Remington Under Fire: A CNBC Investigation

CNBC are airing an expose on the Remington Model 700 rifles claiming that they fire without the trigger being pulled and that this has resulted in deaths and injuries going back sixty years …

The result of a 10-month investigation, CNBC examines allegations that the world’s most popular hunting rifle is prone to firing without pulling the trigger, and that its manufacturer, Remington, has been aware of the situation for 60 years. Dozens of deaths and scores of injuries have been traced to the alleged problem. The story is told through corporate insiders, internal documents dating back to 1945, and a father searching for answers about the death of his nine-year-old son.

CNBC’S REMINGTON UNDER FIRE: A CNBC INVESTIGATION Will Premiere On Wednesday, October 20th at 9PM ET

The show will repeat that evening at 10PM ET, 12AM ET and 1AM ET.

The documentary will also repeat on the following dates/times:

Sunday, October 24th at 10PM ET

Thursday, October 28th at 8PM ET and 12AM ET

Sunday, October 31st at 1AM ET

Model 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD: The newest Model 700 rifles.

YNN.com reports that Remington deny the allegations …

Remington says it did provide the network with factual information and background materials but says “it appears that the story will be based on unproven allegations from trial lawyers.”

A Remington spokesperson says the company continues to stand behind the Model 700 product that’s being scrutinized.

I am interested to see what CNBC alleges is wrong with the Remington 700. It is widely known, and acknowledged by the company, that pre-1982 Model 700 rifles can fire automatically when the safety switched to the “Fire” position.

The problem with the pre-82 models was with the bolt-lock mechanism design. The bolt lock was enabled when the safety was turn on. The bolt lock prevents the bolt from being accidentally opened slightly, and therefor being unable to be fired, when stalking game. This mechanism was removed in 1982 after a lawsuit against the company.

The lawsuit was an unfortunate incident in Remington’s history. The company knew about the problem, as did users of the Remington 700, but they had done nothing about it. But that was over 30 years ago. Since then the company has, and continues, to offer a Safety Modification program

If you own a Remington Model 700 or Model 40-X rifle:

Only those Model 700 or 40-X rifles made before March 1982 were manufactured with a bolt-lock mechanism. Model 700 or 40-X rifles made after March 1982 do not have a bolt-lock mechanism and may be loaded and unloaded with the safety in the “S” or “On Safe” position. Consequently, post-1982 Model 700 or 40-X rifles are not subject to this bolt-lock Safety Modification Program.

In either case, the total cost to you is $20 plus shipping and handling. You will also receive a safety redemption certificate to complete and submit in order to receive a free blaze orange hat (one hat per certificate).

It seems unlikely that in the internet age that there would be a widespread flaw with the most popular hunting rifle in America but yet unknown by the internet community. We shall see.

[ Full disclosure: As I have previously disclosed, The Freedom Group, who own Remington, advertise on this blog. ]

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • SpudGun

    Remington themselves sum it up nicely – ‘it appears that the story will be based on unproven allegations from trial lawyers’.

    As you’ve mentioned Steve, this problem was taken care of almost 30 years ago and Remington were taken to court.

    Unfortunately, firearms last an incredibly long time, so there are probably thousands of pre-82 Remington 700s still in the general population. Unlike faulty automobiles such as the Corvair, the Pinto and the current crop of Toyotas – all of whom have been responsible for more accidental deaths then the Remington 700.

    • Paulj

      I have a model 700 under my bed that I refuse to use again because it went off when I flipped the safety off. Till this day every time the safety is flipped forward it goes off

  • Meh, sounds like another politically-based “guns are evil and dangerous and should be banned” piece. No surprise, considering the NBC networks’ slant. Didn’t an NBC afilliate also run that “study” on students carrying concealed that made it seem like all CCW holders were incompetent and would just get themselves and others killed?

  • snmp

    Tenchnolgy never replace éducation/training for the safty

  • JKEverett

    Sounds like it’s going to be another “guns are terrible and here’s why” story veiled in a specific, yet untimely, grievance…

  • I am betting that a good many of the examples they will site are a result of poorly done at home gunsmithing to reduce trigger weight.

  • Spiff

    Before the Remington 700/600 rifles, it was the Winchester model 70’s, where the safety came out of the rifle…A master gunsmith in Georgia named Howard Leviss patented a correction that for them.
    Spiff

  • Trango

    Could be TV sensationalism and the media going after another gun company, because they sell…guns…or there could actually be something to this. I hope it’s the former and not the latter, but as you said Steve, we will see.

