Potential Remington 700 Rifle Accidental Discharge

This is a discussion on Potential Remington 700 Rifle Accidental Discharge within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Remington Under Fire: A recent CNBC Documentary Investigation of the popular Remington 700 Rifle raised my eyebrows. It appears that there have been numerous customer ...

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Thread: Potential Remington 700 Rifle Accidental Discharge

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    Member Array tkirk's Avatar
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    Potential Remington 700 Rifle Accidental Discharge

    Remington Under Fire: A recent CNBC Documentary Investigation of the popular Remington 700 Rifle raised my eyebrows. It appears that there have been numerous customer complaints involving the premature detonation of a chambered round without the trigger being pulled in the 700 series rifles manufactured as early as 2002 to the present, suggesting that there is a serious manufacturing defect in the trigger mechanism.

    The CNBC documentary also reports that numerous police departments across the country have abandoned the use of this popular "Sniper Rifle", with many police departments reporting that they have had "hands on" experiences with such premature detonations. The US Army & the US Marine Corp Sniper Training Schools have also complained to Remington that such dangerous malfunctions have ocurred at their training facilities, suggesting that the mear "touching" of the bolt with a chambered round was sufficient to cause detonation. Remington has assurred its customers that their popular rifle is "perfectly safe", as they have not been able to duplicate any such malfunctions at their testing facilities. However, they also stated that the 700 series in question were no longer under "warranty", and that perhaps these rifles have been modified or poorly maintained.

    In statements released by the US Army & US Marine Corp, as well as by Police Departments across the Nation, all maintain that none of their 700 series that have malfunction were altered in any manner, nor were they improperly maintained.

    Has anyone on this Website ever experienced the problems described by this CNBC Documentary, or have personal knowledge of others who have had the identical experience? Please advise!

    tkirk

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  3. #2
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    My take on it..

    This is not the first time that this has been brought up. In the last 25 years, its been talked about at least 3 times.
    I have numerous 700's in various calibers. I've been building custom rifles on Remington actions for years, with no issues..While its true that on the high end guns I usually install custom triggers, I have adjusted many triggers to a lighter pull...without any problems what so ever.

    I have shot literally thousands of rounds without so much as a single unwanted discharge.

    While I wont say that this issue is unfounded, I do think that it is highly exaggerated. If this problem were as common as the naysayers said it was, I would think that out of the millions of Remington rifles and actions out there, that the numbers of accidental releases would be much higher than it actually is.

    With all of that out of the way, let me say this...

    As one that builds custom shooters, I have had to replace several triggers that had been hosed up by the original owner. Adjusting the trigger isn't hard to do. The problem is that they are adjusted too much. When the sear is engaged to the point that the trigger is much lighter than the factory trigger setting, the sear has much less contact with the notch that holds it in place. A sharp blow to the rifle, dropping it, whacking the side of it against a tree, slamming the bolt home, ALL of these actions can and will cause the rifle to shoot if the sear engagement has been tampered with and set to a point that it is not enough.

    I've seen critical parts dremeled, pins holding the triggers groups broke off, wads of grease injected into it, I've even seen one where too much was dremeled and to get it to work the owner used JB weld to build up the surface that he ground too much off of.

    One father brought in a rifle for his son, who said the rifle just quit working. The Dad and the son bad mouthed Remington the whole time. When I took it apart, the trigger was so hosed up that it had to be replaced. The kid admitted that he read an article on the Internet on how to adjust it and took a Dremel tool and went berserk. When he put it back, it wouldn't even hold the striker back, it was useless. So here was two guys ready to sue Remington because they didn't like how the gun acted...they were convinced it was a piece of crap while ignoring the fact that the problems with it were user inflicted.

    Rifles are machines with lots of parts...parts that must work together and work correctly to function. If any one of those parts quit doing its job, then the whole thing quits working.

    While any rifle is subject to failure due to many varied factors, I do think that for the most part, this issue is way over-hyped and overblown. Now, since virtually everyone has Internet access, when Bubba up in Podunk Alaska jacks with his trigger and his gun goes off when he leans it up against his snowmobile, millions of people instantly hear about how Remington products suck and how dangerous they are.

