Remington Model 798 and 799 Rifles
By Chuck Hawks
In 2006 Remington Arms, America's oldest gun maker, began importing barreled actions based on traditional Mauser type actions. These barreled actions are made for Remington by Zastava Arms of Serbia, one of the most experienced (in business since 1853) of the Eastern European arms companies. Zastava Oruzje has been manufacturing Mauser Model 98 actions since 1928. The Zastava barreled actions are then stocked in American made laminated hardwood stocks and marketed as the Remington Models 798 and 799.
The Model 798 is based on a standard length, square bridge, Mauser 98 action chambered for centerfire hunting cartridges ranging from the .243 Winchester to the .458 Winchester Magnum. This is an all steel, controlled feed action using a flat bottom receiver with an integral recoil lug, one-piece bolt with dual locking lugs plus a third safety lug and a bolt guide, full length extractor, solid steel one-piece bottom iron/magazine box/trigger guard, hinged magazine floor plate, and all of the usual Mauser 98 deluxe features.
The Model 799 is based on a short action of modified Mauser type. It does not use a true Mauser 98 action, does not have a Mauser pattern full-length extractor, and is not a controlled feed design. Instead, the Model 799 uses a Weatherby type claw extractor built into the front of the bolt, and a recessed bolt face. It is chambered for a line of .22 varmint cartridges and the obsolescent 7.62x39 Soviet military cartridge. The .22 Hornet version uses a detachable box magazine; other calibers come with a much classier internal magazine and a hinged magazine floor plate.
Both rifles feature one-piece bolts with dual front locking lugs that require approximately 90 degrees of rotation to operate, a receiver mounted ejector, single stage adjustable trigger, steel bottom iron/trigger guard, and a nicely polished and blued barreled action without iron sights. They are drilled and tapped for standard commercial Mauser 98 long action (798) and short action (799) scope bases.
The laminated hardwood stocks are stained an attractive walnut brown. They are pleasingly shaped with a restrained Monte Carlo comb and a raised cheekpiece, and handle recoil well. There is machine cut, point pattern checkering at forend and pistol grip. Like all laminated hardwood stocks they are extremely stiff and durable, far superior to the injection molded plastic stocks commonly found on rifles in this price class.
Here are the catalog specifications of the Model 798:
And here are the catalog specifications of the Model 799
The push feed Model 799 is a cute little sporting rifle built on a good quality, nicely finished action. It adds little real capability to the existing Remington line, since the Model Seven CDL and Model 700 BDL push feed sporter models can be had in most of the same calibers, as can various Model 700 varmint rifles. The 799 extractor is superior to that of the Models 700/Seven, but the circlip used in the bolt face of the U.S. made Remingtons is sufficient for non-critical applications such as varmint hunting. The Model 799 is, however, a fine value at a reasonable price. It would make a dandy lightweight varmint and small predator "stalking" rifle in .222 or .223 caliber.
The Model 798, however, is another matter. It is definitely a step up from the Models 700/Seven (and most other rifles on the market today) for big game hunting purposes. The 798 is based on a more expensive, superior action suitable for the most critical applications, including hunting the world's largest and most dangerous game.
If my rifle absolutely, positively had to work in the most difficult circumstances, I'd choose the Model 798 over a Model 700 every time. Its controlled feed action makes double feed jams impossible and will reliably feed a cartridge into the chamber with the rifle held in any orientation, or while being swung to engage a new target. The 798 also has a larger loading port, making a fast field reload easier and more certain. The advantages that make the 798 superior for the most critical big game hunting applications also make it superior when deer season rolls around.
Be aware that the advertised catalog weight of 7 pounds across the board for Model 798 rifles is almost certainly incorrect. The magnum caliber rifles come with 24" barrels, which naturally weigh more than the 22" barrels supplied on standard caliber rifles. Also, rifles chambered for safari calibers (.375 and .458) usually come with heavier contour barrels than small bore rifles, which further increases their weight. More weight is, in fact, very desirable in rifles chambered for these powerful calibers, which should weigh no less than 9 pounds (bare), and 10 pounds is better. What the 798 Magnum and Safari caliber rifles actually weigh I do not know, but it is unlikely to be 7 pounds.
The Model 798 is a great value, even at the full list price. Both the 798 and 799 barreled actions could easily form the basis of a fine custom rifle. In fact, at Guns and Shooting Online we already have a custom stocked Model 798 in the works. If you haven't checked-out these new Mauser based rifles from Remington, you owe it to yourself to do so.
Note: A complete review of the Remington Model 798 rifle can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.