The big news from Remington at this year’s SHOT Show was the introduction of the new Model 783 rifle. The Model 783 has been advertised as the midway rifle between the venerable Model 700 and the bargain rifle Model 770. I was able to shoot the rifle and talk with John Fink at Media Day for my Remington 783 review.
The Model 783 is a rifle made with the traditions of excellence that shooters have come to expect from Remington. In my opinion this is the rifle that Remington should have released back in 2007 when they offered the Model 770 as their return to the bargain rifle market. Though slightly more expensive than some of the competitor bargain rifles, the Model 783 also delivers much more than the Model 770.
The Competitive Bargain Rifle Market
The history of the Model 783 comes from the ever-increasingly competitive bargain rifle market. With manufacturers like Savage, Mossberg, Browning, and Thompson Center currently offering quality bargain rifles for as little as $300-350, Remington needed their own rifle for this market.
Many years ago Remington had produced the Model 788 to fill that niche, but that rifle was discontinued in the 1980‘s. Although popular for its accuracy and cheaper price the Model 788 also had some serious design problems, including an issue with the safety mechanism. The “solution” Remington developed for the current bargain rifle market was the Model 770. Introduced in 2007, the Model 770 was supposed to provide the bargain alternative to the Model 700.
The Model 770
The Model 770 did not receive the fanfare that Remington expected. Although bearing the Remington name, and meeting the budget pricing of the market, the Model 770 fell short in many shooters minds as a viable choice for an inexpensive rifle.
When they were first introduced I was excited to get Remington quality at a bargain price. However, when I first held the Model 770, while considering whether to buy one for a secondary hunting rifle, I was immediately turned off with the boxy and uncomfortable stock. The bolt action mechanism appeared to function fine, but it did not feel as sturdy as the Model 700’s I’ve been around. My overall impression of the Model 770 was that it was just cheap. I did not buy one, and I was not alone.
Not to say that the 770 should have been a 700, but it just didn’t seem to meet up with my Remington expectations. From what I’ve seen on many blogs I am not alone with an unfavorable impression of the 770, although I’ve also heard some say that the Model 770 shoots just fine. Maybe the action was just fine, but the outside package was just too much to overcome for many.
The Venerable Model 700
The Model 700 has been a mainstay of military and police sniper units for nearly 50 years, and there are literally tens of thousands of Model 700’s in civilian hands as hunting and sporting rifles. Proven to be incredibly accurate and durable in a wide range of shooting conditions, the Model 700 is still one of the most popular rifles on the market. The Model 700 is truly the foundation of what Remington rifles will be judge upon. However, a basic Model 700 can be expected to sell for $600-800, without a scope, sling or any other accessory. Many 700‘s have been upgraded with heavy barrels and stocks, detachable magazines, enlarged bolt handles, and more. Those rifles can easily jump up into the range of $2000-2500.
The Model 783
The Model 783 makes a much bolder statement for the bargain rifle market, and should satisfy the shooter’s desire for a cheaper Remington rifle that still offers the quality and comfort expected from their higher-end rifles. Though not as inexpensive as some of the bargain rifles, the Model 783 offers many great features, while answering what I feel most expected from Remington when the Model 770 was released.
The 783 Stock
The stock on the Model 783 is a synthetic pillar-bedded stock, and is capped with a Super Cell recoil pad. The stock takes a similar design as the Model 700 base stock. This synthetic stock is far superior to the stock on the Model 770, and conforms quite nicely to the shooter’s hands and cheek having a sleeker design and greater grip features.
A light weight stock is a good feature for those who have to carry the rifle over any length of distance, and the developments of polymers over the last decade has really produced outstanding products for versatility and durability. Had they simply put this stock on the Model 770 Remington may have sold more of those rifles.
The Receiver and Bolt Action
The receiver and bolt seems to be along the same line as the Model 700 series. The bolt action is sturdy and smooth, with the bolt lever appearing to be identical to those on the Model 700’s.
I did not get to the Model 783 at Media Day until afternoon. The temperatures were still hovering around freezing, the wind was blowing dust all over, and by then the rifle had fired at least a couple hundred rounds by all the brass I saw on the ground. As such the initial upward unlocking maneuver was just a little bit tight, but once it broke the action was smooth and solid. I would attribute that initial resistance to the dirtiness of the rifle and surroundings as opposed to any design flaw.
There are pre-drilled scope mounting holes on the top of the receiver so the shooter can add the scope they prefer using standard rings and bases, or by added a Picatinny rail for greater versatility in mounting. I believe Remington had a Leupold scope on their Model 783 at Media Day.
The Model 783 comes with a detachable box magazine, which in my opinion is a great improvement over the internal or hinge-plated magazines of the Model 700 and other rifles. The magazine locks into place with a audible and textile “click”. The release lever is placed just in front of the magazine well.
This is probably just a personal preference of mine, but I’ve found a detachable magazine set up to be far easier to use and more reliable. I’ve used the Model 700 with the hinge-plate magazine, and another with a detachable box magazine. On several occasions I’ve had the third round inserted into the hinge-plate internal magazine get hung up on the thin ledge on the left side of the chamber.
