View Full Version : 742 With a terrible trigger
October 29, 2006, 12:57 AM
I recently inherited a 30.06 Remington 742 from an old, old hunting buddy, a retired navy carrier pilot who survived Korea, built and sold several fixed based airport operations, and passed on about a year ago after reclusively spending the last ten years of his life on about eight hundred acres in Missouri. doing what he immensely enjoyed. Meticulously constructed outbuildings, tractors, an impressive log main house, and saddle horses I never got so see. His daughter whom I had never met, has no interest in firearms, hunting, or the idea of selling her father's collection. She learned the names of the folks her dad hunted with, and asked if we would accept one each of his guns. A very well cared for Remington 742, 30.06 with a well mounted steel Weaver K2.5 scope, no lens caps, no lens scratches, arrived in an old canvas case. The bore is a mirror and the only external wear is from 30 +years of hand carry. I don't want to change anything but this thing has the absolutely worst, atrocious, abominable trigger I have ever come across, period. It must be a gritty, nine or ten or ten pounds and with what seems a quartrer inch of creep. I know nothing of the the construction of this gun. Can the trigger be be significantly improved or maybe just replaced? I recall pre hunt practice sessions where Jack got 1", 100 yard 4 shot groups with the thing so barrel and actions must be pretty good but the slim barrel heats up so quickly, testing is tedious. I am enamored of sub moa bolt rifles so if I can't get thing thing halfway decent, it's a gun safe queen.
October 29, 2006, 02:03 AM
I own a Remington 740 and a 742 and they both have good crisp triggers with no creep. Honestly, it sounds like some kind of gunk is hanging up the trigger or something broke. The trigger assembly is fairly simple and straight forward, and can be removed as an assembly by pushing out the two retaining pins that show through both sides of the receiver. If your not comfortable messing with it yourself, take it to a gunsmith. The rifle should have a much better trigger then you describe and yes it can be improved.
October 29, 2006, 01:13 PM
Thanks Alakar. If there's nothing obvious when I get the trigger assembly off, I want to mount one of my 3-9 scopes on it and see how well it shoots (or how well I can shoot it!) as is. What bullet weight/s do you find that these things prefer and generally what kind of 100 yd groups do you get? Ever have any extraction problems? Run of the mill reloading dies work OK?
This thing has embossed checkering so maybe I'll try the checkering tool thing and spiff it up with real, raised checkering.
October 29, 2006, 02:01 PM
I would suggest not working on the trigger yourself because it is a semi-automatic with the risk of full auto. Timney has offered trigger assemblies in the past and may yet for all I know.
I'd suggest a smith who maybe does trigger work on 1100's and such. The sear/hammer relationship is usually shipped with enough of a hook that the trigger first cams the hammer backwards against the spring before releasing the hammer to fly forward. Setting the angles carefully and smoothing everything up will produce a fine light trigger - getting the angles wrong will produce an illegal full auto. Mine was done by the smith at Marshall Field's in Chicago many years ago when Field's still had an extensive gun department on the top floor that was real competition to V.L. & A. along with marble paneled restrooms. The marble was repeatedly vandalized and we all know what happened to gun departments in Chicago. I told Phil I'd pay him to do whatever seemed good to him after I bought the rifle and the trigger was great the accuracy just fine given the rifle didn't fit sandbags well and I used a K3 Weaver - in no way inferior to bolt guns. Tom Hayes wrote a number of gun and hunting books in which he praised the 742 but also suggested derattling the magazines which I did find necessary.
Gas gun loads - medium bullet weights and medium powders as suggestted for the Garand are definitely best - bolt gun loads with 200 grain Nosler round nose and a lot of H205 were definitely too high pressure at the gas port with cases still gripping the chamber walls and resulted in seriously bent rims. My understanding is that the Remington extractor with just right heat treat works beautifully but sometimes the heat treat wasn't perfect and the extractor will fail and replacements are hard to find.