    Either way, just another reason to buy a Savage.

  • D

    just like when people thought they hit the brake pedal but hit the gas instead?

  • I don’t think you are correctly describing the pre ’82 Remington 700 safety. My recollection is that there are two safety positions, safe locks the bolt and fire does not. I’ll have to go to the safe and double check my recollection on my mid-’60’s era 700 …

    • SPQR, please correct me if wrong.

  • There’s money to be had here, the only reason it’s an issue.

    If the operators of these rifles were following proper firearm handling procedures, these deaths could not have occurred.

  • MrMaigo

    Dozens? Really? People must be repeatedly safe/unsafe loaded rifles pointed at people until they statistically kill the person.

    Puts a new spin on JFK, 3 accidental discharges in under 7 seconds.

  • Vak

    I’m not an expert about the remington 700 (actually, I know only the basic about bolt guns), but can’t a rifle fire accidently if the trigger has been extremely lightened and it was dropped ? Like on an open bolt machinegun.

  • Topslop1

    True or not that these rifles had safety problems this is not good press for firearms. I bet that CNBC refers to the Remington 700 as a “Sniper rifle” at least once during the program and gets some wide spread agenda put into people’s heads about these “evil” rifles. I will wait to see if this program is as biased as I presume it to be.

  • CinSC

    Whatever the facts may be, I would trust Remington to give them to me straight long before I would trust CNBC.

    And, speaking of straight shooters, I really like the look of that suppressed SPS Tactical. I’d bet my bottom dollar on it! 😉

  • Please do follow up, as I’m interested in this topic, but I’m unlikely to watch the special.

  • mike

    Doesn’t the 700 have a floating firing pin too? I thought that was the issue – that it could get caught up or something.

  • I trust CNBC about as far as I can throw my truck.

  • Ed

    Ratings for CNBC’s usual nighttime rotation of Business of Porn and Business of Prostitution must be fading. I see they are also adding a special to Hugh Hefner.

  • Lance

    Proves my idea of a good hunting/marksman rifle BUY WINCHESTER!!!!

  • Matt

    Yeah cause that’s who turn too for my up to date expert firearms news, CNBC.

    Hopefully it’s a load of crap. I Doubt Leo and swat snipers would be trusting the 700 if it went bang into a hostages face everyone they switched off the safety.

  • Chris

    In all the years of my shooting Model 700’s i have never had one go off with out touching the trigger. I currently have 2 of them both have never done it. the real reason for this is that people that dont know what they are doing get to tinkering with them, and they set the sear too light for the springs and the gun cant handle that with a factory trigger. so it all boils down to people not knowing what the rifle is capable of and not knowing what they are messing with.

  • leopard

    And who told that father to aim the gun at his now dead son?

    Technology can never fully compensate for retardation.

  • peter

    o god another guns is bad crap i cant stand this like one time in school we were talking about the amendments and when it came to the 2nd amendment my teacher side assualt rifles and ak 47s were ileagle i stood up and said no your wrong assualt rifles are not ileagle and i own a ak 47 and im proud of it so she sent me to the office but the principal hunts and he understood so i did not get in trouble

  • Alan

    I once had a 700 ADL drop out of a 3 story tree stand (broken strap), and it landed hard enough to bounce and flip 180. While it was unloaded, it was cocked, but on safe. And it did not discharge. Cracked my scope, and ruined my season, but didn’t trigger.

    And after a good cleaning and inspection, and new scope, it still punched sub MOA groups.
    So not sure what this will all be about.

  • jdun1911

    Remington 700 introduced in 1962 so I was wondering what defective part that made in 1945 is in the 700.

  • Steve, I have a ’60’s era Remington 700. I just went and fiddled with it – it is not modified since it was first manufactured ie., I’ve not sent it in to be “fixed” by Remington. (Intentionally so, I use it as a demo in hunter education for this reason ).

    The safety has two positions on it. “Safe” blocks the sear and locks the bolt. “Fire” unlocks the bolt and allows the trigger to be pulled. It is my recollection that the supposed “flaw” is that since you must put the safety on “Fire” to operate the bolt, it could fire if poorly handled when unloading.

    Now there is obviously a good argument that is a less than optimal design, I myself am used to it and prefer the bolt locking feature. That and in order to demo the issue to my hunter education students is why I’ve not had mine altered.

    Remington has a similar recall for Model 600’s too this link lists all models recalled.

