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Old May 5, 2013, 01:47 AM   #1
Sarge
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Another Remington Model 78

Recent developments in ammo availability, reloading considerations and MDOC’s adoption of Antler Point Restrictions all came together and I decided it was time to take a look at my rifle battery. With both a 94 Winchester and a WASR AK variant, I was fat in the ‘iron sighted midrange’ department, which is where I’ve spent most of the past 40 years.

The WASR is a recent acquisition and it’s turned out to be fully equal to the ’94, inside 300 yards. I’ve still got my .54 Hawken, if I want to go primitive. So when a fella offered me $200 more than what I paid for the Winchester, I took it. I realize some will disagree with that decision but when it comes to guns, I’ve always been happy with simply having the bases covered. The only thing I really needed was a full-snort centerfire hunting rifle.

Nearly 20 years ago, I traded into a Remington Model 78 ‘Sportsman’ 30-06. To the uninitiated, the 78 was simply a plain-Jane Model 700 produced between 1984 and 1988, with matte bluing and put up in a walnut stained birch stock with a blind magazine. They were available in .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .270 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield. The way I use a rifle, the Model 78 is perfect for me. I need a rifle that can stand hard service; but I detest the current crop of sightless, synthetic-stocked centerfires.

I was blissfully happy with my 78 until the fateful day when my wife wanted to shoot it. She clobbered gallon jugs at 200 yards with it and fell immediately in love. Lacking a recoil pad, it walloped her pretty hard, so I cut the stock to fit her with the best Decelerator pad then available. She still loves it; but when I shoot it I get a thumb knuckle in the schnozz… it’s just too short for me. It's Mama’s gun now and I'm good with that.

I cruised auction houses, pawn shops and gun shops looking for another 78/06, to no avail. Then in the last month, our local outdoor market produces TWO of them. One had the dark stock, which I like, and it also had the better scope- a very clear old Bushnell Sportsman 4x12 with the parallax-adjustable objective. So that’s the one I bought, for a little less than a sightless WalMart plastic rifle and a bubble packed scope. I hurried home and ran five rounds through it. No mechanical problems surfaced, though the trigger could use a little TLC.



Range report when the monsoons stop.
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Last edited by Sarge; May 5, 2013 at 01:55 AM.
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Old May 5, 2013, 04:10 PM   #2
Sarge
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During the function check I noted a couple of cracked case necks; but the load is a warm one and I recalled thinking that batch of cases was nearing the end of their useful life. I picked up a box of 150 grain Winchester Power Points to use as a standard. There were no cracked necks with the factory load and 100 yard accuracy is promising. If it’ll hold just over an inch with random hunting ammo, I’ll be able to live with this old rifle just fine.

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Old May 5, 2013, 04:52 PM   #3
Jbotto
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I had never heard of the 78... here I thought you were talking about the 788 for awhile, but a quick search got me some new information to fill my mind. Thanks for the quick right up and pictures! Congrats on the new-to-you rifle and enjoy it!
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Old May 5, 2013, 07:00 PM   #4
Sarge
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I don't know the production numbers but these do surface occasionally and I have yet to find a bad one. Besides our His & Hers 30-06's, I've shot another in .308 a little and a fourth one in .270 Winchester, quite a lot.

I seemed to be fighting the trigger on this one, so when I got back home I put the RCBS Scale to it. It averaged 5 1/2 pounds for five pulls, so it will get some TLC when the stock comes off to mount a Decelerator pad & front swivel. I set the trigger on Peggi's 78 at 3 1/4 pounds and Loctited the screws. I checked it while I had the scale out and it hasn't changed, after six years of use.
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Old May 10, 2013, 07:12 PM   #5
Sarge
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New Shoes for the 78

I’m generally pretty utilitarian when it comes to guns. Give me a few necessities on a rifle, like sights, a recoil pad and sling swivels; and I’m happy. Those two items were missing from my new/old 78. So I set about gathering the needed components and cobbling them into place. A decent recoil pad is 30 bucks these days and a proper set of studs run about 13 more. Cost of doing business. But I recalled seeing a nice ADL stock in a local gun shop and I stopped in for a second look at it.

It was pert near new and it already had the factory pad and sling studs mounted. It was even the right action length and it had the satin finish I prefer. They had $110 on it but I swapped the original stock and an old Lyman 66A I had laying around, so I’ve got about half that in it. It fit the action better than the original and spiffed the old gun up a bit. I guess it’s a Model 78 ADL now, LOL.



I tuned the trigger down to 3 ½ pounds with no over-travel. I’m in the process of building Peggi a reduced recoil 30-06 load and the first effort was 49 grains of H4895 under Sierra’s 125 grain ‘Pro Hunter’ for 2805 fps. This rifle put the first three in 1 ¾” at 196 yards and continued shooting that well or better, long as I didn’t screw it up. This is proving to be one of the better 30-06’s I’ve had the pleasure to own.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:04 PM   #6
Jbotto
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Looks pretty nice there Sarge! After looking at this though, I have a question. This rifle came with the front sight, but what about the rear? It appears there is no dovetail in the barrel for a rear sight. That is the method I assumed they used for these rear sights, but I appear to be mistaken. Is the rear sight on these 78's just screwed in?
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:54 PM   #7
Sarge
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Thanks, jbotto. There are a couple of tapped holes in the barrel. They are just hidden under the objective lens of the scope.

While we're talking about sights, I'm considering the XS aperture, which is embedded in a Weaver-style mount. It's 65 bucks but it'd probably save you that much in ammo over the years. The only time you see it is when the scope comes off and there it is, all zeroed and ready to use. Just set it and forget it.


http://www.scoutrifle.org/index.php?topic=2892.0
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Old May 11, 2013, 12:41 AM   #8
Jbotto
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Gotcha Sarge! I figured as much, but had to double check. I'm a fan of aperture sights and I do like the XS version! Seems very natural and instinctive to me, on a rifle designed to be used to it's fullest.
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