Remington’s flagship bolt-action rifle is the Model 700, while their price-point gun is the Model 770. In between is a huge void. Well, there was, anyway.
Last fall I attended the Remington writer’s seminar in South Carolina, where they showed me a new rifle designed to fill the gap; the Model 783. It’s an “economy” priced rifle, but with more features than the 770. The trouble is that we were not allowed to write about it until now. The embargo is lifted and you can hear about it here first.
When you look at the gun you might get a feeling of deja vu. That’s because you have probably seen the rifle, or at least one a lot like it. Freedom Group is a conglomerate of gun and gun related companies, including Remington. They also own Marlin, and in 2007 Marlin introduced a rifle called the XL-7. This rifle had a street price under 300 bucks and a performance level good enough to run with the big boys. That rifle was made at the Remington Mayfield, KY plant; the same facility that is turning out the 783.
Remington used a lot of the best features from the Marlin rifle to build the new 783. Make no mistake, this is not a gun designed to set aflutter the heart of a rifle purist. Don’t look for deep polished blue, finely checkered walnut or metal machined so precisely the panty lines don’t show. The Model 783 is a gun designed to allow a hunter to buy a well-performing new rifle at a fair price, which is to say it was engineered to be mass produced at a low cost. It’s not a showcase rifle, but rather a pragmatic, sensible hunting gun.
The introductory model is a plain gun with blued metal and an injection molded stock. All of the 783 rifles are fitted with Remington’s Premium Magnum Contour Barrel. In English that is a slightly heavy, sporter weight, button-rifled barrel. The .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield have a 22-inch pipe while the 7mm Remington Magnum’s is 24-inches. The rifles weigh 7-1/8 pounds and 7-1/4 pounds.
The receiver is cylindrical, which makes it easier to machine and keep cost down. The 783 uses a small ejection port that serves to maintain more metal in the action and increases rigidity. An emerging theme in new rifles hitting the market recently is to use a barrel nut to attach the barrel to the receiver and the 783 is quite trendy. Pioneered by Savage, a barrel nut might be ugly, but it’s an inexpensive way to fit the barrel to the receiver while maintaining the critical head spacing dimension.
The bolt is a classic, two opposing lugs design. The extractor is fitted into a slot milled in the front of the right lug and is held in place with a spring loaded ball bearing that fits into a deep detent in the back of the extractor. The ejector is a spring loaded plunger in the face of the bolt, similar to the Model 700.
The injection molded stock uses a pillar system to bed the action, while the barrel is completely free-floated. The Remington guys tell me that they have used more nylon than is normal in the stock to increase the rigidity. It also increases weight. The stock has molded in sling swivel attachment studs and a Remington SuperCell recoil pad. The magazine is a metal, detachable box style that holds either four standard cartridges or three magnum cartridges.
Remington calls the trigger the “CrossFire Trigger System.” It too will look familiar, as it is similar to the Savage Accutrigger and the trigger on the Marlin. There is a reason that the Accutrigger is copied; because it works. On the 783, it is pre-set at the factory at 3.5 pounds and is consumer adjustable.
One criticism I have is with the safety. Just like on all the other Remington bolt action rifles currently offered, the two-position safety does not lock the bolt shut. While it does allow the bolt to be opened and the gun unloaded while the safety is in the on position, it also allows the bolt to open inadvertently in the field. I have left a trail of cartridges throughout the hunting world from bolts rubbing on my clothing and opening. This gun could be improved greatly with a three-position, bolt locking safety.
The 783 uses two Model 700 front scope bases, one in front and the other for the rear. Weaver sells the bases individually, so they are easy to find.
The .30-06 I shot at the 2012 Remington Gun Writer’s seminar functioned perfectly and seemed to be accurate. I didn’t have access to the targets to measure the groups, but they seemed to be running about 1-1/2 inches. One of my editors used the gun in 7mm Remington Magnum on an elk hunt this fall and told me he was very pleased with the performance.
With a street price of around $400.00, this rifle should be very popular with both new hunters and seasoned veterans looking for a new rifle option.