Thursday, November 1, 2018

Remington Rifle Settlement and Recall

Many preppers have rifles, some for hunting and others for defense, and one of the most popular hunting rifles ever made was the Remington Model 700 (M700). Affordable, accurate enough for hunting, and available in a wide variety of calibers, M700s are still found in a lot of gun cabinets and safes. The military used them as a base for building their M24 and M40 sniper rifles, and there are several companies making accessories and after-market parts for them. Remington has been making these rifles since the early 1960's and there are a lot of them still out there being used to harvest game every hunting season. I see them at every gun show I go to, and my state doesn't allow rifles for deer hunting.

Unfortunately, the M700 series has a flaw: The trigger mechanism isn't as secure as it should be, meaning that the rifle can fire without any motion of the trigger. This has been fought over in many gun blogs, and a lot of very knowledgeable people have agreed to disagree on the severity of the problem. I don't personally own one, but I have fired several over the years. I have never seen one malfunction in a manner that would make it unsafe, but I know that there are probably some out there that can. Nothing made by the hands of man is perfect, which is why we have the Rules of Safe Gun Handling.

After many years of lawyers and lawsuits, Remington declared bankruptcy earlier this year. Just last month, the class-action lawsuit was settled. Owners of the 7.5 million rifles covered by the lawsuit have 18 months to file a claim and get the trigger mechanism on their rifle replaced free of charge, with some exceptions. The models covered are:
  • Model Seven
  • Sportsman 78
  • Model 600*
  • Model 660*
  • Model 673
  • Model 700
  • Model 710
  • Model 715
  • Model 721*
  • Model 722*
  • Model 725*
  • Model 770
  • XP-100 Pistol (based on the Model 600 action)*
The * marks the models that Remington has declared too old to be repaired, so they are not going to work on them.

There is a website set up to start the process of getting a covered rifle repaired, or you can call a toll-free number (1-800-876-5940).

If you have one or more of the rifles that is covered by the settlement and is one of the models that Remington is willing to replace the trigger mechanism on, you have a few decisions to make. 

If the rifle is a family heirloom, it is likely that there is no paper trail tying it directly to you right now. The same goes for any rifle that you may have purchased from a friend or neighbor without going through a FFL. As soon as you ship it off for repair, it will be logged into and out of records that will eventually end up in the hands of the Federal government.* I know there are some draconian States that require gun owners register their firearms, and if you haven't done so, the act of sending one in for repair may trigger local LEOs into paying you a visit to look for other “illegal” firearms. 

If there is already a paper trail on the rifle, you need to get a good idea from Remington about how long they are going to have it for repair. I have had to ship a pistol back to Ruger for a recall in the past, it took them over a month to replace one small part and ship it back to me. Are you prepared to be without that rifle for a month or two? Do you have something else that can take its place until you get it back? 

How well do you know your rifle? Have you ever taken it apart to see how everything works? If so, you may want to look into replacing the trigger group by yourself. Timney make a great line of replacement trigger groups for a variety of firearms, and the Model 700 is one that they sell through various suppliers. While not exactly cheap, you'll end up with a safer and better trigger by going this route. If you're not comfortable taking on this level of tinkering, find a gunsmith near you that can replace it for you while you wait. As long as he doesn't hold your rifle overnight, he doesn't have to log it into his FFL records. 

Do your own research on the trigger problems that have been reported. With 7.5 million rifles involved, a 1% failure rate would mean 75,000 misfires. Even scattered over the 60 years of production, that would still mean over 1,000 per year, and I haven't seen anywhere near that level of misfires reported. I'm not sure where your comfort level is, but 99% is a lot better than some of the stupid risks I've taken. Personally, I'd either replace trigger myself or just pay extra attention to the safety rules if I owned one of these rifles and avoid the hassle of getting it fixed by the factory.

*As you may have guessed, I'm not a huge fan of government paperwork. While an FFL holder keeps records of every firearm that passes through his shop, as soon as he dies or goes out of business those records get sent to the BATF for “storage”. Given that Remington has already filed for bankruptcy once, its future doesn't look very good. The thoughts of what a future government could do with those records don't make me happy, so I avoid the paperwork wherever possible. 

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