Popular Remington Rifle Plagued By Faulty-Trigger Accidents, Investigation Finds

At least two dozen deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to a popular rifle plagued for decades by a critical safety issue: firing without anyone pulling the trigger.

The safety problem with the Remington Model 700-series rifle has led Remington Arms Company, Inc. at least twice, in 1979 and 1994, to consider nationwide recalls, according to an investigation by CNBC. The firearm is widely used by everyone from hunters to law enforcement officers.

The problem stems from the gun’s “trigger connector,” a tiny piece of metal inside the rifle’s firing mechanism, which can be put out of alignment by debris or even a small jolt. When that happens, the trigger itself can become loose and be set off inadvertently.

The defect in the gun has led to more than 75 lawsuits. Remington responded in 2007 with a new trigger system, X-Mark Pro, which was designed without a trigger connector.

Still, older models of the 700 — without X-Mark Pro — can be found in stores nationwide. The military also uses rifles with the older trigger system. And the company never did issue those recalls it considered, though it has sold five million Remington 700s.

According to CNBC, Remington insists the rifle is safe if firearm safety rules are followed.

“Despite any careless reporting to the contrary,” Remington said in a statement, “the gun’s use by millions of Americans has proven it to be a safe, trusted and reliable rifle.”

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About the author

Lilly Fowler is assistant editor at FairWarning.

15 comments to “Popular Remington Rifle Plagued By Faulty-Trigger Accidents, Investigation Finds”

  1. Richard Barber

    For everyone who thinks these types of malfunctions only occur on rifles that have been improperly modified, could someone please explain to the rest of us how come the same malfunctions occur on new rifles, inside the plant, during routine testing?

    According to one employee during sworn deposition testimony, he claimed between certain years, over 200 rifles had malfunctioned in a similar manor as complaints received by customers in the field. The employee also stated Remington destroyed the offending trigger mechanisms in the rifles that malfunctioned inside the plant.
    How could this be if the rumor is true, only dirty triggers or rifles improperly adjusted can fire when the safety is released or through bolt manipulation?

  2. Harry Samarin

    I have been using nothing but Remington 700 rifles for 45 yrs. Shot over 500 head of big game 40 countries, shot Competition rifle for about 10yrs, have been a avid varmint hunter for 50 yrs. Killed a Coyote today. Shot 222 to 416, and did my own trigger work. I love Remington Rifles and there triggers. The only one’s that I had go off at wrong time are the one’s that I did not set up correctly. If you mess with trigger you need to bench test it on a open chamber first, then with a round in the camber. Then take a rubber malt and whack the action a couple of times, and the bolt handle. With the safety on and off. When you do that come to me a talk about a bad trigger. Altai Mountains at 14000 ft freezing cold to the Kalahari desert heat, slipping falling down ice, water, sand. Open gun up degrease and blow out with air, go shoot. The money you save by buying Remington us it to go hunting, Harry

  3. Big John

    Remington triggers don’t go off unless you have been messing with or you have never cleaned it. CLEAN YOUR GUNS OFTEN!!

  4. Deborah Johnson

    My father purchased a new Remington 700 in the late 50’s early 60’s…..a long time ago. Shortly after that, as a family we went deer hunting. The gun was laying in the back of his friends Willy’s Cab Over Jeep facing the cab. All I did was touch the safety and the gun went off. No one was hurt except his carpenter overall were riddled with holes, and the drivers seat stopped the bullet, Lesson to 10 year old girl…. don’t touch your fathers deer rifle!! Fifty years later my fathers hears about this on the news. Makes me wonder if there are many OLD Remington 700 models out there that could tell a similar story. This gun is now at least 50 years old.

