If you came to this page because you just purchased a Remington 770 or someone gave you one and you wanted to see what can be improved or is a problem: sorry, this article is not super positive. If you came to this article because you wanted to figure out if you should buy a 770 or not: don’t. I don’t consider myself a gun snob. I think the Savage Axis and many of the other budget-priced bolt action rifle are pretty damn good for the price. This rifle is not. I didn’t even get to take pictures of it, because the second one I got (first was defective), couldn’t chamber a round.
I’m going to completely buck the trend that I use with most of my reviews. There are no high res images, there is a video that shows some issues with the rifle that are hard to describe in text, and all the headings are going to be different. That’s because I’m going to try to convince any readers who are on the fence to not buy this rifle.
Remington 770 Video Review
The Magazine Sucks
These days, use of plastic and mass-manufactured parts for hunting rifle magazines is expected. In some uses, plastic is a better material. What I’ve recently is that some rifle manufacturers have made really smart use of plastics in magazines (like the Browning X-bolt), whereas others have made poor use of inferior plastics. The Remington 770 uses a poorly designed magazine. The metal they chose to use has little springiness to it and takes bends quickly. The metal mag body attaches to the plastic floorplate by way of 2 tiny ridges cut into the inside of the floorplate. So, the attachment method is pretty poor, and the metal tabs that make for that attachment bend. This is why you may have seen images of the magazine “exploding” the floorplate, spring, and rounds out the bottom of the rifle upon firing. Using the disassembly method recommended in the manual on the magazine, and you may introduce a bend on the mag body tab. That bend weakens the connection with the floorplate and makes it more likely that your magazine will self-disassemble when the rifle is fired. On top of that, the metal is quite thick, so the mag is still heavier than it needs to be. You can buy replacement mags for as low as $10, but you’re getting EVERYTHING that you paid for.
The magazine is also jerky trying to insert into the magwell, bumping and stopping along the way. Ram it home at your peril: the mag is not particularly strong. It also doesn’t fit against the magwell particularly smooth.
The Action Sucks
By itself, a 3 lug bolt is kinda cool. They offer slightly faster cycling and more clearance against the scope bell than a 2 lug bolt. In this implementation, it doesn’t overcome everything else wrong with the action. The barrel is pressed into the receiver instead of threaded or by using a barrel nut. By itself, that’s an inexpensive way to mate barrels and receivers, but it requires a bit more QC to make sure they have been pressed to the right length. In the case of the second 770 I tried, the chamber was too tight, and chambering factory 7mm Remington Magnum ammunition was incredibly difficult. Test firing would have caught the disastrous issue on this rifle. If you’ve got this far into the article and are starting to think that I’m a gun snob and that I should have just put some polish on the bolt: I don’t expect that new firearms need work to be usable. I don’t mind tweaking for accuracy or to improve things, but I draw the line at dysfunctional.
Inside the rear of the receiver is a sleeve of plastic that is attached to the (also plastic) rear tang. I’d imagine that this method required less work and fitting than an all metal rear receiver. Unfortunately, the plastic bends and lets the bolt head bind as it moves through the inside of the receiver. Even after oiling it and working the heck out of it, the bolt is still pretty gritty.
The bolt stop is a small latch on the left side of the receiver. On the inside, it moves a half-moon piece of steel to act as the bolt stop. Just from loosely working the bolt, this half moon started to take on a dent. Maybe it’d be fine, or maybe if it took a bit of abuse it’d start to fail to keep the bolt from coming out of the receiver.
The Stock Sucks
I can forgive a cheap stock on a cheap rifle, a few things on the stock were a bit weird. The trigger guard looks like it was designed ugly on purpose. The buttpad is pretty hard. My rifle’s barrel wasn’t free-floated; I’m not sure if that’s a design flaw or on purpose. Most rifles free-float the barrel as an easy way to get more consistency. Then, there are those plastic, molded in sling attachment points. These aren’t meant to be used with a bipod, and from what I’ve seen online, they can and do rip off if you manage to put too much torsional pressure on them.
The Scope Sucks
Of course the scope sucks. I don’t see that as such a huge problem, because most hunters would upgrade the scope on a rifle like this after their first year hunting and a crappy scope is expected at this price point. The fact that the windage turret fell off in my hands on the first unboxed 770 I got wasn’t terrifically confidence inspiring.
What doesn’t suck?
- I thought the safety was fine. It was easy to actuate and easy to reach.
- The trigger was fine for a rifle at this price point. It came with some travel and grit, but I could live with it.
- Accuracy is supposed to be good. My rifle was unusable, so I wouldn’t know. To be fair: accuracy on all the modern, inexpensive bolt action rifles is very good. 1 MOA or less should be expected from any new bolt action.
Is it OK for the Price?
When talking about features and quality, I always try to relate those to the price point of the rifle. Let me just be blunt: the Savage Axis is the same price and is not so sucky. The Ruger American is a bit more in price and a lot better and the Remington 783 is also a lot better than the 770. Without those rifles in the market, the Remington 770 might be OK for the price. But since those rifles ARE on the market at those prices, the 770 is not good for the price. It’d have to be around $200-$250 and even then, it’d only for those with more time and patience than a little more money.
I have returned my 770 because it wouldn’t chamber rounds without needing a solid whack on the bolt. I upgraded to another rifle that doesn’t suck so much.