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May 25, 2007

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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.


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Ralph the Rifleman

At this point in history, I think the 700 action designs have proved themselves reliable.
I still, however; would opt for a double rifle as my primary battery for dangerous game.
Dave-What do you think of a double chambered in .375 Ruger?

SD Bob

My career for 23 years has been that of retailing hunting and fishing equipment of all sorts. Firearms being the most enjoyable. Customers opinions really shine here and the only smart thing to do is to keep quiet and not get baited into these types of conversations. The best way to gauge any thuthfullness to the shortcomings of anything is the rate of return back to the store. There are quite a few people out there who believe that the retailer is responsible for the reliable function of everything they buy forever. That being said, the next time a Remington or any rifle comes back with extractor problems will be the first. I don't doubt that extractors have failed but I'll be hard pressed into belief of it being a design flaw. Hey Ralph the Rifleman!! If you read the blog on the short fat's you'll understand why you should run and hide behind the first pile of Tembo poo before delving into a new and improved round! We had compare and contrast training on this round and the last thing you need when M'bogo is bearing down on you is a rifle with significant less recoil and muzzle jump while donating the same terminal performance as the H&H version. I recomend a muzzleloading 8 bore with the tried and true cap.

Shawn Schwensen

I thought the big advantage to "controlled feed" extractor systems over "push feed" was the ability to eject a live round in case you panic and short-stroke the bolt. In a push feed the rifle would presumably jam. I don't remember extraction power of a stuck round being the real issue. I suppose proper training in working the bolt with authority is the real solution so short stroking doesn't happen in the first place.


I’ve yet to have any extraction problems with push-feed Remingtons or post-64 Winchesters. My M-70 458 is push feed. Never a problem. I will admit I love Mauser actions for their extraction and ejection record over M-700 and M-70 push feeds, but I have no evidence to back up this partiality.

BTY- I take a good bolt action for a dangerous game rifle over a double rifle. IT takes too long to overcome the recoil for me to take advantage of that quick 2nd shot a double rifle is suppose to give.


I was told by someone who thought very highly of himself that for a varmint rifle I should look for a pre-64 model 70 action instead of the 700 that I was considering because of the extractor on the 700 (you apparently need claw extraction in case a ground hog charges). Of course when I told him that I didn't need or want that type of action I was immediately written off as an idiot, but frankly it's kind of hard to care what someone with ideas like that thinks of you.

Dr. Ralph

In thirty years of experience using a 700 the only problem I've ever encountered was once using hand loads made specifically for a rifle other than mine. The projectile was seated too far out and engaged the rifling and when I ejected the cartridge it came out sans bullet and poured gunpowder into the magazine leaving a blocked barrel. Went home early that day but it certainly wasn't the gun's fault...probably the nut behind the trigger.

Dr. Ralph

Oooops forgot the point. Obviously no problem extracting...

Dave Petzal

To Ralph: The purpose of a double is to deliver two discussion-ending shots very quickly, at the end of which activity either you or the critter will have departed this vale of tears. If I were to get a double (and if I had the money I would do so in a heartbeat), I would get it in .470 Nitro Express or .500 Nitro. A double is a stopping rifle, and a .375--either H&H or Ruger--is not a stopping cartridge.

The first four buffalo I killed were shot with a .375 H&H, and I found that while it will kill them, it will not discourage them. To take the fight out of old nyati, you need .41 caliber or bigger.

Ralph the Rifleman

Merkel makes a nice double rifle in the 10K range chambered in .375,.416 Rigby, and .470 NE, which to me seems like a very conservative price for this type of rifle?
I think the.375 caliber to be a bit more feasible to use on other animals specifically;Moose, Elk, and Bear compared to the larger calibers.
If I were to go after cape buffalo, I would of course have a PH for back up which I assume most carry the .40 calbers or larger?
Sorry boys, i love them double rifles!


