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Thread: I wish they still made them like they used to.

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up I wish they still made them like they used to.

    I just picked up a barely used rem 788 in 308 win at a local gun show. I also got an old redfield base and Vari-II 2-7 Leupold. All put together it is a sweet package. I figured it would make a nice rifle to leave in the trunk and something my wife could use to hunt with. All my other rifles ligtweights in bigger calibers and kick too much for her. I think the 308 is a little light for moose but I'm sure it will work fine with decent shot placement.

    On looking it over I can't help but notice the quality difference between what was considered a cheap gun years back and the stuff they turn out today. The 788 compares to the reming 710 of today but is about 10x better quality, I'd say it is even better than most 700 adl or sps. Its plain, no frills, but well made.



    I took it out to the range today too see how it shot. I was using Federal classic 180gr SP ammo as it was cheapest and generally tends to shoot well. As normal I shot three groups on one target 3 at 100 yards, 4 at 200 yards and 6 at 300 yards. The first 3 at 100 yards sat in anice tiny cluster. How many stock 700s off the assembly line today would shoot so good. After finishing zeroing it in 2.5" high at 100 yards I shot the 4 shot group at 200, would have been 3 shot but lost count . Then I ran it out to 300 yards and shot two more 3 shot groups. I think this rifle is quite a shooter for a "cheap" stock sporter at 7x. I've had a few customs that would do better but with much higher power optics and several times more expensive. Its sad that quality standars have dropped so much over the years.


  2. #2
    Member e45colt's Avatar
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    Default Standards

    I could'nt agree more. I'm a simple man with simple tastes, but I expect my rifles to be of quality manufacture. Once I find something I like I tend to keep buying it. With major manufacturers changing all the time based on the bottom line and not on quality I find myself not interested at all in new offerings.
    Quality counts more than wiz-bang crap for me.

    Ed

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    Member AK_Stick's Avatar
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    Is that from a bench?

    If so, I'd have to say there are alot of factory guns today that'd shoot groups like that, or tighter, without much effort.

    Its a respectable group, and capable of taking game handily, but those groups aren't any better than my 700 will throw.

    I think guns are only getting better, we can now mass produce a better weapon, than was capable before.

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    That was shot over a rolled up jacket off a bench. Not exactly bench rest setup, pretty poor really. I'm sure it is what accounted for the 200-300 range groups opening up, but that 100 yard group was pretty good by any standards.



    I'd be willing to bet that you take 10 new stock rem 710 in whatever caliber and shoot the cheapest factory ammo in it off the bench and see if you can match that 100 yard group at 7x. I bet your average group would come closer to to that 200 yard group. What I am trying to say is that this was a "cheap", low grade factory gun of the day and I have had many higher grade rifles of today that wouldn't shoot as good out of the box. They generally need bedded and floated, often could use a new crown job or the action trued. They just don't "feel" as nice. Of the few newer factory rifles I have owned only a couple would shoot that good with the first cheap factory ammo I tried, one was a browning abolt in 243 win w/boss that shoots really good no matter what 100gr bullet I put thru it, and another was a Ruger 77 MKII in 35 whelen. It shot most loads really well but only about 40% of the time went off. Even after I sent it back to ruger it was never fully reliable. I have had a handfull of rem 700s that wouldn't do better than 1.5-2", even a tikka t3 known to be accurate rifles would only do better than 1" with a one load that I found and factory stuff was usually 1.75-2". Usually nothing some tinkering or a couple hundred dollars of smithing wouldn't cure.

    Everyone shoots 1/4" groups all the time on the internet but lets be honest here. Rifle shooter magazine november 07 tested the sako 85. Even the Sako Hunter, everyone would agree an upper level rifle, at 1200-1400 dollars wouldn't average smaller groups at 100 yards than the 788 and I'm sure the author was using a better rest than I did. Of the 6 factory loads tested only two would average under 1" and half of them were 1.5" or more, and 4 of those six were premium factory loadings. I have no doubt that the 788 could de as well or better with all things being equal. I have a buddy with a 788 in 222 that is also extremely accurate, it would shoot circles around the rem 700 I had in 223. They just don't make rifles like they used to.

    I will agree that we have the ability to make better rifles now than we did years ago. Today's custom rifles are probably better than anything they had back in the day, probably as much to do with optics as anything else. Quality just costs more these days.

