— Remington 783 — UPGRADE

Alright, so 3 months ago I got my hands on a Remington 783.  I answered the question on whether or not you should buy one, and came to the conclusion that you should!   I determined it to be a great rifle that, without a doubt, could get the job done for you.  It was good enough in stock form and I didn’t NEED to do anything to it.  But ‘alas, I could not leave well enough alone.  I really could’ve left this rifle factory stock form… but No!  I was compelled to tinker.  It’s just in my nature.

Why? Well, People customize their possessions because they want to make it something unique, and that’s what I wanted.  The ‘783 is fun to shoot, but admittedly utilitarian. It works, but might be… on the verge of boring to look at in its stock form (as are most rifles).  The tan, was just… too “vanilla”.  The rifle seemed like it could’ve been owned by anyone.  It seemed like the rifle that sits lonely in the closet that no one uses.  So I decided to give it some style, or “Bling” (Damn, I hate that word).  Why not spend a little bit of effort to make it distinguishable from the thousands of stock 783s that are out there in the world now; and the ones that will proliferate out there in the next few years.

So, what did I do?  I gave it some character by adding some paint, a scope, and a bubble level.  All of these items changed its appearance, but also added some utility.  ‘And, in the end, I’m going to shortened the barrel.

Paint It

I know I normally paint rifles FROM black to some other color. Generally I dislike black rifles because I think it is kinda lazy to have an all black rifle when there are so many colors out there in the universe. But I bought this one in desert tan, and it just bored me to look at. The stock had to be painted, but I Rifle b4 Afteralso wanted some texture, because the synthetic material they manufactured the stock with felt all “plastic-ey”, kinda like a HP Printer, or a Wendy’s cup (now you know what I’m looking at). It provided little in the way of friction, and was just too smooth.

But check it out; I went to Home Depot… and rustoleum truck bed linerpicked up a $6 can of Rust-oleum Truck Bed Coating/Liner (…as in pickup truck bed liner). It’s a durable finish that tends to stick to most non-oily surfaces. It gives you some non-slip texture and it doesn’t need to be painted in any specific manner. So the first step was to use a little warm soapy water and wash off as much surface oil as possible. Then I stuck a rod through the receiver mounting hole and hung the stock from a tree branch. I commenced to go to town with three, light coats of the spray liner, with a bit of dry time in between.  The black went on easy and even.  After a couple hours of dry time, the stock was as solid as one could expect.  With a full 24 hours of cure time, the color does not seem to be going anywhere any time soon.   But, if it were to scratch on a rock or chip after being dropped, you can just touch up with more bed liner.  With the possible exception of spray painting in the same spot far too long and developing a drip, you literally cannot mess this up.

Scope Upgrade

As I alluded to at the end of my original ‘783 Review, the factory scope that came with the rifle was just a little too… generic.  It’s a basic scope that, while it magnifies, its got few extras.  So, I scope image colorsordered up a UTG scope from Amazon.  This scope is a vast improvement over the original.  This is the 3rd UTG scope I’ve purchased.  Although, they are made in China, and have 36 different colors you can select from (most of which are useless), I love the way you can reset the zero and lock the turrets so they do not accidentally get turned.  Quality seems up to par, and the price is reasonable.

If there’s a downside, it’s that this scope is as heavy as can be.  I have no doubt you can bludgeon someone TO DEATH with them, IMG_5105and the scope will still work.  Part of the reason it is so heavy is because it is built with UTG/Leapers “True Strength” platform.  They simplify as many components as possible in an attempt to make it a stronger overall product.  And they succeeded. This scope is a 3-12 power and should be more than enough to satisfy most shooters needs.  It is surprisingly clear and allows a ton of light through, giving that bright picture we all expect.  Although inexpensive (and made in China), this family of scopes is pretty impressive, durable, and quite a surprising value.

Anti-Cant bubble level

Because I was having some issues keeping the rifle exactly level, I decided to add a bubble anticant1level to provide an  extra frame of reference instead of relying on the horizontal line of the scope. With a taller rifle and perhaps a pistol grip, such as on an AR-15, it becomes easier for the shooter to position a rifle straight up and down. The profile and hand position of bolt action rifles sometimes makes it hard to naturally determine if the rifle is straight up and down and leads to a canted rifle.  As an example of what canting can do on a trajectory; this .308 round has a bullet drop of 430 inches at 1000 yards.  When you cant the rifle 1-2 degrees, you can push the round many feet to the left or right of what your target is.  Sadly, I’m not able to hit targets that far way (with anything other than a M-2 Machine Gun), but the shooter’s goal is to develop proper shooting skills.

Keeping a rifle totally vertical ensures that the round flies straight up and down on its trajectory anticantto target. This effect really has more impact over longer distances, but its good marksmanship to ALWAYS avoid canting the rifle.   The bubble is there to remove some shooter “perspective error” such as crooked targets or non-level horizons behind the target that the brain attempts to level out by canting the rifle/scope.  A bubble level provides some physical indication of being completely level.  Regardless, we aim to remove rifle cant and add consistency from shot-to-shot because, of course, Consistency = Accuracy”.