October 30, 2006, 03:15 AM
What bullet weight/s do you find that these things prefer and generally what kind of 100 yd groups do you get? Ever have any extraction problems?
I haven't tried reloading 30-06 yet, so my experience is with factory ammo. I like 180gr bullets out of both of my rifles for hunting, which has been the primary shooting I have done with the them. I prefer Remington ammo and have shot groups with the 742 averaging about 1 inch at 100yds. The 740 will pull even tighter groups, well under and inch. I imagine with premium ammo or good hand loads they might shoot even better. Never had an extraction problem with either rifle.
I agree on not trying to do a trigger job yourself, but you can inspect and clean the trigger assembly. If nothing is obviously broken and it still has a bad trigger after a good cleaning take it to a good smith.
October 30, 2006, 11:38 PM
Thanks for the help guys. The trigger of this old beater improved a good bit with half a can of spray cleaner. Gunk, gunk, and more gunk. I think maybe Jack ran a patch or two through the bore and chamber but that's about it. My eyes are getting a bit old so I asked a 'smith to give it a look. Tool marks in the chamber, probably from stuck cases. A slight bulge in the barrel about six inches from the chamber. Nough said.
The old K 2.5 Weaver on it is another thing. It's the old single cross hair style but it's nice and bright, and I can't see any parallax. Has anyone used one these old ( I'd guess 30+years) buggers on a medium ( .357 or .44 ) handgun?
Bye the bye, on another thread, Harry Bonar mentioned a really good tip. When seating countersunk fasteners, give them a hammer tap on a screwdriver ( I've got a few messed up screwdrivers) or screwdriver bit and then finish tightening. Almost always you get a tad of a turn more. An old master machinist told me that about a hundred years ago.
October 31, 2006, 03:57 PM
Tool marks in the chamber, probably from stuck cases.
And that is what finally killed my old, beat up 742. Actually, I never observed tool marks; I just had cases that would stick in the chamber, and jams with the rounds that would come out of the chamber. I checked into having it repaired; Remington won't do it, and there aren't many shops that will. And it would have been expensive. So I bought a new Remington bolt action, instead. :)
November 24, 2006, 03:49 PM
I bought one at a gun show a few days ago. it looked like it was carried more that shot, in 243 caliber; it was to be my grandson't first deer rifle.
range time with showed bad extracter, poor chambering. I'm not ready to put it away quite yet. I ordered a different magazine for it, so there is hope.
I wonder what was going thru my head when I bought this rifle? :o
January 11, 2013, 10:39 PM
Call me at 541 570 0955 in Oregon or my email firstname.lastname@example.org
January 11, 2013, 11:58 PM
I shot my first buck with a 742 06 but iv learned alot about the 742 since then. The 742 is a self destruct rifle. Thats why Rem wont touch em. The main problem with the design is the bolt latch is extremely weak and constantly fails to keep the bolt head from wanting to go into a lock up position at full recoil in the back of the reciever bolt tracks. If your 742 was fired much. you can look into the reciever and see the typical "bite" marks in the bolt guide rail in the back of the reciever. I used to work for AO of Numrich Arms back in the 80's and one day this subject came up in conversation with Phil Hunter who was the manager of the gun parts store. He told me he has seen 742's come in as scrap with the recievers cracked from the bolts being locked up in the rails. I once parted out a 243 that was so bad it would lock open on nearly every shot. Rem thought they would do a quicky fix to the decades old design and use square locking lugs in the 7400 and that is a solution to the rail bite but it still has the same weak bolt lock as the 742. The 742 is just not a gun you can shoot all year long. Its a 4 shots a year gun if your young and want it to last. When I had a full service gunsmithing business, I would file out the raised bite marks, improve the bolt lock surfaces and put in a new lock spring if the old one looked short. Give the gas system n barrel a good cleaning and tell the owner to stick to lighter loaded shells where ever possible. The 742 is over ported to begin with so lighter loads normaly still cycle fine. Remington knew about this issue for 20 years befor they tryed to fix it with the 7400 series.... another reason Im not a Rem fan.
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