    • SPQR, Thanks for checking, my recollection must be wrong. I will double check this (there may have been different safetys over the decades) and regardless update the post.

  • I should add that I’ve always thought that the claimed incidents of firing without pulling the triggers are user error – arguably compounded by the fact that the older design could not be loaded and unloaded on “Safe” – as the trigger mechanism of a Remington 700 is well designed.

  • We all know in what high regard that the mainstream media regards firearms. Apparently even bolt action Remington 700s. I agree that it’s likely that we’d have heard about something worth mentioning given the nature of the online community. The popularity of the Remington 700 among shooters is probably at an all time high. It’s even the bolt action of choice of our military. I certainly await the documentary.

  • shane

    I dont like were this is going we dont need anymore lawyers gun safeties we need to stop babying people and start training them safety

  • Jamie

    I just see this as an opportunity to demonize all guns. The point is to show the most popular gun out there is a ticking time bomb, so YOU JUST KNOW lesser guns are going to blow up and kill your entire family.

    Also this is a slam against even hunting rifles, and to plant seeds of doubt in the general populaces mind.

    There is no story here. Its like dateline running a series on the side saddle gas tanks on CK trucks because GM still makes full size trucks.

    THE DANG DESIGN IS NOT THE SAME ANYMORE. A 20-30 year old story is not news.

    Why not just try to imply that the new focus will blow up because well….. the pinto blew up when rear ended.

    CNBC is such a bunch of liberal hacks.

  • Nadnerbus

    A defective product that causes injury or death is newsworthy. But somehow I doubt this would warrant a special segment if it was, say, some piece of exercise equipment that caused injury or death, which leads me to assume this is probably political. I guess the veracity of the story will have to prove me right or wrong.

    What ever the story says, I’m willing to bet that the rules of proper firearm handling (that could have avoided injury even in cases of accidental discharge) will never be mentioned. Never point your firearm at something you don’t intend to kill or destroy.

  • jdun1911: The M700 evolved from the earlier M721, M722, and M725.

  • Mike

    Wow, the problem goes back to 1945? That’s amazing considering the 700 wasn’t produced until 1962. Sorry for repeating something already stated, but this should be another fine BS production from mainstream media. What a joke!

  • jdun1911

    Daniel,

    Thanks. While I own an original 700PPS and shoot it often I never got into the history of the Remington 700 other than military/police uses.

  • gunslinger

    “CNBC is such a bunch of liberal hacks”

    i would rather say “anti-gun” hacks. i consider myself liberal, but pro-gun. i also have many friends who are pro-gun but still on the left wing side of things. And i bet there are plenty of conservative/right wing identifiers who are anti-gun.

  • Is there any issues relating to the Remington Model 7 .308 and the Remington Model 700? (concerning the safety) I own the Model 7 . Golly, I think it is the neatest gun I own. I don’t shoot it that often, since I live in a shotgun state—Ohio. But every time I hold that gun, I look at the magnificent way the rifle was made. Sure there are better rifles out there. But this rifle does for me what I need. And it still looks as new as the day I got it. I am not a gun fanatic, but thank God and the Constitution I can freely put my hands around my Model 7 and give it some love once and a while. Thanks Firearm Man! L

  • JC011

    Here is my recollection of the cause of the “unintended discharges” from the 700. This was a rare issue that would only occur in some of the Pre-82 versions when:

    1. The safety was placed (intentionally or accidentally) halfway between safe and fire.
    2. The trigger was pressed, but the hammer did not fall.
    3. The safety was moved from the halfway point directly to fire, and not back to safe.

    There was some issue with the safety stopping the hammer but past the point of sear engagement, so that when it was moved to fire it would allow the hammer to fall.

    This was a complicated recipe for problems, but this does not cause injuries or death if it isn’t pointed at someone.

    • blackwater gunsmith

      to jc011;
      there is no hammer in a reminton 700.

  • Barbara S.

    Safety’s Fail. During my years of being a Coach I have had the safety fail on a .30 cal and a .22. never trust a safety. Those handling firearms also know to Keep It Pointed In a Safe Direction At All Times. This is nothing more than an issue against firearms.

  • Jaguar

    On the first page, and repeated several times, in every instruction manual and firearm safety course book are these caviats: never trust a safety, always assume a gun is loaded, and NEVER point a gun at a person. One can feel sorry for firearms tragidies but the problem is almost always caused by operator error, poor maintainance, or incompetent gunsmithing. Many will claim they did not touch the trigger but many claim they didn’t hit the accelerator on their Toyota. In the latter case, the cars had computers to give the lie to their stories. I trust that if firearms had computers, the results would be the same.

