very good. It was sub moa and shot everything good. I used some Federal 180 grain Trophey ammo for the guy to hunt with on his next outing. It would not extract the brass for shit so I'm going to take to the Riflesmith to tweak.

    PB
    "Air Force / Policeman / Fireman / Man of God / Friend of mine / R.I.P. Steve Lamy"

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    Good to hear, sux about the extraction. That, as I recall, was another selling point back in the 70's...was it had a strong extractor. i MIGHT be thinking of another rifle tho.
    Looking forward to hearing about the .223..thanks for the update.
    " Be NOT ye afraid of them..
    Remember the Lord, for He is GREAT & TERRIBLE!
    FIGHT for your bretheren..for your sons & for your daughters,
    for your wives & for your households"!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Shooter View Post
    Good to hear, sux about the extraction. That, as I recall, was another selling point back in the 70's...was it had a strong extractor. i MIGHT be thinking of another rifle tho.
    Looking forward to hearing about the .223..thanks for the update.
    Hopefully The Riflesmith will make quick work of that extractor. He has fixed a few of mine over the years in about a nano second.

    PB
    "Air Force / Policeman / Fireman / Man of God / Friend of mine / R.I.P. Steve Lamy"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pappabear View Post
    Hopefully The Riflesmith will make quick work of that extractor. He has fixed a few of mine over the years in about a nano second.

    PB
    I really hope so, get the old boy up-n-runnin again.
    " Be NOT ye afraid of them..
    Remember the Lord, for He is GREAT & TERRIBLE!
    FIGHT for your bretheren..for your sons & for your daughters,
    for your wives & for your households"!

  9. #9
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    Back in the 60s, my father bought a Remington 788 in 22-250 with a varmint weight barrel for the princely sum of $78 brand new. He mounted a 3-9x Redfield on it and loaded it with the 55 gr SX bullet. The 55 gr SX was designed to give explosive expansion from a 223 and Dad was driving them out of his 22-250 at 3800 fps. We called his load "The Blue Streak Express" because of the blue-grey smoke that trailed after the bullet in flight. They were Super Explosive, alright. When one hit a jackrabbit amidships, it would blow it apart. There would be nothing but red mist, fur and the legs flying to the four points of the Earth. Dad joked that at those velocities, that little 55 gr pill had "the consistency of peanut-butter". When he first started using the 788 and his special "Blue Streak Express" loads, he saw a jackrabbit sitting behind a thin sage bush, making the most of what little shade it offered. It wasn't much of a bush, Dad could clearly see the jack in his scope. Easy shot. He laid the cross hairs on the Jack's boiler room and squeezed off a shot. There was tremendous cloud of grey dust and out from it stumbled the jack, shaking his head to clear it, ears flopping madly. The jack managed to stagger off without another shot being fired while Dad stared in disbelief and his hunting buddies were laughing to shoot. It seems the bullet struck a thin branch of that thin little sage bush and had completely fragmented, peppering the jack with lead dust.

    Years later, I discovered Dad's claim of the bullets leaving the muzzle with the consistency of peanut-butter wasn't far from the truth. The reason those bullets trailed blue-grey smoke behind the was because at those velocities, the bullet was on the verge of coming apart in flight from the centrifugal force. In spite of that, it always shot tight clusters whenever Dad put it on paper at 100 yards trigger was crisp and broke at maybe 3 lbs. One article in one of the gun rags of the day claimed the 788 was a poor design for accuracy. Nine locking lugs was too many to machine so all would lock up evenly. That there would only be two or three that made full contact when the bolt was in battery. The article went on to say that the long body of the bolt ahead of the rear locking lugs would flex, hurting the rifle's accuracy potential. All I can say is that Dad's 788 and all the other 788s he and other family members bought over the years obviously couldn't read. Even with the factory ammo of the day, none of the those 788s shot more than 1.5 MOA at 100 yards. The only real down side was those cheap, sheet metal magazines and how they locked in the mag well.