  5. chad riegel

    i have an older model 700 and mine has also went off about 5 years ago while messing with the safety and again about 3 years when i racked a round in the chamber bang it went off again—both times my left hand was on the forearm and my right hand was near the bolt and the safety—the first time it blew through a treated swing set and destroyed everything in its path including 3 4x4s and a ladder rung and the second time it about smashed my pecker to my leg and blasted a huge chunk out of one of my dads trees(which eventually fell over–he was pissed)—luckily i am a strong preacher and practicer of gun safety and no one was injured but and ive had 2 more children since so there was no damage to the ol pecker just a little soreness—i contacted remington and they said they have never had this happen before(i guess that was a lie)and to send it back and they will fix it for free–i never sent it back its still in the gun vualt

  6. Brian Shinn

    My cousin took me hunting this weekend with my 7 and 5 year old boys. When we were finished and about to exit the box, my cousin was telling the boys to never climb down with a loaded firearm. As we all watched him take the safety off his Remington 700 it discharged inside the box – very close to us all. His hand was no where near the trigger. I now have learned that this has been a Remington known safety fault for years! Unacceptable! Fortunately my cousin knows and always practices gun safety. However I will never buy a Remington product due to this known problem and their refusal to recall this dangerous fault. We will be checking my sons hearing out tomorrow to see if there is any risk of permanent or long term damage. Remington 700 owners – please beware!

  7. Paul Scott

    My Remington 700 went off this morning when unloading the rifle without my ever touching the trigger. Everyone that owns one of these rifles, which I love shooting, should take it to a licensed gunsmith and have it checked out. I have shot many deer with this rifle and it’s the first time it ever happened, but I had my daughter with me and luckily, the gun was pointed up in the air and no one was harmed. Just my underwear!!! It doesn’t take but one time to kill or injure someone, so please take your 700’s to a gunsmith and check it out even if it has never happened to you. Never happened to me either, until this morning.

  8. matt

    I just got my Remington 700 never have had a problem with it. I heard about this and got it out and was playing with it and it went offf

  9. mike

    I have 1948 rem 721 been in family from time I can remember Im 64 now have had this rifle since my dad passed 1988 this gun has fired many of times when saftey had to be moved to fire so you could unload rifle has always been up and down range and so far no death to anybody BUT this should NOT happen had bolt lock cut out about 10 years ago so now you can unload with saftey ON and so far so good

  10. Jeff Hankins

    I have been working on and building custom rifles using the Remington 700 action for years and I have never had one misfire on me. I have never even heard of this happining. The only possable way I see for this to happen is if someone improperly adjust the trigger. There are alot of people that try to adjust them not knowing what they are doing, then they sell the rifle at a gun show and the poor fella that buys it has know idea that he has a bad trigger. This is not Remingtons fault, beware of used guns, you never know what was done to them.

  11. Ernie Sheldon

    Purchased my Rem. Model 700 in 1984. Would be impossible to know how many rounds have been fired in this gun. No problems at all. Saw the article by CNBC, got the gun out of my safe. LOADED A LIVE ROUND IN THE CHAMBER,STEPPED IN MY YARD , POINTED AT THE GROUND. TRIED TO PULL TRIGGER, NO MISFIRE. MOVED THE SAFETY WITH NO PROBLEM. WILL KEEP MY 700

  12. Carey Bankston

    I am alerting all my friends, both hunting and non-hunting. This is critical

  13. Leanne

    A youth that is hunting with me just purchased the Reminton 700 30-06 Bone Collector Series Rifle (BRAND NEW) this rifle also went off by moving the safety into the off position, twice with a round i the chamber, and also by “dry firing”. I made sure to show as many people as I could, most people wouldn’t beleive that a rifle will fire from moving the safety and not touching the trigger. Seems as though the brand new rifles are just as prone for this defect as the older models.

  14. Remington Arms

    For nearly fifty years, the Remington Model 700 rifle has been the preferred choice for millions of hunters, shooting sports enthusiasts and military and law enforcement personnel. For Remington’s response to CNBC, visit http://www.Remington700.tv.

  15. Nancy Beauregard

    I was hunting with a friend using his Remington 700 and the gun went off when I was removing the safety. I never touched the trigger when it happened. There were 3 of us and luckily it wasn’t aimed in anyone’s direction but it certainly scared us!

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