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default Rifle/cartridge group sizes

    I agree, it seems everyone shoots less than 1" groups no matter what they shoot. For me, I find it the exception rather than the rule to shoot CONSISTENT, REPEATABLE 5 shoot groups to less than 1". I do have one stock Win 70 that will do this with factory Remington 165gr Ballistic Tips in 30-06, but otherwise I usually have to do all the usual stuff with bedding, trigger job, recrown, etc, etc, not to mention hand loading, brass prep., finding optimal cartridge OAL/seating depth, etc., etc. One of the biggest flies in the ointment for me has been the wide variance in velocities between different powder lots....At least this has been my experience. Most of my sheep rifles will shoot 5 shot one hole groups off the bench at 100 yds before they go hunting - this degree of accuracy certainly is not necessary but has become the criterion that I have chosen to subscribe to.

  6. #6

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    I'm a long time fan of the 788, but sadly let them slip through my fingers. I had them in 22-250, 222, 243, 308, 30-30 and 44 rem mag. All of them shot as well or better than anything on the market at the time, and better than many guns that were more expensive.

    Back in the 70's when all this was going on it was pretty common to add thousands of dollars to a 788 action to build a benchrest gun. Lots of matches were won with those "788's" and most shooters felt the action was so good that it justified the investment. These are guys that could just as well have built the gun on model 70, model 700 or whatever other action. At that point in time the 788 had the fastest lock time on the books, and that was worth the extra investment required for tuning those 9 locking lugs, compared to what was involved in tuning the conventional 2 lugs.

    I built up a 222 bench gun and a 22-250 heavy varmint gun on the 788 too, winning my fair share of matches with the 222 and blowing up enough varmints with the 22-250 to have to replace the barrel twice.

    You got a goodun there, but I'd keep my eyes open for spare magazines. They are fairly fragile, but getting harder and harder to find. Last year a friend offered two on fleabay and got $40 apiece for them.

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    I found one on gunbroker for 29 bucks that I already got coming, might get a second if they have one too.

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    Default

    Those rear locking lugs were/are the bomb.

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    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default There were a few rifles notable...

    for their accuracy, out of the box, whether factual or fairy tale. The 788's were long known to produce exceptional accuracy for a bargain price. I DO remember when the 788's, as well as the 700 ADL's, and some of the Winchester bolt guns and 110 Savages could be had for under a hundred bucks, and they shot VERY well, too, but didn't get the press or notoriety that the 788's did...folks were still whining about the changes to the Winchesters that were made in 1964..... They also sold powder in paper bags for a quarter a pound, and bullets were under five bucks a hundred, sometimes much less.
    In 1973, I was making $600 a month, married, with a kid, living in base housing, and had a TON of money to spend. Last year, our combined income was over $100K, and there's not the same amount of 'play' money as I had in my pocket in 1973!!! Those $79 788's are now averaging $450 around these parts! It just ain't fair!!!
    Closest that I've come recently to the same level of performance/bang for the buck, is a Stevens 200 in .223 that I picked up last year for $283.00 OTD.
    Last edited by Darreld Walton; 10-16-2007 at 03:44. Reason: .

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    If you look at the title of this thread, I have to say that the only way I know to duplicate the 788, is to pour sand in any bolt action. That had to be the worst out of the box rifle I've ever seen.

    I remember when some bench resters tried to make them work, you'll never see another around that crowd. When the guy that bought one got one that would shoot well, he was lucky. It cost more than the price of the rifle to get them to shoot when they did not.

    Do you really think Remington drop them so fast cause they sold to fast?

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    big al- you must not have seen too many out of the box rifles in a while then!!! Of the few 788s I have seen they have all been accurate rifles, no frills and very plain but they could shoot like a house on fire.

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    I'm not saying every out of the box rifle is going to be a sub 1 inch grouper, but when I see a rifle shooting a group thats strung almost 5 inches vertical, and 3 inches horizontally, I'd not be raving about that as accurate.


    I'm no expert marksman, I am lucky to have a few very fine rifles, that will put in sub MOA results if I do my part. One is almost stock, the only things I've done is put a muzzle brake on it, and swap the stock. Even before the brake, she'd out shoot me.

