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Remington 770 Real World Review and Mild Modifications

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Wylie1, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned in a previous thread I started I have been so graciously gifted a Remington 770 chambered in .308. With all of the hear say and speculated reviews on the 770 going around the Internet I thought it was high time for a real world review so here it is.

    This is the real deal, I have no affiliation with any fire arm manufactures nor do I have any preference toward any manufactures. Guaranteed accuracy by some manufacturers have gained my interests although I have not fired these products or have I spent any real time with any of them as new right out of the box products. My experience with firearms is truthfully minimal considering the experience I have seen and heard coming from others. To off set my last statement I have admired and fired many rifles over my lifetime although never entering any competitions friends have proclaimed me as a dead eye shot. What I do know is an inaccurate firearm frustrates me to the point of not wanting to bother with them much at all. I have a little gun smithing experience but this was far from any form of formal training but my outcomes with my smithing experiences have been positive.

    First impression of the 770 left me wondering why anybody would plastic mold sling studs into the stock of a rifle. Granted they give them a little smoother looking line but I am afraid of the durability of these studs and I have read of failures on the Internet. These have just made the list of modifications to be made. My personal opinion of the stock doesn't follow the majorities opinion as I have gathered from the Internet, I almost like it and believe it may grow on me just as my first Tacoma did. I guess I am just growing complacent with synthetic stocks as they are becoming an industry standard for even some higher end rifles. After disassembling the 770 I have found that this stock feels rock solid as I try to twist it and bend it. One disadvantage I have found to cause some inaccuracy in this particluar 770 is the bedding of the barrel in the stock, I get further into this later. I'd prefer a nice laminated wood grained stock but then this is a budget rifle so it isn't economically feasible.

    Fit and finish on first examination look pretty good barring the mold seam the length of the stock, an attribute I have seen with most synthetic stocks, I don't consider this a real big deal. On further examination I noticed I could loosen the screws holding the base of the scope rings to the base plate for the scope rings with my fingers! Then a look at each side of the scope rings showed a much larger gap on one side than the other, these were loose too! Now the scope ring's base plate is a single piece and may just bring some extra rigidity to the receiver and the four screws holding it in place do have thread locker on them and are appropriately tightened down nice and snug. As for the scope itself, not the greatest of quality although real clear viewing through the lenses throughout the scopes adjustments. So I snugged everything down on the scope that was loose and called it good enough for the time being.

    By way of the Internet I came across some information I have taken to heart so there are some very slight modifications and preparations listed below that have been applied to this 770 before it ever made it to the range for break in and sighting in.
    1.The bolt was sanded with 600 grit wet sanding paper and brought to a near mirror finish to smooth the bolts action in the receiver. This worked but not well enough to write home about.
    2.The rifle and all components of the rifle were cleaned throughly upon receipt of the rifle with Blue Wonder products as to Blue Wonder's directions. I did not use a brass brush as the directions stated to be used, I used cotton swabs and cotton cloth patches. Pictures to follow, this gun was dirty!
    3.After the cleaning a bore mop was rubbed down with a very fine buffing compound and run through the bore of the rifle 20 times to remove micro burrs, after this a very extensive cleaning of the bore took place to remove and buffing compound that could have been left behind.
    4.All components of the rifle were lubricated as should be with the addition of Kroil applied to the bore of the rifle then dry patched before the first round was fired. This was done in an effort to avoid copper fouling early on.
    5.Scope base, scope rings and scope were removed from the rifle and all mountings had thread locker applied to the threads, then they were reinstalled. This will bar any review of bore sighting done by Remington but will insure extra security in the scope's mountings.

    A new gun, this dirty!?

