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CNBC Attacks The Remington 700

Dark silver Remington 700, barrel pointed to the right, on a white background

First produced in 1962, more than 5 million Remington 700 rifles have been sold. It’s currently available in more than 900 different configurations across 40 different calibers. With numbers like these, it’s easy to see how the Remington 700 has become the most popular rifle in the world. Sniper versions of the rifle are in use by police forces throughout the world as well as highly customized versions in use by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.

In 1962 Remington redesigned the action of the Model 700 to be able to be easily mass produced at a low cost. In the past, crafting a precision rifle action required a significant amount of hand finishing. In 1964, following Remington’s lead, Winchester made the mistake of changing the trigger on their Model 70. This mistake allowed Remington to dominate the rifle market.

Serious rifle shooters who had been happy with the older Model 70 trigger found the newly designed action to be lacking in precision and crispness. The Remington Model 700, by comparison, used a floating trigger design that maintained the crisp feel that traditional shooters loved.

The Remington 700 trigger is also easy to adjust. The fact that anyone with a few tools and a bit of knowledge could adjust the trigger themselves is a two-edged sword. Straight from the factory, the Remington 700 comes with a trigger pull of about 5 lbs. Many find this to be too heavy and set about reducing the trigger pull to 3 lbs. or less. The problem here is that if not done properly or set too light, the modified trigger can cause accidental discharges.

Recently, CNBC put out a hit piece accusing Remington of knowingly producing faulty rifles. The reporting portrayed the Remington Model 700 rifle as unsafe in any hands and blamed Remington for deaths and injuries that could have easily been avoided had the users followed proper muzzle discipline.

It’s interesting to note that there are a total of 75 lawsuits filed alleging that a Remington 700 rifle had fired without the trigger being pulled. Even if true, by the numbers, that means that 0.0015% of all of the rifles produced over the years have had a problem.

Put another way, 99.9985% of all of the Model 700 rifles produced do not have a faulty trigger. Are numbers like these indicative of an inherent design flaw? One would suspect that if there was a design flaw that it would be found in every Remington Model 700, or at least a more than 75.

This quote is telling:

“Both Remington, and experts hired by plaintiff attorneys, have conducted testing on guns returned from the field which were alleged to have fired without a trigger pull,” Remington’s statement says, “and neither has ever been able to duplicate such an event on guns which had been properly maintained and which had not been altered after sale.”

So, despite claims that the situation is easily duplicated, and despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on experts, nobody has ever been able to cause a Remington 700 to fire without the trigger being pulled.

One of the experts featured on the CNBC show, one H.J. Belk, claims the Walker system is unsafe even if it never malfunctions, and that the fact none of the experts have been able to duplicate the claims doesn’t mean that the trigger doesn’t have a design flaw.

The analogy he uses is that “The fact that the plane you’re flying in has not crashed is no evidence that crashes don’t occur.” Which, while true, is really not applicable to the allegations made about the Walker trigger.

Every trigger design, and in fact every mechanical device, can fail if not properly maintained. If you neglect the brakes on your car, they may work fine for a while, and eventually they will fail and you could be killed in a crash.

Does this mean that they are defective? Of course not, and to say such a thing would be preposterous. Some of the tests Mr. Belk discusses to determine if your rifle is unsafe rely on the trigger being damaged or parts being pushed out of alignment.

Could you get the trigger to malfunction in this manner? It’s quite possible for any device to operate in undesired ways if it is damaged or out of spec due to neglect or poor maintenance. Keeping the action clean and free of debris is probably the best way to ensure any trigger functions as designed.

Let’s go back to gun safety 101 here: Colonel Jeff Cooper’s second rule of firearm safety is “Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!”

Without fail, each and every one of the injuries or deaths that happened in the cases where a Remington 700 discharged happened because the rifle was not pointed in a safe direction. The fact is, accidents can and do happen. People make mistakes all the time- it’s one of the hallmarks of being human.

