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The Great Remington Extractor Conundrum
I’m currently reading a book titled Africa’s Most Dangerous, by one Kevin Robertson (Safari Press, 07). It’s all about hunting Cape buffalo, and has much interesting and useful stuff about guns and cartridges for old nyati. Mr. Robertson, who appears to have considerable experience in the field, is vehement about avoiding push-feed rifles, and particularly Remington Model 700s with their small, hook-type extractors.
Many custom gunsmiths are also rabid on the subject. If they don’t get to replace your Remington extractor with a Sako-type, they run to the bathroom and you hear weeping and retching. But the truth is, the Remington works just fine. In the early 50s, Warren Page had Weatherby build him what was to be his dangerous-game rifle for his entire career (in .375 Weatherby), and for the action, they used one of the brand-new Remington 721s. People were lining up to get Lefty’s job in case some angry animal did him in, but what happened was, he used the rifle for 20 plus years, shot three barrels out of it, and never had a single failure of any kind.
If you get a round stuck in a Remington chamber, the extractor will cut through the rim and you’re in trouble. If you get a round stuck in the chamber in a Model 70 or a Mauser, it will slip off the rim and you’re in trouble. Where’s the difference?
Remington extractors appreciate it if you keep the bolt face clean. Take a Q-tip, dip it in powder solvent, and clear away all the little brass fragments that can collect under the extractor.