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Thread: The Remington Extractor....

  1. #1
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    Default The Remington Extractor....

    Rather than beat a dead horse, I thought I'd try to describe this infamous extractor, and others of Remington's competitors, the differences, the pros and cons. And there are both in all designs.

    My Remington info comes directly from the excellent book by John Lacy The Remington 700....25 years (1962 through 1987). I don't have an M700 here to measure and fondle but have had several of them in my hands over the past four decades. There have been many small changes in the M700 over the years and the extractor was changed several times.

    The Remington extractor was used on models 722, 721, 725, 700, (ADL, BDL, CDL etc,) and the 40 X series of rifles as well as the USMC M40.

    The Mike Walker design was genius. Genius in that it met the criteria set forth by the management of Remington and it was a rifle that could be produced and sold at a profit when times were hard in America. It cost more to manufacture the pre 64 Winchester than two new Remingoton M721s cost retail.

    It was also a genius departure from a half century of bolt action design that was considered to be the best bolt action ever, the Mauser 98. One of the design strengths was the fully enclosed bolt nose, encased in the barrel extension or flange which is screwed into the receiver. Three rings of steel. Bolt nose, barrel and receiver ring. Solid, enclosed like a vault. The strongest and tightest gas seal of any bolt rifle, no argument there. It does require no cuts in the bolt nose for the extractor or the three rings will be violated. Now, where can we put an extractor? That was genius! Seriously. To come up with such a simple extractor without violating the vault like integrity of the three rings. Actually it was an enlarged and beefed up extractor from a popular 22 rimfire rifle made at the time.

    The extractor of the M700 was the extractor of the M721 which evolved into the M700. After the first year or during the first year of production the extractor was changed. This was to enlarge the gripping area of the extractor to get a better bite on the case rim. It made the biting surfaced curved and wider, the previous was straight and grabbed a much smaller area of the case rim. At this time the extractor was riveted into the nose of the bolt at one end. It rides in a channel slot milled inside the extended nose of the bolt. This slot in the early guns (riveted) was a horse shoe shape eccentric to the diameter of the inside of the bolt nose.

    In 1974 a change was made to eliminate the rivet.
    An interesting observation is made here. The Extractor was said by Lacy to work fine but was modified by eliminating the rivet to facilitate easy change out of the extractor....[ that worked so well.] (??) Why change out what worked so well. Anyway, I digress.

    When the rivet was eliminated, the slot milled inside the bolt nose was changed. The horse shoe shape was enlarged and two semi-circular slots were milled at each end for the extractor. The extractor was also changed to fit this new slot with a wider curl at each end to hold it in place. At one end the semi-circular slot was left with a "bump" to stop the end of the extractor from working around and getting out of place.

    This is the decade and a half when I owned Remington rifles. From the mid 1970s to about 1990. This rivet-less extractor worked very well in most M700 but in some it did not. I think I owned all those in which it did not work so well. I have owned and fired over 100 Remington M700 rifles. I also sold many of them in my shop for a decade. They have many very satisfied owners.

    Lacy states he has owned/handled hundreds of M700s and only found one ejector fail and it was a defective from the factory. (Wouldn't snap over a round.) I too have owned only one M700 that came with a defective extractor. A post 1983 riveted (more on that later) 416 Remington mag. I have however had many fail after shooting the rifle.

    In 1983 Remington engineers decided the rivet-less extractor, with its larger milled slot in the nose and the .532" diameter cut for the magnum caliber, did not have enough steel in the inner ring of steel (the bolt nose) so they went back to the riveted extractor and smaller cut for belted magnums. (This was my 416 extractor) This apparently proved more reliable for most magnum M700 rifles but the one that didn't work....ever regardless of how many times it was fixed, my 416. I also had a 7 mag that shot like a house a blaze but would only take about 40 rounds before extra cleaning was needed to get brass chips out of the extractor cut.

    What is a failure of any extractor?

    Failure to pull the empty fired case or loaded round (we do unload our rifles sometimes) out of the chamber. Also there is some combination of extraction and ejection functionality to make for smooth and successful cycling of empty out live round in that can be a failure of either component, extractor or ejector.