  13. #13
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thebear_78 View Post
    big al- you must not have seen too many out of the box rifles in a while then!!! Of the few 788s I have seen they have all been accurate rifles, no frills and very plain but they could shoot like a house on fire.
    My memories of the 788, was when they were new and people here in Alaska were buying them and returning them to the stores for various problems. As a full time gunsmith, I was trying to solve the problems, short of returning the rifles to Remington.

    As I've said, if the guy that got one, was accurate out of the box, he was lucky. If that was not the case, then it cost him more than the rifle cost new to make it accurate.

    One of the most common complaints, was the rough action. Due to the multi locking lug engagement or lack of engagement this was not an easy or cheap fix. The bedding was a night mare and hard to fix, cheap.

    Some of the barrel interiors were just horrible, rough as and old cob.

    Other than that, truly a grate rifle?

    By the way when the rifle was returned to Remington, for accuracy problems, Remington would return the rifle and tell us that the accuracy ment their standards.

    The best test I know of a rifle in Alaska, is what happens to them in the bush. I have not seen any of these rifles still in service among people that use rifles to feed themselves.

    I have seen them,

    (1) stuck in the mud, to tie off boats.

    (2) discarded in the mud, left to finish the rot process.

    Once the owner had a stuck ctg in the chamber, that was pretty much game, set, match for these rifles.

    I don't really care what a guy has, if you like it, that's fine. But please lets not go nuts for a POS that did not last long, for good reasons.

  14. #14
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default seems pretty good

    Quote Originally Posted by AK_Stick View Post
    I'm not saying every out of the box rifle is going to be a sub 1 inch grouper, but when I see a rifle shooting a group thats strung almost 5 inches vertical, and 3 inches horizontally, I'd not be raving about that as accurate.


    I'm no expert marksman, I am lucky to have a few very fine rifles, that will put in sub MOA results if I do my part. One is almost stock, the only things I've done is put a muzzle brake on it, and swap the stock. Even before the brake, she'd out shoot me.
    If you're referring to the 300 yd group posted by Thebear_78.... it looks to be about 3 1/2" vertical X 2" horizontal and the 100 yd group looks to be under an inch. Seems pretty good to me.

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    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Oh man, that sounds like blasphomy! The 788's were a great series of rifle.

    BigAL (the only guy I have ever heard bash the 788)

    you said remington dropped them fast. The gun was in production for two decades ,1967 to 85 I believe. I researched around some time ago, trying to figure out why remington dropped the gun. The best theory, is that equipment/tooling costs rose sharply(remington was investing in new equipment and the bid for the 788 stuff was too costly making the gun more expensive to produce. Lets face it, theres complicated machining involved with those lugs. And that was when they didnt have the fancy CNC machines of today. Well you cant very well ask 300 bucks for a rifle that used to be 100 dollars a few years ago.

    The other reason is that the 788 was outpacing sales of there flagship 700. Profits were down, casue they were only selling the budget gun that was costing a fortune to make. Nobody bought the 700 cause the 788 was such a tackdriver and way cheaper to boot. You dont see anyone singing the praises or even really mentioning the 710 do you? They finally made a budget gun that acts like a budget gun.

    The only design flaws of the gun were a soldered on bolt handle that had the tendancy to snap if a cartridge was stuck in the chamber (one that was loaded to to high of pressures). And the magazine can be cumbersome to insert. But who cares? Its not a battle rifle. Also, the 788 had the first detachable magzine in any remington bolt action, so it was a first design.

    I have a handloader magazine from when the 788 came out (1967). The author was singing its praises, and commented how this cheap poormans rifle was out shooting lots of custom bench guns of the day. And that was with multiple 788's not just one paticular one. Also not to long ago in guns&ammo magazine they did a classic review article on the 788. The author again sang nothing but praise, and the pictures of his .5 inch groups were nothing but the norm with what I have seen 788's do.

    There is still a cult following with the 788 action on the bench circuit. There is a reason you can still get a guy to spend 500 bucks on a 222 or 223 788.

    Probably why these guns were left in the mud is cause they were cheap back then. Who wants to take care of something cheap?(general human attitude)

    I have owned 4 788's. They were all fantastic guns. I sold one of the 223's to raise funds for an AR. Wish I still had that one. That 788 was more accurate than my 1000 dollar AR. I had one 788 in 22-250 once that drove me nuts. No matter what load I tried, I couldnt get it to shoot .5 groups. They were like .75- 1 inch. I got so used to 788's that I thought this one was a lemmon! But that is respectable shooting in any gun. I still have my 222. I shot it today in fact. 4 shots in a nice little cloverleaf. OVER and OVER again.

