Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Remington 788 Action:

TO: All the 'smiths out there.

RE: Dressing up a 788 action.

I'v got a Remington 788 action that's still got the original 18 1/2" inch barrel screwed on it. I approached a well-respected 1,000 yard gun builder about having a match grade tube tightened on and finding a GOOD synthetic stock for the thing. The man flatly refused to do the work. His basic message was the action was not of high enough quality to warrant the change. Perhaps I didn't clearly communicate the intention for the dressup; I did not want to use the resulting project as a 1,000 yard match rifle, but rather as a poor man's precision .308. I think he was afraid his reputation would suffer if I showed up somewhere at a match and shot poorly with his work. His final remark was something like, "If you bring me a decent 700 action.."

So, now I'm looking for a second opinion. Is the action worth the investment? Despite the age of the action, it is relatively wearfree. (Under 300 rounds.)

Scott (T.O.O.)
PA USA - Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 19:08:46 (EST) 

To Scott T.O.O. :788 Question
I will tell you all I know about the 788. The reciever is stiff enough for your purposes for sure. The lock time of the action is one of the fastest ever made. There are nine locking lugs at the rear of the bolt and all nine are probably not making contact with the locking lug recesses in the receiver. The trigger is not adjustable and I dont know anyone who makes an aftermarket trigger for them. The bolt handle is brazed on and combined with the short leverage travel to extract the case from the chamber can spell trouble. I would not worry to much about finding a synthetic stock. Just glass bed the wood stock and paint it. I have seen guys who modified them for NRA highpower matches by making their own 5 round clips for reloading and it worked for them. How does it shoot with the barrel that is on now?
Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio USA - Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 22:06:52 (EST) 
Scott T.O.O. Sounds like you might need to get a different gunsmith. The forward lugs on the 788 are not a detrement to accuracy. They do in fact shoot some cartridges better than about any thing else (22-250-,223)except the latest designs out of the box. I've seen some very excellent rifles with these barrels and actions. Remington didn't spend a great deal of time tuning the trigger and smoothing the actions on these guns but... What is a good gunsmith for? The removable clip is another desirable feature that costs nothing on this gun and contrary to some of the newer clip designs it works! I won't slander anyones else's judgement but I do maintain that you are the customer and he is the servee! I would be a little dubious of someone who would not undertake a challenge if that is what he consider's it. Anyone can make a good shooter out of a new Remington PSS or VS cause they shoot damn good out of the box! There are excellent after market parts to make the trigger a silk purse and the barrel weight of the 788 is just about Ideal for a scout rifle. I can't say what he might have experienced trying to smooth one of those out but I want my gunsmith to tell me he will do it not tell me what I want done. Obviously the guy is in the Accuracy rut and doesn't want to be bothered with a tactical project. NO. I don't know who to tell you to go to but there are those here who do. I would be interested to hear different opinions about the 788 perhaps I have just been lucky!
B.Rogers <>
USA - Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 22:24:24 (EST) 
Scott T.O.O. Sorry I just realized I said front locking lugs. I should have said rear but old guys wander off sometimes! Steve thanks
for reminding me. You must have been posting at exactly the same time.
B.Rogers <>
USA - Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 22:29:08 (EST) 
TO: Steve "nato"

RE: 788 action

Thanks for the comeback. The rifle shot like a house afire with the original stock on it, honest 1" groups at 100 yards. BUT, after a couple of trips in the rain, that finish on the birch stock started to crack, and I thought it was the stock ITSELF starting to crack, so I had a piece of nice, plain walnut with a nice, shiny finish applied, and ever since, it doesn't shoot as well as it originally did. I suppose the stock fit was pretty bad, but never really checked it out. Also, I really only developed one load for it in the beginning, and when I found a good one (the first one I tried), that's where I stopped. SO, I guess a careful stock/action mating would be in order, as you suggest, along with some further load development. My main concern for the longer barrel was to compensate for velocity loss beyond, say, 300 yards. What do you think?
Scott (T.O.O.)
PA USA - Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 22:32:22 (EST) 

TO: B. Rogers

RE: 788 action

Thanks for the comeback. I was extremely happy with the rifle, and did my best work with it for almost twenty years. Had a big, old slow 180 grain load that I never shot over 75 yards that did the business right HereandNow. Then I got the "shoot 'em way out there" bug, and kind of abandoned my li'l old 788. I guess I read too much Elmer Keith. Nah, can't read too much of that old scudder's stuff, God Bless His Soul. Elmer, as you probably know, was highly enamoured of BIG calibers. Scout Rifle, huh? Sounds like a definite possibility! I wonder if the Jeff Cooper that posts here on SC is THE Col. Jeff Cooper?
Scott (T.O.O.)
PA USA - Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 22:50:29 (EST) 

Re: 788 possibilities

>The man flatly refused to do the work. His basic message was the >action was not of high enough >quality to warrant the change.

I remember an article by Fred Sinclair about making a BR type rifle out of a 788. He lapped the lugs for many hours and still didn't get all lugs to bear. He said it made a good varmint rifle though. Those bolts were rough as a corn cob.
Ron N. <>
USA - Sunday, December 13, 1998 at 00:45:22 (EST) 

Anyway there isn't any hard fast rule the all the lugs on the 788 have to bear by the way. Has little to do with the accuracy on this particular model. Large errors might be a problem but... mostatime it
ain't. One has to forgive cheap wood and cheap metal fit in the 788 and it's admittedly not optimum but it ain't useless. I can probably sympathize with the 1000 yard Gunsmith that he don't want to waste time on it but I've seen some real good work done by those old packing crate stocked guns.

B.Rogers <>
USA - Sunday, December 13, 1998 at 10:09:57 (EST) 

Scott T.O.O.
I think short handy rifles have their place. A short handy rifle that you have with you beats the hell out of the big bucks custom 14 pounder that you left at home. I do not think it wise to try to shoot hot loads to make up the difference in the short barrel though. With the 778 the bolt handle might break off for you. Even though Jeff Cooper endorses the Suprise Break method of triger control. I dont think all of his ideas have equal merit. The scout rifle is one of the dumber ones. If you try to shoot one of those Scout rifles with the sun at your back, the reflection of the rear eypiece will make the forward mounted scope useless. With a rear mounted scope, the chances that the back of your head will block out the sun is better.
Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio USA - Sunday, December 13, 1998 at 14:02:55 (EST) 

Steve:my reference to "Scout Rifle" is pretty broad and doesn't include a LER Scope. Even the Colonel doesn't specify that a scout has to have a LER. It was a option that he liked to keep his eyes free to see threats outside the scope and be able to point quickly.

B.Rogers <>
USA - Monday, December 14, 1998 at 01:37:07 (EST) 

Scout rifles: Wow, such hostility! The scout rifle is a great concept for a certain role, certainly NOT as a sniper weapon. It certainly has all kinds of limitations (!), but it does make a nifty rifle for most hunting. 

Dave <>
San Jose, CA USA - Thursday, December 17, 1998 at 00:04:07 (EST) 

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