    Lacy states that the rim of some military brass can, in some cases, damage the extractors....[ and cause them to fail to I presume]. I can tell you that after about 300 to 400 rounds of LC match 7.62x51 ammo through my wonderful 40X, it did fail to extract about one out of three. They were relatively easy to change back then and I kept several on hand. But the truth is that after about 500 to 600 rounds of any ammo this same gun/extractor failed to extract. I shot the rifle over the NRA course for a while then shot steel with it, then shot coyotes, deer, wild pigs.....

    Also one of the failures I have experienced with some guns was the brass chips from the cartridge brass (I mostly used Remington back then) would get under the extractor in the milled groove in the bolt nose and hold it out away from its slot. This would keep the extractor from snapping over a round. This usually starts as a tight to close bolt then it wont close at all. Anyone ever see a brush designed to clean this out of a M700 extractor?

    Is the Remington extractor more likely to fail than other extractors?

    Honestly I don't think I've shot but one other brand of rifle as many rounds as I've shot through each of four different Remingtons. I have shot two Sako A series rifles as much as any Remington. I still have both and no parts have been replaced and I have never had a fail to extract or eject form either. I have owned more than 300 Sako rifles since 1972.

    I've had many failures to feed, eject, extract from many rifles, some because of the action not designed/built to fit the cartridge I was trying to fit in the gun but there have been many failures. Point being, I do not think for the average hunter/rifleman that a Remington M700 is more prone to fail in daily use. I don't think it is as durable as some other designs and when the limits of the extractor is reached, it requires replacement and it is not an easy job in the field. I will say that the M700 extraction system, with the plunger and spring ejector is not as durable as other types. Durable as in its ability to take use or abuse.

    Lacy also states that gas leaks or catastrophic failure [of the cartridge case] can damage the extractor. I will certainly agree. Also excessive pressure rounds that tend to expand the case head/rim will also damage the extractor. Such was the case (pun intended) with my 300 Weatherby M700 classic with accidental CDL stock. Beautiful......took about 30 rounds to do it the first time. Wouldn't extract!

    I have hand loaded about one million rounds of ammo. I've shot most of it. I have on occasion loaded ammo above the SAAMI specifications for the particular caliber. This has in some brands of guns caused problems. It has caused no operational problems in my Sako rifles and I have probably inadvertently overloaded them more than others since they have been my test bed for so long. I have overloaded and seen several M700/721s fired with loads that exceeded pressure limits. I've also seen the M700 series of guns stay together with the only visible damage being to the extractor. This has led some to think the extractor failed. It did fail but with loads well beyond the norm in pressures and this constitutes a failure in the shooter/loader rather than the rifle. I epoxied a strain gauge onto one M700 rifle and three different Sako rifles to test pressure readings with the Oehler M43 system. I can tell you, you don't want to shoot the loads that will damage an M700 extractor.

    The Sako extractor is used on all Sakos since 1972 and is used presently today on the new model 85. My extensive testing has been with the two lug bolts of the model AII, AIII, AIV, AV actioned rifles.

    The Sako extractor it is actually an adaptation of an extractor designed by Paul Mauser and abandoned for the more robust design of the M98 claw extractor. It is a simple device installed in the bolt nose, which looks much like the Remington bolt before the extractor cut. The bolt has an extended flange or nose of about .120" enclosing the case rim. The extractor is at the same diameter as the bolt, not recessed. The extractor is about .250" in width and the length of the locking lugs at about .500". It is extremely simple device to change. I've only had them out to clean out behind them. I have two spares I bought back in the 1980's and have never replaced even one extractor.

    The front receiver ring on the Sako is longer than the Remington and thicker. When the bolt is pushed in it push feeds a cartridge ahead just as the Remington does but .500" into the ring is the bolt lug raceway. The nose of the bolt is engaged into the ring the full length of the locking lugs then the extractor is allowed to flip up and over the cartridge rim while it is enclosed in the raceway. No slack is needed in the extractor cut or the receiver ring to allow the extractor to snap over.

    The extractor is also positioned along the diameter of the bolt to rotate it behind the lower lug raceway when the bolt is locked. About 2/3 of the width of the extractor is behind the lower receiver lug when the bolt is fully closed. This insures that the extractor cannot slip over a cartridge rim when the bolt is rotated up during extraction. The caming action of the bolt lugs in the raceway will pull even a stuck case from the chamber. I have beat locked bolts open with a rubber mallet (don't try this at home), many times and the Sakos always brought the case with it. I have never created a failure of this extraction system with all the abuse I've heaped on this design. In fact I've yet to break a Sako rifle.

