POTD: The Great Model 8

The Remington Model 8 was the brainchild of none other than John M. Browning himself, and was one of the first semiautomatic rifles to hit the civilian hunting market. One of the most important firearms of the 20th Century, the Model 8’s influence can be felt in rifles from the M1 Garand to the AK-47, and many of these excellent firearms still bag game every season.

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The Model 8 is a long-recoil action, where the barrel and bolt are locked together for their entire rearward travel, and then the bolt locks to the rear while the barrel is allowed to travel back forward under spring pressure, where it then trips a release that allows the bolt forward to initiate feeding. The Model 8 was produced from 1906-1936, and its improved variant, the Model 81, was produced from 1936 to 1950. Interestingly, every single Model 8 and 81 produced were takedown rifles, with a removable barrel for easier transport.


  • Martin Grønsdal

    I have seen that safety-lever before!

    • I will just leave this here:

      I will say that I am shocked by the amount of folks who are unfamiliar with the great Model 8. These are very historically significant and Clyde Barrow was put down by a shot to the head courtesy of one chambered in .35 Remington too.

      • Martin Grønsdal

        I noticed one thing; the brass ejects very slowly. Is the ejector very far back in the receiver?

        • The ejector is in the bolt head like on an M16.

        • Kelly Jackson

          Seems like he would be getting hit in the face if he wasn’t wearing a hat.

  • Joel

    I own one of these in .30 Remington, great rifle. Too bad the caliber has become obsolete. I use it sparingly now.

    • Beaumont

      I have one too. You can get .30 Remington through Graf & Sons.

    • Secundius

      @ Joel.

      Try a .30-30 Rimless instead…


        30-30 rimless is a .308. Both are 7.62×51.

    • Joel

      Graf & Sons has been sold out for 3 years, Huntington’s had some about 4 years ago that I bought up, every time I look up 30-30 rimless it just shows me 30 Remington.

  • milesfortis

    I’ve got a 81 on .300 Savage. Now that’s a deer rifle!

  • Stephen Beat

    I’m not sure if this is what Martin Grønsdal is alluding to, but is that safety level at all reminiscent of the AK?

    • Technically speaking, the AK’s safety lever is reminiscent of it. 😉

      • Stephen Beat

        LOL, yes – forgive my bad grammar! 😉

      • abecido

        The AK trigger group is also reminiscent of the 8/81 design.

      • MPWS

        Which is reminiscent of…. water well crank!
        Really – 6k years back – and J.M.B was there too!
        Now seriously, are we not worshiping here some whaco religion? This is sure way how to undermine credibility otherwise fun page.

        • Please, MPWS, are you seriously arguing that recognizing Browning’s many accomplishments in the field of small arms is paying some sort of homage to Mormonism?

          That is a silly argument.

  • Stephen Beat

    What a wonderful rifle, this is the first time I have read about it (thanks TFB). Makes you wonder if – with the addition of a removable magazine – whether it would have made a good military carbine? But I suppose the M1 carbine filled that role well.

    • iksnilol

      I believe the magazine is removable. That tab on the side of the magazine seems like a magazine release to me.

      • No.

        • iksnilol

          Well, that’s awfully depressing.

          • Yes, there were some with detachable mags, but the vast, vast majority have fixed mags.

          • iksnilol

            Yep. Though I will admit, the 15 round mags do look awesome.

          • tts

            They are awesome but fairly rare since not very many were bought when they were available new.

            A Model 8 in good condition with a 15rd mag costs a fair amount of money, probably a couple grand at a minimum.

          • Secundius

            @ tts.

            An organization called Hunting Washington, states that 15-round .35Rem. are available from ~$450.00 to ~$480.00 USD. apiece. Depending on the seller…

      • Edward Franklin

        The little tab is indeed part of the magazine retention if I’m not mistaken but this is another rifle with a magazine that was fixed in place. There was a suspiciously similar rifle that turned up in the M1 Carbine trials that had detachable magazine though.

        • Not part of retention. That is the feed lip. It is riveted in place.

      • The magazine is removable if you disassemble the rifle (which itself is a PITA). Otherwise, no.

    • marathag

      very difficult to take apart, beyond the barrel assembly, that’s a snap

      It’s no SKS

    • Southpaw89

      I believe some were issued to aircraft observers during WWI before machine guns could be mounted. But I may be confusing this with another early autoloader.

  • iksnilol

    Man, it has as bad ergonomics as the AK. I mean, that dust cover lever thingy as a safety? Not to mention the charging handle on the right side. Give me a break.


    • Pete Sheppard

      Bear in mind this was the first step from a bolt rifle, so the location of the charging handle seemed eminently logical. As for the lever safety, it’s the essence of simplicity.

      • iksnilol

        I was joking, I am somewhat fond of the AK safety lever. Especially if it has the notch, allows you to keep the gun safe (bolt open, safety on, chamber empty) but ready at less than a moments notice (flick the safety down, bolt goes forward and chambers a round).

        Regarding charging handle: If a bolt action which uses the handle about 20 to 30 times more than the semi auto works perfectly fine with the CH on the right side then a semi auto should as well.

