View Full Version : making a old rem 788 a bench f class rifle

05-21-2013, 11:15 AM
Has anyone done work to make the remington 788 to make it more accurate??, It is a .308 rifle and i am making some test loads now, Your tips would be appreciated. Just ordered a new timney trigger assembly for it, the factory trigger is at 6lbs!.
I am hoping to get it down to 2lbs to tighten up the groups. Any other ideas??
thanks john:?

10-17-2013, 03:40 PM
I'm sorry I didn't see this thread earlier and respond to it more timely. I believe the 788's to be the most accurate rifles out-of-the-box that Remington ever produced. 700's can come with a longer action and a wider range of chamberings, but it takes a lot of custom work and much load development for one of them to come close to a 788 in accuracy. I'll choose a 788 any day of the week.

I have bought, sold, traded, shot, collected, and hunted with 788's for over 35 years, including the rare .30-30's and .44mags. The .308 which is my primary deer rifle I have done the most work on.

As it came to me the rifle shot MOA with a dozen different factory and mil loads, but it had seen hard service as a truck gun for a large farm and looked pretty beat. The bore was perfect but because of its ratty appearance I got it for next to nothing. I have never owned or shot a 788 in any chambering that would not do MOA with at least some load, some way much better, but I, too, wanted to see what this one could really do.

I started on the sights, installing a Williams peep and making a new front post out of brass as the previous owner had removed (and then lost) the factory sights.

Then I took a dremel and polished the surfaces of the trigger, which removed the small amount of creep. (None of the other 788's I've owned have needed it, but this one lived in a pickup truck and picked up a lot of gunk and grit. All of them are between 4-6lbs and very crisp with no creep. I have never felt the need to replace or do any work on any of their triggers. They were designed as budget hunting rifles for new hunters and their triggers do reflect this with heavy pull weights for safety. Amusing since they will easily outshoot by a significant margin most any m700 made during their years of production.)

Next I floated the barrel back to the recoil lug, fitted it with a Pachmyer recoil pad and sealed all the inside surfaces of the stock and gave the outside a coat of matte urethane as there were some cracks in the finish after sitting for years exposed to sunlight. Over the years I have occasionally thought about refinishing or just restocking it, but despite much goodnatured ribbing (my friends call it "The Old Canoe Paddle") I have never done so.

From the bench with my handloads and its favorite jacketed (Sierra 150 & 165GK's) and cast bullets it will put ten rounds into 1/2" @ 100yds if I let the barrel cool between shots. Even with my ageing eyes I can still pieplate with it offhand @ 150yds, and back when I finished it I could see well enough to do that @ 300. The only day it's worn glass while I've owned it (a Leupold 2-7), I jumped several deer within about twenty feet, came home, removed the scope and haven't messed with it since.

I have worn out more than a dozen pairs of boots hunting with it and easily fired several thousand rounds through it. In all those years I have never had to fire a second shot at any live target. Every time someone with a fancy new top dollar rifle sees it and laughs at it they lose money when they shoot against it.

If you go to the GunLoads Home Page http://gunloads.com/ and scroll down to the Stories/Articles section, you can see photos of the sight setup in "Peep Sights For Hunting Rifles" and read more about the rifle itself in "The Old Canoe Paddle".