I’ve wanted to do this review since the 783 was revealed at SHOT Show. I feel like Remington’s 710 and 770 rifles were missteps, with too many corners cut and I was excited at the prospect of a new budget bolt action rifle to compete with the Savage Axis. What I noticed, when I read reviews, was how most people spoke about the relation between this rifle and the Remington 700 and how Remington strategically chose to develop this rifle. To be frank, this rifle has nothing to do with the 700 or a clean sheet design by Remington, and everything to do with the Marlin XL7. Remington’s parent company purchased Marlin back around the time when Marlin released the XL7, and this is Remington’s version of that rifle. From the “Remington CrossFire” system, which is identical or minorly improved from Marlin’s Pro-Fire, to the barrel nut, crown and more, this is very much Remington’s take on a Marlin rifle and not a next generation or lower cost 700. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, the Marlin X7’s are known for good accuracy, great trigger, and low price. At $399 in the US or $349 in Canada it also makes for a better rifle than the 710 or 770, and better fills the budget gap up to the 700 SPS or 700.
My Video Review of the Remington 783
Remington Cross-Fire Trigger
Like the Marlin XL7 or Ruger American, the Remington 783 includes a take on Savage’s Accutrigger. These improved versions are somewhat different, in that the lever blocks the sear, not the trigger. Long story short, they’re better. The trigger on my 783 broke at 3.5 lbs with just a touch of creep, which is pretty good and I believe will improve with a few hundred trigger pulls. Either that, or I’ll adjust the trigger a bit more to try to get rid of the creep. To be fair, my Axis had a lot more creep in the factory trigger, was a lot heavier, and was non-adjustable. These adjustable safety triggers are a breath of fresh air compared to the old style, gritty, heavy triggers that most hunting rifles used to come with.
Remington 783 Magazine
This is new and was not something present in the Marlin X7 rifles, and it’s pretty good for the budget rifle category! Some plastic, for sure, but metal in the right places and a nice, secure seating mechanism in the rifle. The back of the mag has a spot welded angled bit of metal that sturdily holds the rear of the mag in place. If you’re in a hunting shop, compare it to the crappy little plastic nub on the back of the Ruger American magazine and it will be obvious who has the better retention system. Even though the mag is technically supposed to rock into place (rear first, and then front), it’s very fast and natural. To say the least, the mag retention and release on the 783 beats the Ruger American’s and Savage Axis‘ hands down. The mag itself is a fairly conservative staggered, double stack box mag. I wanted to like the Ruger’s cool rotary mag, but it was retained so poorly and rattled so much that I couldn’t.
Usability and Ergonomics
There are a few things to note in the usability and ergonomics department on this rifle. The plastic itself is kind of grippy and the stock is rather beefy. You have to put a decent amount of pressure on the forend to get it even close to touching the free floating barrel. Among the inexpensive bolt action rifles, the 783 is the beefiest feeling one of the bunch. I attribute that to the slightly thicker Magnum contour barrel and meaty stock. The Remington 783 comes with a 2 position, non bolt-locking safety located just rear of the bolt. It’s not as convenient as a tang safety and the detent is quite loud and clicky. I’d say it’s better than the Ruger American’s stiff tang safety, but a far cry from the Axis’ whisper quiet tang safety. The bolt handle is flat, which didn’t really change how I used it at all. One piece I really like on this rifle was the spring loaded, one way bolt release. It’s very easy to use and pretty much perfect. The buttpad on the rifle is nice and squishy and a good add-on in my opinion.
You can tell that some corners got cut with rifle. From opening the box and seeing pretty much nothing inside except the cheapest packing style possible, you know that this is a budget rifle. I’m not sure if it’s a “Remlin” issue, but check your rifle over before buying. Several that I saw had problems that I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with. One had a bolt that was incredibly stiff to turn and would have been a complete pain in the ass to use while hunting. These are stiff turning bolts, and not nearly as slick as a Savage or the American’s 3 lug bolt head. Another clear cost cutting solution was the molded-in, plastic sling studs. They don’t offer the range of motion that typical sling studs offer. Unlike other rifles of this cost category, the 783 doesn’t come with scope bases (2 front Rem 700 bases or Weaver #35 if you’re interested.) One of the reviews I read noted that they didn’t like the plastic bolt handle on the 783. Note: it’s not plastic, it’s metal. Maybe that changed at some point or the reviewer was thinking of a different rifle. And like other budget rifles, the trigger guard is plastic as well.
Remington 783 Specifications
- 22″ Magnum Contour Barrel (24″ on magnum)
- Available in 270, 30-06, 7mm rem mag, 308.
- User adjustable Cross-Fire trigger
- Pillar bedded stock
- Supercell Recoil Pad
- Uses 2 #35 Weaver scope bases
- Fits 4 standard rounds in the mag, 3 in magnum.
- 308: 7 lbs
- 270/30-06: 7.2 lbs
- 7mm rem mag: 7.3 lbs
- OAL: 41 5/8″
The quick question that’s on your mind: is it worth it? That depends on what’s important to you. If you want a heavier barrel, the best mag in a budget rifle, a great trigger, easy to use bolt release, availability in 7mm rem mag. and a good buttpad, the 783 is your choice. If finish, bolt smoothness, price, and an easy to use safety are important, the Savage Axis is a better choice. The availability in 7mm Remington Magnum is pretty cool, because most manufacturers only offer their budget bolt action rifles in standard chamberings. Overall, the rifle is a very competitive offering in the new-ish budget bolt action rifle category. They’re available for just under $400 at Cabela’s.