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I bought on years ago at a garage sale. I cold not get it to shoot 100grain bullets to my expectations. I had it rechambered to 6mm284. A ballistic equivalent to a 240 weatherby magnum. It is still going strong. Great gun.
 

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The 788 was an excellent little bargain rifle. Too bad Remington discontinued it.
Over the years I've owned at least one in every variant they made except for the .44mag and the .308 left-hand. Still wish I would've hung onto them but they all got used for trading material except my two favorites that I lost in a fire.

Pros:
-Fast lock time
-Most had a decent trigger out of the box.
-Most of em were superbly accurate right out of the box.
-60° bolt lift rear-lug action. Very short bolt throw and travel.
-Cheap (they used to be when they were more common on the racks anyway)


Cons:
-The bolt handle is welded onto the bolt body. If you fire hot loads through it and have sticky bolt lift I have seen a couple that had the handle broken off while tapping the handle up to unlock the action.
-Some had problems with the locking lugs shearing off. Due to the nine-lug design...three sets of three small lugs, if not all of the lugs are seating in the action you get a lot of stress on a single lug. I've never seen one shear enough lugs to spit the bolt out the back of the action (which was a common fireside tale about "that cheap POS 788") but I have seen a couple that lost one or two lugs.
But...EVERY ONE that I seen with either a broken bolt handle or sheared lugs was caused by the shooter using hot handloads though...so I still think it's no fault of the rifle itself.
-Single-stack magazines that stick out the bottom of the stock and are expensive to find nowadays. .243/7mm-08/.308 mags are around $50-75 most places when you can fine em.
-Expensive. When you find a good looking 788 these days they are just as high priced as a Model 700 or any other non-bargain rifle. You can usually find a better deal than a 788 these days. But if you get a good price on one definitely consider picking it up (or send it my way ;)).



Is the .243 you've found an 18" carbine or a 22" rifle version? If 18", then velocity will be somewhat disappointing for the .243...but it's a handy length for a truck/brush gun.
Either version is worth picking up if the price is right.
 

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The rear locking lug design was supposed to be a problem regarding accuracy. I have seen a few and they all shot into an inch at 100 yds. Never heard of the lugs shearing, I'm sure it's possible.
 

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The rear locking lug design was supposed to be a problem regarding accuracy. I have seen a few and they all shot into an inch at 100 yds. Never heard of the lugs shearing, I'm sure it's possible.
A lot of gun writers claimed that the rear-lug design would allow more bolt-flex and as a result inaccuracy (think Winchester 94 or similar actions). This idea has been around for as long as the action has I'm sure (It's older than me by a few years...I didn't get familiar with the 788s until the mid to late '80s.)
My thinking on the 788 is that even though it's got rear-lugs the bolt head is supported by the action just as tight as on the 700s so it's just as consistent in cartridge placement/headspacing as the 700's "triple-ring" lockup. Unless you're pushing ungodly high-pressures there isn't enough bolt compression to cause inconsistencies and accuracy problems. those high pressure will bite you with the small lugs too...

If you're ever rebarreling or rechambering a 788, take the time to lap the locking lugs so that all of em seat in the recesses. On most 788s it's not surprising to find that only 3 or 4 lugs are actually seating. As long as you've got at least one lug on each of the three sets seating then it'll still support the bolt equally.
BUT, if you've only got a few lugs seated and you're pushing hot loads out of the action those smaller lugs take a lot more abuse. This is what caused the sheared lugs that I've seen. They were not fully sheared off, but either cracking away from the bolt body on the rear side or just plain deformed back.
From my reading and my experience this is more a problem with the .473" case head actions like .22-250, .243, 6mm, etc than the .378" actions (.222/.223). Supposedly more thrust against the bolt as the cartridges get bigger, but in the two that I've seen it was the owners' reloading habits. 6mm and .22-250...both pushed way hotter than they should've been.

In my area, 788s are very commonly built up for long-range prairie dog rifles and some benchrest competition (there's not much benchrest action here in ND). The guys wouldn't be starting with these actions if they were inaccurate.
That's one reason why the value on even beat-up old 788s are high here in ND & SD.
 

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You can find what you need for pros and cons. Now run out and buy it or post where it was at some one of us that know what they are capible of can get it. Don't treat the bolt like a hammer and put some pro-gold lube or wheel bearing grease on the lugs and have a average looking rifle that tends to smoke others that cost waaay more. You will still see some of them in matchs and varment hunting and the larger calibers made for some real accurate deer rifles. I have never seen a bad shooting in a 788. I bought mine back in 1976 and would not sell or trade. My biggest down side is mags are now expensive and a bit harder to find but still enought around to get all you need. Even the trigger are pretty good and can be upgraded if need for match use. Still a sub moa hunter today. Stay with factory load pressures and keep the lugs lubes and shoot away.
 

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I've got one that was my dad's and have used it as a kid and own it now.
As far as factory loads, the 100gr. Rems are "decent" if your just after a bit under sub moa.. But with the Rem. 80gr. SP's, it is a tac driver. 1/4" groups at 100yds all day long.
 
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