I’ve built and customized a few rifles now. The only bolt-action amongst them, was a amazing Mosin Nagant. That rifle could do things that no 70+ year old rifle should’ve been able to do. And alas, a guy at the shooting range made me a financial offer I just could NOT refuse, and he now owns that rifle. :-(
But I kinda miss the process of manually cambering individual rounds, looking through the scope, engaging targets on the 200 and 300 meter ranges. The small caliber, 50-yard ranges get kinda boring. So I think it’s time for another bolt-action. The only question is, which one? I don’t have the energy to build another Mosin, and a new rifle will (can) cost less. There are obviously, plenty of choices out there, but well, I’m going for a Remington… Why?! History? The Name? I don’t know. And with Remington, there are two contenders for me:
Remington 700 or Remington 783
The ‘700 is tried and true. It’s worked perfectly for 40+ years. It does so by being a spectacular design and by being manufactured with excellent craftsmanship. It’s refinements over the decades have been… ahh “safe.” No individual changes have been revolutionary, but improvements have consistently made it better. It has too many derivatives to list. From the 700 ADL, to the 700 SPS. And each one of them, costs alot of damn money. There’s also a thriving after market for the ‘700 that can make it shoot amazing well.
The Remington 783, on the other hand, is a new Remington design based upon new technologies. As a Libertarian, I have to recognize that those technologies have come from the marketplace as other manufacturers have proven them successful. So sure, the 783 is a departure from “Remington” and seems like a copy/imitation of several other successful modern rifles; primarily the Savage Axis, and Ruger American. ‘But Remington has a reputation to uphold, and after rifles like the 770 and 788 (past new designs), Remington needs a huge market success. The 783 appears to be that. We are two years after its 2013 introduction and surprise!!! The reviews aren’t bad. The complaints you run into, tend to be based on the fact that the 783… is NOT a 700 – which is obviously true. The REAL question should be; what would the reviewers say, if a new company created the 783?
Well, you guessed it, based on the title. I’m going for the Remington 783! If the 783 did not carry the Remington name, what would unbiased reviewers think of it? Here’s My unbiased Impressions:
How it looks
Well, it looks simple and… like a rifle. It does NOT look like a 700. ‘You know how you can tell a Corvette from the 1970’s, and 1990’s, from today’s Corvettes, merely by looking at them, and just feeling that it’s a Corvette? Well, you get that feeling because all of those cars still share some “genetic markers” (quad rear lights, stubby butt, Coke bottle profile). It’s the same as how you know how a Vietnam era M-16, Desert Storm era M-16A2, the modern M-4, and millions of AR-15’s over the years appear to share a lineage. Well, a 783 shares NOTHING with a 700. One could be Nigerian, and the other Chinese. The two rifles have differing profiles, different receiver shapes, and even differing barrel attaching methods to name a few obvious features. By looking at the two, it would appear they are NOT related, nor made by the same company. ‘And that is OK!
But in my opinion, the 783 is NOT ugly. It looks slick and well thought out. It’s profile is just as low as the above described Corvette; while the 700 is comparatively, the equivalent of a 1964 GTO. Both are beautiful in their own ways; just like you describe your children! The barrel on the 783 seems to “flow” into the receiver. The bolt terminates at the rear, in a smooth shape that is sculpted in a very non-rifley design. It’s not for any purpose, except to look interesting. The receiver sits low in the synthetic stock, and the bolt stands tall as though it was merely sitting on the stock. The stock is slim and even has molded in sling-swivel attachment loops to connect your sling, or other appendages to. And they are even useful?
At first glance, you might think the little loop is molded too far up into the stock to be useful, ‘and that they wouldn’t allow for a set of Harris (or “Harris styled”) bi-pods just as I did… and you’d also be wrong! The bi-pod legs fit right on and seem more stable and close to stock. It’s almost as though, they planned for the use of bi-pods on their rifles (which I’m assuming). No frets on this issue. No, I cannot speak to how strong, or lasting these loops are; but I found no internet complaints speaking about how they broke off. So use them if you got them.
A look at the trigger, and you’ll notice a little secondary arm-thingie (my scientific description) sticking out of the trigger itself. This “trigger release” must be depressed before the trigger can be squeezed. Its purpose is to minimize the risk of engaging the trigger unintentionally. Remington calls it their “Cross Fire” trigger. Curiously, it seems like a copy of the Savage Accu-Trigger; But no! Glock has been doing this on their pistols for 25 years or so. So I’d say Remington saw the reviews regarding this little additional safety feature on the Savage and thought they better get on board. It works great though.
Another impressive thing about the trigger, is that it is Adjustable! I’m guessing Remington wanted to side step those people who would order an aftermarket Timney trigger for their rifle. To adjust it, you just take the receiver off the stock. Undo the retaining bolt on the front of the trigger housing with a wrench, turn the allen screw a revolution or two counterclockwise. Tighten that retaining bolt again. Throw it back in the stock and see if you can tell the difference. Even though, i didn’t use a gauge, I didn’t feel too much of a difference. But I was scared of unscrewing the allen bolt too far out for fear that a spring would pop out of the housing or something. I searched the net to see if anyone knows how far you can adjust the trigger to no avail.