This level is made by Green Blob Outdoors and fits 30mm scopes.  It is offset so you can look through your scope with one eye and then, double check to see if the rifle is level with your other eye.  At $23.71, it’s a great deal.

How It Shoots

OK, so the rifle is a little bit prettier now; but how it shoots is the real test.  atarget783.jpgNow I’m not gonna be one of those people who say, “This is what the rifle is capable of”.  I’m gonna suggest to you, that “with a better shooter behind the trigger, this rifle can do so much better”.   If I can sight-in (walk) rounds into the bullseye within 5 rounds; I’d say the rifle is, good enough.  I changed ranges and and then put in some fiveshotgroupsconsistent 5-shot groups with cheap Monarch ammo.  The first group (4rds) was high-right.  After adjusting the scope, fired one more round and hit the red box (1rnd), adjusted and the next group (5rds) was in the white box.  Two more groups (5rds each) were within 2 inch groups. I’m happy!  Next time out, I’ll use some match ammo just to see what it can do… in my hands.

In The End

In its stock form, the rifle looks like any old “generic” rifle. After putting the rifle back together with these generally visual upgrades, it is a little bit more sinister looking, but it seems “right”.  At the range, people are intrigued by it and wonder what it is.    It takes on a whole new level of character, and goes from being a “deer rifle”; to being a “tactical” rifle.  In total, less than $500 bucks has been spent on this project, and it is well worth the results.


Thanks to the truck bed liner’s texture, the rifle is now a bit more easy to handle with sweaty paws. Good grip becomes even more significant if you are amongst the crazy few who purchased the 300 Winchester Magnum versions.

So that’s it.  Some simple updates make the rifle more efficient, useful, and evil-looking (if you like that sort of thing). All of these changes were easy DIY alterations that produce big impact.  ‘And remember, if you don’t like what you’ve done to it, the 783 is a inexpensive rifle and you can undo any of these changes.  But while you own it, you might as well play around with it a little.

20 rnds 168Hornady
Hornady 168 grain BT (20Rnds) — 8 practice Rnds (not shown), 7Rnds (top), 5Rnds (bottom)

This Rifle – Should You Buy One

(Below was Originally part of a Separate page.  I just added it here for simplicity)

In this, my final update, I’m gonna cut the barrel back a bit. I’ve done it before during a previous gunsmithing foray with a Mosin Nagant, and the results were amazing, so I’m doing it with this Remington.

Cutting the Barrel

The stock rifle comes at a lengthy 22 inches. Why cut it down? Obviously because a shorter rifle adds a bit of versatility. The down side to shortening a barrel is that you’ll lose some velocity, and most likely ensure that your rifle is a few decibels louder (TO OTHERS at the range). Cutting off 3-and-a-half-inches, leaves us with an 18.5 inch barrel. An 18.5 in barrel is enough to stabilize the .308, with little detriment to accuracy. So out comes the hacksaw, and off comes some of the barrel length.

After cutting, use a file to ensure and confirm that the barrel cut is square, and spend a moment to file the outside of the edges of the barrel smooth to ensure that you don’t slice your hand open on the new sharp edge of your barrel.

Crowning the Barrel

A barrel needs to be crowned to ensure that as the bullet travels down the barrel and enters the atmosphere as it exits, that pressure behind the bullet is dissipated equally on all sides. This helps ensure that pressure does not disturb the bullet as it begins its final flight to its target. This crown was done with a drill, grinding bit, and some valve lapping compound. Using a round drill bit, ensures that there is a self-centering quality while creating the crown.

I may get a different crown job later if I find a good Gunsmith. ‘Or I may get the barrel threaded, but for the foreseeable future, I’m comfortable with this crown job.

Blueing after the Cut

Use some Birchwood Casey Perma Blue (Paste Gun Blue) to protect the new cut and crown job of your barrel and minimize oxidation/rust that may attack the raw metal after the barrel was cut. Use a Q-Tip to rub the bluing on the barrel as evenly as possible, give it a few moments to absorb/treat, and then wipe the excess off with a soft rag and you’re all done. Let it sit for a moment, clean your barrel, and then you’ll have a stable blueing job.

How It Looks, and How It Shoots

The rifle looks far better now than in stock form. The barrel-to-rifle proportion is not short, but it doesn’t seem unnecessarily long either. The rifle has that tactical look reminiscent of a Remington 700 SPS (Police). It looks much more evil and “formal” than it looked out of the cheap box it came in. It is definitely easier to maneuver and pack out. As far as how it shoots, the rifle shoots great. Six rounds can be placed into a contiguous little group. The average shooter will have a hard time suggesting that this rifle is NOT a quality piece of equipment.

‘So back to my original question of, “Should you buy a Remington 783?” The answer is still; YES! ‘And then you should have some fun cutting it up and personalizing it.

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Remington 783, Part 1

K. Pinckney