Q I have the chance to buy a Remington Model 788 in .22-250 very cheaply. The barrel appears to be in good condition without any noticeable erosion in the throat. Would you recommend that I buy this rifle? What are its good and bad points?
‚Äì Thomas Lloyd
A Wayne Leek who was Remington’s chief of Research & Development designed the Model 788 which was the company’s first attempt at an economy class rifle. It debuted in 1967. It was a rearlocker but built to be strong. The receiver was machined from round bar stock properly alloyed and tempered. The bolt and head of the cartridge are shrouded with steel, but the nine locking lugs are at the rear of the bolt in banks of three with 120 degrees of separation. The lugs lock into mating recesses in the body of the receiver which was made very thick over the area of engagement. The bolt head is recessed without any cuts in it for the extractor and has a gas shield at the rear. An extra large recoil lug gave the rifle increased stability. The 788 has very fast locktime – 2.4 milliseconds. All of these features contribute to exceptionally fine accuracy and the 788 actually embarrassed Remington by outperforming the more expensive Model 700. The only problem with the 788 concerned the trigger sear which acted as the bolt catch/release. The sears, which were some kind of porous casting often broke. Back in those days there were a number of 788s in my area and I got sick of replacing triggers for their owners and recommended they sell them. As far as I know if you bought that 788 and the sear broke, you‚Äôd not be able to get a replacement trigger; you‚Äôd have to get a sear made. Hardly worth the trouble. If I were you I‚Äôd give it a miss.