by Scott Olmsted - Monday, December 23, 2013
The idea for Remington’s latest big-game rifle was hatched organically, in a deer camp in North Carolina in 2010. Long-time Remington executives John Trull, Jay Bunting and John Fink, men instrumental in the company’s rifle program, acknowledged their company’s vaunted Model 700 no longer sells itself. Heck, no bolt-action sells itself anymore, not when one in five guns sold in America is an AR-15. Faced with cheaper competition and a crowded market, they wanted to produce a bolt-action that would uphold the family name; they wanted another Model 700, only cheaper.
However, lest one think “cheaper” means, well, cheap, think again. The Model 783 offers everything a hunter needs in a rifle: accuracy, dependability and a retail price that should inspire impulse buying.
Remington produces the 783 in the company’s newest factory in Mayfield, Ky., to leverage its most efficient production processes and hold down costs, and to hit a retail price point of only $451. To produce accuracy, the rifle’s design incorporates several key ingredients decided upon in deer camp: a rigid receiver, a free-floated, stiff barrel and a slick trigger.
Its receiver is cylindrical, with a solid top. The ejection port is long, but narrow compared to similar designs. The best part: The rigidity inherent in such a design resists the torque induced during firing and aids accuracy. It’s drilled and tapped to accept Model 783 scope bases or two Model 700 front bases. The bolt incorporates a floating head, a Model 700-style plunger ejector and an extractor that fits flush against the bolt face. The extractor moves perpendicular to the bolt in channels cut in one of the two opposing lugs.
A carbon steel, medium-contour barrel is standard. It measures 22 inches long, or 24 inches on magnums. In front of the action is a barrel nut not unlike that used for years by Savage and Marlin (now Remington’s sister company). The nut is used to create simple and precise headspacing. It also keeps costs low. And it works marvelously. It measures almost an inch long, and secures a recoil lug between itself and the face of the receiver. The barrel also is free-floated and dual pillar-bedded, more accuracy attained cheaply thanks to simple stock design.
The stock is injection-molded, and it’s a bit stiffer than others found on rifles at this price point. In my view it’s also a step up compared to the competition, thanks to a different polymer blend specified by Trull, Bunting and Fink. Sure, it’s plastic: What else do you expect for this price? But it feels a bit better, a bit more solid, in my hands, than other polymer stocks on the shelves of gun shops these days.
Soon, stocks will be available in five different camo patterns in addition to black. All are backed by a SuperCell recoil pad. All feature integral sling swivel attachment points, and stippled panels on the fore-end and pistol grip. The drop on the straight comb is just right for mounting a scope low and tight above the receiver.
The Crossfire trigger (the same one used on Marlin’s X7 bolt-action rifle) is adjustable from 2.5-5 pounds pull weight. It’s factory-set at 3.5 pounds. It’s a single-stage design, the best for a hunting rifle. The Crossfire design incorporates a passive safety—similar to those found on many semi-auto pistols these days—which produces a clean pull but prevents accidental discharge thanks to an articulated blade in the center of the trigger lever that must be depressed before the trigger can be squeezed. I found no take-up or creep on either test rifle I fired.
The rifle’s manual safety is a two-position toggle at the right rear of the receiver, as used on other Remington bolt-actions. I don’t like the fact that it does not lock the bolt, because too many times while hunting with such a unit I’ve looked down to notice my rifle’s bolt wide open and the cartridge missing. The advantage, of course, is that you don’t have to take the rifle off “safe” to unload it.
The magazine is a detachable box, all the rage these days for hunters who climb in and out of trucks and must unload and load constantly throughout a day in the field. It and its release button are made of steel, the better for longevity and to ensure positive engagement. (I don’t like plastic magazines, and I hate plastic releases as they seem to inevitably wear with age.) The follower and base plate are polymer, however. The magazine fits flush with the bottom of the receiver, which contributes to a sleek profile.
The rifle is chambered in .308 Win., .270 Win., .30-06 and 7mm Rem. Mag. Note they’re all standard-length offerings; .243 Win. and .300 Win. Mag. will be offered soon.
The model nomenclature conjures images of Remington’s legacy, and hints at the future: the “7” reflects the venerable Model 700, released in 1962; the “8” reflects the company’s Model 788, its last affordable alternative to the 700; and the “3” recognizes the year of introduction, 2013.
Overall it’s a simple design. The entire package consists of a mere 10 pieces (notwithstanding bolt disassembly), and five of them are screws. It’s a mod look, which isn’t a bad thing in a day and age when the AR-15 is the most popular gun in America. Traditionalists probably won’t like the stock lines, the scallops on the bolt shroud or the flat bolt handle (though it provides increased scope clearance). They may not like the polymer trigger guard and its square silhouette, or the square fore-end tip, either. But folks whose bread is buttered with bolt-action rifles, faced with a market that no longer honors the bolt-action as the queen of the field, knew they had to do something. Besides traditional buyers looking for something new, I suspect the 783 will find favor in a market increasingly populated with younger, urban/suburban and female buyers looking for value.
Remington Model 783
Type: bolt-action repeating centerfire rifle
Caliber: .308 Win., .270 Win., .30-06, 7mm Rem. Mag. (.243 Win., .300 Win. Mag. coming soon)
Barrel: 22"; 1:10" RH twist (std.)
Trigger: single-stage; blade safety; pull weight adjustable from 2.5-5 lbs.
Magazine: detachable steel box; 4 rnds. (standard), 3 rnds. (magnum)
Sights: none; drilled and tapped for scope bases
Safety: 2-position toggle
Stock: polymer; length of pull 13 3/8"; drop at heel 15 5/8"; drop at comb 1"
Overall Length: 42 5/8"
Weight: 7-7.3 lbs.
Metal Finish: matte black
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