Are Remington semi-autos better than the rest?
These days, rifles like the AR-15 and AR-10 are all the rage among shooters, and have even begun popping up in the hunting fields. I even saw a few kids carrying them at a recent Hunter’s Education field day.
The increase in the popularity of this type of rifle has led to a debate regarding their usefulness as hunting tools, but this is largely due to their appearance instead of their mechanical design. Auto-loading rifles with rotating bolt heads work just fine as hunting arms.
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As a matter of fact, Remington began producing rifles like this in 1955 in the form of the model 740 and then the model 742. While these guns have never sold as well as Remington’s bolt action offerings, they do have a steady and solidly-devoted following based almost wholly on the unflinching reliability of these rifles.
One of the places that the 740 and 742 have always found a niche is with left-handed shooters. Aside from the cross-bolt safety, which works fairly smooth for a lefty, the 740s are pretty much ambidextrous. When they first hit the market, there weren’t too many high-powered rifles that could make this boast.
My family, which has an overabundance of lefties, had three semi-auto Remington rifles laying around by the time I was old enough to go hunting, and one of them became my first deer gun.
My 742 had really been through the wringer by the time I got hold of it, but it would still consistently shoot roughly two inch groups at 100 yards with factory ammo. That might not sound too great, but it’s more than enough for deer hunting and I certainly didn’t mind.
I hunted with the rifle for my first season during which it functioned flawlessly. When the season was over, I decided to give my new gun a proper cleaning, which involved completely disassembling the rifle. To my knowledge this was the first time the rifle had ever been torn down all the way.
Inside the receiver of my gun I found thirty years of dried-up Outer’s oil, actual dirt, a small pebble and a two-inch long stick. That’s right, I said a stick.
All that crud had been roiling around in the gun for God knows how long, and it still worked great—not one jam or failure to fire.
Presently, the 740 and 742 have been replaced by the 7400, but they’re all basically the same near-unbreakable gun. None of them are exactly what you would call tack drivers; most can put three rounds in about two inches, but I’ve ran across a few over the years like my mother’s old 740 that will give sub-MOA performance with the proper ammo.
Mom’s gun is a real rarity, though. During this design’s sixty-odd-year career, they’ve been offered in a variety of calibers ranging from 30-06 on down to 243, and have probably been used on every species of game in North America.
What makes these rifles of current interest is the fact that, due to their durability, there are a ton of them on the used market that can be had for very reasonable prices.
If you have a hankering for an AR-style rifle you might shell out $1000 without really trying. Many 740, 742 and 7400 model Remingtons can be had in the neighborhood of $300 dollars.
Right now, these Remington rifles are the best-kept secret on the used and bruised market, so go grab one before the rest of the world catches on.
Featured image via icollector