I visited my parents farm recently and was looking at my dad’s deer hunting rifles. The one both he and I have used the most for hunting is his old Remington 788 bolt action rifle. A less regarded rifle than its more famous brother the Remington 700, the Remington 788 is a great deer hunting rifle for the short ranges in the brush we have in north Arkansas.
It also is quite accurate at long ranges as this video attests to:
It was introduced as a budget rifle compared to the Remington 700 in 1967 and was discontinued in 1983.
There has been some controversy around this rifle. Some of the main problems cited was that the the bolt is not as rugged as the Remington 700. There were reports of handles breaking off after trying to free a stuck shell.
There was also a problem with the safely as this quote from the Remington site states:
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE: If you have a Model 788 rifle with a bolt-lock mechanism, the manual safety must be placed in the “F” or “Off or Fire” position to lift the bolt and begin the process of unloading the rifle. Be sure the rifle is pointing in a safe direction anytime you move the manual safety to the “F” or “Off or Fire” position. After you have lifted the bolt, slide the bolt rearward and then immediately put the manual safety back in the “S” or “On safe” position and then continue the unloading process.
After all these problems, the rifle shoots well and its not hard to get 1″ groups at 100 yards, more than enough for short range deer hunting. Over it’s production lifetime, it has been chambered in .223 Rem.,
.22-250 Rem., .243 Win., 6mm. Rem.,
7mm-08 Rem., .30-30 Win., .44 Rem. Mag., almost all of which are good enough to take down most deer.
The one you see is quite accurate at short ranges as a large number of coyote who’ve wondered through the property can attest to. It’s also pretty light and compact and fits well in the back of the mule we drive around the farm in.
At the time it was very resonably priced usually $150 less than the Remington 700. Lately it has seen prices go up as it becomes more of a collectors item but in the right places they are still quite reasonable for a budget rifle.
It’s bolt action is still quite reliable and if you don’t need anything fancy and can find it at the right price its size makes it a great scout rifle.
The Remington 788 may be getting old in years, but there’s a still a soft spot in my heart for this one since it was my first deer hunting rifle. Thanks Dad for letting me take it out.