View Full Version : Rem. 700 inadvertant discharge when unloading

May 28, 2001, 08:54 PM
Is anyone familiar with the issue of older models of the Remington 700 possibly going off inadvertantly while opening the bolt or switching off the saftey ? Also , how is Remington addressing this. Has any recalls or repair or exchanges been initiated by the factory ? I'd appreciate anyone able give any kind of feedback on this. Thanks.

May 28, 2001, 09:57 PM
The Rems in question were manufactured prior to sometime in the 80's. (I forget the exact year.) Do a search. There have been a couple of long threads on this subject, including a fairly recent account of a mother shooting and killing her son. She waited until she got back from the hunt to unload her old Rem. She really doesn't know if she touched the trigger, but there have been some reports of accidental firings when the safety was flipped off, particularly if the trigger had been pulled, just prior to the inactivation of the safety. I'd bet that most of the problems occur when the sear engagement has been adjusted incorrectly, or has been worn over a long period of time.

[Edited by WalterGAII on 05-30-2001 at 04:12 PM]

James K
May 28, 2001, 10:47 PM
First and foremost: NEVER POINT A RIFLE AT ANYTHING YOU DON'T WANT TO SHOOT! SAFETY FIRST. USE CARE IN LOADING AND UNLOADING ANY RIFLE. That being said, here is an explanation of the problem.

All bolt action rifle safeties act in some way to cam the firing pin back off the sear when placed in the safe position. This is done so that if the trigger is pulled while the gun is on safe, the sear will "reset" or go back into place when the trigger is released. In rifles like the Mauser, U.S. Springfield, or Winchester 70, the safety is in the bolt sleeve and acts directly on the firing pin, camming it back and locking it. The trigger can be pulled, but the sear will always reset when it is released.

But in the Remington, the safety is part of the trigger assembly. It cams the sear up and back, which in turn cams the firing pin back, but it does not lock the trigger. The firing pin movement is quite small compared to that on, say, a Mauser 98. If the trigger assembly is worn, the sear may not be moved up enough to allow sear reset. If the sear is not cammed off the connector far enough and the trigger is pulled, the sear will not reset and will be held only by the safety cam itself. When the safety is released the gun will fire.

Remington has changed the manufacturing method and material used in the sear, but I do not believe the problem is fully solved. Ultimately, I think Remington will have to go to a bolt sleeve type safety. I think they could do that, and still keep their excellent trigger pull.

Obviously, the problem is greater in the older rifles, but the key factor is wear, not age. Owners of Remington 700's should perform a simple test. With the rifle empty, cock the bolt normally and set the safety. Pull the trigger and release it. Take the safety off. The gun should not fire. If it does, consult a gunsmith or send the gun to Remington before further use.


May 30, 2001, 02:40 PM
I have 3 700's at the present time. Two are prior to 83 (I think it was either 83 or 84 that the change was made). On the 2 early models the safety must be moved to the fire position to open the bolt. One time my wife was using my 25-06 pre 83 700, and on opening the bolt the rifle fired. She took my safety briefing to heart ......... don't point this rifle at anything but sky and dirt. She zapped a cumulus cloud at about 1500' AGL. ON this rifle the trigger is set at 3 1/4 pounds. After the AD I tried every way known to make it fire when it was not supposed to with no luck. This also included beating it with a rubber hammer, yanking the trigger then moving the safety to fire, etc., nothing, but nothing would make it fire. We came to the conclusion that her finger was on the trigger as she took the safety off. The fact remains that if the rifle is pointed in a safe direction, and if it does fire it can do no harm!

May 31, 2001, 11:25 AM
I firmly believe that the Rem 700 fire control system has a known, documented and statistically rare but also statistically PREDICTABLE design defect which results in accidental discharges (mechanical device failure).

The extensive newspaper articles I've read on the matter actually appear to be sound investigative journalism. Don't blame the reporter for idiots who get quoted.

Operator errors, as pointed out above, make all the difference in whether an accidental discharge results in injury or death. A horse trailer is NOT a safe backstop for your rifle's muzzle while unloading it. The unfortunate Mom now knows that. I'm afraid the son had a short time to think about that as he died.

Paul B.
June 1, 2001, 03:09 PM
Southla1. I purchased two Remington 700's in 30-06 at the same time in 1981. One, the BDL has the new (?) type safety that allows you to open the bolt with the safety on, and the ADL has the safety that locks the bolt closed. I have no idea when each of the rifles was built.
The ADL was a gift to my stepson for his high school graduation. The BDL was because it was so cheap. Actaully, both were cheap and J.C. Penney's was geting rid of all their sporting goods and other non PC stuff. They had the two rifles marked down so low, I could not turn them down. I also got a Winchester 94 and Marlin 336 at the same time. The 94 was $85.00, the Marlin $95, the ADL $175 and the BDL was all of $200. I also got several scope so cheaply I couldn't believe it. Oh yes. My wife worked there so I also got the employees discount. I still have the 94 and the BDL.
Sometimes, I just get lucky.
Paul B.