I fire and test a lot of firearms. Some are impressive, and I cannot shoot up to their accuracy potential. Some, well, I get the measure of pretty quickly. At a range session on an outdoor range, an older gentleman walked by the table. ‘770 Remington?’ he said. I replied in the affirmative, figuring he was going to bash my economy rifle.
‘I got three… they’re alwrite.’ I suppose that recommendation is as good as this humble rifle gets. There aren’t a lot of functional rifles selling for less than $400, much less one with a bore-sighted scope. The 770 is one of these package guns designed to offer good value at a fair price. Pride of ownership may not be in the cards. Then again, if something does the job and takes the meat home without much expense, that is something to be smug about.
Remington 770 Features
The Model 770 bolt-action rifle was designed as an economy rifle. During the past 10 years or so of production, the rifle has gained a reputation for steady accuracy. There are no major faults or problems with the rifle. It is competitive among the least expensive rifles offered by a major maker.
This is a hunting gun designed to take home medium-size game. Deer, boar, even larger game may be taken by a Remington 770 in the appropriate caliber. Let’s look at the rifle’s specifications in my favorite bolt-action rifle caliber, the .30-06 Springfield.
Caliber: .30-06 Springfield
Overall Length: 42.5 inches
Barrel length: 22 inches
Weight with Bushnell scope: 8.9 pounds
Magazine capacity: 4 rounds
The rifle is a bit plain with a black plastic stock. The bluing, however, is actually pretty nice. While it is an economy rifle, Remington has a certain standard to keep up. While the 770 is perceived as a beginner’s rifle, my range buddy is an example of an experienced shooter owning more than one.
Another fellow, who has killed more deer than I, purchased his son a 770 when the young man turned 16. Kind of like the first car, it will get dinged up and banged around, so an economy model was a logical choice. The rifle isn’t scrap at all. Even a discerning shooter will have to admit the 770 is a useful rifle, even if it wasn’t their first choice.
Package guns come with a bore-sighted scope. My rifle was set up with a Bushnell 3x9x40. The scope is a good value and offers relatively clarity. It was easy enough to adjust the windage and elevation setting.
The rifle may arrive with a good 100-yard zero, but probably not exactly dead nuts on. All package guns are intended to be close to zero, with the end user providing fine tuning. Sometimes you are dead on depending if your rifle left the factory on a Wednesday.
This rifle demanded a little adjustment to my preferred 1.5-inch-high point of impact at 100 yards. If you are hunting beyond 100 yards, you are OK with this scope but probably not at 200 yards. A beginner’s rifle, remember?
The trigger isn’t the best or the worst. My example breaks at a relatively clean 4.0 pounds, no grit or gravel in that mechanism. Bolt lift isn’t difficult. The bolt isn’t the smoothest, but it doesn’t grate and stick. The bolt travels to a stop and then demands little extra push to lock up. This isn’t much different than the old Remington 788, a decent economy rifle.
A detachable magazine is easier to load than a fully-enclosed magazine. Loading from the top is more difficult when you have a scope mounted, so a detachable box magazine is a good choice. The Remington detachable box holds four rounds of ammunition and is easily loaded.
To make the rifle safe, removing the magazine, opening the bolt, and then checking the chamber is all that is needed. The safety is a simple two-position type located on the right side of the receiver. It is positive in operation and works as designed. On close examination, the cheap stock isn’t as cheap as it first seems. The texture is slightly pebbled and there is a cheekpiece molded in. Of course, firing the rifle is what counts the most.
On hand, I had a number of handloads using the Hornady 168-grain A-Max and Varget powder. These are middle-of-the-road loads at about 2,600 fps intended for long-range practice and certainly capable of taking deer-sized game. I fired a couple of these to be certain I was still sighted in at the 50-yard line, and then set the rifle at a measured 102 yards in a solid firing rest.
I fired two groups of three shots each. Three shots went into 1.9 inches on the first try, and 1.76 inches on the second try. Two of the bullet holes were inside of 1.4 inches on this second try. This rifle will shoot, and this type of accuracy will put meat on the table.
I also wanted to confirm performance with one of my favorite deer loads. The Winchester Deer Season 150-grain extreme point is a 2,920 fps 2,840 foot-pound loading that does the business on deer-sized game well past 200 yards. Loads like this are the reason I don’t need a .300 Winchester Magnum.
This is a modern polymer tip bullet. This load struck just a tad — an unscientific but well used measurement — higher than the 168-grain load, due to the 150-grain bullet’s higher velocity. Three bullets went into 1.65 inches.
Next up was a heavyweight loading. The Winchester 180-grain Power Point was designed for deer, elk, and wild boar. This one runs about 2,700 fps and did not strike to the same point of aim. It was higher on the target. That’s fine; I was checking accuracy. Three of these heavyweight loads went into 1.8 inches.