    At the range Winchester model number Q3130 7.62 x 51, 147gr. FMJs were the only cartridges used. Being a Nato cartridge these are shorter then most production rounds and will not seat the bullet into the lands of the bore as well as longer cartridges as well the 147 grain bullet isn't favored for a 1 in 10 inch bore twist from what I have read. (<Bore twist edited, thanks NCsmitty!) A heavier bullet somewhere in the 165 grain area would be preferred for greater accuracy from what I have read but the 147s were also a gift and other then the possibility of effecting the a very short length of the lands I went ahead with the 147s.

    Every cartridge loaded into the rifle and fired was followed by a wet patch or two then followed by at least one dry patch for cleaning of the bore for the first 15 rounds. Then this same cleaning process was done after every two cartridges for the next 15 rounds which means I was shooting a wet bore the first day with every round that went through the rifle, this is known to cause greater inaccuracy.

    As the day progressed the accuracy of the rifle sharpened although a poor group of about four inches was the final and best group of the day.

    This is far from anything I would have expected from a new rifle and lead to me looking further into this rifle. The next day I pulled the rifle apart and began to scrutinize it's construction. In pulling the rifle apart I noticed the screws forward of the magazine only felt to have a few threads holding them in place and I made a mental note to drill out the wells these screws sit in to allow more threads to grab for some extra strength. I had read about someone stripping these screws out on the Internet and I could see why now!

    The barrel is sandwiched in fairly tight by the stock and as the days shooting I had done progressed the point of impact was going to the right a little, might be something I can do here I thought.

    The tang of these rifles are made of plastic! Although looking closer and thinking about it these rifles may not depend on the strength of the tang as much as older rifles do. There is a block bedded into the stock and a channel cut into the under side of the barrel that this block fits into that takes the applied force of the percussion. In seeing this I realized this is a very important link in this rifles accuracy so I grabbed the calipers to see just how well this block fit into the channel. After measuring the block's height from the base of where the barrel fits in the stock and the depth of the channel I found a difference of 0.04”!

    I thought here's a start in gaining some accuracy so off I went searching through my junk for a little piece of steel to fabricate a slightly taller block from. I found a piece just slightly thicker and just to make sure it fit in the barrels channel tight I sized it up, nice and snug, perfect! :) Next I checked it to the pocket in the stock the block seats in, really really tight but nothing a mallet and a block of wood couldn't persuade after a little careful carving with an exacto knife. The pocket in the stock is actually narrower then the channel on the under side of the barrel!

    In what little experience gun smithing I have I learned how the Fins accurized the Russian's Mosins by shimming so I kept this in mind while building my new block and added the height of some washers I grabbed to the height of the new block.

    So I finished up the block and figured the one I pulled out was blued, might as well, out came the Oxpho and the torch, just about red hot, dunk, sizzle, wipe down, tada! :)

    A block of wood and dead blow hammer had the new block in place slick as you please.
    A drill bit chucked up added some depth to the wells for the screws. Be extremely careful in doing this if you are doing the same as I have done. I had to grind and reblued the end of the screw directly next to the magazine as it contacted the bolt when I first put the bolt back into the rifle. This shows a weak point in the 770s I just became ware of.

    Some careful work with a utility knife got the better part of the barrels channel in the stock cleared to float the barrel. In doing many fittings I found why the days shooting showed the point of impact leading to the right, the stock was pressuring the barrel on the left side more then the right.

    Then a dowel and some 320 grit took care of the rest of the removal of plastic for the floating of the barrel.

    There is one high spot I found under the barrel, a little more aggressive sanding took care of that.

    Reassembling the rifle was a little tricky being I didn't glue the washers in place but will if the work I have done shows improvement of accuracy. I'll also be filling the void behind the block with Devcon Liquid Steel which might allow less movement of the block and increase accuracy. The barrel floating went well.

    Although it doesn't affect the accuracy of the rifle I read a post on the Internet mentioning the rattle coming from the Magazines in the 770s. Originally I just wrapped some scotch tape around it but that looked like crap. Being I was working on the rifle today I found an oring that did the trick and in a much better fashion. :) Something I forgot to note when I made this post is that if pushed upward the magazine can contact the bolt, the o-ring application cured this little issue.