    I'm sure this will raise questions so I'll wait awhile.

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  2. #2
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    Remingtons were my only rifles from about 1973 to approximately 1998. Although I will not take one hunting in Alaska due to having issues with the triggers never once did I experience a failure to extract a round or casing.
    Tennessee

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    Well box triggers are the worst thing in the freezing rain I ever had happen on a hunting trip and I want no part of any box trigger for hunting. Maybe that's a reason I only trust open triggers like found on old WINCHESTER M-70's and Mauser rifle.


    I know Mike Walker and have long cherished the Man and his inventive nature. I have in my junk part box two extractors of Remington make, one is for the Remington 721 and the other is for the Remington 722. I've never had to replace this spring loaded extractor in 40 years. The riveted Remington extractors more than I can count. The newest I don't no anything about them as I gave up working on these newer M-700's rifles when they went to hell, about when about 12 or so years ago. This was when I saw my first screwed up re-cut 700 action screwed up by a guy chaning his barrel out on a swap barrel rifle. The real problem that happens with the riveted extractor is a dirty chamber that causes all the problems. Now YOU have to shout at Mike Walker to get him to hear you 25 years ago and he is far to old to do that today as he must be close to a hundred years old. Remember that he started with Remington back in the 1930"s and retired in the latter part of the 1970's from them.


    For that matter I had been caught short by a pre-64 M-70 action by a mesquite leaf in a chamber once while hunting that caused a ripped off case head on a .30-06. So I don't know if I've seen it all but I can tell you this, if you hunt long enough, your going to see a lot.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Thanks for all that, Murphy:

    I knew there had been changes in the Remington 700 Extractor over the years. Both of mine came from the early days, and one Iíve owned for all that time.

    Someone mentioned the triggers/safety thing. That is a concern, but generally, I don't even use a safety, preferring to carry a rifle without a round in the chamber.

    There are things for me to like about the Remington 700s. The action makes for clean, and simple lines, and there is a camming action on closing and opening, that makes for strong chambering, and extraction, but the extractor doesn't always slip over the rims smoothly.

    It's the Extractor that ruins the rest of it for me with the 700. The ones on the rifles I have, are sharp, and they shave brass, which I have to clean out of the bolt face. Leaving it there could eventually cause problems I'm sure.

    In all likelihood I would never shoot enough for my odds of a failure to be great, but you just never know.

    The rifle that feeds best for me is an 1895 Chilean Mauser. Only, the stock has been cut down to sporterize it. It is CRF, and it cocks on a rather LONG closing, and of course itís not a Strong Action, like the 98,,,,,,

    BUT, Boyo'Boy, does it feed rounds smoothly. It's also sturdy, and simply put together. Ingenious even.

    Thanks again for the dissertation. Apparently, you have extensive experience with Remington 700s, and not jist talkin through yer hat..

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    Nice lesson professor....thanks.

    Speaking purely illogically, I simply don't like the Remington extractors. While they are brilliantly simplistic and profitable to produce, I think they are cheap and flimsy. Again, this is purely illogical on my part because they mostly seem to work and get the job done, but I just don't like them and I won't ever trust them. Fortunately we have choices and options, even if those options present new questions of reliability. I own one Remington 700, but I have no intention of owning another.

    Doc

  6. #6

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    Thanks Murphy, very interesting and informative post.

    I'm not going to agree or disagree with anything here because I dont know enough about the subject to do so. I'll just share my experiences, as limited as they are.

    When I do load development, I sometimes push the envenlope a bit, and I pushed the envelope quite a bit with both of my 700 Senderos in 25-06 and 300 RUM. I blew about 2 or 3 primers each, mostly because I was attempting to do a Gun Juice treatment during the load work, with a wet bore, per GJ instructions. Bad idea. It took me a while to figure out that the unusually high pressure signs I was getting was from the GJ in the bore. Long story short... in all the various combinations of powder and bullets I worked up in these rifles, there where a lot of stiff bolts, craterted primers, shiney ejector marks and expanded primer pockets. In one incident which I mentioned in another thread, I went too far. After getting a stiff bolt with 87 gr of RL17 pushing a 180 E-tip about 3450 fps, I decided to try 88 gr, because some of my brass had been chambering a little tight after a few firings and I was sure the stiff bolt was a high pressure sign. I figured one more grain wouldn't hurt. Well I let it go and the chrony said 3500 FPS (I think actually about 3505) Then I checked the bolt and it would not budge. So I tapped it up with the handle of a plastic handled hammer and then used a good bit of maual force to fininsh the extraction. The case came back, and both the primer and ejector fell out.

