When news of another Remington recall splashed across the major networks last week, the public reacted in an unsurprisingly rabid manner. The reactions were overwhelmingly negative, even within the firearms community, and my cell phone began to predictably blow up with questions. After all, I was with Remington at a firearms event away from my home state, and many people knew and did not hesitate to dogpile onto the situation. And as my phone blew up not one but two evenings in a row and the demanding queries poured in, in the form of reader emails, I realized something: a statement needed to be made, and not by Remington, but by me. Here it is.
First, a word about the reality of the “recall.” Remington released a statement not everyone has seen that clearly addresses what’s really going on with their Model 700 rifles. For those who have not seen it, here it is:
“On Dec. 5, 2014, papers were filed seeking approval of a proposed settlement of two economic class-action lawsuits of certain Remington bolt-action centerfire firearms that contain either a Walker trigger mechanism, or a trigger mechanism which utilizes a “trigger connector.”
The filings triggered multiple news reports that mistakenly conveyed the proposed agreement in significant fashions that require immediate clarification.
- These settlements are not recalls.
- These settlements are not any admission that the products are defective or unsafe.
- These settlements are an opportunity for any concerned consumers who have the Remington Model 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, XP-100, 721, 722 and 725 rifles with either a Walker trigger mechanism, or a trigger mechanism which utilizes a “trigger connector” to have Remington install a new trigger.
- The benefits under the settlement, including the trigger replacement program, will not be in place until after court approval of the settlement and full notice will go out at that time.
This culminates from extensive mediator-supervised negotiations between lawyers for those concerned about the triggers and Remington, who while denying there is any cause for concern, always desires to ensure that its customers are satisfied with Remington products.
A joint press release will be issued to better explain details of the proposed settlement.”
The Model 700 has been in production since 1962 and has numerous variations; there are so many versions of this rifle on the market it’s simply mind-boggling. The Walker trigger being so gleefully blamed by the gun control crowd and so carefully dissected by armchair gun buffs is a creation that started back in 1948 – and before you decry the use of “old” technology, try to remember the majority of our cartridges were created well over a century ago and the beloved 1911 platform is based on a handgun model of same year as its name. There are so many Model 700s out there we cannot put a number on it without serious research, and of those countless rifles, only a few have reported misfires.
Here’s the thing about misfires: yes, they happen. Because they happen – my memory is riddled with tales of various models of guns misfiring over the years and the wave of “gosh I’m glad I was following the golden rules” comments that follow such tales – and that’s why we follow the golden rules. Say them with me, gun-loving boys and girls: 1) Treat every gun as if it is loaded, 2) Don’t point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy, 3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re on target, and 4) Know your target and what is beyond it. We respect these rules because accidents do happen, and if that gun should happen to fire, we want the resulting bullet to lodge itself in an inanimate object, not a living creature.
For that same reason we clean our guns. Dirty guns are more likely to have problems as gunk and debris build up, and all too many people seem to believe cleaning time is optional rather than required. Actually, it’s required. If you shoot it, you clean it. Not only does a clean gun function better but it’s more reliable and, yes, safer. And if you’re thinking it would take an awful lot of buildup to cause a misfire, well, that depends on several factors. For one thing, the number of gun owners feeding their guns cheap steel-cased rounds never ceases to amaze me. The lacquer coating on those rounds will dirty your guns in record time, not to mention the damage to your action the rough steel can do as it feeds the bullet into your gun’s barrel. Cheap ammo means a dirtier gun, and fast. (Another word of encouragement for shelling out the extra few bucks for quality target rounds: well-made target rounds have better accuracy, a more balanced trajectory, and improved performance overall, so aside from being easier on your gun they help you shoot better, too.)
And then there’s the issue of modifying guns. It’s far better to have all work done by a trained gunsmith rather than stumble through it yourself because you a) believe you’re more than capable of handling “this one small thing” or b) think “if he can do it, I can do it” or other excuses for not handing your gun over to a professional when you want something altered. Does that mean no one is capable of dropping a new trigger in or swapping out springs other than a licensed gunsmith? No. What it does mean is the the average gun owner shouldn’t even consider it, let alone do it. Those who are truly capable of modifying their own guns – safely – are few and far between. I know many people who have worked on their own guns who absolutely shouldn’t have done it themselves. Sometimes those mods result in damage to the gun or it not firing properly – one time a friend’s gun wouldn’t fire after he tinkered with it, and when he showed it to me it took only a short time to find the problem: he’d failed to replace the firing pin. Where was it? He didn’t know. Other times that come to mind include more than one case of extra parts being left over with an “I don’t know what to do with these” shoulder shrug over an “assembled” gun that isn’t really assembled. Is learning to work on your own gun a valuable skill? Yes. Is it one that should ever be approached casually? Absolutely not.
