The Remington Model 770 is the company’s latest foray into the first-time hunter rifle market. Following in the footsteps of Remington’s first budget rifle, the Model 710, the 770 comes as close to a right-out-of-the-box hunting tool as possible. The rifle is sold with a 3-9×40 scope already installed and bore sighted. In theory, all the buyer has to do is go out and fine-tune the point of aim a bit before trying for a deer. Some might say that the bore sighting can be trusted to be good enough, but in reality a little bit of diligence and practice never hurts.
This rifle has three locking lugs that engage into the barrel instead of the receiver. Having the lugs engage in the barrel is not a new idea at Remington; some of the company’s autoloaders have done this for a long time. The floating bolt head and pressed, rather than threaded, barrel make for some substantial departures from tradition.
The 770 and the 710 before it have taken a lot of lumps in print. We often see criticism that these rifles are not as smooth as other Remington rifles and that the 770 does not shoot as well as a 700 and other such gripes. Anyone who makes these kinds of complaints is probably forgetting that three or four 770’s can be had for the price of one custom 700. The 710 and the 770 are not meant to compete with more costly rifles; they are meant to fill just one role as a newbie hunter’s first rifle. This role is important in today’s marketplace. The only thing that keeps modern gun companies in business is continually widening their sales base — gun companies need new hunters to buy new rifles. This becomes even more important when one considers that rifles have gotten a whole lot more durable in the last 50 years. A guy really has to work at wearing out a new gun these days, which means that you either have to talk your buyers into buying multiple guns or make more gun buyers.
Folks looking for their first hunting rifle on a budget can have a lot of success with the used market these days. The greater longevity of the modern rifle translates into higher resale value. Even a well-used Remington 700 in the 770’s price class is hard to find. With an MSRP $373 guns like the 770 are tempting enough to get new hunters out in the field, and coupling the rifle with a bore-sighted scope means that a fellow can wake up in the morning a vegetarian and be a successful deer hunter by the time the sun sets. Rifles like the 770 might not be the prettiest smoke poles available, but they are what are going to keep Remington and a lot of other companies in business in the years to come. Not because they are great products, but because they make hunters out of non-hunters.
The only top score the 770 received in our ratings was in Scope Mounting. This gun comes with all the hardware already screwed on, which is very handy. The rest of the ratings, which hover at or close to average, are simply a result of the compromises necessary to produce a rifle in this price range.