In my quest to buy a 25-06 I stumbled onto an extremely clean Remington 788 in 243. The purpose in mind for the 25-06 was for getting a little more range than what my 20 inch barreled 77 in 243 gives me with 70 grain soft points. After two days of pondering the situation I decided that 85-90 grain .243 pills with a slower burning powder in the 24" barreled 788 would accomplish the objective that I was seeking in the 25-06. Keep in mind that coyotes are the focus here and had deer or pronghorn been in the picture then the .25 would have been the clear winner.
The only 788s that I have owned have been trading stock so other than working up a load for one and zeroing it in my experience is vague. That one was a 6mm and was a long time ago but do remember it shot Savage size groups ( who'da thunk that Savage would be a measuring stick for accuracy....but they are).
My question then is about reliability. Are they as structurally sound as the 700's? Is the extractor a notorious problem child? Last, are the magazines reliable for feed and function?
This gun is like new! It has a blued bolt that shows no wear marks on it anywhere. I bought it for $350 so I think I got a good thing going here.
I believe the only reason Remington quit making them was because they out shot the more expensive 700.This also gave us the happy Savage shooters that realized looks ain't everything,can she cook
A friend of mine has one in .244 ( pre 6mm ) and has drug it around for 40 years! Hate to tell you how many coyotes, fox, and deer fallen to that old workhorse.
I second Amigo's feelings, in keeping up with the consumers needs for frilly things the 788 got axed!
Remington Model 788
The Model 788 may not be much of a looker, not too smooth, not super rugged... however, in my experiences with them - all where good shooters to support their sorta cult following.
I see 'em as the T3 of that time... relatively affordable, straightforward function, and plenty accurate right outta the box.
Single stack magazine works great... never had any problems on mine.
Rear lockers are not the greatest deal of all time... particularly to digest a routine feeding of hotter loads. Same goes for the way the bolt-handle is attached.
The two rifles I've kept of this Remington design are a very nice early model 788 factory Walnut w/ nice cheek-piece in .308 WIN and 588 in .22 rimfire. I've used .223 REM, .22-250 REM, & 6mm REM. as well --- All were consistently accurate printing the 100 yard paper at sub-MOA.
If I was looking to have a .243 - today - I would not go another 788 despite all the good luck, price and performance I've gotten with these rifles. I'd go a T3 'Today' --- I see it as every bit fitting this type of use.
If I could find a T3 for $350 then thats what I'd do. They are a lot of gun for the money.
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
I have already had a forum member offer to buy the 788, so if it doesn't work out I still can't go wrong.
I have one in 22-250, shoots sub-moa. Both of my kids used it to take a Doe on their first hunt. My BIL has one in 243 and I bedded it and it is a shooter.
At one time they had the fastest lock time of production bolt guns and may still do. Triggers are so-so but Timney makes a replacement. Sounds like an excellent buy, enjoy it. I have never encountered any feeding problems with 80 or 100 grainers but have not tried 55 grain bullets but they feed ok and shhot well in my sons Model 700 RMEF Youth model.
Had to go back....
and re-read your post. Thought for a moment you were contemplating a conversion to .270 on yer 788. Not long enough, except maybe for a single shot, and not sure that'd work out.
The only problem I've seen with them is one broken bolt stop pin. You have to pull the trigger to remove and replace. The second thing these days is finding a magazine if you lose yours, so don't lose yours!
Every one that I've fooled with has been a shooter, performing WAY beyond what you'd expect from an entry-level price tag, though these days, especially a .22-250, .223, or 6mm are pushing $450-$500 for a clean example.
If you're just going to bust coyotes with the thing, why not go ahead and load 100 grainers and pick up the additional range the heavier bullets will give? Makes it easier if you find yourself in the mood to try and take a whitetail, speedgoat, or jackalope, you know....
"In their day" it was popular to use the actions for building benchrest guns, and there was a lot of winning going on. They passed through my hands like water because they were common and readily available, so you didn't think much about letting one go when replacement was so easy and cheap. I think I've owned them in every caliber they were offered, but didn't hang onto any. The two I regret most were the 44 mag and the 30-30 I had rebarreled to Zipper. Now THAT was a notable gun! I rebarreled one with a heavy 22-250 Shilen for ground squirrels and rockchucks, and literally shot it out over a couple of years. It shot so well on a hunt I made with Fred Huntington (RCBS) that he was contemplating using the action for some of his own caliber experiments. Sadly I moved and lost touch with him before learning if he followed through.