By observing Cooper’s 4 rules of firearm safety if you make a mistake while handling a firearm the chances of killing or injuring someone are much reduced.

Please note, Remington no longer uses the old Walker trigger system criticized by CNBC. Beginning in 2006, Remington stopped making Model 700 rifles with the Walker trigger system and, instead, had all of their new 700s made with their X-Mark Pro Trigger system.

This is not necessarily because of a defect in the Walker trigger. Improvements in machining and industrial design have simply allowed Remington to produce an even better trigger, at an even lower cost, than before.

With proper care and maintenance, the older Remington 700s with the Walker trigger system are no less safe than any other trigger design. More importantly, with proper muzzle discipline and by following the other rules of firearm safety, even if your firearm discharges through human error or mechanical failure, you can ensure that no one is hurt or killed.

Do you think CNBC’s coverage was biased? Tell us in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (51)

  1. Remington 700 trigger is good and reliable until someone tries to modify it. I saw that numerous times. Factory trigger is good but you shouldn’t try to adjust it.

  2. CNBC “biased” against firearms? Naw! That couldn’t happen. CNBC has always had the reputation of being conservative and pro-firearm….right?
    The fact is that CNBC, as well as other so-called “news media” sources have not exactly had the rep of being pro-2A, and have bent statistics to their own deceptive practices of trying to persuade the American public that firearms should be banned.

    Of course, they never come out and state that it is the criminal element that should be banned, or that “accidents” should be blamed on the carelessness of the gun owners themselves.

    The Walker controversy is exists only in the mind of the CNBC producer who dreamed it up.

  3. I have owned countless Remington Model 700 rifles over the years and currently have about 12, I like light trigger pull and have either modified the factory trigger or replaced it with a Jewell trigger (some set as light as 4oz.), I have had some of these modified rifles discharge unexpectedly, they were pointed down range in a safe manner, gun safety should be the topic, if handled with constant safety in mind there will still be incidents, but I believe there would be less injuries. I find no fault with Remington in fact I would like to see them offer a trigger at 1 lb. pull or less .

  4. As some of us have heard before. There are no such things as accidental shootings! There’s intentional shooting, and NEGLIGENCE!

    If your weapon is ALWAYS treated and handled in a true and safe manner, negligence shootings will simply not happen.

    I’ve yet to see or hear of ANY safely handled weapon shoot a human. It simply cannot happen!

  5. I had a factory remington trigger in a 40x .308 rifle malfunction.

    During a long range match the sear broke in half when I was closing the bolt. It did this with an empty chamber dry firing before shooting the string. It broke when the bolt was closed and nothing was in contact with the trigger. The firing pin fell. If there was a round in the barrel it would have fired.

    I have been shooting highpower matches for 50 years.

    Mdl 70s have never had this type of problem.

    I took the trigger apart and the sear was broken where the adjusting screw when through the part. Very dangerous and unexpected.

    The gun had several thousand rounds through the barrel.

    Remington triggers are made with cheap materials.

  6. Sometimes,” I wonder, other times, confused but always suspicious.
    Does “cnbc” ever tell the truth about anything? (Lower case letters cnbc is intentional0They’re not a mature news organization. IMHO.
    Don M.

  7. I watched a documentary that included and interview with Walker. Walker stated that he warned management early in production that his trigger system needed to be replaced. The documentary also included some of the people suing Remington, their stories of how it accidentally discharged, one man killed his son when it discharged through is vehicle. Another video clip showed guys who had a gun failing and recorded it. This article is totally not true.

    1. RickA, did you actually read this article? Your statement “This article is totally not true” is laughable. 75 money-grubbing lawsuits out of 5 million rifles sold is nothing. If the trigger were at fault, there would be hundreds of thousands of more incidents. Facts are facts bub. Pay attention. People who have hurt themselves or others did so because they had a loaded weapon pointed unsafely! It is 100% their fault. Walker also said his trigger was safe…that his concerns were theoretical. I’ll say it again…HE SAID HIS TRIGGER IS SAFE. The people who filed lawsuits screwed up, and won’t accept responsibility for hurting people. Guns that are pointed in a safe direction (like the GROUND), don’t hurt people, as any 12 year old knows.

