View Full Version : remington model 788 problem

June 9, 2010, 04:00 PM
i have a remington model 788 in 7mm/08 caliber that i bought new for my father many years ago. my son has taken possession of the rifle after my dads passing. the gun probably has less than 200 rounds thru it since new. it is a very accurate rifle but we are having problems.

the gun has spent almost its whole life in a gun case but cleaned and oiled reguraly. we took the gun out shooting the other day, first time in years and we had problems.

first problem: after shooting the spent case has a fresh shaving off the brass rim, from the bolt. this is something that the gun has done before but has not affected the action or accuracy.

second problem: with each shot the bolt became harder to operate. the bolt has become extremly hard to open or close. this is something it has never done until this last outing. also when forcing the bolt open the spent shell won't eject, it gets stuck on the bolt. it also is punching out the used primer from the last 2 shots when we pry the spent shell off the bolt. because the bolt got harder to operate with each shot we only shot 6 rounds thru it and put it away. after a couple of scope adjustments we put 2 shots thru the bull, almost thru the same hole at 100 yds.

anyone have any ideas what the problem is? i have never had a problem like this in any gun i own. it seems like the problem is with the bolt. possibly the lack of use (less than 200 rounds lifetime use) has affected the bolt? not enough lube? too much lube? something sticking inside the bolt? any ideas or help? thanks.

June 9, 2010, 04:29 PM
Sounds like really warm handloads. 788s were not very good at handling overpressure loads.

June 9, 2010, 04:58 PM
nope...all factory ammo.

June 9, 2010, 04:59 PM
IIRC, the locking lugs on the 788 were at the rear of the bolt, making for a "springy" bolt and stretched cases with max loads....

Ahh, google is my friend:


That should help....

"The achilles heel of the Model 788 is the combination of the rear-locking bolt, brazed-on bolt handle, and high pressure cartridges with standard head sizes. When a fired cartridge gets wedged in the chamber, the bolt handle is leaned on until it breaks off. While this issue affects primarily reloaders, benchresters and other experimenters, a broken bolt in the field can ruin a hunt.

If you have a small head size (.222Rem, .223Rem) 788, or one of the rimmed 788's (.44Mag, .30-30) this issue is less likely to affect you. However, even these rifles are not good choices to explore max reloads with.

The late Gale McMillan set us rec.gunners straight when he explained how bolt compression and case length growth with high pressure loads doomed the 788 to a short stay at the benchrest line.

The rear locking bolt compresses, allows the case to stretch. This leads to short case life and possible case head seperation (for reloaded cases). Stuart Otteson's The Bolt Action Rifle: A Design Analysis bears this out, calculating a .001" compression per thousand pounds of bolt thrust. Since a full-strength .308 Winchester cartridge has as much as 6,000 pounds of bolt thrust, handloaders can see the problem here."

June 9, 2010, 09:59 PM
i used to shoot my .308 788 in highpower and i found that with loads that pushed a 168bthp too more than 2700-2800 fps i had similar problems, some premium ammo is loaded a little on the hot side, but after thousands of rounds, the rifle still shoots very well.