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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.