A quick note on the background of the company in question: Remington was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington, a young man who decided he wanted to design and build his very own flintlock rifle. And he did. He used his father’s forge to build the gun, and he entered it in a competition to find out how it would perform. He won second place – and we can all imagine his disappointment over not managing first – and spectators were so impressed they began asking for their own rifles. Fortunately for the gun world, Eliphalet went into the firearms business, and Remington was born. In the 200 years since the company has changed hands more than once, but in recent years there have been several noteworthy changes. In 2007 Cerberus Capital Management took control of the company, and is now managing it through the Freedom Group. And, at the tail end of 2012, some major changes were made in Remington upper management. In addition, Remington became the Remington Outdoor Company (ROC) and many positive changes have been made. All in all, Remington has been through quite a few changes.
It’s been disappointing to watch the reaction in the gun world to Remington’s Model 700 problems. With the recall of the R51 and the 887, this replacement of a vast number of Model 700 triggers is certainly a blow to the legendary company. Because you can be sure it will be Remington itself taking the financial hit, not financial giant Cerberus or the smaller Freedom Group front it’s been using to buy up gun companies. Remington has earned its place in firearms history, and the team currently toiling away at Remington is made up of some brilliant minds. I’ll refrain from naming names, but I will say the guys in charge of development for the various departments, the guys creating new handguns and rifles, fussing over every tiny detail, putting tens of thousands of rounds through guns in testing, they work hard. They pay attention to details, and they absolutely sweat the small stuff. I say this having been around them, knowing them personally: these are good men, and the sewage-quality comments being made about Remington in recent days hurts them. People who never touched the triggers being brought back in for replacing – that’s who your nasty comments and barbed insults impact. One particular hard-working woman comes to mind whose smile remains in place regardless of workload weight, and I know the outpouring of negativity gets to her whether she says it or not – and she’s one of my favorite people in the company, if not my favorite, hands down. But it isn’t just the guys I’m happy to call my friends who are being hurt, it’s more: it’s the gun industry.
In a world where Second Amendment rights are being chipped away, we in the gun industry have only one another to rely on when it comes to standing up for our rights and fighting the good fight. Infighting serves no purpose other than destruction from within; nothing would make the gun control crowd happier than to see us tear ourselves apart without any help needed from the outside. Is it human to speculate about what’s going on? Of course. As a gun writer it’s my job to wonder, to figure out how things work – or why they fail, and to pass those findings on to you. But it’s also sometimes my job to drag everyone back on track, to remind you of something: the mainstream media’s desire to see the gun industry destroyed, to see the gun industry brought to its knees by lawsuits, rules, and regulations. Everything you see in the mainstream media cannot be trusted or relied upon and, in fact, there was a fair chunk of misinformation strewn about the Friday the news of Remington’s trigger replacements hit the wires. It’s all too easy to forget whose side the mainstream media is on, so here’s your reminder: in the gun world, they’re never on your side. End of story.
Guns that are filthy or modified are far more likely to misfire. That’s just reality. Guns pointed in an unsafe direction are going to impact whatever stands in their path if they fire, for whatever reason. It’s a tragedy, a devastating, horrifying nightmare, when someone is injured, crippled, or killed when a gun misfires, regardless of the reason for the misfire. And in such cases it’s natural – human – to go looking for somewhere to place blame. Over the years there have probably been something like fifty million Model 700s sold. It’s become the go-to rifle for many, including those uneducated in firearms. I have many friends who have owned their Model 700s for anywhere from six months to 40 years without a single misfire.
I am not here to give my opinion on the state of the Walker triggers; I’m here to ask that you, the gun community, stop tearing yourself apart. The triggers are being replaced by Remington; Remington is not recalling millions of rifles. The nature of a recall involves items being returned to the company and the company replacing said item with different item, or money. In this case, only triggers will be replaced, and the rifles will be returned to the owners. Many good changes have been wrought at Remington recently, and I believe it’s worth waiting to see what’s coming down the firearms pike. I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings to the Remington line, and, yes, you’ll continue to see me using my Remington firearms to hunt, hone my long-range skills, and go plinking. Remington’s been around for nearly two centuries, and hopefully they’ll be around for two more. Infighting helps nothing and hurts only those of us within the gun world. Stop infighting, and try putting that energy into supporting our Second Amendment rights. It would be a far better expenditure for so many reasons. And, above all, let’s be safe out there.
Author’s note: To see if your gun is eligible for trigger replacement, check out http://xmprecall.remington.com/pdfs/xmprecall-notice.pdf
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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