I've used Remington 700's exclusively on my hunting since I was old enought (now 63) to buy the gun I really wanted to hunt with. Own several. Even though I shoot thousands of rounds at prarie dogs yearly, and many at the range with my big game rifles, I never even think of anything that could go wrong. I have yet to see a 700 that will not shoot minute of angle after barrel break in and with the proper load. Even when I have a hit elk running through the timber, I will hit him with another round from my 35 Wehlen before he gets out of sight. The Remington always ejects properly!
Don in Wyoming

Paul in Colorado

Once again you hit it on the head. Any firearm used for dangerous game or any game must be kept clean if it is expected to work properly.


cabelas is putting out a double in 470 N.E. for under 7 grand; don't know if it is any good... Tho if you're number's up, your number's up.


Dangerous game...

By my reckoning that would be "Man" at the top of that list.

Does the US Military and the FBI/HRT know that they are arming their snipers with faulty rifles?

Clay Cooper

I’ve worn out 3 barrels on my Remington 700 BDL, 22-250. For Remington 700’s extractor problem, I've never known of one. The 22-250 bolt facing is the same as a 308 Winchester, 06 cartridges and operating at the same chamber pressures. I’ve had cases split just above the web leaving the upper case in the chamber due to many reloadings of that one case. Easy to remove in the field. The problem if any would be the extractors like you find on a M1A or M1 Grand breaking. I carry an extra bolt assembly when in competition. By keeping the bolt face and chamber clean, you’ll avoid those problems. Unless it’s an overloaded round!! That’s another story of it’s own. I read a story about Bill Ruger, loading a Ruger #3 45-70 so hot that it milted the case in the chamber and busted the stock in three paces. I fired several rounds out of a Ruger #3 45-70 loaded near 458 Win Mag velocities. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It’s a big hard push. It will loosen up your sinuses and give you a bit of whiplash!


To Dr. Ralph:

I saw and handled one of those Merkel double rifles in 9.3 x 62. Can't recall what the guy paid for it, but it wasn't cheap! Sorta looked and handled like a 410 shotgun IMHO. Also odd to me this was a German gun. I thought double rifles were by and for The Brit’s.

The rest of the world has steering wheels on the left and uses bolt actions.

DP is right. Double rifles are made to correct bad luck and/or bad judgement in very dramatic situations. NO since getting one smaller than .40-cal. The 458 is the biggest I can handle. If I could handle a .460 mag, .500 or a .577…I’d have one. When I tangle with the mean stuff, I want them to go real *loose*.

Dr. Ralph

Too many Ralph's... Ralph the rifleman and Dr. Ralph are not one in the same. I had a Savage .22/.410 over under when I was eleven but that is about as close to a double rifle as I have come. If I hit the power ball tomorrow I will buy a Beretta SS06 in .458 Win Mag and hit the Dark Continent! Otherwise I'll just dream about it. Maybe when my fifth child graduates from college but he's just fifteen and I still have four at home. Go big or go home with the double is what Petzal said, I stand by his word.

Larry rayburn

I have used Remington rifles for more years than most shooters have been alive, and have never had the first bit of trouble with any of their extracters. I have always found Remington fire arms to be very safe and very reliable. Good care and practices are the key. As far as I'm concerned, they only make two kinds of rifles, Remington, and them other kind!


while i've had limited exposure to remingtons 3 so far. i've yet to shoot one that i liked. regardless, i was led to believe that the extractor issue was mainly about controlled round feeding not extraction. the savage alaskan 375 hh is a better deal than the 375 ruger bc of ammo availability.recoil is brisk. my personal DGR is a interarms mark x in 458 win. cheap but reliable. Dream double is blaser s2 in 470 ne. blaser claims to regulate them at 100 yards so a scope is possible, although unnecessary and ugly.


Get him into Juche counseling. That will make a man of him! None of this effete, simpering, British schoolboy stuff, either! I MEAN A REAL MAN!
Bring him down to the docks, strip him off, and throw him into the water. We're always short of cabin boys... ARRRGH!

Thor Heyerdahl

For the most part, the Spartans were sensible dressers. That was never an excuse to ignore fashion, or to appear in a soiled or poorly-coordinated outfit, or to fail to properly trim one's nose and chest-hair. Many young Sparton warriors showed a remarkable sense of fashion and an obvious basic colour-sense coupled with a basic, practical personal grooming regimen that included a variety of fashionable implants reanging from the practical to the truly daring.