This happens because the second cartridge lines up on the right of the magazine, and presents a perfect opportunity for the third cartridge to get hung up on that thin ledge on the left side. Sometimes I’ve had to drop the rounds and start over to get them loaded right. That becomes more than frustrating when you’re shooting for time. On the other hand, as long as I make sure the detachable box magazine seats well I have not had a feeding issue.
The 783 Barrel
The barrel is free-floated to assist in accuracy, and is made with button rifling. Button rifling creates the lands and grooves by pulling the button rod through the barrel creating the lands and grooves at the same time, as opposed to older methods where each groove was made independently. This process allows for far greater accuracy in spacing and measurements, which all add up to higher accuracy.
The Crossfire Adjustable Trigger
Another great improvement of Remington for the Model 783 is the trigger. Following a trend of several manufacturers, Remington is offering the 783 with the “Crossfire Adjustable Trigger System”. This trigger system will allow end users to adjust their trigger pull weight from 2.5 to 5 pounds. The Crossfire Trigger is similar in action to Savage’s Accu-Trigger, which really got this type of trigger action going in the rifle world back in 2002.
One of the most difficult skills for a shooter to accomplish is consistent trigger pull. More shots are thrown wild by improper trigger pull then perhaps any other shooter error. Many rifles have standard trigger pull weights of anywhere from 5-8 pounds, which creates the natural “creep” before the rifle fires.
That “creep” while the shooter is pulling a heavier trigger becomes even more of a problem with the anticipation of the heavier recoil that rifles often produce. The failure to master trigger pull and recoil anticipation are likely responsible for the greatest amount of shooter frustration with their performance.
The Crossfire Trigger aims to alleviate those two errors. Like the Accu-Trigger before it, the Crossfire Trigger has a 2-part trigger. The first part, which sticks out to the front, is a type of trigger safety that has two functions. First, it prevents the trigger from accidentally engaging and causing the rifle to fire through external bumping. Being located in the center of the trigger itself the top part of this first stage lever physically blocks the trigger from engaging – similar to the Accu-Trigger or a Glock trigger.
Secondly the first stage lever allows the shooter to obtain a tactile feel of the trigger, and begin a steady and smooth trigger pull prior to even engaging the actual trigger. Once the first stage lever is moved in line with the second stage (the actual trigger) the whole trigger can be pulled back to fire the rifle. The advantage is a much smoother trigger pull to help alleviate any jerkiness from standard triggers, and hopefully the anticipation of recoil by the shooter.
Shooting the Model 783
At Media Day the Model 783 was on a short list of firearms that I had to give a test run. Fighting past the bitter cold and high winds I found my way to the rifle and shot about 10 rounds through it. The rifle I shot was in .30-06 and I was firing Hornady ammunition. It was sitting in a Caldwell Lead Sled for support.
The rifle felt very good, and the stock design allowed for a comfortable cheek weld. Obtaining a good eye relief for the scope was also relatively easy, and the length of pull seemed just about right. The safety features are similar to the Model 700 with the manual safety lever resting just to the right at the rear of the bolt. The Crossfire Trigger System performed as desired, and the shots I made were crisp and very smooth.
Accuracy was very good (although the scope had been dialed a little to the right). Once I figured out the proper correction I was able to hit targets at 200 yards with ease. The bolt action was a little stiff at the beginning of the break to open. Upon examining the rifle (and dozens of empty brass casings on the ground), I would attribute the cause more to heavy use in cold and dusty conditions rather to a design defect. I’m fairly certain that a light cleaning and light oiling and everything would have smoothed out.
Once that initial resistance was overcome the bolt action performed very smoothly. Although I did not confirm this, the action appeared to be the same style put on the Model 700 – although the long action to accommodate the .30-06.
Other Features of The Model 783
- Free-floated carbon steel contour barrel
- Non-glare matte black finish
- Button rifling
- Black synthetic pillar-bedded stock
- Detachable box magazine
- Capacity 4+1
- Super Cell recoil pad
- Crossfire Trigger System – adjustable from 2.5 to 5 lbs.
- Trigger comes from factory set at 3.5 lbs.
- Weight (unloaded) – 7-1/8 to 7-1/4 lbs. (.308 is 7-1/8 lb., Long actions are 7-1/4lb.)
- Barrel length – 22” standard, 24” magnum barrels
- Twist rate – 1:10
- Currently ONLY available in .30-06
- Other calibers coming later this year – .270, .308, 7mm Magnum
- MSRP – $451
Although I only got to handle the Model 783 briefly and put a scant 10 rounds down range, I really liked what I saw. The Model 783 answers many of the complaints shooters had with the Model 770, and provides several features that rival or even surpass the Model 700. Priced within reason of most shooters, the Model 783 should be the winner that Remington was looking for five years ago. I know I’ve placed the Model 783 on a very short list for my next hunting rifle.