The Bolt Handle works as it should. A complaint may arise, that the bolt handle is a bit too stubby for manly hands. But you know what? That is not on the rifle… It’s subjective, and a personal preference thing. If it’s too short and stubby for you, you can invest in a two piece bolt handle knob that makes the handle seem more substantial and easier to manipulate. You can pick one up off of Ebay, and I’d guess Amazon, for 39 Smackeroos ($39). This update is comfortable and is a must in my book.
The Free Scope
OK, you know that, “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”. So the rifle is made with technology and efficient design. And you are getting the low price based upon those factors. The price of the rifle is lowered by technology regarding manufacturing, innovations, and materials. Example? Wood stocks cost more to make because the wood must be purchased, dried, shaped, hand finished, then lacquered/ varnished. All of this can take weeks. Whereas a synthetic stock is made by machines in a matter of minutes. That is why they can be sold for so cheap. But, the scope is different. Technology has not made the scope better. It is not innovative. It is NOT at the top of technology; and it is where Remington saved some extra money. It works, but If you like shooting… you will probably upgrade this scope.
Remington advertises the scope as being factory bore-sighted. Now there is no saying how many people handled my scope, in the store, prior to me getting it, but mine was adjusted about 24 inches high at 50 yards during sight-in. It was one of those times when you’re wasting ammo just trying to figure out where the rounds are flying. It took me 10 rounds to hit the paper, and about 7 more to touch the bullseye. I have no doubt, that Remington is paying from $20-$30 per scope. That doesn’t equate to “bad” but it is basic. You won’t get anything fancy. Just a scope that works. You’ll need to use some kind of scope, because the 783 has no iron sights built onto the rifle. I’ll probably upgrade to something a bit more dense and practical for me… But honestly, it’ll probably be a year from now, because it works okay!
How It Shoots
All the other stuff is inconsequential. The most important consideration is: how the 783 shoots. And there is good news. It shoots great. The synthetic stock, and built-in recoil pad minimize the impact against your skeleton. Ergonomics are perfect. Length Of Pull (stock length basically) is great for the average man, as well as some of us above average dudes. The barrel is 22 inches for the .308 version, and comes with a 4-round detachable magazine. One thing that is great is that you can manually feed rounds into the ejection port, and the rifle just knows what to do. I’ve yet to get a round jammed in the rifle due to not putting the round in there straight. The action just works for you.
The rifle is light weight so you can maneuver it around easy enough. I’d imagine you hunters will appreciate that it is a touch over 7 pounds. Recoil is not to bad overall. It pushes back as a .308 rifle should. If you don’t watch it, the scope will kiss your safety glasses.
There are those who say that if a rifle can’t shoot groups of less than 1 Minute Of Angle (MOA), it is worthless. Now, I think that’s a stupid standard, but then again, I have a different background that was more focused on stopping man-sized targets at 550 meters (or 800 meters with machine guns). But obviously, most people don’t need to shoot MOA groups. Unless you’re a police sniper, why would you need that?!?! To put holes in paper? Or to brag?
Once I got the rounds on paper, I adjusted the scope around a bit and the rounds grouped with all the rounds part of the same hole. Not to make excuses (as I make excuses), but it was below 45 degrees, and my hands were freezing and I was damn near shaking. ‘And I’m not the best of shooters, but this made me look better than everyone else banging away on the range to the point that others even complimented me on the tight groups in those circumstances. And I’ll get back to the range and do better next time, as I’ll be more confident and familiar with how it shoots.
This rifle is far more accurate than the average shooter can exploit. And ‘well, I don’t know you, but I imagine that the rifle can shoot better than you can! Find the ammo that gets you the best accuracy for you… and call it a day.
The cost was extremely competitive. at $329, for a .308 rifle that can put 5 rounds in a tidy little group. Remington wanted to get into that lower priced rifle market and boom, they went all in with a rifle that gives you a ton of features at a low price. And since Santa got mine at Academy Sports and Outdoors here in Texas, he was able to take advantage of a $40 mail-in rebate and get that price down to $289.
Adding to that price, the more substantial bolt handle was had for $39. Harris bi-pod legs (don’t buy those cheap copies) can be had for $67. This comes in at $395. Not bad, and luckily, I had the Harris bi-pods.
Should You Get One?
Hells Yea! It is a fun shooting rifle. It’ll get you in the high-powered rifle game in an efficient and intriguing way. It’s a great, accurate, durable, rifle. And the entry-level price, is just icing on the top. The rifle comes in several calibers for your specific needs. From .223 for varmints, to .308 for revolutions, up to 300 Winchester Magnum, for moose and trucks (I guess); But whatever it is you’re hunting, you should be good! Complements come at your on the range, solidifying your decision to buy the ‘783 — if you like that sort of thing. It is cheap enough to take into the field and beat up; and yet, it is accurate enough that when you miss, there can be no doubt, that it was you that sucks, and not your equipment! Go ahead and pick one up.