        • Pete Sheppard

          Got me! 🙂 I’m a dinosaur; I’m more comfortable loading and charging an SA rifle, such as my WASR, with my right hand. I also CUT A BHO notch into the safety.

  • Rusty S.

    Found an 81E once, sadly the bore was garbage. Definitely a cool rifle, though.

  • Cahal

    First semi auto rifle I ever saw in a Western, ‘Ride the High Country’.(‘Guns in the Afternoon’

    U.K.) The Warren Oates character carried one.

    • Zebra Dun

      That was a dang good movie and the last one Randolph Scott starred in before retiring and leaving Hollywood in his dust to go raise horses.
      And a young Mariette Hartley was a sight well worth watching!
      The end was the perfect cowboy movie ending.

      • Cahal

        Initially only a succes in Europe on release. The passage of time has led it to be be better thought of in the U.S. .

    • Biglou13

      And that is when I was introduced to this rifle. 2 years later I found one being sold here in town. One of my prized collection item. Also got a Remington 141 pump from the same seller. Only need a Marlin 336. All in .35 Rem.

  • Tassiebush

    Gosh that looks like a nice rifle. Really has that carry me around a lot look.

  • Lawbob

    I’m confused

    ” is allowed to travel back forward”

    • Giolli Joker

      Back to the future!
      Travel forward, back to its previous position.

    • TFB’s sleep deprivation experiments continue. 😉

  • Chey Wilsher

    To my eternal regret I passed one up that was well used but functionally sound at a gun show a couple years ago in .35 Remington. It had likely bagged more game than I could ever even dream to aspire to. Plenty of bluing rubbed off but not a speck of rust. In my opinion, that indicates a gun that was carried and used heavily but cared for and loved. And all for the princely sum of $300.00. Still kick myself in the ass for not bringing her home…

    • abecido

      I jumped on a $350 Model 81 in 35 Rem when my chance came. It does double duty in my collection. Not only is it itself, it stands in for every early autoloader I’ll never be able to afford.

  • spencer60

    Unicorn gun

    • Renegade

      Uncommon, but certainly not a unicorn gun.

    • Not at all, they made tens of thousands. It was a hugely popular gun…

      • Secundius

        @ Alex C.

        I read somewhere, just over 80,000…

  • 6ShotsOr5?

    I’ll give $350 for the one in the photo. What are some of the other calibers this was made in? The hump on the back looks like the hump on an A5 shotgun and the action sounds somewhat similar. I like the ka-thunk that lets you know the next round is ready to go.

    • marathag

      Best calibers were 300 Savage and 35 Remington, calibers you can still get today.

      The 25,30 and 32 Remington loadings have been hard to find for decades

  • MPWS

    Oh, definitely inspiration for AK; including that mighty kick! :-))
    It’s all J.B’s fault….., hold it: glory!

  • Jsim

    I bought one recently and I keep having problems with it. It’s in 35 rem and the first time I went to shoot it I loaded in 1 round and it stove piped when I released the bolt. After finally getting one round to load and shooting it I loaded in 2 rounds a they both stove piped. Does any one have any idea how to fix this?

  • Rodford Smith

    I have a Model 81 in .35 Remington, modified for police use. It has two of those long, single-stack magazines, both clearly marked as for police use only. My paternal grandfather was a police auxiliary, and I got the rifle through my father. I haven’t shot this in years (even in .35 Remington that steel butplate is not fun) but I gave it a cleaning and lubing a few months back and it appears to still be in great shape.

  • BlackTalon2000

    The Standard Arms G Model had a better system, a long stroke gas piston with a tilting block. But it was unreliable and prone to damage. The Model 8 was easier to break down and store, and was of much better quality.

  • 07GMC53

    I have a 1926 Rem Model 8 in .35 Remington. I picked it up for $399 out the door at a local shop. Rifle shoots great, and is an awesome piece of history.

  • Casual observation

    My Dad had this classic print hanging in his gun room for years. I need to find out what happened to it. Speaks volumes of what the Remington Ad men were thinking in those days.

    Always wondered why nobody adopted it as a military weapon. Too expensive to produce? Hard to give up their bolt guns for a new-fangeled technology?

    • Rock or Something

      “I’ve got a cliff to my back, a shear vertical drop of 500 feet to my right, and a (possible) rabid, hungry, Mama bear in front. But thank God I have a Browning engineered Model 8!”

  • Zebra Dun

    I believe one or more of these rifles was used to bring down Bonnie and Clyde.

  • Joseph Raymond

    I worked at Remington for 42 years in the shooting gallery. We would shoot customers model 8’s after repairing them. The 8 was famous for ejecting the spent brass straight up and back which occasionally when you were shooting bench rest would send the hot brass down your back inside your shirt. Had a few Irish jig dances before someone brought in a safari pith helmet that deflected the empties

  • Jim

    This was a favorite of Frank Hamer’s who owned several in different calibers. I believe he was carrying one when he ambushed Bonnie and Clyde.