Shooting JMB’s Remington Model 8

Recently on TFB, we ran a photo of my Model 8 as the “photo of the day”. I must say that I was quite surprised at the amount of people who had never seen, or even heard of this incredibly important and revolutionary firearm. The Remington Model 8 was one of the first successful semi-automatic rifle designs to be built from the ground up as a commercial firearm. Not only that, but it was arguably more advanced than most previous military attempts at a self loader. Browning’s genius shows in this firearm, and shooting one is a great experience.

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Firearm Featured:
Remington Model 8

The full transcript …

– [Voiceover] A while back on TFB, we ran a picture of my Model Eight as the picture of the day.

I was really astonished at the amount of people who have never heard of this extremely revolutionary firearm.

So, let’s take a look at it.

That safety lever should be pretty familiar to any Kalashnikov guys, and it is functionally identical.

You can see here, lowering the safety presses it into fire mode, and it’s simply right-side charging, just like an AK.

The port on the top is where you load the ammunition, and it can accept stripper clips.

One endearing feature about the Model Eight is they’re all actually take-down rifles; what looks like a front sling swivel, is actually a screw that helps you remove the wooden forend.

After you accomplish this, there’s a lever that you rotate a number of times, which can be a bit of a bear, but it does secure the barrel assembly to the receiver very well.

After a little bit of unscrewing, you reach the point where it stops and it is captive.

Lock the bolt to the rear, and rotate the barrel out.

This leaves you with a very nice, compact package that you can throw in a backpack, duffel bag or what have you.

This specific example is chambered in.30 Remington, and they were chambered in multiple calibers including.25,.30,.32,.35, and.300 Savage.

You can see that.30 Remington is about the size of.30-30, because they are almost dimensionally identical, except for the rim.

Loading the Model Eight is quite easy: you click the rounds in through the top; and there is a stripper clip guide as well, should you have some stripper clips.

However, they are quite rare and expensive, and I’ve seen one sell for $100 on eBay, so I reckon clicking them in is just fine in lieu of that.

After you have your five rounds in, you simply pull the bolt to the rear, and it chambers a round.

So let’s start shooting, shall we? All I can say about the Model Eight’s recoil impulse is it is incredibly heavy.

The entire barrel actually recoils into the action, and there’s absolutely nothing soft about this firearm.

However, place it in historical context.

At the time, there really weren’t any commercially available semi-automatic rifles, so this was revolutionary.

You could see here, in slow motion, how the barrel recoils all the way into the receiver to unlock the bolt.

And as the barrel comes forward, the shell ejects.

After this, it was time to take a brief accuracy test.

It is worth noting that these were accurate enough to be part of the guns in the posse that took down Bonnie and Clyde.

As a matter of fact, it was a Model Eight chambered in.35 Remington that took down Clyde Barrow with a shot to the head.

These were the tactical rifles of their day, and it’s easy to understand why.

You had five rounds of a hard-hitting, centerfire firepower, and accuracy that was very impressive, actually.

You can see here I shot a five-shot group at about 40 yards that measured about an inch.

So that about does it for the great Model Eight.

While complicated, they were an important step toward semi-automatic rifle design.

Should you see one for a good price, why not take a look at it? This is Alex C., with TFB TV.

Thank you very much for watching.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Swarf

    Is JMB a giant or is that a tiny rifle?

    • That is a tiny .22 LR self-loader…the FN SA-22 or Remington Model 24.

      • Swarf

        That explains it.

        Funny, I actually own a Rem 24 that was recently passed on to my by my father. His father owned it before him and his grandfather before that.

        Guess I shoulda recognized it.

        Still a good shooter, btw. Still has the same piece of matchstick my grandfather used to elevate the rear sight.

    • Both! (joking)

  • Swarf

    Oh, and nice video, y’all.

  • A fine rifle, plenty of them are still taking deer every season to this day and will be for a long time I’m sure!

  • Tassiebush

    Very cool gun and video. I’d read about long recoil action before but it was great to see footage of it in action. It’s a gorgeous looking rifle that looks like it’d work very well in it’s intended role. Early sporting semi autos are a fascinating topic!

  • Vitsaus

    In before some one suggests Remington start making it again and charging no more than $500 MSRP.

    • DW

      Try Norinco/polytech.

    • Too late on youtube.

  • Wolfgar

    More proof of Browning’s genius. This is the first I have seen the model 8 in action and up close. Thank you for the great video.

  • Cahal

    The primary market for the
    Model 8 was sport hunting. The Model 8 was used as a police
    gun, modified to use detachable extended capacity magazines, among other
    changes. It is noted as the rifle of choice of famed Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. Hamer’s rifle was a customized .35 Remington Model
    8 with a special-order 15-round magazine from Petmeckey’s Sporting Goods store
    in Austin, Texas. He was shipped serial number 10045, and
    this was just one of at least two Model 8’s used in the ambush of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The rifle was modified to
    accept a “police only” 20-round magazine obtained through the Peace
    Officers Equipment Company in St. Joseph, Missouri.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Someone always passes that chestnut about Bonnie & Clyde along whenever they discuss the Model 8. Unfortunately, the ser.#10045 rifle that always gets pointed to is a Model 81, and they weren’t even created when B&C met their grisly fate. The rifle certainly belonged to Frank Hamer, but he obtained it years after the ambush.

