Remington to settle lawsuits on Model 700 rifles, possibly recall as many as five million guns

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According to a statement from Remington, the largest producer of bolt-action rifles in the country, the company last week settled a lawsuit brought against it over its legacy Model 700 rifles. Although the final guidelines of the settlement haven't been agreed to, it could lead to the recall of as many as five million of these classic guns made over the past half-decade.

Remington to settle lawsuits on Model 700 rifles, possibly recall as many as five million guns - Editor - 1963-700-ad-2426.jpg
(The Remington 700 was introduced in the 1960s as an update to the Remington 721 and 722 series of rifles, which had been introduced in 1948.)

The lawsuit comes as a result of the Joint Notice of Settlement filed earlier this month in the case of Pollard v. Remington Arms Company (pdf) in the Missouri Western District U.S. Court. This 2013 case, resulting from Pollard having his Model 700 fire accidentally on numerous occasions, was settled along with others.

Among the best known of these is the 2000 death of 9-year-old Gus Barber, accidentally killed when a round from a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle fired as his mother, holding the gun, was adjusting the safety.

That resulting case, Barber v. Remington Arms (Case No. 2:12-cv-00043 for you legal buffs out there), has been winding its way through the U.S. District Court for Montana since 2012. However, Barber's legal team was able to successfully unseal other cases that, according to some, claim that Remington knew about the defects in its earlier 700-series guns going back to the 1940s.

Remington to settle lawsuits on Model 700 rifles, possibly recall as many as five million guns - Editor - 700-ad-2427.jpg
(Since 1963, more than 5-million 700's have been sold)

An earlier lawsuit against Remington, according to the Montana Standard, was settled after the company promised to redesign the faulty trigger system.

"Our goal is to try to have those rifles recalled and the firing control or trigger mechanism replaced with a safe mechanism, so it won't fire without the trigger being pulled," Richard Ramler, an attorney responsible representing the suit against Remington said. "We're trying to provide notice to the public because these guns are dangerous.

"This isn't about an individual injury ... this is about a defective rifle."

According to the group behind the now-successful class action lawsuit:

"The defect in these types of guns deals directly with the trigger and safety system, known as the "Walker" fire control, a reference to the principal design engineer. This fire control is unique because it incorporates a "trigger connector" as an extra part. This part is not attached to the trigger body and is 'free-floating,' or 'resiliently' mounted.

As the result of the way in which the trigger connecter is mounted, the rifle can fire without the trigger being pulled. The rifle may misfire or inadvertently fire when the connector fails to fully reposition itself under the sear. Unfortunately, for consumers, this means that the rifle may misfire or accidentally discharge without a trigger pull. The rifles typically discharge when the safety is released, or when the bolt is being opened or closed."

The Walker Fire Control group, standard since 1948 on many of Remington's models, was replaced in 2006 by a more modern design. However, that fire control system, the X-Mark Pro ("XMP") has also been recalled by Remington on rifles made from 2006 until April 2014.

Remington to settle lawsuits on Model 700 rifles, possibly recall as many as five million guns - Editor - m40a5-2-2428.jpg
(The Remington 700 serves as the basis for the U.S. military's M-40 sniper rifle, popular with troops for decades)

Attorneys contend that as many as two dozen deaths and a number of injuries have been tied to the Model 700 in recent years. For years both Remington and the shooting media have contended that the whole alleged misfire controversy was just that.

Currently Remington's website is mum on any recall or replacement program other than on the XMP-version of the M700, but they have until October 30 to submit a plan to satisfy the courts.

Watch this space for updates as we get them, and always pay close attention to all of the standard firearms safety rules to include proper muzzle control at all times.

Have you experienced problems with your M700 over the years or on the other hand found it problem free? Drop us a comment in the space below.

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July 17, 2014  •  09:12 PM
My son had a model 700 that went off when he was working the Safety and he ended up putting a bullet threw his best friends Parents house. The Courts crucified him even though they were told about the problem. I believe he can reapply for his firearms license at the end of the year, he lost his hunting privileges in this time frame. Won't tell you what I think about the Canadian Government because if they had their way none of us would own guns
July 21, 2014  •  05:23 PM
would this include a model 7 made in 2002?
July 22, 2014  •  11:20 PM
The basic safety rules apply for just such cases as a rifle not operating properly.

Never point the muzzle of a gun at anything you do not want to shoot. That goes for neighbors houses, or small children.

Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Never put ammo into a gun until you are ready to use it.
July 29, 2014  •  09:37 PM

The Gun was pointed away from the house , the bullet bounced back off a rock. He was hunting with one of my friends that confirmed what he told me.

He followed the safety rules and reported what happened. According to the RCMP they would have never known who it was.
September 25, 2014  •  01:53 AM
My father purchased a Remington 721 new around 1950 & it has always had problems with the safety & has discharged a number of occasions with the safety on. Fortunately, we practice safe handling & the discharge has always occurred in a safe direction. We also never walk around with a round in the chamber because of this. When hunting I developed a practice of only putting a round in the chamber when sitting still. My father passed it to me around 1974-5.

I replaced the sear & spring about 17 years ago (1997) & it has not happened again, but it has been rarely used since then.
November 6, 2014  •  10:27 PM
All i have to say about the deaths and injuries is Rule #2. I have had only one ND that was due to dad and I not waiting for the manual to come in before trying out the J-22 (the safety wasn't fully on or off, and we went to chamber a round. With the safety engaged the firing pin protrudes into the chamber.) No one was hurt because the pistol was pointed at the soft ground by the spitting block. Short of a ricochet there is no excuse for loss of life from a ND. Period. Muzzle awarness saves lives.