    I was going to wait until I could make a few more trips to the range and see how the barrel settled in but decided to post up the work I've done so far for some feed back and opinions as to how I might go about accurizing this rifle further. Sling studs and Devcon are on the way.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  2. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the comprehensive look at the Rem. 770 so far. A minor correction is the twist is 1in10" according to Rem. online catalog. Your choice of ammo is probably not the best choice for accuracy, but is a benchmark for your accuracy mods at this point.

    We await your next chapter.

  3. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks smitty! On my way to edit it right now.
  4. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Well-Known Member

    Good write up....I'm hooked, get to the range. :)
  5. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    I've got rain forecasted for the next two days here and the last trip to the range was pretty soupy! We'll see how it goes.

    Thinking about the rain brought another subject to mind that I forgot to mention originally. The bluing on this rifle is par with much more expensive rifles if you ask me.

    I can't wait to get back out and see how this thing does now, I have a feeling I will see vast improvements come out of the work I have done.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  6. juk

    juk Well-Known Member

    If it helps any, my Ruger shot like crap with surplus 7.62x51. It shot consistent 3" groups. Just about every commercial 308 ammo I have tried brought the groups to under 2". The best being Black Hills Match, Hornady, and Georgia Arms Match. Handloads turned the gun into a solid MOA rifle. I am willing to bet that you will see 2MOA, if not better, with handloads. It looks like you are off to a good start with the 770. Be sure to keep the updates coming.
  7. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks juk,
    I do plan to get some good commercial rounds and once I have used up these Winchesters I'll get into some .308 dies for my press and make good use of the brass from them.
    I've heard good reviews on the Black Hills and will likely try them after I have this rifle through it's break in.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  8. Pokyman

    Pokyman Well-Known Member

    It appears the things I have been hearing about this model Remington are true.
    For those who lack the skills to do the improvements listed and need to utilize the skills of a good gunsmith this rifle would soon become a very expensive inexpensive rifle.
  9. juk

    juk Well-Known Member

    When you get the chance, try different bullet weights too. My gun will shoot 150grain pills well enough, but prefers the 165-168 bullets.
  10. k_randomfactor

    k_randomfactor Active Member

    My biggest gripe with the Rem770 is still the plastic stock. I saw several, not a ton but enough to make me question it, come back with the molded in plastic trigger guard busted right off. None had a large gouge or ding where it looked like it had been abused. One was busted off from the factory.

    Had a couple (two that I recall) come back with the bolt handle busted off as well. It was not a solder issue, the bolt handle broke right smack dab in the middle.

    Overall though, I think it could be a viable, inexpensive, starter rifle. Not much customization potential, but if that doesn't concern you, it could be worth a look.

    Wylie, great write up so far.
  11. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    What work I have done to this rifle I did with minimal tools that I would think most would have or could improvise. For your less mechanically inclined or your straight out of the box got to have MOA types no I wouldn't suggest this rifle. Myself I'm a perpetual tinkerer, most every one of my toys has been modified in one way or another. You should see the fishing rods I build!

    I'm just about to that point now as the accuracy of this rifle is coming into it's own. Later in this post I'll deliberate.

    Other then the trigger guard I can't agree with you on the stock on the 770, I find it to be stable and easy to work with barring some modifications. Modification wise, I do see limitations as well, pillar bedding could be a real trick for some without tools such as a lathe or mill or both. Issues with bedding of the tang, I would relate more toward the plastic tang then the stock itself, but it wouldn't be all that big an issue I'd figure anyway. Personally I wouldn't bed the barrel other then maybe two inches from the receiver and I don't see much problem with doing this. Blustering and replacement of the block is basic first timer stuff imho.

    I'd almost think the bolt issues might have come from the bluing on the bolt and lack of proper cleaning although I'm just drawing at straws without seeing the broken parts myself. I would also think a pretty firm hand would have be used on just about any bolt to break it and then to have to do that wouldn't be the direction I would take.