  8. This kind of people have their existence on-line and offline these are because of this globe. The video games owning millions of people get such substantial amount of buyers with their large budget marketing initiatives device accompanied by a previously addicted and expecting game group of followers.

  9. Pingback: Remington Ad
  10. Remington thought 5 cents was too much to spend on implementing a fix that Mike Walker himself recommended way back in 1948. Judging by most of the comments, there are a lot of loyal Remington customers out there. Too bad Remington didn’t think their life was worth a nickel.

  11. I have hunted and shot guns for at least 32 years. This weekend I was shooting one of my 700’s and the rifle when off when I switched my safety to off after cycling the action. I watched the show about this and thought this it was a bunch of crap. I own 5 700’s and never had a problem until this. I tried to repeat what happened and sure enough it happened again after about ten tries. I tried again and could not get it to repeat after an hour. I work in an industry based on safety. Recently my plant came under fire because our safety culture relied on the probability of an accident occurring instead of the consequence of the accident occurring. Hopefully all the people on here read this and think of the consequence instead of the probably. I am a former Marine and understand the rules of shooting, but I also believe that a disengaging the safety of a rifle should not make a rifle fire.

  12. My dad owns a 700 mountain rifle in .280rem. It has hangfired on two occassions after failing to fire when pointed at an animal in the field, it fired when the bolt was touched to remove the shell. The rifle was purchase new 2 20 yrs ago, well maintained, clean, and never had any trigger work or gunsmithing. Remington’s customer service is lacking, in denial, or being coached by a legal team that has no regard fo anything but not exposing guilt. i will never purchase a Remington product based on the service i’ve seen regarding this issue.

  13. I love my 700, but this past week it actually did misfire when I switched the safety off. I’ve shot 1000’s of rounds through this gun, never having an issue in the past. And my guns are always kept in tip top shape. Now no one was hurt because I had it pointed down range (Safety 101) and was in position to take the shot when it happened, but it did happen. My brother and I sat for a half hour trying to reproduce the misfire but we couldn’t. I am still going to replace the trigger system to a Jewell trigger system, but I’ll never give up my 700.

  14. i am a shooter and a hunter i have owned my remington 700 for 20 years with no problems ,until this past sunday i switched the saftey from safe to fire ,
    the second the lever hit fire the gun went off my fingers were no where near the trigger or the trigger guard the rifle is in a dragonoff style stock and has
    been for 20 years .thank god my rifle was pointed in a safe direction and the other two hunters with me were not injured.
    they need to fix this problem no matter how much it cost the company .

  15. I am a long time Remington owner and fan; however, my 700 .243 recently fired when the safety was flipped. I was watching my 13 yr old son shoot it at the gun range and thankfully he was practicing what i had taught him and the bullet still hit on the paper. Needless to say that sent a chill up my spine, he will never be shooting that gun again. Keep in mind that you CANNOT unload this gun without moving the safety to the fire position. Yes it has been regulary cleaned. To all of you that believe this problem doesn’t exist or that don’t mind owning a rifle that is unpredictable, I would be happy to sell you mine. I think the way Remmington handled the “repair/recall” procedure is rediculous. They want you to pay $20 and also the shipping/handling both ways to fix their mistake. And to top it off, their idea of a “fix” is not to keep it from discharging when moved off of safe but only that you can now unload the gun while it is on safe. I’m surprised they havn’t tried to market the safety as a two stage trigger 🙂

  16. I have a super nice .243 Remington and there is absolutely no doubt, it HAD the best trigger on any gun I’ve ever owned. I say HAD because I recently had to have it replaced. The gun would fire when the safety was clicked off. No pressure on the trigger was necessary. You flipped off the trigger and the gun went off. Had a few real scares with it before I figured out what was going on, but fortunately I was taught safe fun handling, so the only wounded party was a nearby tree. The problem was 100% reproducible. Cycle the bolt, put the safety on, jar the rifle AT ALL (bounce it on your shoulder, etc.) and flick off the safety. . .*boom*. Every time.

