Range Report: Model 783 — Remington’s Budget Tackdriver

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

There has been a revolution in rifle making, and all of us have benefitted from it in one way or the other—if we own and shoot modern rifles.

Remington 783 rifle with Meopta scope right profile

The Remington 783 is an attractive rifle worth its modest price.

Modern CNC machinery and technology allows the maker to build an inexpensive rifle that shoots well, is durable, and offers excellent strength. Engineering, intellect, dedication of resources, and a will to succeed favor the outcome.

Among the best affordable rifles yet is the middle of the road Remington 783. This rifle is between the price-point rifles and more expensive Remington 700. It offers performance that just may make it the best rifle deal on the market.

Rear portion of the Remington 783 rifle with Meopta scope

The bolt, bolt handle, and stock are well designed and executed.

I purchased mine at a pawnshop, used, without a scope. It wasn’t the best bargain, and the rifle and scope combination at Cheaper Than Dirt! for $333.00 is more appealing. This impulse buy was the result of a desire to have a backup for my only .308 bolt-action rifle—a rather nice Remington 700 SPS. However, once the rifle was acquired, I was impressed.

The rifle is simply tight. The rifle doesn’t give; the stock doesn’t rattle; there isn’t much flex on firing. Remington is our oldest rifle maker. It knows rifles and this one shows that. The rifle features a nylon, fiber-reinforced synthetic stock and a well-designed recoil pad. The bedding amounts to what was once expensive pillar bedding with two aluminum pillars keeping things consistent on firing. Sling swivels are molded into the stock, which is OK on an inexpensive rifle.

The receiver is stout with a cylindrical cross section. The ejection port is modestly sized. Remington engineers designed the receiver and the small ejection port for strength and rigidity. The rifle is fitted with a detachable magazine. This detachable magazine makes loading for testing from the bench rest easier and also makes loading easier than thumbing cartridges into the magazine from above the integral magazine of the Model 700. At least that is how it works for me. Neither is a hardship.

Winchester Extreme Point ammunition box

Winchester’s Extreme Point is an affordable but impressive loading.

The barrel is heavier than some light rifles. (My example is in my favorite rifle caliber, the .308 Winchester.) The barrel is what Remington calls the No. 2 contour. My rifle wears a 22-inch tube. This is a short rifle not a carbine. The barrel is locked into the receiver with a large nut arrangement similar to the Savage 110. The barrel is button rifled and the bore is smooth enough if not mirror polished like the Remington 700.

The trigger is an adjustable two-stage type. Set at 4 pounds, with a little creep from the factory, I adjusted the trigger to 3.0 pounds—ideal for all-around field use. The rifle uses standard Remington scope rings and bases. The bolt features dual opposing lugs with a 90-degree lift and an extractor of a type similar to the AR-15 rifle.

I had wished to own a first-class riflescope for some time, and that scope came in the form of the Meopta 3x9x40mm scope with Z Plex reticle. They are available at Cheaper Than Dirt! and among the best optics on the planet. My plan was to mount the scope on the 783 to test the rifle, then switch the Meopta to my Remington 700 and mount the long serving Redfield Battlezone on the 783.

Adjustable trigger on the Remington 783

The Remington adjustable trigger is a good touch.

As it turned out, I left well enough alone. Both rifles shoot just fine—great in fact—and I am happy with the Remington 783/Meopta Combination. I specified the Z Plex reticle as the heavy posts fading to fine crosshairs suit my personal style and a desire for accuracy. The rifle was properly bore sighted using a collimator.

I fired the Fiocchi 150-grain FMJ first—an affordable and useful loading. The first seven rounds had the rifle fine-tuned to my preferred setting—an inch over the center crosshair at 100 yards. Next, I fired the Fiocchi 150-grain SST. Fiocchi manufactures this load in their Ozark Missouri ammunition plant.

This load has been a tack driver in several rifles. The Remington 783 was no exception. This would be a fine all-around deer load. Next, I moved to loads that had proven accurate in the Remington 700. The Hornady 168-grain A Max put three bullets into less and 1.5 inches at 100 yards. I wished to try a heavier load and used the Hornady 178-grain ELDX—a relatively new loading.

Receiver on the Remington Model 783

The receiver is very strong.

The .308 Winchester with modern powder and bullets is very close to the original .30-03 and .30-06 and offers excellent performance. The EDLX load gave good performance. Next, I tried the Winchester 150-grain Extreme Point, an affordable load in the deer killer category. It fired to the same point of impact as the Fiocchi loads. Accuracy was match grade.

I had a small number of Winchester 180-grain Power Point loads on hand and tried these. These Power Point loads would be a good choice for heavier game. At the range, the load and the 783 produced another excellent group with three shots into 1.25 inches. While I was enjoying the rifle, there was no need to test hot barrel performance, so I loaded the range bag for another day.