    Bottom line, and proably what thebear 78 is trying to say, the 788's were an exceptional poormans rifle. You would be hard pressed to find a bolt action, american made gun that shot as good as a 788, for a 788 price. And the one weakpoint can be avoided if one shoots SAAMI spec pressures in it.

    Oh and the locktime, still one of the fastest. Its like 2nd or 3rd now. I believe I read that in the recent guns and ammo article.

    SO lets not get carried away and call this gun a POS that did not last long.

  16. #16
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Post a link to an equipment list from any BR group for score or group match that shows a 788 action?

    I'll await your proof.

    If you take what the gun mag writers have to say as gospel, you got a problem. I don't know any of them that don't promote any magazine's advertiser's. How do you think they get the free hunting trips and invitations to all the promotional events the manufacturers have to offer, by being critical of products?

    Normally I don't respond to people that use magazine writers to support a point of view, as I figure they have not spent much of their life in the real world, live through the efforts of what others print.

    None of what you say about the cost of manufacturing the 788 was true at the time of manufacturing and had nothing to do with the lack of CnC machinery.

    The company that Remington is today is not the same company it was 30 or 40 years ago. Do you know who designed the 788? Have you ever talked to him? I have.

    It seems odd that an action designed by a benchrest shooter would not have a better following than the 788 had considering the time of introduction by his fellow BR shooters.

    The simple reason was, nobody won with the 788 actions.

    The 788 cost of tooling was a shared deal anyway with the factory produced 580 rimfire .22 rifles. The bolts were made in three pieces and the locking areas were an external produced ring that was an insert.

    The 788 was not an expensive action to produce nor was the piss poor trigger that came with it.

    It seems funny to me that while the same types of manufacturing process are in use today for other BR action, none, not one ever followed any of the great designs of the 788.

    So after Remington stop the sales of the 788 but still produced the 580 on the same machinery, you think it was because the 788 was hurting the sales of the 700 was the reason? Give me a break, you need to think that one through.

    The 788 major cost was in the tooling setup, just like any other product that is made, no special machinery was involved that needed to be invented. Most of the parts were sinister metal (another division of Remington) Ever talk to there engineers? I have!

    I could go on for days talking and writing about rifle actions, by far my favorite subject.

    So, it's back in your corner. I await your proof!

  17. #17
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    Big al-

    What did you have a custom rifle that got outshot by a 788 one time and still carry the grudge? If you have all those remington contacts would you mind asking them to start making the 788 again? There are a lot of us out here that wouldn't mind picking up a few more of these POS that shoot tiny groups.

    while your at all this days and days worth of writing how about you share your credentials, all you seem to be right now is a know it all who drops names of all his contacts, give use a few names to look up. Its obvious that you are very impressed with yourself, give us a couple of reason why we should be too.

    Even if the 788 wasn't popular with the benchrest shooters, and I have heard from a few that it was, and only you that it wasn't, it wasn't intended as a bench rest gun. It was a budget priced hunting rifle. That nich is where I think it really excelled. They were cheap and shot very good. there isn't really much more you could ask of a budget rifle.

    As to your distain for gunwriters, I serously doubt that the writer was getting any kickbacks to promote a discontinued rifle in the classic review. What reason would he have to lie in that article.


    Lighten up dude, your not impressing us with your mountain of wisdom only pissing on our parade with your sour oppinions and unsubstantiated reasons.

  18. #18
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Okay, I dont take gun writers articles has gospel. I have just found thewriters experience with the gun simular to mine. I do however put more stock in their opinions rather than an internet gunsmith.

    I did some searches, but cant come up with much for BR equipment lists, 788 or otherwise. I suspect that most of the top shooters are sponsored and they probably use the latest factory offerings. Timney triggers must have thought someone was using them for competion to have designed a trigger for a discontinued rifle. And its still offered as a regular item. I doubt they would continue making this product if there was no demand for it. And if you read BrownBears own experience, seems he liked the 788 when he shot matches.