    It wasn't long before the Remington 788 earned a reputation for accuracy. It was so good that it was rumored the reason Remington ceased production is because it clearly out-shot their flagship Model 700. Remington couldn't have their economy model out-shoot their premier line, now could they?

    I got the 788 from Dad when I myself was a young father. For some reason, I didn't shoot it much after awhile. Probably because I was busy spending time and money chasing some other rainbow with a beautiful walnut stock instead of plain birch. I still have that 788. I should dig it out, clean it up, get it another scope and see how it shoots. The 788 really is a wonderful rifle.

    Well done, Pappabear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    Back in the 60s, my father bought a Remington 788 in 22-250 with a varmint weight barrel for the princely sum of $78 brand new. He mounted a 3-9x Redfield on it and loaded it with the 55 gr SX bullet. The 55 gr SX was designed to give explosive expansion from a 223 and Dad was driving them out of his 22-250 at 3800 fps. We called his load "The Blue Streak Express" because of the blue-grey smoke that trailed after the bullet in flight. They were Super Explosive, alright. When one hit a jackrabbit amidships, it would blow it apart. There would be nothing but red mist, fur and the legs flying to the four points of the Earth. Dad joked that at those velocities, that little 55 gr pill had "the consistency of peanut-butter". When he first started using the 788 and his special "Blue Streak Express" loads, he saw a jackrabbit sitting behind a thin sage bush, making the most of what little shade it offered. It wasn't much of a bush, Dad could clearly see the jack in his scope. Easy shot. He laid the cross hairs on the Jack's boiler room and squeezed off a shot. There was tremendous cloud of grey dust and out from it stumbled the jack, shaking his head to clear it, ears flopping madly. The jack managed to stagger off without another shot being fired while Dad stared in disbelief and his hunting buddies were laughing to shoot. It seems the bullet struck a thin branch of that thin little sage bush and had completely fragmented, peppering the jack with lead dust.

    Years later, I discovered Dad's claim of the bullets leaving the muzzle with the consistency of peanut-butter wasn't far from the truth. The reason those bullets trailed blue-grey smoke behind the was because at those velocities, the bullet was on the verge of coming apart in flight from the centrifugal force. In spite of that, it always shot tight clusters whenever Dad put it on paper at 100 yards trigger was crisp and broke at maybe 3 lbs. One article in one of the gun rags of the day claimed the 788 was a poor design for accuracy. Nine locking lugs was too many to machine so all would lock up evenly. That there would only be two or three that made full contact when the bolt was in battery. The article went on to say that the long body of the bolt ahead of the rear locking lugs would flex, hurting the rifle's accuracy potential. All I can say is that Dad's 788 and all the other 788s he and other family members bought over the years obviously couldn't read. Even with the factory ammo of the day, none of the those 788s shot more than 1.5 MOA at 100 yards. The only real down side was those cheap, sheet metal magazines and how they locked in the mag well.

    It wasn't long before the Remington 788 earned a reputation for accuracy. It was so good that it was rumored the reason Remington ceased production is because it clearly out-shot their flagship Model 700. Remington couldn't have their economy model out-shoot their premier line, now could they?

    I got the 788 from Dad when I myself was a young father. For some reason, I didn't shoot it much after awhile. Probably because I was busy spending time and money chasing some other rainbow with a beautiful walnut stock instead of plain birch. I still have that 788. I should dig it out, clean it up, get it another scope and see how it shoots. The 788 really is a wonderful rifle.

    Well done, Pappabear.
    Oh man o man....dig her out brother!
    I too, have seen the blue smoke trail from 22-250 many times. As you said, some of those loads were near, or over, 4000fps. Love the jackrabbit stories too!
    " Be NOT ye afraid of them..
    Remember the Lord, for He is GREAT & TERRIBLE!
    FIGHT for your bretheren..for your sons & for your daughters,
    for your wives & for your households"!

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