    • Captain Obvious

      Actually, Hammer’s model 8 that he allegedly used at the Bonnie and Clyde shooting did not have the extended mag. Photos taken at the scene right after the shooting shows one Model 8 without an extended mag. The one in the Texas Ranger museum purported to be the one he used (Serial # 10045) is actually a Model 81 that was made (as evidence of the serial number) after the B&C shooting (probably given to him). It did have the extended 15 round mag from POE. POE only made 15 round single stack mags for those guns not 20 rounders and POE didn’t mark their guns as on the museum gun until after 1940. Further, the photos of the model 8 with straight grip stocks and Schnabel fore arm. The model 81 came with pistol grip stock and a longer plain fore arm as shown on the one in the museum. The 81 replaced the 8 in 1936 and the B&C shooting was in 1934 so it couldn’t have been the same gun. In a 1968 TV documentary Hammer’s son apparently mistook that 81 with the older one his father may have used. No one ever questioned it but it could not have been the same gun. I didn’t mention that others police at the scene actually wrote in the report that Hammer actually used a Browning semi auto model A5 shotgun and not the similar looking and designed model 8 rifle.

  • sean

    we have one of those in the store right now on Consignment in a .300 savage. It points pretty good and i really like that safety lever.

    • Swarf

      How much will it go for?

      • sean

        He is asking $749 but he upgraded it with a peep sight.

        • milesfortis

          If that peep sight is a model that screws onto the back of the ‘hump’, it’s probably a Marbles sight, and those things are collectors items in their own right.

    • Captain Obvious

      Probably a later model 81, not an 8. The 8 never came in 300 Sav. The 81 replaced the 8 in 1936/37 and added 300 Sav to the offering until 1948.

  • Barney Samson

    @ 1:30: “You can see that .30 Remington is about the size of.30-30, because they are almost dimensionally identical, except for the rim.”
    Agreed, except the cartridge shown next to the .30 Rem ain’t a .30-30… maybe a .223?

  • Southpaw89

    I’ve seen these for a reasonable price in the past, unfortunately I was broke at the time.

  • ostiariusalpha

    It would have been enlightening to have had one of T.C. Johnson’s autoloading designs to contrast with Browning’s work. The Winchester Models 1903, 1905, 1907, and 1910 were the first successful self loading commercial rifles, and what JMB’s Model 8 had to compete with.

    • Tassiebush

      I’d love to see one of those blowback winchester rifles tested out.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Right, they were also takedown rifles too. Not to mention simple & robust, the wealthy philanthropist & adventurer Harry Payne Whitney took a Model 1905 with him on an Artic expedition where it performed very reliably, and 1907s & 1910s were purchased for aircrews and military security by France along with the U.S., G.B., Russia, and others during WW I.

    • Doug K

      I had a Winchester ’07 in .351 at the same time as my Model8 Remington. The Model 8 is a better rifle, with a more powerful round. The Winchester was getting slightly better than .357 mag carbine ballistics in a faulty heavy rifle. For a defensive rifle at the time, a ’92 Winchester in .38/40 or .44/40 would have been a better choice than the 07. I still have my Remington and it’s lots of fun to shoot. I mostly load it light with 158gr pistol bullets for plinking.

  • Jonathan Wright

    JMB did seem to favor the “take down” option on a number of his designs.

  • Jeff

    I’d buy a Model 8 in a heart beat. And .35 Rem is an awesome cast bullet cartridge.

  • Pete Sheppard

    How well did that barrel ‘sleeve’ handle heat? With that small forend, it looks as if it could quickly become uncomfortably hot.

    • Dean Seaman

      Its ok, Pete.
      That fore end style/shape was very popular on a lot of guns back then.

  • MPWS

    Commercial: gun which punishes shooter more than receiver! Try it – believe it!

  • Uniform223

    I wonder what Mr Browning would think about all these modern day “tacti-cool” firearms? Even better, what could he do to improve them?

    • He would say “hey, I designed that, they just repackaged it” in many cases.

  • wjkuleck

    As has been mentioned, the Model 8 and Auto-5 shotgun share the same long-recoil design, from the same JMB patent. FN produced a version of the Model 8 just prior to WWI. Browning’s “two-hook” trigger design, found in said patent and Model 8/81, has been the basis for many two-stage trigger designs that followed, most notably that of John Garand. Garand articulated the secondary hook to avoid the trigger slap that can result from a rigid secondary hook. Somewhere around here I have a Model 8 “trigger group” that proves the point.

  • scaatylobo

    A close friend has one,and now thanks to this article = I want one in .35 rem as that is the round I use in my TC Contender for deer.

  • ghost

    I have lust in my heart. (for the rifle).