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Old 05-13-2018, 02:11 PM
Trooperdan Trooperdan is offline
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Default $150 Remington 788

Happened to be in a gun shop a hundred miles or so from my home turf for an indoor Glock match. I was the last shooter scheduled so I had time on my hands. There was a 20 gun rifle rack out in the public area, and a large table with various boxes and cases of assorted ammo.
I noticed a Remington Nylon 66, in the rack, they are pretty obvious. It was in very good condition, priced at $250, a decent price but I was able to resist it so back it went. There were a couple of black guns, several shotguns... and a clip-fed bolt rifle. Wait, that is a 788! Quick glance at the muzzle indicated a likely .22 caliber. could it be a .222? Nope, a .223, and priced at $150! Condition was at least 95%, had a couple of scope mount holes in the barrel, darn it and a Weaver mount but I didn't put it down!
After buying it, no negotiation even tried, I asked what was the deal with the table of ammo and the clerk said a local doctor, very good friend of the owner came in and said his wife had awoke that morning with the ultimatum, the guns and ammo had to go! The entire rack of gun and the table of ammo were from him. There was a very nice Winchester model 88, a Remington model 34 .22LR and other very nice rifles at good prices but I think I got the pick of the litter!
Anyone know how many 788's were produced in .223?
!
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Last edited by Trooperdan; 05-13-2018 at 02:13 PM. Reason: add question on production qty.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:29 PM
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I do not know how many were produced, but I believe they have long since been discontinued. They were a grade under the 700, but obviously a nice find at 150.00. I can remember them. You got a good caliber for surplus ammo. I cannot remember if they were D&T'd for a scope. Nice job! Good luck
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:48 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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"...I asked what was the deal with the table of ammo and the clerk said a local doctor, very good friend of the owner came in and said his wife had awoke that morning with the ultimatum, the guns and ammo had to go!"

Yeah, something or someONE would have to go, fer sure!

I might miss her, for at least a day or two.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:55 PM
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The 788's had a well deserved reputation for stellar accuracy.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph7 View Post
The 788's had a well deserved reputation for stellar accuracy.
Yes! And quickly discarded by many as soon as the 700 came out and grew in popularity. 788s are great old rifles. Nice score OP
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:00 PM
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The 788 was made from 1967 - 1983 as an economy centerfire. Issues were the bolt lock safety was fickle, bolt handles were soldered to the bolt and could break, the extractor got dirty quickly, was weak and issues were reported. Over a half million were made in 3 action lengths. As I recall, the 44 mag, 30-30 and 35 rem were hard to find. I owned a 222 and recall the accuracy was fairly impressive. Good entry level varmint gun.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:02 PM
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IIRC they headspace on the rear bolt lugs but I can't see 223 affecting that much at all.

Watch for stretched cases at first just in case.

Nice deal and enjoy it! JD
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:25 PM
mtgianni mtgianni is offline
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Magazines were difficult to find. Every one I saw for sale the shop kept the magazine in the safe not in the gun.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:42 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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They changed the bolt lock safety over in '75 or 76. The change allowed the bolt to be operated with the safety engaged (on SAFE) to unload the chamber &
magazine if you wished to.

Prior to that, the design only allowed and expected you to place the safety on FIRE or F (with a round in the chamber to be unloaded!), lift and open the bolt and pull it to the rear,,unloading the chamber.
Then before sliding the bolt foreward again, re-engage the safety to the Safe or S position.
Then go ahead and slide the bolt forward and back to empty the rest of the magazine,,or just remove the entire box magazine from the rifle by detaching with it's catch.

You can see where the first part of the operation begged for a accidental or negligent discharge.
There never was a out and out Recall on the old style bolt lock safety on the 788. There was a factory notice about it's proper operation and the cut off time in production ect put out.
That was tagged along with the Model 700 bolt lock recalls in '02 or '03 a couple times as an additional note.

The .223 cal came out about the same time in 1975. I don't know if they all have the later bolt lock safety mechanism.

Nice little rifles they are. Accurate for sure.
A local shop just had a NOS .223 version w/box on the rack and priced at $499 and it went in a hurry.

The hard soldered on bolt handle has always been an issue with the 788. Seems they used an induction type process and not a very good one. Or the solder & flux wasn't right or something.
Some of them just have a poor bond betw bolt handle and bolt body.
Done right you can beat on a hard soldered joint all day and only end up bending the steel parts involved.
The induction process was used so as to keep any excess heat away from the rear locking lugs on the bolt body. Maybe a couple extra amps were needed on some!
Induction can heat the part and small area needed to the right temp in a couple of seconds and then cool right back down.
It's used quite a bit on SxS shotgun bbl to braze the breech ends together now instead of furnace brazing them

The 30-30 and 44mag versions bring a lot of attention and $$ now.

