In part one of this review, we talked about the history of the Remington model 788. In this part I’d like to go over the details of the particular rifle that I recently purchased.
I saw the gun advertised on a website and decided that it was the right price and would suit my needs well. I was after something that could be used as a general carry about rifle which would mostly see use on Rabbits and Foxes, with the odd Goat thrown in for meat purposes. This particular rifle was chambered in .222 Remington which I thought was well suited to my needs. After going over some additional pictures from the previous owner, I handed over the money and waited for the rifle to arrive at my local dealer.
A few days later it arrived and I was quickly off to get a closer look. My first impression was a good one. The stock had the original varnish removed and had been sealed with an oil based finish. The blueing was in excellent condition and you could tell it had been well looked after. I gave the barrel a quick clean and ran a bore scope down to check its condition. Considering the age of the rifle, its internal finish was very good.
Once I had the rifle home, I decided to check the functioning aspects of it. One of the first things I noticed was how woefully heavy the trigger was. I actually had to check that the safety was off! I gave the bedding a pressure check and found just enough movement to decide that it needed some attention. I then noticed some wear on the magazine lips and discovered that it didn’t feed very well. But apart from these minor hiccups, I was still very impressed with my purchase.
My first point of attention was the trigger. Research indicated that these are rather hard to get to a satisfactory level. So with this in mind I decided to get some advice from a gunsmith before having an attempt at it myself. This trigger was indeed a lot harder to work on than other models. In the end it required new springs and some honing work. I wouldn’t recommend this job being done at home as even with some expert advice I still found it quite difficult. In the end though, it came up very crisp and lets off at just on 1.2kgs.
The next job was to focus on the bedding issues. I used a Gel Acraglas kit and bedded the action whilst free floating the barrel. I won’t go into the application details as there is already plenty of information and instructions on the internet. Once the job had been completed, the bedding was tested again and showed a marked improvement over the previous results.
The last job on the list was to fix the feeding issues. A close study of the magazine showed that a replacement should soon fix the problem. As luck would have it, I picked up a new magazine from a gun show. This not only fixed the feeding problem, but also solved that annoying rattle that the old one had.
Finally, I was close to getting the old girl out for a shot. All that remained was to true up the old scope rings and fit a Burris Fullfield in 3-9×40. For ammunition, I decided to shoot factories until I had a good supply of fired cases to reload with. Choice of brand was easy as there was a special on Federal Premium loads using a 40gr Nosler Ballistic Tip. With everything ready to go, I headed off to the farm to sight the scope in.
It only took a few shots to get onto target and once it was there, I decided to shoot some groups. Using five shot groups and the Federal Factory ammo, I couldn’t believe the results. Groups were small to say the least, and not one of them went over the .5moa mark! That sort of accuracy from a sporter rifle is something really special, and considering the age of the model 788 just makes it even more so.
More recent groups with the same Federal loads have shown the previous results to be consistent. It was obvious that my particular rifle had a preference for this ammunition and I was really looking forward to seeing how the some hand loads went. More on that in part three though.
Since typing this article, I managed to pick up a Boyds Laminate stock for my rifle. The price was too good to resist and it now looks sexier than ever.