  17. I borrowed my buddy’s Model 700. It went off on it’s own twice; once while loading and once while unloading. I always thought it was a fluke or that I had my finger too close to the trigger. Fortunately, the gun was pointed in a safe direction both times.

    Gun safety and proper muzzle control is one thing. BUT, a gun should NEVER go off with no pressure on the trigger.

    There is a problem with the gun.

  18. I watched the special on cnbc that showed the rifles firing without the trigger being pulled, and actually believed that there was a problem until I found this blog. I think that there should be a slander lawsuit for Remington company because I contemplated selling my 700. I have never had a problem with mine, and have brought down some very nice racks. I believe now that this is just another ploy by the left to take a stab at gun ownership. You people that have had a “malfunction” with your rifle should give your rifle to me 🙂

  19. My husband has a Remington Model 700 BDL 7MM mag that has gone off with no warning or reason. The first time it happened we thought it was a “fluke”. The second time we were at a covered gun range, he had the gun pointed in a safe direction, but when it went off it hit the iron beam for the overhead cover and fagments went everywhere. I had a bullet jacket fragment hit me in the forehead and had to have it surgically removed. It scared everyone at the range nearly to death with all of the blood. The surgeon told me I was very fortunate it was the casing and not the bullet or I would not be here today. We took the gun to a gunsmith to fix…but I do not trust the gun to this day! It is not just politics…there is a problem with the gun.

  20. Remington will check/repair for $20. I dont mind the $20-though I shouldn’t have to pay. I do mind boxing a scoped rifle and mailing to kentucky.They sshould at least authorize 5-10 shops per state.

  21. Saw the Special on TV. The Professional sniper making the rifle fire when releasing the safety and ONLY the safety speaks volumes to me.

    I was considering a .308; either Remington 700 or Savage 10PC. Now I will go with the Savage.

  22. i bought a new remington 700 in 25..06 caliber in 1976. the first time i loaded it out of the box to sight it in it fired when i took the safety off without my finger on the trigger. due to safe gun handling no one was injured only scared. i know other cases . the 75 lawsuits are only when people were injured. i returned the gun for warrenty repair and this has not happened again. remingtons explanation was that the stock had not been properly cut out and that the safety binding on wood had caused the misfire.

  23. Politics, pure politics. This was broadcast in October to “dilute the jury pool” of liberal voters who need a reason to hate conservatives. The goal is clearly to energize the left to vote against conservatives at the polls, by trotting out some pasty-white academics who attack the most popular rifle in the USA.
    I can imagine the discussion over California wine and organic cheese now…deciding how to boost liberal thinking via back door accusations about guns. “Get an intern to Google guns and find a lawsuit. We’ll package a story about it to send to affiliates in key districts as an October surprise, and shake up those smug right wingers. Now pass the Brie…”

    In any case, I don’t see where this is affecting available model 700s, or their price. Scanning various online suppliers, like Impact Guns (one of the biggest) shows plenty model 700s on sale, and no caveats about triggers or lawsuits.

    This seems to be another lost effort by leftist to mobilize their base.

  24. The CNBC video of the Maine State Police making the gun fire by touching the bolt is pretty compelling. Makes me a little nervous about being at a public range…

  25. I am a Remington 700 owner who purchased the rifle new about 15 years ago. I have not modified it and clean it regularly. I have not opened the trigger mechanism. The rifle has not been extensively used. I suppose fewer than 200 rounds have been cycled through it since it was purchased. While I know and agree with the proposition that never let the muzzle cover that which you are not willing to destroy, I also would contend that under no–zero–nil–nada circumstances should the rifle fire when I chamber a round with the safety on while sitting in the predawn darkness halfway up a tree. Are we being told that the misfire (for want of a better term) might occur in the rifle I have just described? If so, I’m trading cars.

