Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dangerous Malfunction from Water Damaged Remington 700

The clip at the rear of the trigger group shows rust from the water damage

 I recently found that a Remington 700 rifle was water damaged in storage.  It was stored butt down, with a gun sock around the rifle.   The sock wicked water from near the floor up toward the action.  Outside, there was no indication that damage had been done, as the composite stock is impervious to water.

The rifle has always had an excellent trigger, in the range of 1.5 to 2 lbs.   It was set up for target shooting, and did not appear to be modified from the factory. After I had dried the stock and made sure that the action was clear, I aimed at a suitable backstop and pressed the trigger... nothing.   I made sure the safety was off... nothing.

I put the safety on and worked the action.  Now I pushed the safety forward.


The sound of the striker firing was very loud, as I did not expect it.

I tried it again.  Safety on.  Work the action.  Push the safety forward.


Safety off.   Work the action.  The rifle would not stay cocked.  The only way the rifle will stay cocked, is with the safety on.

I tried it for 20 more times to be sure.   Every time, the mechanism worked exactly the same way.   The safety had become the effective trigger.

I expect that the mating surfaces of the sear were damaged by rust, and they simply were not able to hold the striker in the cocked position by themselves.  However, when reinforced by the safety mechanism, there is sufficient strength/mechanical advantage to hold the striker in the cocked position. Then, when the safety is released, the striker slips forward.  There is no doubt in my mind that the rifle would fire if a cartridge were in the chamber.

I do not fault Remington for this problem.   They cannot be expected to have their rifles work after they have been damaged.  However, the damage is very slight, and not easily noticeable from the outside.   It is plausible that it could happen in the field if the rifle were rained on or splashed on and stored for a few days.

Just another reminder that Murphy is always present, and to always check your firearms after storage, to insure that the mechanisms are working properly.

©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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Anonymous said...

I have been told that there was a recall for 700's (around 1980 and before) that would exhibit a similar malfunction that you experienced. You might want to see what Remington has to say.

Wireless.Phil said...

Did they ever admit to and fix the accidental firing?
I can't remember the exact details about this, it could have had to do with the safety being on and the rifle knocked over or dropped and then discharging.

Remington 700 Shooter said...

Remington already started replacing old triggers with new ones for free. New triggers are enhanced and don't have such problem.