Don in WY

Good to see another .35 Whelen fan like myself on the Gun Nut. My Remington 700 (1988 Classic) shoots sub minute of angle before and after I restocked it to preserve the original stock. Anyone who thinks they need more penetration and tissue damage needs only to witness wound channels and exit wounds from a .35 Whelen with 225 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claws. That Federal load clocks an honest 2616 fps (avg) 15 feet from the muzzle on the range chronograph I have never recovered a bullet fom an elk, even at 250+ yard hits. I keep trying to convince myself to give up this rifle for a big 7 mm or .300 mag. I told my son last year that I was going to leave the .35 to just the timber hunting. He asked me why did I want to do that? I could not come up with an argument as to why, so off to Colorado elk camp again last year and this.

Your application for admittance to Hitler Youth is conditionally accepted. You will report to #34 Bittestrasse, Stettin, at once where you will be attached to Grup Karl Doenitz for physical and mental assessment and initial training. You will terminate your association with Chachi Fan Club prior to reporting to your unit as a condition of your acceptance!

Seig Heil!

GM Schoenberg (signature)

 Disabled/handicped Rocky Mountain Hunter

Am 72 yrs old, have used Remingotn Products since I traded my 30-30 #94 for one years ago. HAd the Auto's and all the bolts. Never had a problem with extraction except once with the Auto. Was my fault, as I had failed to clean the chamber proper and not often enough. Since that encounter< I make sure I clean the chamber on what-ever Rem product I use. I bought a new 700 CDL when they came out, and man is it some shooting piece of firearm. Most problems with exttraction is not clean the bolt head. I make a point now to soak my bolt end in cleanig solution, when I finish my praticing prior to My Rocky Mtn hunt. I usually take a worn out toothbrush to scrub the build up on the extraction end. A firearm is like any other prodcut with moving parts, has to be cleaned now and then. As for the Claw extractor, I dislike, as cannot drop one shell directly into the chamber when need to do so. With the Rem 700 you can. As for dble rifles, I don;t plan to hunt dangerous game in Africia, but if want a cheaper dble rifle, Remington has one now, with the bbl adjustable with a jack screw, so can get both bbls shooting same pattern. The rifle is # Mode 22-l SPR side by side, available in 30-06 abd 45-70 Gov't at this time, a larger one is on its way. Selling price is 699.00 + S&T. Rifle has dble triggers Chrome-Lined Hammer Forged Bbls., Walnut stock, Blue receiver, llmm Grove rail, 23 l/2 "bbls. I'd like to have one in 06, as a o6 is my all time favorit. That caliber will kill anything I plan to hunt. By using Rem.Scirocco Bonded Ammo in l80 grs, that ups the firearm equal to a 300 Win Mag. My 700 CDL was zeroed dead on at 200 yds and I killed a 4 x 4 in MT last fall at 345 yds. Animal fell in it's tracts, after the l80 gr. bullet hit 4" below the back bone hair line I held the scope on. I have never shot a better shooting firearm than this 700 CDL, only wish could afford a couple others in smaller calibers. Try the Remington's, believe you will like as well as the Mauser /Winc. claw extractor. But, to each his own, all I want is more years to hunt. RR

Buddy Hinton

something uniquely rewarding about bagging a homophobe.Every gay reader of F&S should henceforth dedicate himself to seducing every gay-basher they can find. Our response to hatred shouldn't be to hate back; it should be to give them a jolly good seeing-to.Most gay men either confront homophobic neo-Nazis and Islamists, or avoid them. I slept with a neo-Nazi. And an Islamic fundamentalist. And, yes, technically, they both thought gay people should be killed. There? Happy now? Let me explain. Sometimes, as a journalist, I do undercover work (please, no gags). Earlier this year I was in Los Angeles reporting on a convention of Holocaust deniers. A nasty little group called the Institute of Historical Review were gathering in the rather plush Marriott Hotel to make ridiculous claims that (a) Hitler didn't kill many Jews, and (b) even if he did, they had it coming.

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