  26. I can’t believe that anyone commenting negatively about the 700 trigger knows jack about guns. I am a certified gunsmith, went through 18 months of gunsmithing school, and they never once mentioned any potential problems with the Walker trigger. The numbers DO speak for themselves. Mechanical things do occasionally fail, that is the law of probability. A re-occuring problem with the 700 trigger? Prove it. If you can’t, shut the hell up.

  27. Over the past, I’ve had the opportunity to be in numerous positions to come in contact with hundreds of Remington 700 Owners both in the Field and especially on the Shooting Range. The only 700 malfunctions that I know of personally were only due to trigger set alterations by either the owner or unqualified person. All other rifles that have not been tinkered with have never failed.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    “Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.”
    -Richard Salant, former President of CBS News

    Sound familiar!

    Remington 700, “THE BEST RIFLE RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX!”

    This has been a Clay Cooper “NO BS” moment!

  28. Well said friends! You have explained everything that CNBC failed to report upon. Safety with firearms, maintaining firearms, and knowing what you are doing should you modify a factory set trigger. Triggers are nothing to mess with unless you know what you are doing, just as you said in your report.

    If I was part of CNBC right now, I’d be a little embarrassed for the lack of factual information I reported upon, not to mention, that their small amount of findings took 10 months to collect, when I’m sure Cheaper Than Dirt’s report took less then 10 hours.

    Good work Cheaper Than Dirt! I stand beside you.

  29. I have many remingtons and none of them have discharged accidently. My father always stressed muzzle discipline so no “accidents” would oocur. My issue with this is, even though no one gets hurt, it would be very dissapointing shooting at the range and not being able to control when your gun fired or hunting and having the gun fire before you are ready and your game being mamed or just a plain miss. Also, what happens to the police sniper that has a hold on a suspect and his rifle fires?? Is it his fault?? The statistics can be manipulated to portray anything any side wants them to. At 5 cents a rifle to fix?? seems ridiculous the triggers were not fixed. Lets say that remington offers a trigger fix for these guns at consumers cost. My guess is that most of us would buy them just to make sure our rifles are safe. Of course the lovely legal system we have would say that Remington is admitting the trigger is faulty by doing that……so where do we go from here???

  30. Redic! Dont point the muzzle @ anyone or anything. even non-shooters and non-gunowners know that. Period, end of story. and who knows how many of these were actually MURDERS which someone said the fire arm discharged “accidentally”

  31. Mike Walker stated that until 1976 when he retired he had in place a Q.C. check on the assembly of the trigger assembly he designed in 1946.In 47′ or there about, he informed Remington that he had redesigned the trigger to make it safer ,cost of implementation ,.05 cents .Remington was to frugal to implement the tooling necessary to make the triggers safe ,at a cost of Human lives.My Remington was safe,and maintained until the moment the trigger assembly failed.Must we all be gunsmiths to own a “safe ” Remington 700 produced from 76′ til the “FIX”? Come buy my unsafe Remington and show me how it is my fault that it fires when it chooses ,usually trying to put it on “safety ” after the trigger does not engage the firing pin.
    , I am not down on Remington ,my (1982) 06′ was my favorite,until the day it failed .
    Remington should be held accountable for the “cost” of discontinuing the quality control measures after Mr.Walkers retirement in 76′ What is the value of human life Remington Arms Company ?

  32. there have been 75 lawsuits – but that does not define how many faulty guns there may be in distribution. it’s just a measure of how many people felt the need to file a suit.

  33. I have two 700s in .270 and -06. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I looked at a lot of rifles when I got the .270 and just couldn’t find one that I liked better, so I got another 700.

  34. Another bunch of ambulance chasers and people who screwed up and won’t accept the blame.
    Guns properly maintained and properly used DON’T kill. If you maintain the muzzle in a safe direction and treat a gun likes it loaded it’s not going to cause an accident.

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