    Unfortunatly, none of these explainations make for sexy tabloid journalism.

  • rgb

    I have had a model 700 since 1980 – a wonderful, tack-driving .270 that has been a great rifle. I have experienced the unintentional firing problem once. Two years ago my son and I were about to exit a ground blind (to recover a huge buck he had just shot with my rifle), and since he had chambered another round after shooting the deer, I prepared to unload the chamber. I pointed the barrel in a safe direction out the blind window, and moved the safety to “fire” so that I could open the bolt. My left hand was on the forearm of the stock, and my right hand was only touching the safety lever, so my fingers were nowhere near the trigger. When the safety lever reached the “fire” position, the rifle discharged. Scared the heck out of us! But no harm was done, as I pointed out to my son, as I had followed the gun safety rule of keeping it pointed in a safe direction. But I can assure you, without a shadow of a doubt, that there was no mis-handling on my part. I have unloaded that rifle in that same manner hundreds of times over the years without incident, but on this particular day it did discharge on its own.

  • J.L. Pygon

    Damn…here we go again! Liberal media putting their spin on firearms ownership. Scumbag lawyers doing anything to line their pockets!

  • mwd

    So for all of you “none believers” out there…….this is NOT, I repeat NOT a ploy for “guns are evil”. This story is BASED on factual evidence and can be proven without a doubt that Remington is covering up. The sniper world will not use these guns anymore since it has happened to them numerous times, and they are not some at home inexperienced gun handlers. Innocent people are getting blamed for “murder” becuz of Remingtons fuck up. And the lawyers that are trying to “help” them are just after money and not the actual truth.
    So before you pathetic people that think this is just CNBC’s way of saying “guns are evil”, I suggest you very carefully watch yourselves. You just might be put in the “murder” category someday and you will wish you listened to the FACTS before rolling your eyes at them.
    CNBC is out for the TRUTH and the people that have been put into this situation with this gun are out for JUSTICE.
    As for the one who stated “the gun being pointed at the now dead son”…….you have NO IDEA what happened…………it doesn’t take much for that gun to miss fire. And if I know my facts…..it is not just the 700, sorry guys.

  • mwd

    Read this……….and this is coming from the person who worked at Remington………..
    Nearly four of every ten bolt-action rifles sold is a Remington, and sales of the 700- series have brought the company hundreds of millions over the last six decades. CNBC tracks down 98-year-old Mike Walker, the Remington engineer who designed the trigger for the Remington 700. For the first time, Walker tells his story. Walker’s internal company memos, obtained by CNBC, indicate that he repeatedly raised concerns, even after he retired from Remington, about the trigger system he designed. Other concerns were raised as well, including one from a Remington colleague who warned in a memo, “this situation can be very dangerous.” Walker proposed a relatively inexpensive solution, though Remington has never recalled the rifle, and insists it has no defect.

  • Hollow

    Don’t forget, that station has the same parent company that put faulty gas caps on Chevrolet trucks calming they sprayed gas all over the place if one was involved in a crash. Now that they’ve communized gm I guess they need a new whipping boy.

  • EKemp

    Hi – My name is Eli and I do digital work for Remington. Take a look at Remington’s response to this situation: http://www.remington700.tv

  • JRM

    Regardless of whether or not the gun goes off by itself, basic gun safety tells you never point a gun in the direction of anything other than a target. So how does someone ever get killed or injured???

  • gunslinger

    @jrm just because safety tells you not to point a gun at a person, safety doesn’t prevent you from doing just that. but even then, accidents still happen. people walk in front of a shooter, or shooters swinging their firearm around and not paying attention.

  • Laura Lizabe

    Hello! My name is Laura and I do web work for Remington. If you’re looking for a credible source, see Remington’s response to the biased CBS program: http://www.remington700.tv

  • JRM

    gunslinger:
    I’d say the name fits with a comment like that…”shooters swinging their firearm around and not paying attention.” That’s what makes a gun dangerous in the first place-someone not paying attention. A gun is a deadly device and you need to pay attention and respect that fact!

    Laura Lizable: Yep, agree. Two sides to every story I’d say!!!

    Stay safe in the woods or where ever you may use a gun!

  • gunslinger

    JRM: name fits with a comment? i’m just saying that people get hurt because other people don’t pay attention. it’s not one event that causes accidents, there are a number of things.

