I have moved most of my custom rifles over to builds from Tuebor Precision. I’ve graduated to full custom bolt guns for most of my article production needs and I’m truly happy with my experience with Tuebor. But I’ve run into a problem recently with my legacy bolt guns, namely the few Model 700’s in my rotation, such as my tried-and-true 450 Bushmaster.
I’m not doing anything crazy, just trying to source and make improvements to my existing rifles when there is a scarcity of factory parts.
For those of you that don’t know, Remington has been, to put it kindly, ging through some interesting times in recent years and the brand has struggled. Production of their most famous and popular products has dwindled, and the ones made prior to the bankruptcy weren’t known to be made to the standards of their predecessors.
If you find yourself with a problem these days, don’t look to warranties and the hope that there will one day be millions of 700’s rolling off the line again. I have loved the 700 since boyhood, but it’s obvious to me that their products have felt tired for some time. Unfortunately the only lasting legacy of the venerable model 700 rifles may be its footprint; The 700 action has defined short and long action in terms of aftermarket and created a boom of custom actions.
I recently ran into issues finding appropriate replacement parts. I’m sure many of you are in that same boat. While the Remington plant in Ilion, New York has reportedly reopened, the stock items from the factory have all but dried up.
Gun parts retailers aren’t a good source for replacement parts, which may come as a surprise. I will detail this a bit more later on, but they are great for upgrades, not necessarily factory parts.
The go-to place for factory Remington parts these days is eBay of all places. You can readily find used parts for just about anything there, ‘used’ being the operative word.
While you run the risk of getting not exactly what you want on eBay, the sellers of these parts are generally very knowledgeable and are themselves enthusiasts. I have yet to have a bad eBay parts experience, but I know a few guys who have, though I believe that they weren’t as detailed as I am when looking for the specific parts they needed.
The next route is retailers and custom shops. Most 700 footprint custom actions are totally proprietary and their parts aren’t compatible with a stock 700. You can find new bolts and such, but they’re typically not drop-in. You’ll need to take them to a gunsmith to be fitted. This is the short version of the bolt discussion, you can fit them at home, but it is a 10/10 project you’ll need proper tools for.
Firing pins are another matter on the 700. The entire pin assembly is basically one unit. There is a VERY hard-to-remove pin in the cocking piece that goes through the firing pin itself. You’ll need a special jig to remove pressure from the spring to be able to get that retaining pin driven out. They are also exceedingly easy to damage in this process. I’d recommend not doing that and instead just order a new entire pin assembly.
Gre-Tan makes a wonderful replacement assembly. I have one of theirs with a fluted firing pin in my 700 action 450 Bushmaster. I installed a new Timney Elite Hunter trigger in my rifle, itself replacing a Timney Calvin Elite.
If you’re wondering why I have a 15X scope and a match trigger in a 200M rifle, well, it’s because I can and I hunt deer from September through New Years. I spend days with my rifle hunting and I know from extensive personal experience and many clean kills that a lot of shots are taken at 4X, but when you really need 15X, it’s best to have it. With a pleb-tier round like 450 BM and it’s happy rainbow trajectory you really need a good trigger for those longer shots.
But I digress. The new Timney wouldn’t work when I installed it. It would randomly drop the firing pin if I ran the bolt too hard or too light. Not good.
Next I tried it with Timney HIT trigger. Failed again. If it’s not the trigger, it has to be the firing pin. Sure enough, my sear was wearing out, something I’d heard about but only seen this once in person. I called up Gre-Tan and had a new pin assembly on the way.
I installed it and checked the function with the new sear and pin. Everything worked wonderfully. I was happy and put the gun back together.
There are more Model 700 parts that are getting harder and harder to find. You can order replacement screws, bolts, and firing pins at places like Brownells, but be prepared to have them fitted.
The Gre-Tan pin was drop-in, as are the Timney triggers. In my opinion, if you want to get a new Timney, you should probably also order a new match-quality pin from Gre-Tan. The variances in some of the late production 700’s aren’t great and it’s not unusual for that to cause issues. Replacing the whole firing control package is a safe bet in my opinion.