    And seriously...if police and military snipers, sharpshooters, designated marksman, trophy hunters, match shooters all around the world really thought there was an issue with the trigger, how many of them do you think would still use them?
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    Senior Member Array deafdave3's Avatar
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    Of all my rifles, I've only had an accidental discharge in a .243 Sako. That's it. I've shot my .270 Rem 700 hundreds of times, if not thousands. It never gave me any problems whatsoever. The one time I've had an accidental discharge (the Sako), the rifle was on the sandbag rest and the bullet went downrange. Believe it or not, it actually hit the target!
    A CCW is like a parachute; if you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again.

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    Member Array medicineball's Avatar
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    Got a 700SS in 30-06, and I've never had a malfunction. It's also my most accurate rifle!

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Hard to believe this one hasn't been merged by now.

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    here's my take: about .55% (or 55 out of 10,000) to .9% have a possibility of firing and hurting someone/thing if I ignore all 4 safety rules that have been instilled in shooters since before I was born, and if I negligently fail to fully engage the safety (misuse of product), and if I negligently pull the trigger when not intending to fire the rifle, and I choose to flip the safety off after deliberately/negligently misusing the controls of the firearm.

    Remington's internal memos on the matter.

  9. #8
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    here's my take: about .55% (or 55 out of 10,000) to .9% have a possibility of firing and hurting someone/thing if I ignore all 4 safety rules that have been instilled in shooters since before I was born, and if I negligently fail to fully engage the safety (misuse of product), and if I negligently pull the trigger when not intending to fire the rifle, and I choose to flip the safety off after deliberately/negligently misusing the controls of the firearm.

    Remington's internal memos on the matter.
    Good reply in my opinion.

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    Senior Member Array dldeuce's Avatar
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    I have had a model 700 fire when releasing the safety. I did not pull the trigger. It happened in or around 1975 with an almost new, unmodified rifle.

    Many other threads have popped up after this CNBC show, and in every thread I've read, numerous people report first hand experiences with this failure mode on unmodified rifles. An internal memo from Remington in 1980 specifically documents where they could duplicate a fire on safety release in nine rifles.

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    Senior Member Array dldeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    here's my take: about .55% (or 55 out of 10,000) to .9% have a possibility of firing and hurting someone/thing if I ignore all 4 safety rules that have been instilled in shooters since before I was born, and if I negligently fail to fully engage the safety (misuse of product), and if I negligently pull the trigger when not intending to fire the rifle, and I choose to flip the safety off after deliberately/negligently misusing the controls of the firearm.

    Remington's internal memos on the matter.
    The first memo is talking about a scenario where the safety can be "tricked." I'm not sure how this relates to the reported accidental firings. The memo addresses "fire on safety" issues, where it concludes that because the owner of one gun in their sample may have pulled the trigger, they conclude that the other owners of 15 other guns also must have pulled the trigger. In the second memo, in 1980, they admit that they could duplicate the fire on safety problem in 9 rifles and that they could identify the cause as manufacture. This documents the design defect that Merle Walker has been aware of and patented a fix in 1950.

    As far as percentages, in the first memo, they estimate probability based upon a sample of 700 rifles. That seems like a very small number given the length of time the rifles had been manufactured prior to 1979. Given their unwillingness to admit the problem and their obvious bias as a seller and litigant in court cases, I can't put a lot of faith in their estimates of probability.

    Let me ask you something else. In what direction is it safe to fire a high powered rifle unintentionally? It seems to me the safe handling of the gun cannot adequately mitigate a safety defect in the design, where the gun can fire just by releasing the safety.

    Again, I don't fully understand the "safety tricking" issue, but Remington has acknowledged that it has duplicated failures where you do not have to misuse the product or pull the trigger to cause the rifle to fire. All you have to do is release the safety. I've experienced that personally. Remington has known about it since the 1940s and they have decided not to do anything about it over cost and profits.