Returning to the range several weeks later, I elected to take every advantage and try to discover just how accurate this rifle is. I had, on hand, the new SIG Sauer 168-grain MATCH loading. I took my time and carefully placed the crosshair on the target center, using a brightly colored Shoot-N-C target for maximum visibility.

Hornady A Max ammunition box

Hornady’s A Max load represents many years of development.

I fired three groups of three shots each. The average was 1.25 inches, however, one group went into a very nice .9 inch. I also fired a number of my handloads using Lapua brass, Varget powder, and the Hornady 150-grain SST bullet. Results were first class with the average of three groups at .9 inch. This dog will run!

I took another run with the Hornady 168-grain V Max. I could only spare the ammunition for one group, but three shots went into one inch. The Remington 783/Meopta combination has proven virtually the equal of the Remington 700, which should not be surprising, but I am surprised and pleased. This rifle just may be the deal of the century.

Have you shot or will try the 783? Share your impressions or experiences in the comment section.

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (10)

  • jim ed

    |

    I seem to be the only person on the planet who bought this fantastic rifle in caliber .223…that being said..i love this gun. Its the first non military bolt gun i have ever bought..and ill never look back. The only thing i found fault with was the fact i cannot mount a a bipod due to the sling mounting set up. Any suggestions anyone? Go easy on me…im an old man on a very fixed income.

    Reply

    • Henry Cawthon

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      There are replacement forward sling mounts available that can allow the sling and bi-pod to be used together.

      Reply

  • Spencer

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    Remington did the same thing with the Model 788 in 1969 for $78.00.The only magnum caliber it was available in was the 44 Magnum. It was available in 9 calibers. At least 2 of them were available in a left hand version.
    I bought one new in 1968 chambered for the 22-250. It had a larger diameter barrel than any of the others I’ve seen. The muzzle was 11/16″ in diameter. The barrel of the few others I’ve seen were 1/2″ diameter.
    I never did shoot factory loads in it, but with a hood hand load, mine would shoot 100 yard 5 shot groups anytime I did my part. My largest group was with the 70 grain Speer at 15/16″. My smallest group was with the Sierra 55 grain Spitzer a tad under 3/8 of an inch.
    I’ve read that Remington stopped selling it because it was cutting deeply into the sales of the 700 model.
    I have no personal experience shooting factory loads since hand loads were all I ever shot through it.
    I hope that doesn’t happen with the Model 783.

    Reply

    • Spencer

      |

      Sorry for the typos in my previous post

      Remington did the same thing with the Model 788 in 1969 for $78.00.The only magnum caliber it was available in was the 44 Magnum. It was available in 9 calibers. At least 2 of them were available in a left hand version.
      I bought one new in 1968 chambered for the 22-250. It had a larger diameter barrel than any of the others I’ve seen. The muzzle was 11/16″ in diameter. The barrel of the few others I’ve seen were 1/2″ diameter.
      I never did shoot factory loads in it, but with a good hand load, mine would shoot 100 yard 5 shot groups under 5/8″ anytime I did my part. My largest group was with the 70 grain Speer at 15/16″. My smallest group was with the Sierra 55 grain Spitzer a tad under 3/8 of an inch.
      I’ve read that Remington stopped selling it because it was cutting deeply into the sales of the 700 model.

      I hope this doesn’t happen with the Model 783.

      Reply

  • Rob

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    I picked up a new 783 in .270 at a really great price. With a middle of the road scope and a little shaving to float the barrel I was getting about 1.5″ groups at 100 yds. I have ran some tests with the Hornady SST bullets. My pet load is now 140gr SST. I consistently get MOA or tighter groups. I agree with this article. The price vs the accuracy is a great match. It is great to have this rifle in the collection.

    Reply

  • DagoBert

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    I recently purchased a Remington Model 783, chambered in .30-06, via an online site of a national farming and tractor supply retailer.
    I haven’t been able to get to the range with the rifle yet but I appreciate the input from this article and anticipate that my rifle will prove to be equally accurate.

    Thank you for a well written piece that was informative, concise and, for me, quite timely.

    Reply

    • Bob Campbell

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      Thanks for reading!

      I am certain your Remington will perform well.

      Bob

      Reply

  • Jim

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    Agreed, 783 works. Endless critiques aside, my 243 shoots moa at 100. Going through Remington’s shoot-clean regimen is tedious but once the gun has a dozen shots it cleans much faster. Magazine allows some allowance for OAL changes for handloaders. Sling weakness will negate long hikes unless they are retrofitted, or use shotgun slip slings.

    Reply

  • Philip

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    I certainly agree with the 783 evaluation, but I have never been able to rationalize a $500 scope on a $300 gun though a premium scope very likely enhanced an already quality firearm.

    Reply

  • Carmine

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    I strongly recommend the Hornady ammo. The Precision Hunter with the 178gr. ELD-X bullet in .308 shoots like a charm, and gets the job done. I just used it in my Weatherby Vanguard to take a 340 class elk in Wyoming!

    Reply

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