    I did some more searching, and came up with a better theory of the discontinue. Remington made the decision to use simular actions for both the budget and top shelf guns. Saves on cost. Also the advent of CNC machinery made it more possible to make more complicated actions at a cheaper cost. Btw the rimfire model was discontinued only 4 years later.

    I cant tell you why no other actions have been designed based on the 788. Maybe patent issues? Or maybe no one wants to. Just like coke and pepsi. They found a formula that the public will buy and there is no reason for remington to make another action besides the 700.

    Obviously you have the contacts, all I have are theorys based on research through the internet, and magazine articles. And Id be pretty interested what the designer told you about the action or the engineers at remington.

    I just hope nobody gets turned off the 788 cause of your unsubstansiated claims of poor accuracy. Even on remingtons website, in the rifle history section, they refer to it as the poor mans tackdriver. Go over to any varmint hunters website or predator masters. Do a search, you will not find one thread on 788 poor accuracy, or 788 problems. You will find lots of people sharing the good results they have obtained with their 788's. you will also find pics of some really nice guns built around the 788.

    If I listed my 222 on any of these sights at a fair market value, I bet i would have it sold in a day or two.

    Also when I go to a gun show and cart my 788's around, they always get loads of looks and offers to buy. If I have some other gun like a ruger or whatever, It never gets a look unless the price is hot.

    Like it or not, these guns have a big fan base. And Im proud to be one of the fans.

    Again, no one is claiming this as the worlds best gun. But they are very worth to plop down a few hundred dollars for.

  19. #19
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    The reason Allen Timney built a trigger for the 788 was as a replacement for a vary poor factory trigger, a trigger and safety that was poorly designed and made of poor material.

    As stated in my other posts, if you like the 788 that's fine with me. But let's not get carried away and make the rifle out to be something it is not nor has ever been or ever will be.

    I have nothing against the design of the action, the method of manufacturing nor the materials. Nothing against the people that like them. This is just one more among the many that did not stand the test of time. The reasons are not what you've stated for it's demise.

    The use of inserts in rifle actions has been around for along time before WAYNE LEEK or his partner used the idea at Remington, multiple pieces for a bolt was not a new idea, the use of sinisterd metal or induction hardened parts was not new with the 788.

    The reason for the demise of these and many other rifles was for one reason and one reason only, the public did not want to continue buying them.

    Either you did not read my posts or only parts. I stated the the 788's that were accurate the buyer was lucky, the 788 that were not, cost the owner more than the cost of the rifle to make accurate.

    It's impossible for me to get nostalgic about rifles that are on the whole vary accurate that look terrible to my eye, such as the Savage 110 series that has been on the market since the 1950's, they have stood the test of time, have been vary accurate rifles out of the box, have only undergone cosmetic change in the 60 + years the public has been buying them. But that rifle is nothing to sniff about.


    So then why does a group of shooters go on the hunt for a rifle design that was a failure? Beats the heck out of me!

    So lets some this up and list why I do not like the 788.

    (1) Poor feel of the bolt on rear movement rough never smooth bolt operation.

    (2) Weight of the action, one and one half times the weight of the 700 action.

    (3) Poor camming action and lack of camming strength. (inherent with all rear lug actions, multi lug actions)

    (4) Poorly designed trigger and safety.

    Try and tell a customer that you get what you pay for and it will cost more than the rifle is worth to fix what he does not like.

    Or that it is impossible to fix some of the weakness he does not like due to the design.

    There are a lot of other actions I do not like either, you folks just picked one!

  20. #20

    Talking my 788...was great

    I bought a 788 in 22-250 and it shot fantastic. I could routinely hit an upright case or case head facing me at 100 yds. 1/4 to 3/8's group was fairly normal...I think the little heavier barrel and rear locking lugs had a lot to do with it, plus great trigger pull. My only complaint with it was that the magazine release could be accidently pushed and mag could drop out while hunting. I broke the stock off of it at the grip, when a wounded coyote came at me and I had to buttstroke it to put it down, then finish it off grabbing the barrel like a baseball bat and whacking him. Now good on scopes, but after some wood glue and and pins, almost as good as new. After sighting it back in, I made a paced 487 yd shot at a coyote at night (spotlighting) and guy with me bought the rifle for what I'd bought it new for. Then I went and bought a new BDL Rem bull barrel in 22-250. The new one shot great, but no better than the 788.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

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