Grab any extra magazines you find as they are becoming harder to find. The 222 and the 223 magazines are interchangeable.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:03 PM
canoeguy canoeguy is online now
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I bought a .223 caliber 788 in 1985 from Big 5 Sporting Goods in San Jose, California. I used it to hunt jackrabbits and ground squirrels all over California. Jackrabbits near Barstow, ground squirrels in the National Forests, Mendocino and Los Padres. Lots of fun...

That rifle was extremely accurate, probably 1/2" at 100 yards with Sierra 52 grain match bullets. I learned how to hand load using that rifle.

Of course I let it get away from me to get something else, would love to have another one.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:20 PM
Bakebfr480 Bakebfr480 is offline
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I just got one in 44 mag in a trade. A LGS has a few in 243.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:40 PM
loc n load loc n load is offline
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Default Rem 788

IMO you bought a great rifle.
I own two 788’s, a 223 and a 6 mm Remington. I bought them new back in the day. These two rifles have accounted for over two hundred coyotes over the past 4 decades. I have equally old Weaver 4x12 scopes on both of them. Both rifles with my handloads will shoot moa or smaller groups at 100 yds. I call my pair of vintage varmint killers “ Lightening & Thunder”. I have a 200 acre field behind my house and I keep the 788’s handy for zapping coyotes which I see quite often, the 223 handles the 200 yd or closer and the 6mm gets the nod for longer range.
I have a bunch of CF rifles, all of them more expensive than the 788’s, but the Remington’s have served me well. Over the years I have known several fellows who had 788’s in various calibers and they were all accurate, dependable rifles.
For $150, I would buy that 788 in a heart beat, and for $250 I would snarf that 66 up also. I own two of them, and have years of experience with them as well.

Last edited by loc n load; 05-13-2018 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:35 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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I used a 788 in .308 for many years as my primary deer gun. I bought it because it was cheap. Ugliest plain stock you could imagine but I did like the shorter barrel. I was on such a tight budget at the time, looks really didn't matter. I was loading 150gr bullets with a Lee Hand Loader and living the dream in a Single Wide Mobile Home! The little 788 killed many deer. One of the most accurate rifles I've ever shot. It got stolen out of my truck and I've not seen one for sale in many years. Don't deer hunt any more but if I found one cheap I'd probably buy it just for the memories
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:13 PM
Usmc5811 Usmc5811 is offline
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A life time friend of mine had one of those in .243, he would have to race to get to hunt with it during deer season. He had 2 older brothers. And they only had 3 guns for whitetail. They had a 444 Marlin, a model 1100 20 gauge, and the little 788. They shot the barrel out of it by the mid 90ís. Lord only knows how many deer were killed with it. Not saying all were legal back then but it kept the family fed.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:13 PM
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I had a 788 in 7-08 for many years (kid took it to college and never returned it). I paid $139.95 as they were on sale at clearance pricing. I was a poor college student and it was all I could afford. Glad it was so because it turned out to be the most accurate sporting rifle I ever shot. It was a carbine with an 18 1/2" barrel. 139 grain Hornady SP with the flat base. It killed everything from deer and antelope to elk, prairie dogs and coyotes. I imagine a 22 cal with the right loads would be a devastating varmint rig.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
Magazines were difficult to find. Every one I saw for sale the shop kept the magazine in the safe not in the gun.
Third party magazines are now available. Do a search on e-bay.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:28 PM
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The guns are just things. The docs problem was the ultimatum and his surrender. Now, he is owned.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:57 PM
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The 788 used rear locking lugs on the bolt and this had a few advantages.

1) The bolt cycles much smoother than a 700 and the lack of forward locking lugs means there is no need for raceways in the receiver. The single stack magazine also means there is only a narrow cut in the bottom of the receiver, and the 788 has a small ejection port. The combined effect is a very rigid tubular receiver that is significantly stiffer than the receiver on the 700.

2) The spacing of 3 sets of 3 locking lugs spaced 60 degrees apart also allows a shorter, faster 60 degree bolt throw.

3) The trigger and bolt had an exceptionally fast lock time. Remington used the same design on their 580, 581, and 582 rim fires as well as their 540X and 540XR target rifles.