    Laura: I hate to say this, but having Remington pay for “experts” to explain Remington’s side is the same as CNBC paying experts on their side. Call me cynical but how can you really trust an “expert” when they are being paid by the company they are saying is OK? I’m not saying Remington is doing wrong, just that I would have better trust in a completely independent investigation rather one funded by either side.

  • Sarah

    This was my very first year hunting. I was using a Remington 700 and I was coming up to the top of a ridge where I had seen antelope and so I proceeded to switch off the safety and the gun fired. That was just 1 month ago. I was at work and a guy mentioned this Expose… and I was shocked to learn that it was the same gun I had been using and had misfired. I still got my antelope 🙂

  • Sarah

    I wanted to make it clear that I was pointing my gun in a safe direction and no one was injured..however my husband did have dirt fly up and hit him in the face. It was pretty scary.. I just wish we had been informed earlier of this defect so we were aware this could happen.

  • Nathan

    Well maybe the thought behind it might be about guns being bad. And let me clarify i am an avid hunter and i support the safe use of firearms. But everyone i know that has or has ever had a Remington has had nothing but troubles. My Remington Semi automatic has had many issues from the gun jamming after the first shot, the clip jamming, and various other issues that should not happen with a gun. I should not have to fight with my loaded gun to un jam it. No you might think the issue is with me not properly loading the gun, and i have taken it into consideration. And let several other people try the firearm and receive the same results. Now obviously this does not happen every time i use it but it has prevented me from both the kill of a moose and two deer. When i have taken back the firearm to where it was purchased the manufacturer and the store say they cant find anything wrong with the gun. Now since then this same retailer no longer sells Remington firearms because of all the issues they have had over the years with various customers. So in short Remington is shit… on a side note for all you supporters of carrying concealed weapons i am from Canada we don’t allow concealed weapons its illegal in this country. But if having the ability to carry a concealed weapon is so safe and there is nothing wrong with it why does our entire country have less murders a year then some of your big cities and smaller states individually.

  • happy hunter

    after many hunting trips with a 700 adl—(with no accidental shots fired)my guess is the reporter just learned how to spell REMINGTON,and just wanted to see it in print !! I truly believe there needs to be a take a reporter hunting week.

  • max

    I like how the lady said it was the gun that killed the little boy no it was you that killed him guns don’t kill people people kill people you should always be pointing the gun in a safe direction

  • RM

    I watched the CNBC show “Remington Under Fire” with a great deal of interest. Let me say up front that I’ve been a shooter for over 40 years. I also have competed at the collegiate level for three years as a small bore competitor. Additionally, I am a Lifetime member of the NRA and a solid supporter of the 2nd ammendment.
    I also own a Remington 700 BDL in 7mm Magnum (which I bought used). I shot this rifle on various ranges for many years before I took it to Colorado to go on an elk hunt with friends. At the top of a 10,000 ft mountain with the temperature at about 30 degrees I went to unchamber a round. Upon moving the safety to the fire position to open the bolt, the rifle discharged. My finger was not near the trigger or even within the trigger guard. Fortunately the rifle was pointed in a safe direction and no one within my hunting party was injured except for myself where the safety made a nasty cut into my thumb when my one hand and thumb absorbed almost all of the recoil. I suspect that this incident would never have occured if I had continued to shoot on ranges (where I never had the need for a safety) vs taking this rifle on a hunt where it was a common practice to have a round chambered with the safety on for stalking game. I have never trusted a safety on any firearm, and after this incident I certainly never will.

  • common sense

    I am as pro-gun as pro-gun can get. I’m a moderate and an independent, yet still support the NRA and TSRA. It helps not to be an extremist in order to look at things objectively.
    If the scene where the sniper training remington goes off by trained snipers doesn’t convince you? I don’t know what else can convince the ignorant.
    I won’t buy a remington until I see them admit and address the problem. So many gun companies recall for less. Why can’t remington? One of the oldest and highest profiting corporations do the same for something this serious? I’ll stick with Savage, Browning, Winchester & Thompson as my American Gun.

    Anti-Gun is Remington not fixing the problem and not concerned citizens reporting it. Extremism creates ignorance, No right, no left wing crap. Just objectivity and common sense.

  • blackwater gunsmith

    remington 700 is as safe and accurate as any shooter could ask for. i have 36 years experince gunsmithing, icluding armorer certificates from almost 20 different manufactures.
    the only time i have ever seen a remington trigger fail is when it was tampered with by some unqualified would-be gunsmith.