The 700 Remington Rifle, In A League Of Its Own
The 700 Remington rifles would first be introduced in 1961 and would be considered one of the greatest bolt action success stories of the 1900s. The 700 rifles were originally developed from the 721 and 722 models that Remington introduced in 1948.
They were a totally new design and concept in the bolt action rifle. Its extractor and trigger mechanism were quite radical for the time and they proved to be very successful.
It was a very strong action and well-designed. A lot of those actions were converted into custom rifles or for match grade bench rifles. For many years they would be the ultimate action for bench shooters. They have won many awards and championships in shooting competitions. Ultimately the 700 Remington Rifle would be one of the most popular hunting rifles of the last 50 years.
Remington arms would develop the Remington 700 in 1961. The Remington 721 and 722 would be combined and called the model 700 Remington. Both the long action and short action would be called the Remington 700 model.
You would have to give credit to the engineers who designed the 721 and 722. They would be far ahead of their time and I think knew what was coming in the years ahead. Even thought the scope was not yet widely used or thought of much in 1948 when the 721 and 722 were introduced. They had the vision of drilling and tapping the receivers in 1948. Someone was using their head in the engineering department at Remington. I would also wonder how much opposition they had from within the management at Remington Arms.
At least120,000 of the first 760 models were not drilled and tapped. They would start to drill and tap the 760 around 1953. I would drill and tap several early 760’s and one was near the 120,000 serial number.
As of this writing in 2012 the original design has remained pretty much unchanged since 1948. This ability to not radically alter the overall gun design and appearance has kept Remington Firearms as the dominant bolt action company in America. People do not like change.
The rifle triggers on the Remington 700 rifles have had much scrutiny in the last several years. As a gunsmith in the 70s and 80s I would work on many of these Remington 700 rifle triggers. This would include many Remington model 721’s and 722’s. I would reblue many of these 700 series firearms and remove and assemble many of those triggers. I would also adjust many of those triggers over the years.
In all of those years I never had any issues with those triggers that were associated with the firearm. I did like the open style triggers such as those installed in the Winchester model 70’s a little better. The box style triggers had some issues that I will discuss in another article on rifle triggers.
The biggest issues of those triggers were the gun owners trying to adjust the triggers themselves or some gunsmiths that did not know what they were doing. A lot of the Remington 700 rifle owners and gunsmiths would try to adjust the trigger pull below 3 pounds. I never in my gunsmithing experiences ever adjusted a 700 series trigger below 3 pounds.
If the gun was a hunting rifle I would adjust it to 3 ½ to 4 pounds. You do not need a trigger pull lighter than 3 1/2 pounds for a hunting gun. As long as it is adjusted for travel and poundage and is in that range, it is adequate for hunting. Those guns for bench shooting could be adjusted to 3 pounds. Anything lighter should have a custom trigger install.
One of the issues with the Remington 721 and 722 was the extractors. The extractors were not riveted in place and have become quite hard to find in the original configuration. But a good gunsmith should be able to install a new style extractor. There is some debate about different ways to repair the failed extractors. Sako extractors have been used and using Remington riveted extractors have been tried.
I myself did install some Remington riveted extractors and was successful doing it. The true collector does not want an extractor that has altered the gun much. Some of the repair or alteration issues with the Remington 700 series rifles will be discussed in other articles.
Remington 700 rifles would be considered in my opinion one of the top three rifles made in the last half of the 1900s. If you read my other articles in Firearmsthinker.com you may be able to figure out the other two. Send me an e-mail if you think you know.
These Remington Firearms are very collectible in excellent condition and if in some of the harder to find caliber’s (257 Roberts).
These firearms will get in excellent rating for those following my ratings system for collector firearms.
Issues with 700 Remington rifles and the 721 or 722’s
• Extractor issues (721 or 722’s)
• Heavy guns in long action
• Messed with triggers
• No hinged floor plate (721 and 722’s)
• Well used
Advantages of 700 Remington and the 721 and 722’s
• Excellent shooters
• Drilled and tapped from the beginning (1948)
• Very durable
• Common in 30-06 and 270 Winchester
• Still available in good numbers
Note: These articles are primarily about firearms from the 1950’s and 60’s