    I agree with you on this rifle and thank you sir!

    Okay, it was really windy today but I slopped through the mud at the range a few times anyway. Oh, before I get into this any further I should mention this morning I pulled my Barska 6.5-20 x 50 AO off the Mosin and put it on the Remington. Reason being I just like getting up real close and personal like with what I'm shooting at. I wasn't real fond of the Bushnell that came with the Remington but I have to say for a budget rifle combo scope it will do the job for most as long as precautions are taken such as I mentioned on my first post in this thread.

    Being the new to the rifle scope was mounted I went through the first 10 rounds sighting in at 25 yds., the 1/8 inch clicks threw me off a little at first so it did take 10 rounds before I felt like I should go for a longer poke. I cleaned between each round too, why I'm not sure but that's what I did.

    Something I have learned is a lot of your larger caliber rounds really don't even set into their trajectory within 25 yards so this is a good way to check older rifles to see if the bore is burnt. The reason I mentioned this is I made a few four click adjustments at 25yds on the scope and ripped open existing holes in the target further. This tells me enough to know the wind effected my shotting today greatly after going to 100 yards and needless to say this barrel isn't burnt.

    Being zeroed at 25 I figured I should be fairly close at 200 although I just stepped over the 100 yard target area expecting to hit the target high by at least a few inches. At the 100 yard area I shot the first 10 rounds cleaning with Blue Wonder cleaner after every shot and then noticed I was getting really low on cleaning supplies. The next five rounds were shot and then I cleaned again.

    I put the next target up and went through 15 rounds just to see how a drier bore would do. I'll caption each picture below as to not be so confusing. Oh yeah all the cartridges used today were the same Winchester Q3130s

    These two targets are the last two from Saturday. The one on the left was first and the one on the right was the last of the day. See what I mean about the POI leading to the right.
    The two targets below are from today with a 15 to 20 mile an hour wind coming from the left and I was squaring up with the cross hairs on the target to check consistency even though the wind was not favorable. The target on the right is just about all wet bore shooting other then the last five rounds shot at this target.
    The target on the left had one miss high center and the rest were dry bore shooting.

    The tightest of the grouping above was when the bore had been dried by shooting so I took a poke out at a 200 yards waiting for the wind to calm before I pulled the trigger. If it was a Deer or an Elk it likely would have dropped in its tracks as I hit the target 4 inches high and a half inch to the right. Seems odd being where I was hitting at 100 yards but that's where it hit the target. Does this sound right to you guys? Anyway I am now very confident this dog will hunt! With quality rounds and a little more tuning of the rifle I think I have an all day MOA rifle but this does have yet to be seen.

    Stay tuned. :)
  12. JTW Jr.

    JTW Jr. Well-Known Member

    Nice write up , plus I just had to post in a thread of someone who spells their name the same as mine.

    John Wylie
  13. firearmnut

    firearmnut Well-Known Member

    Nice read thanks for posting this.
  14. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys,
    Wylie is my first name. :)
  15. k_randomfactor

    k_randomfactor Active Member

    The trigger guard was my only gripe with the plastic stock, and it was due to the fact that if it gets busted, new stock time.

    Bolt handle issue had me scratching my head as well. The break looked like a poor heat treat break, but if so they REALLY screwed the pooch on it. If just running the bolt caused it to break, just wow. However, it was only two that I remember, and that was only 1-2% roughly of the ones we sold. Remington happily took them back for a fix. No muss, no fuss, and I didn't have to re-solder a new bolt handle on. Win.