    So my experience with abusing the 700 extractor is that it held up. How long it will continue to hold up, I dont know. I an really not a big fan of Remingtons, but I do like their Senderos, although I wish their action were more along the line of a Howa. Like Doc, I believe I have bought my last Remington, b ut I'm not sure that I would not recommend one to someone else. I think they are functional and relaible enough to use in the field. At least that's been my limited experience. I may be wrong, but at the same time I dont feel like Ican definitively tell someone not to take one to the field. I think future rfiles for me will have Howa and/or Vanguard actions.

    I've run a few warm/hot loads through my Sako 85 also and it has held up just fine. Again, very limited experience.

    -Mark

  7. #7

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    Great read, and very useful. I've spent most of the last 50 years with my fingers crossed over the question, but fortunately never experienced a single problem in many rifles. Being a lefty, the 700 was one of the few action choices for me, so I've continued to use it in spite of the complaints. Color me lucky, but color me happy, too.

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    Default I'm with the others

    Great writeup Murphy, as always.

    Like the Ford vs Chevy I think...

    My very first rifle is my 1975 M700 30/06, couldn't tell you how many rounds have been through it. 40 or so guns later, with many other M700's, all of mine have worked flawlessly for me. Also a big Ruger and Marlin fan. Call me lucky but I try to take care of them all and they have all done me well...

    I hope I didn't jinx myself here...
    Tony

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    Quote Originally Posted by tzieli22 View Post

    I hope I didn't jinx myself here...
    Ah man, I didn't think of that! I take it all back.

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    I got 15 years of looking at remington extractors in all shapes, colours, sizes and states and while I prefer Sako/M16 style, all in all, nothing wrong with a Remington.

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    Default Flimsy Remington extractors

    Over many years of dealing with surplus military rifles and overloads in claw mounted extractors I've never had one fail. I've beat bolts open to clear cartridges from rusty and dirty chambers and worse I've done is to rip the rim off the case. Then I had to beat the cases out with a piece of drill rod and a hammer.

    Even firing a hot Isreali 8mm in an late war crudly made 7.7 Jap didn't even break even though the primer pocket was expanded way oversize. The case head held due to the better support allowed by the claw extractor. The case head would have probably failed in a Remington.

    I had an old Mauser 98 in .220 Swift that I consistently overladed for best accuracy. I'd always blow about 25% the primers but the extractor never gave up. A dumb thing to do but I was young and just learning way back then.
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  12. #12

    Smile Hi Murph

    I am not probably not experienced enough to know what to say of the Remington rifles. Sure are a bunch of them in use with the military, police and hunters in North America. Just looking at the trigger and extractor give me the creeps! I am probably misspelling his name but their is an Australian guy named Bob Penfeld, or some thing like that who supposedly was in on the "culling" of some 30,000 animals in Australia over the course of several years. It was probably donkeys, camels, buff and what ever, etc. He claims to have worn out at least five barrels on a Rem. 700 in .308 Win. caliber. He also said he replaced the extractor once. Heck, I don't know and I trust your judgment on most things that go bang, but that is a lot of shots and they seem to work most of the time. Still, I don't own them and shoot Mod. 70's because I can't afford Dakota 76's. Just sharing some info and thoughts. Do you live in mule deer country?

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    I've only had 5 Rem 700s over the last 40 years,but I have only had trouble with one. My wife bought me one of the first 700V's in 223 and after about 5000 rds through it without cleaning the trigger assy,it started to discharge when you took it off safety. A squirt of brake kleen and a puff of compressed air and all was good again. I guess a guy should clean more than just the barrel once in a while. Never had an extraction or ejection problem.

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    Default remingtons

    I have only ever owned 2 Remington didnt keep either one long enough to really give them good/bad reviews. I do know this though,in over 20 years of guiding hunters I have seen more Remington extractors fail than any other brand. Sure I have probably had more Remington come through camp but still the numbers say something to me. A gun smith friend says in his shop he fixes more Remington than any other and most often its the extractor??

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