When you combined the stiff receiver with the fast lock time the result was exceptional accuracy - better than the average Model 700, which was one of the problems with the 788 - it cut into Remington 700 sales.

There were also a couple downsides with the bolt design.

1) As noted above the bolt handle was a separate piece attached to the bolt and if you abused them by hammering the bolt open, you could break it off.

2) The rear locking bolt can flex under pressure, so it is not a design where you want to use over pressure hand loads. If you do, in addition to possible head space issues, you will eventually end up with a stuck case and you'll be likely to be hammering on the bolt to get it open. Be sure to adequately size (but not over size) your brass, and work up to max loads carefully.

That said, the SMLE, FAL, and the Savage 99 and most other lever action rifles (except for the BLR) have rear locking bolts. It's simple not a problem provided you don't exceed SAAMI pressure specs.

-----

The early 788s did not have the bottom metal inletted into the stock. Some folks were offended by that. The early 788s also required the safety to be off in order to cycle the bolt, which was viewed as a safety issue by some, but it's a detachable box magazine rifle so the only round involved is the one up the spout.

The very early 788s had walnut stocks, but birch stocks were the norm, and many of them had an in fashion at the time, but generally unappealing blonde finish.

In 1975 Remington made some changes to modify the safety so that the bolt would cycle with the safety engaged. They also inletted the bottom metal to improve the appearance.

-----

I have one in .243 that is very accurate and very well balanced for carry in the field. It does what it does extremely well.

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Old 05-14-2018, 01:47 AM
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I had a 788 in 222 rem. Extremely accurate. remington used to make and sell a 55 grain hollow point match bullet. Groups you could cover with a dime. Shot almost as well a my 40x singleshot in the same caliber. i heard the same story about the 788's being so accurate that they were cutting into the rem 700 sales.I have a newer 40x in 308/7.62NATO (barrel stamp)that I have been giving some thoughts of having it rebarreled to 6.5 Creedmore. In the newer 40x I have it has a 27" really heavy barrel and the stock is laminated with a thumb hole.Whole rifle is heavy. Probably get the same style bbl but only 26" long. Remingtons lawyer proof trigger on this one can only be adjusted so far and trigger pull is nothing to write home about. The older 40x triggers could be adjusted for both trigger pull and sear engagement. Heck even my Sako 75 hunter in 30-06 can be adjusted down to about 2lbs. The Sako is probably the most accurate 30-06 I have ever owned. With handloads sub minute of angle accuracy is easily attained and it's a 30-06. Even loves my Lake City M72 match ammo.And no changes in sight settings. All in all the 788 was definitely a rifle ahead of its time. Never found one in 30-30. Frank
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:51 AM
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Any time you you can pickup a useable shooter for that kind of money you have done well!
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
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/.... Remingtons lawyer proof trigger on this one can only be adjusted so far and trigger pull is nothing to write home about. The older 40x triggers could be adjusted for both trigger pull and sear engagement.
Timney still sells a trigger for the 788. It also works on the 540X and 540XR.
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:19 AM
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The 788 ejects it's casings up and out at about a 60 to near 70* angle depending on which caliber it is.
With some scopes mounted as usual (windage adj knob on the right side of the tube) the ejected case can occasionally strike that adj knob on the way out.
Again it depends on which scope you happen to be using, how it's mounted (fore and aft position) and which 788.

The easy fix is to rotate the scope 90* CCW in the rings.
The windage adj is now on top and becomes your elevation.
What used to be the elevation is now on the left side out of the way and is now the windage adj.
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:52 AM
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Nice find
Congrats!
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:05 AM
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The summer of 1977 I had just graduated high school and was working construction, so I had a little money in my pocket. We had a local chain store called Woolco that was going out of business and I stopped in one day. They had Remington model 788's on close out sale for $99.00 each. I asked the salesman what calibers they had as I was looking to buy a .270. Remington didn't make the 788 in .270 but he laid new boxed rifles on the counter in .308, .243, .22-250, 6mm and .44 mag. I laid away one in each caliber and picked one a week up over the next month. They only had three Weaver 3 X 9 scopes and I bought them all. Put one on the .308, the 6mm and the 22-250. Never did scope the .44.
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:28 AM
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Just a bit more info, I seriously doubt this rifle has been fired! I just took a look at the bolt face and there is not a mark on it. it doesn't take many rounds to start wearing the bluing off the face of the bolt and this bolt hasn't a mark on it! And there is not a scratch or dent anywhere on the stock! I don't think a used rifle can be called "new" but this is as close as I've even seen!
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