I'd hang onto it, and yeah, keep your eyes peeled for spare mags. I found a couple of them banging around in a drawer last year and gave them to a friend with a 788, and you'd think I'd given him the crown jewels, he was so happy.
You do have a good thing going. I bought one in .243 in 1982 or so, paid $150 for it. Best invest I've made in a long time. I have never had any problem with it. A good friend had his restocked and it looked a lot better but did not change the great accuracy. I'd certainly give buying it serious consideration.
Reliability? I have seen a few village/boat guns 788 modles with the bolt handle broken off. The guns had been abused though.
I see Brownells now sells newly manufactured to old spec magazines for the 788!
788 Bolt Handles
The 788 did/does have issues with the bolt handles. I'm not sure how they're attached, but it's not strong.
The one I had in .308 was definitely a shooter. It was compact, and nice...but way heavier than it looked.
I sold it, shoulda' kept it.
salcha star road
I really take special liking to the Remington 788... so I guess I'm part of that cult following. My early model .308 WIN is actually a very good looking example.
A well skilled aircraft mechanic and accuracy nut shooter/hunter friend of mine bedded it to perfection with mix of glass and particle metal. It was always a tack-driver and loves corelokt and gameking for factory ammo. I decided to bed it due to some internal wood wear not at all obvious from outside --- I felt was going to take away accuracy little by little. Inside wood is not sealed up like the nice dark walnut exterior.
Magazines have never been a problem functionally or been difficult to find.
I would say a good Model 788 should run about $375 in fair-minded price... cult followers have capitalized on certain tributes of the firearm theretofore go higher. If I see one in great shape at $350 my left hand has to get a hold of the right to reconsider the trigger pulling purchase.
Most accurate one in my hands was a lefty in 6mm REM. I was going to make my righty version of a pistol from set-up... but was not easy legal-like... so sold it to a very happy left-hander. Rimfirmat on here has had a few nice ones... I'm sure he'd wish he still had em'!
Cheers on M788 purchase... and yes T3 is more expensive (but shouldn't be)
there's a 788 in 308 for sale on one of the forums right now. It looks like the stock has been redone though and the asking price is $525.00.
The first two 788s listed on gunbroker are at $605 with 22 bids on that one and the next is at 243 at $585 with one bid cast. I'm feeling real good about $350 right now!
The one that has been bid up to $605 is listed as a 25-06 on the face sheet but then has a memo added at the bottom saying oops its a 243. I wonder how many of those 22 bids were placed on it being a 25-06 when there's no such thing. That could get interesting!
It sounds like you might have a good rifle there. I don't know much about the 788's. The one thing that I'll lobby for is a high BC bullet if you want long range coyotes. In a 243, my first choice woud be a 105 gr Berger VLD with a BC of .536 comapred to say a 87 gr Hornady Vmax with a BC of .4 There would be almost no notocable difference in short range trajectory and the 105 bullet would buck wind better nd hit harder down range.
Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone
Sounds like you got a nice rifle. I hope it's a shooter and works well for ya.
And oh yeah.... RL17
The T3 more or less starts to get into that far out 788 pricing... lol
Those bidding so high just are not very in tune with reality... some of the most valued ones are in .44 magnum and .30-30 WIN. Shot both of these up here in Alaska - yet never owned these calibers. Both liked lighter loads... not something I'd have for Alaska in these cals.
$350 is fair-minded nice deal for a good wood & blue perfectly functioning rifle with magazine. All that with the funny iron sights plus plastic shroud at BBL/receiver interface with walnut 'should' go $375-$425 in more common calibers. A box thrown in unfired - more.
I bet she'll be accurate. I would not have 'er digesting a constant diet of hot loads. This is where you could stretch head-spacing due to its rear locker lug construction, plus have the chamber get too tight on extraction breaking off the bolt handle. Feed her standard pressure, treat er right, and get a lifetime of shooting. Magazine does not like extended length of longer nosed bullets atop a powder packed case. Length, heat, and speed is not the 788 forte. Plastic safety lever can also stick a little on re-assembly so that the bolt-stop is not secured... just a tid-bit that should be verified before runnin' rounds.
Enjoy... I sure like my M788 in .308 WIN and would not part w/ it. Accurate on the 100 yard line, and I've made some memorable hunts/shots w/ 'er. Cheers!
I have used a 308 788 to take moose and caribou. I have had the rifle since about 1985 and have never had a problem with it. It was used when I got it. It isn't the prettiest rifle I own, but I would never sell it. Mine has been exceptionally accurate and reliable. The rifle came with three magazines, so I am set for life.