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Rem 742 Woodsman ... were there any 'good ones'?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Snakum, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Snakum

    Snakum Well-Known Member

    I picked up an old Remington 742 Woodsman 30-06 today that looks like it's been in a safe for the past 30 years. Just gorgeous. I'd heard bad things about them but bought it anyway, since it was gorgeous and quick-feeling and I need a 30-06 carbine. I took a chance. Not smart perhaps, but I loved the way this thing felt.

    So, I bought a box of Win-X 180gr silver tips and took it to the range and went thru all 20 rounds without a single jam, and was getting 3 - 4 inch groups with it's iron sights (it's not scoped) at 100 yards just shooting from a 'stick rest'. It was pretty accurate, considering the set-up. Then I took it on a loop thru my hunting grounds and jumped three does but couldn't get it up fast enough. Almost got it up in time for a clean shot, though. This thing points fast and feels really nice in the thick brush.

    But I came back home and hit the internet and now have read horror stories about them, however. Seems many people consider them junk. Is it possible there were some decent ones made? Should I trust it in the field, or try to turn it over quickly? I paid $350 for it with an inexpensive case. Was I robbed? :D

  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I have shot friend's M742's. This rifle type was very popular around here. The group sizes were similiar to yours, which means it is entirely adequate for hunting in the woods. The rifles functioned fine.

    It sounds like you got a good deal. Excellent. Keep your rifle clean and lubricated, don't shoot those magnum level 30-06 cartridges, and your rifle should last a long time.

    Personally, I would use either 150 grain or 165 grains bullets. Or hand loaded 125’s. The M742 gas system is not self compensating and the mid range bullets will be easier on the action, if they are standard pressure and velocity.
  3. tju1973

    tju1973 Well-Known Member

    The biggest problem I see with them around here (N Texas) is they usually weren't cleaned correctly, and many dinguses (sorry) put an extended mag in them and tried to make them a bubb assault rifle..I have an Uncle that has hunted with one for probably 30 years now and has had no issues-- of course he shoots less than 20 rounds or less a year through his, but he does clean it the right way and keeps it put up in a safe when not in use. He has taken deer with it, and many a feral hog has gone to piggy heaven from his 742...

    The key is to find one that has been taken care of, and then take care of yours!:)
  4. Snakum

    Snakum Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. I'll pick up some 150gr PSPs for it tomorrow and give the rest of the 180s to my bolt buds. The plain Rem 150gr CoreLokt PSPs carry 2200 ft/lbs at 100 yards. That's plenty for my needs. :)
  5. d2wing

    d2wing Well-Known Member

    Make sure the inside of the receiver and the slide rails are clean and lubed and the locking lugs are clean. I still have the one I shot my first deer with and it's still good.
  6. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    I think the 742 often gets a bum rap for some of the the failures we hear about and I think sometimes it's due to the lack of proper owner maintenance. Not all mind you, but sometimes.
    I don't own one, but like you, I like the feel of the 742 and 760 pump and one of my shooting buddies has two of the newer 7400's in '06 and 308, and they shoot very tight groups with handloads and absolutely no problems.
    I would use the 165gr loads when hunting deer and yes, stay away from the various light magnum loads that's available.

  7. Casefull

    Casefull Well-Known Member

    I think they were garbage. Not very accurate and would break if you shot full power loads in them.
  8. mes228

    mes228 Well-Known Member


    I've been told that some "models" of the 742 have "rails" in the receiver that have a life span of less than 600 rounds. Once worn they are not repairable. Don't know if this is so as I've not I kept I traded for, or fired one. Even so, at 600 rounds, that's many years use for the average hunter.
  9. janobles14

    janobles14 Well-Known Member

    i got one from my dad. perfect condition...because he never shot it...because it jammed...alot. took me all of 30 rounds to sell it.
  10. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Well-Known Member

    It's not a battle rifle like a Garand. It's a great hunting rifle that was, unfortunately, sold alongside those 3-piece aluminum cleaning rods. Easy to scratch the muzzle and dump a lot of gunk right into that relatively delicate receiver.

    Buy a Boresnake for cleaning, buy a Garand if you want to shoot in competitions and enjoy a great hunting rifle that will handle 50 rounds or more per year (not per day) forever if you carefully clean and lube.

    Worst case if the receiver rails get worn out, it can still work as a single shot using the lever on the left side of the magazine to close the action.