    I will second trying a better brand of ammo. Mil-Surp stuff is not known for tack driving accuracy, but it seems to be doing as good as can be with it.
  16. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you pointed out the trigger because it is a fact I missed. Looking at it and thinking, I'm left with the thought the usual Joe isn't going to figure a fix for this if it breaks and in seeing what I have on the market, it's almost perplexing for myself. I guess it would all depend on the way it would break too.
    That's a good thing.
    By the time I get to where I want to be with this rifle I'm about 99.9% sure all warranted parts will be null and void, S.O.L!
    Sometimes I just have to make the best of things and if I can be the underdog who pulls off the bonus hat trick it just makes my day.

    These rounds were part of the gift for break in rounds. I've been searching for reload info but haven't come up with much of anything. I just figure I'll get into some match grade, check out the make by way of a bullet puller and scale and see how they do for a basis to reload from. I do still have to get into .308 dies but they aren't priced like the 7.62 x 54s at least.
  17. Pokyman

    Pokyman Well-Known Member

    My post stating that with the work you have done could turn this rifle into an expensive inexpensive rifle was not intended as a criticism of anyone. There are those people that are very competent in their field of knowledge. Unfortunately they have no mechanical skills and must depend on others such as gunsmiths to help them with their problem. If this is the case then the Rem. 770 most likely is not the most cost effective way to go.
  18. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    Today the verdict came in. At the 175th round through the rifle, cleaning after every 10 rounds the magazine went to pieces, literally fell apart in my hand. It's a two tabbed deal that holds on the plastic base plate with two very short pieces of metal, no real surface area for any real type of strength.

    I watched the accuracy come to a very short lived sweet spot grouping just a little better then previously seen and then it went down hill really fast. I've never experienced anything like it. I'm so disgusted I didn't even bother to grab the targets I shot today for this review.

    It looks like the 200 yard shot I made yesterday was the only luck I'll ever have with this rifle as I am done with it.

    The 770 won't hunt in my opinion after all and will only cost you cleaning supplies, break in ammo, gas to the range and if you manage to hit an animal with one could cost you a long hike on a blood trail.

    I did take to heart the mention of quality ammo and $60.00 was invested in 2 boxes of 168 grain Hornady Match Grade A-Max. A cleaning was done previous to firing the Hornady's and one of the Winchester Q3130s was fired to clear the barrel. The Hornady's grouped just as poorly as the q3130s did.

    In my opinion Remington should recall the 770 as it is only going to worsen a diminishing reputation that at this point sounds as though it actually has Remington's future in question.

    I'll never so much as touch another one of these things as long as I live if I have my way.

    The End!
  19. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    I don't believe I'm going to be doing this!

    I called a good friend last night who has a lot more experience with fire arms then myself and did help punch some of the holes in the targets that have been posted in this thread. He told me he thought it might be the Barska scope being the issues I have had with it in the past.

    I almost tried to argue being the Barska had held zero on the range when mounted on the Mosin with a heavier recoil but felt my argument was moot so off came the Barska and the Bushnell went back on with thread locker applied to the threads again.

    As well he had me pull out my calipers and check out both the Q3130s and the A-MAX cartridges. What I found odd, other then the obvious differences in the brass and bullet was that they measured up extremely similar. In my studies I have gathered that the Winchester brass is fairly thin compared to at least most other Nato make ups. One thing I did notice being I spent most of my time at the range by myself yesterday is I can hear a difference from one round to the next shooting the Q3130s. I'd fire off a round and notice a notable difference, then I'd get the scope back on target to see that round would be a flier.

    I'm not sure what possessed me to check the screws holding the receiver and barrel to the stock other then having my wrenches out for the scope but I did and they seemed to have lost the torque I applied when assembling the rifle. Out came the thread locker and the screws got a healthy thread locker soaking and back in they went. So pulling the Barska may not have been needed and now the scope rings have what looks to be one last scope exchange in them. The scope rings have been mentioned as to being weak in my reading on the Internet and I have to agree. I'm not sure how to test this Barska to see if it is stable but I'm not going to like loosing the magnification, especially if this rifle ever becomes capable of longer range shooting then 100 or 200yards.

