Remington Model 783 Walnut Rifle, .270 Winchester
The tested rifle is the walnut edition of Remington's economical 783 series rifle. My example is chambered in .270 Winchester. 6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and 7mm Remington Magnum calibers are also available. All of the walnut models have 22 inch barrels, except for the 24 inch barrel of the 7mm Rem. Mag.
This rifle currently has a discount retail price of around $366 and is available in a scoped version with a Vortex pre-mounted scope for around $500. For those on a strict budget, the synthetic stocked 783 models with scope can be had for blisteringly low prices all the way down to about $300. (Buy the functionally superior, walnut stocked model; the stock alone is easily worth twice the difference in price and the sling studs are steel, not plastic. -Editor.)
The Remington Model 783 has been out since 2013 and has earned a good reputation, the first entry level Remington bolt-action to do so in many years. It is fair to say the 783 is both reasonably well established and likely here to stay.
The "modern classic" style, standard grade, American black walnut stock is darkly stained and comes with with cleanly cut checkering in generous point patterns on the grip and fore end. It features a smoothly curved pistol grip and a straight, fluted comb with only a moderate difference in drop between comb and heel. The black recoil pad is a soft-durometer ground pad, not a SuperCell, and is nicely fitted. Steel sling swivel studs are installed.
The 783 is a push feed action with a 90 degree bolt throw and it is extremely smooth. The user adjustable, sheet steel, Cross-Fire trigger, with its Savage-like safety blade, breaks at a very crisp four pounds out of the box. A two-position safety is located at the right rear of the receiver. The steel detachable magazine holds four rounds and is held in place by a steel (not plastic) latch. Two-piece, Weaver style scope bases are factory installed atop the receiver, a nice extra. The rifle is entirely made in the USA and comes with a lifetime written warranty, like all current Remington firearms.
Remington took a few steps to get the cost out of the rifle for the highly competitive "deer rifle in a box" market. The action is the universal receiver approach, using the same action length for all chamberings. The receiver is bored from bar stock with a small, oval ejection port cut into the cylinder. This is advertised as strengthening the receiver, but it is really an economy shortcut that makes it more difficult to single load a cartridge in an emergency, or at the range. A gas escape port is drilled in the front receiver ring. The multi-part, assembled bolt is fitted with a handle that ends in a flattened sphere shaped knob. The matte blued metal finish reduces the polishing time required. Dual pillars are used to secure the barreled action in the stock.
All calibers are fitted with the same, "magnum" profile, free-floating, target crowned barrel, although the 7mm Mag. barrel is two inches longer than the standard calibers. The 783 uses a rather unsightly barrel nut to adjust head-spacing, a system most associate with Savage (and recently Mossberg), centerfires. The recoil lug is the thick steel washer type trapped between barrel and receiver. The trapezoid shaped, oddly angled trigger guard is plastic, another way to reduce the cost of the rifle. Despite its handsome walnut stock, the Model 783 is clearly an economy rifle.
The Remington 783 walnut in .270 Winchester caliber is extremely soft shooting. There is no magical reason why, it is just the rifle's weight. The test rifle weighs 7 pounds 10 ounces, empty, with the magazine installed. A sensible riflescope and rings should add about a pound. Add a leather cobra sling and a full magazine and the field ready weight will be around 9-1/4 pounds.
The over 7-1/2 pound, out of the box weight is typical of many walnut-stocked, magnum profile, bolt-action rifles. The Weatherby Vanguard Sporter weighs about the same. Those looking for a super-cream-puff shooting rifle might want to consider a Model 783 in 6.5 Creedmoor.
The Remington 783 shot into an inch at 100 yards, right out of the box, using Hornady 130 grain Full Boar cartridges. There is obviously nothing lacking in the accuracy department. I would not expect anything else, as the magnum profile barrel, rigid walnut stick and minimum head space from the barrel nut system are all components of accuracy.
The thermoplastic stocks on most economical rifles have too much flex. As a result, walnut stocked versions are generally more accurate and, if you want to hand bed the barreled action, it is an easier task with wood than with a plastic stock to which nothing wants to stick.
The matte finish of the Remington 783 is better than average, noticeably better than on the Savage Axis, for example. The detachable box magazine fits flush, so it isn't the eyesore of the Browning AB3, or an impediment to handling. The trigger pull is markedly better than the T/C Compass, or the Ruger American, and generally lighter and crisper than on most bolt action rifles in this price bracket.
There are a few things that cannot be done without moving the price of a bolt-action rifle out of the economical range. I am referring to a highly polished metal finish, higher grade walnut stocks, metal trigger guards and so forth. None of these attributes make a rifle any more reliable or more accurate, but they certainly make a rifle more enjoyable to own and are what I want, and expect, in a premium hunting rifle.
When it comes to rifles characterized as value, or entry-level, price is the major factor. By the same criteria that tells me the $590 retail priced Browning AB3 Hunter walnut is not a particularly great value, the Remington 783 walnut at $366 most certainly is.
The Remington 783 works, and works well as a complete package. The machining is extremely clean, the bolt is quite smooth, it feeds and ejects well, and the trigger is remarkably crisp. The written lifetime warranty is as good as it gets, for many rifles come with no warranty at all.
Where several economy rifles come with pencil thin barrel profiles and the upgrade to a magnum or predator barrel versions costs you a few extra bucks, all Remington 783 models have a magnum profile barrel. As a result of all of this, the Remington 783 shoots way above its price level, and hits the mark.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.