    Sounds like you got a very nice rifle at a basically good price. Enjoy!
  11. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    d2wing is on the right track here; if you have one that works well, keep it clean, and the rails well lubed, I would use lithium grease myself, and you should be fine.
  12. Snakum

    Snakum Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the info.

    I've gotten it home and scoped, and have checked over it pretty closely. With the exception of a .125" and .250" a ding in the stock near the bottom of the butt plate and a .125" dent on the bottom of the forearm it would pass for a new rifle. Pretty amazing for something 25+ years old. Bluing is perfect everywhere. I assume it was a 'safe queen' for much of its life.

    I just picked up some Win-X 150gr PSPs for it and mounted a Bushnell 3-9x40 in those horrid see-thru rings. :D I did a poor man's boresight against the irons and it's close enough to go zero early tomorrow before heading into the swamp with it.

    So far I am impressed with the wonderful, snappy feel and the absolute beauty of the old thing. If I hate it after a week I can turn it over and take a hit if need be. If I did, I would definitely buy a new 750. Supposedly the newest gas system and bolt are pretty sturdy and reliable. I held and snapped a new 750 tonight and the feel is pretty close to mine. I might even pick one up with my tax refund and just put the 742 back in a safe somewhere.
  13. skidooman603

    skidooman603 Well-Known Member

    I have owned a 740 and a 742. As mentioned above "most" of the bum rap is improper cleaning-lube. In Northern MI. in the old days before teflon type lubes they would occasionally jam on super cold days with grease. As lubrication products got better so did the function of these rifles. I work sight in at my local sportsmen's club every year and see a ton come through to be sighted. Most I have seen perform plenty well for hunting accuracy. The price you paid for the condition of your rifle sounds more than fair. Enjoy...don't believe all the crap ya read on the web.
  14. Todd1700

    Todd1700 Well-Known Member

    I still have a 7400 that I bought way back in the 1980's. To be honest there were some of these models that had problems that were not due to mistreatment by the owner. However the vast majority of the jamming problems were indeed due to not keeping it clean. Also, sometimes after a few decades the detachable magazine needs replacing for them to continue to feed properly. I own probably 20 rifles now so my old 7400 30-06 hasn't been going to the woods with me for many years. But, I took it out the other day to one of the gravel pits on our land and ran about 14 rounds through it. Worked flawlessly and shot pretty decent groups too.
  15. ghitch75

    ghitch75 Well-Known Member

    i have a 742 woodsmaster in .308....had it for over 15 years.....never had jam or misfire.....shoot 150gr power points and holds a 1" @ 100 yards.....alot of deer and coyotes have lost there lives with it.....

    keep it clean and light oil on the bolt and you'll have a nice rifle....
  16. Snakum

    Snakum Well-Known Member

    I just put 20 more thru it, Win-X 150gr Power Points, sighting in the Bushnell scope. Not a jam yet. Smooth as silk. It looks likes it will hold 2 - 2.5 inches at 100 yards scoped and properly benched. Plenty good enough for busting deer and pigs down in the swamp.

    Me likee. Thanks for all the help! :)
  17. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    My dad's brother used one in .270 for years with no problems and killed a couple truckloads of Wyoming game with it. You'll never see one at a serious benchrest competition but with reasonable maintenence they do everything they were designed to do.
  18. Brimic

    Brimic Well-Known Member

    Good hunting rifles, very popular around here.

    The two problems I've seen with them is jamming due to lack of cleaning, and drop off in accuracy after about 3 shots when the barrel heats up. The first problem is easy to take care of- keep the action clean, the second problem isn't a problem at all when used for what it was designed for-hunting.
  19. JESmith

    JESmith Well-Known Member

    The problem I have seen with them is using high power ammo. It bends the rails and they become jam-o-matics from then on. (Kinda the same principle as bent op rods on a M1 Garand) Keep it cleaned and lubed, use modest ammo and it will run just fine.
  20. jdh

    jdh Well-Known Member

    I have dad's 30-06. It shoots 180 gr, remingto bronze points to .75". It has over 1k rounds through it and the only probelms I have ever had were caused by a used garage sale mag. It has harvested deer for dad and I in some very crappy weather.

    Keep it clean and properly lubed. Try different loads. If you find one it likes it can be a very accurate shooter.

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