    Being the magazine was in pieces and sending it back to Remington would have likely only returned another of the same I thought about it and headed for the epoxies that I have a fair selection of. I decided on a thread coating epoxy which is very liquid or water like that has just recently given me some battles on fishing rods. I'm not fond of it for building fishing rods so I figured what the heck. I mixed some up and poured it in the space between the metal and plastic floor plate's inner edge. We'll see how this does although if heated I'm likely to find JB WELD or maybe some Devcon Plastic Steel would have been the better choice. The reason I grabbed what epoxy I did was for easy of application.

    Although I am against it at this point and feel my time could be much better spent on other things I'll apply some patience and go ahead with an effort to accurize a rifle that may not be worth the time in trying to do so.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  20. Wylie1

    Wylie1 Well-Known Member

    To error is human!

    I've heard to error is human and I've gone beyond the point of proving myself human this time.
    Today I went and got some Barnes CR 10 and followed the direction and got a little stuff out of a bore I thought was clean. This will be my go to bore cleaner from this day forth!

    Although it was raining and far from favorable conditions today I crossed my fingers and headed out to the range again determined to diagnose just what was going on with the poor grouping I had seen the last time at the range . I racked five of the q3130s through the Remington 770 seeing a pretty good improvement over what was looking to be the sweet spot I mentioned in my post previous to the last. (these five are low and left with the first furthest to the left) After checking consistency with those rounds I made the adjustment to the scope and fired five more Q3130s at a target I didn't take a picture of. After that there were a few more scope adjustments I had to make and the rifle came to a pretty close average on the bull although not hitting the bull. Being the groups had closed and I had a chance to tell the difference on the target pictured below I gave the rifle a chance to cool down as I pasted those round through the rifle fairly quickly.

    I got my friend on the phone I had talk to last night and let him know that between the scope and the loose screws holding the receiver and barrel on the gun the groups were looking okay again. We chatted for a while and I walked back to a cold bore.

    I hand loaded one of the Hornady A-MAXs in and made sure the rifle was rested well and let her rip. I seen where it hit and my hopes really sprang up although I didn't want to get too excited so I gave it a short break and let the barrel cool just a little. Then hand fed another and ripped out the hole made by the first A-MAX a hair to the left and downward. I was jazzed at this point and let out a WHOOP and didn't wait too long for the next which went a little high and left of the bull. I wasn't completely sure of what I was seeing from a 100yards out so I walk up to the target to confirm and just got all kinds of warm and fuzzy inside. :) I had to shoot one more so I fed another A-MAX and got completely stoked with the results of the strike to just the lower left of the bull.

    This was from 100 yards.


    To think I almost tossed this rifle in the trash can at the range my last trip there had me shaking my head.

    I just picked up a set of Weaver rings and my Nikon 3-9 x 40 is going to be mounted on this rifle. When the sling studs show up I'll do some finalizing to the work I have done and unBubbaize it. I now have some epoxy to back up the block inside and plan to bed the barrel just a little over two inches out from the receiver. I was thinking about building a block of some good hard aluminum that would span the two screws and seat the barrel real well but with my tooling this will be a real chore. It all depends on how the finalizing goes as to whether I'll go ahead with this block of aluminum.

    What I though was going to be an all day MOA rifle may just go 1/4 MOA with a little patience between rounds, hand loads, and a lead sled.

    These barrels are pretty temperature sensitive is a big lesson I learned today.

    Inside two weeks I'll be reloading for this rifle with 168 grain Sierra MatchKings, IMR 4895 and the last of the Federal primers I have,I have to get up to Boise to get some more. I'll have 40 pieces of brass from the Hornady A-MAXs and 184 pieces of the q3130's brass.

    Although pretty early on for a real world conclusion I'm sold on the thought of the Remington 770 as the misfit red haired step brother to the 700 that could very well be the better on a good day but maybe not over the long term, only time will tell.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

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