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    They assumed other owners were inadvertently pulling the trigger b/c they could not duplicate the problem - I think that's reasonable. What background do you have in statistics which would allow you to determine an appropriate sample size for this type of study? Another study used over 3300 rifles. The number of rifles sold over such a long period and the length of time those rifles have been used seems to indicate a situation that is not that great a problem. Buckets containing liquids cause more deaths. The direction in which to safely point a loaded firearm varies and depends on the circumstances/surroundings - it surprises me that you really have to ask that? All the statistics aside, why would anyone rely on a man-made mechanical safety when someone's life could potentially be at stake when simple precautions can and should be used anyway that are 100% effective 100% of the time.

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    There are a GAZILLION Remington 700s out there. Cars break, boats sink, planes crash. With the HUGE amount of Remingtons out there there has to be some that fail. It is a simple fact that humans and machines created by humans are not perfect.


    If this was a real issue it would be front page news in Field and Stream, Shooting Times and Outdoor Life. We wouldn't have had to hear about it from a hyper liberal news source.
    It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.

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    See Remington's reponse

    Remington is responding to CNBC's story at www.Remington700.tv.

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    Senior Member Array dldeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    They assumed other owners were inadvertently pulling the trigger b/c they could not duplicate the problem - I think that's reasonable. What background do you have in statistics which would allow you to determine an appropriate sample size for this type of study? Another study used over 3300 rifles. The number of rifles sold over such a long period and the length of time those rifles have been used seems to indicate a situation that is not that great a problem. Buckets containing liquids cause more deaths. The direction in which to safely point a loaded firearm varies and depends on the circumstances/surroundings - it surprises me that you really have to ask that? All the statistics aside, why would anyone rely on a man-made mechanical safety when someone's life could potentially be at stake when simple precautions can and should be used anyway that are 100% effective 100% of the time.
    My point isn't that there is some exaggerated problem as it was described in the CNBC documentary. You'd think you couldn't pick up one of these rifles without it going off. It appears to me that there is a design defect that Remington has been aware of since 1950, and they have chosen not to do anything about it over denial and a modest cost. Reported incidents may be a small percentage of rifles sold, but I believe the problem is under reported. The incident with my rifle was never reported. Considering how many marketing and manufacturing changes and other costs the company must have made in over in 60 years of production, I think not correcting this safety defect at least on new models is irresponsible.

    They simply don't know what percentage of rifles can experience this problem. They've looked at rifles that have had the problem reported, and they can't duplicate it. If they can't duplicate the problems experienced by the users, how can they put a number on the percentage of the sample that does have a problem? From these memos, it looks to me that they just waived away the complaint, blamed it on the owner and then rationalized the cost vs benefits.

    What if it came out that Toyota engineers were well aware of a design defect that would allow the throttle to stick full open. The designers knew that all cars had the design defect. They patented a fix for the problem years and years ago, and rather than implementing the change on at least all new models, they upgraded the cup holders instead. Then when the reports started coming in, and people started to die, they blamed it on the driver for stepping onto the gas pedal instead of the brake. If this were the story when Toyota's throttle problems hit the media, it would have been way worse for Toyota than what Remington is getting now.

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    Senior Member Array dldeuce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    There are a GAZILLION Remington 700s out there. Cars break, boats sink, planes crash. With the HUGE amount of Remingtons out there there has to be some that fail. It is a simple fact that humans and machines created by humans are not perfect.


    If this was a real issue it would be front page news in Field and Stream, Shooting Times and Outdoor Life. We wouldn't have had to hear about it from a hyper liberal news source.
    I have a 1999 Ford E-150 van that I use only a handful of occasions in a year. The rest of the time, it just sits in the driveway. I got a letter from Ford admitting they are aware of a design defect in the cruise control circuits that could cause a fire, even when the car is sitting in the driveway. Who knows how many of these cars are sold each year, and I would bet only a few ever caught fire. I guarantee the national recall never made the news at all. Recognizing the real risk, I waited perhaps even a year, yet, I still took my van in to get it fixed. I would have been willing to pay for the repair if I had to. I realize that the cost of this recall and any associated litigation will be added to the cost of my next Ford vehicle. I'm willing to pay that because this is a safety issue. I appreciate that our auto manufacturing industry and Ford in particular brought this to my attention. I can't understand why anyone would expect less from Remington because they are manufacturing high powered rifles as compared to cars.

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