Caution Dangerous Condition from Water Damaged, Remington 700 Rifle

By Dean Weingarten

Remington 700 Trigger Group
Remington 700 Trigger Group: The clip at the rear of the trigger group shows rust from the water damage.
Gun Watch
Gun Watch

Arizona – -(  I recently found that a Remington 700 rifle was water damaged while left 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.
  • CLICK!
  • 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.
  • CLICK!
  • 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. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973.  He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 4 thoughts on “Caution Dangerous Condition from Water Damaged, Remington 700 Rifle

    1. I had a pistol that wouldn’t stay cocked single action but would work fine double action. I had to dissemble it and clean it the gunk inside kept it from staying cocked. After a good cleaning it worked fine.

    2. Remington model 700’s have had problems in the past with it’s trigger/safety mechanism. I was in a gun shop years ago, when the owner brought out a 700 and worked the action and told me to put it on safety. When I pushed the safety forward, the firing pin dropped. There were a number of incidents where some people were hurt or killed by the rifles that were defective. Remington paid them off, and stipulated they were not defective and refused to accept responsibility for the incidents. They have for years denied any claims that the trigger/safety mechanisms were defective, in spite of the so called “accidents”. In this case, I don’t question the damage on this particular rifle, but I have never bought a Remington model 700 because of the earlier incidents. As far as I know, they have never changed the trigger/safety mechanism and will never admit they had a problem. It’s cheaper to pay off any claims, than to recall all the 700’s on the market, because there’s to many of them out there. It’s not cost effective!

    3. Had a similar experience with a shotgun. We had hunted all morning in the bitter cold and snow. When we got back I wiped the gun down and put it in a cold room. Several hours later I picked it up and noticed that the bolt had rusted and pitted badly from the condensation. I cycled the action and it ground. I took the gun back and got my money back.

    4. This sounds like the problem the 700 has experienced in the past. I have owned and hunted with the same 700 in 30-06 for 40 years and not had a problem but I am very particular about my guns. I clean them every time I shoot them and make sure they are stored in pristine condition.
      I am considering at this point of installing a timney trigger in mine.

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