A Shooting Clinic and the Remington 788

I recently found this entry archived on my older computer.  I likely forgot about it since I rarely use the computer unless I’m traveling.  It took me a year to post this thing… Huzah!

Tactical Long Distance Shooting Clinic – Sacramento Valley Shooting Center and Using the Remington 788 chambered in .308.

Nearly two months ago, I had the opportunity shoot at a long distance shooting clinic utilizing the infamous 1000 yard range at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center.  It is argued to be one of the most varied shooting ranges in the world.  If one can shoot well at this range, they are likely to shoot well at any location due to the variety of conditions that potentially exist.

This opportunity was completely unintentional.  I was buying a rifle case from an administrator of the event and mentioned the NCPPRC were running a clinic for new shooters.  Their goal was to introduce people to their competition called Tactical Long Range Shooting.  This particular shooting discipline differs from bench shooting as it combines the precision of such, but the maneuverability of an active shooter.  Matches such as these have a huge following in Southern California – it was only a few years ago this particular competition became popular in Northern California.  Several gentlemen from NCPPRC, who dearly enjoy this sport, graciously volunteered their time to construct this program. .  Delighted about the learning opportunity, I didn’t hesitate to send in my registration form and a check – $30.This was a clinic, not a competition.  I likely wouldn’t have gone otherwise.  The format was much different – no running or score keeping. This class had a limit of 40 individuals and there were volunteer observers for every two shooters – that’s an awesome ratio!

Their goal was simple; to get everyone comfortable calling wind and record DOPE up to 1000 yards.  Albeit, I did miss the man sized target after 500 yards, I was elated that I actually shot a bullet out to 1000 yards within a 6’x6’ target board.

Like any new experience, it’s difficult to know what to expect.  I hadn’t shot beyond a 100 yards before.  I arrived with the suggested equipment and prepared to learn.

I was apparently the odd ball of the bunch.  I arrived with a Remington 788 chambered in .308.  The scope I used was a Nikon 3x9x40mm with a BDL reticle scope on a Redfield standard mount and Leopold rings.  It was essentially a hunting rifle.  On top of that, I brought Federal FMJ NATO rounds, instead of match grade ammunition.  I already had some individuals skeptical on my ability to make it out to 1000 yards.  No matter, it was a learning experience and I was there to make the best of it.

I brought other things that helped tremendously.  I should have brought a larger pack, but the Kifaru E&E backpack worked well.   I laid a lot lower than I wanted to, but it held my ammunition, water and provided a stable platform for my rifle.

I ended up diagramming my shooting performance.  I took the time to diagram it so that a) I can appreciate the value of match grade ammunition and b) show the performance capabilities of the Remington 788 (this is, after all, a review blog).  The diagrams aren’t science.  I collected the data on the field without the use of MIL or MOA – I was holding over after 500 yards.  The graphic representation on the left is the actual target with color-coordinated marks to indicate where on the reticle I used to place the target on .  I only recorded the hits observable on the board.

During the optics lecture, holding over was not encouraged.  I was in a dilemma since my scope did not have turrets and likely wasn’t capable of the task.  It was suggested to NOT adjust for wind or bullet drop on my scope since it was very possible I would lose my 100 yard zero.
I wasn’t a sharp shooter that day, but I exceeded my personal goals.  If I had any bragging rights, it would be that I hit the target at 1000 yards on my first shot.  This of course wasn’t without any help.  I did mention that the student:coach  ratio was 1:2, right?  I was lucky enough to have Mike Cecil from CS Gunworks of Sacramento to provide excellent feedback and eventually reaching as far as 1000 yards.  He was quite skeptical himself – not so much of my ability, but of the equipment.  Nonetheless, he helped me adjust for bullet drop and wind.  He’s an EXCELLENT spotter.  His experience enabled him to at least guess where my bullet was going to land and with very little exception, he was right.

The clinic was eight hours, including lecture and shooter rotation so other shooters had an opportunity to have their targets marked.  Lecture covered the fundamentals of precision shooting, but more specifically on data collection, shooting prone with or without a bipod and operating optics. Forty shooters attended and was split into Alpha and Bravo groups.  One group shoots, the other would manage and mark targets behind the berm.  After all of the fun shooting, the clinic came full circle after a BBQ and a raffle provided by the sponsors.

I learned a lot that day, specifically external ballistic behavior.  I also have a newfound appreciation for match grade ammunition, which has prompted me to think about reloading – even hand loading versus progressive loading.  This clinic also provided me an opportunity to learn about the neglected Remington 788 that primarily sat in the safe.  The review below is my limited experience with this rifle on function, feel and performance.

I received this rifle through a trade from a fellow CalGunner.  I really just wanted a .308 to vary the collection.  I didn’t get to shoot it until I meet the gentle who sold me the rifle case mentioned above.  The timing was convenient and it was an excuse to finally check out the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center.  Everything lined up quite nicely.

The Remington 788 has a very bland history, although it does turn quite a few heads.  Primarily advertised as a poorman’s hunting rifle, it was affordable, tough and got the job done.  Despite the bargain, some argue that it’s an excellent shooter, out of the box.  Some boldly argue that 788 was discontinued because it outshined Remington’s more expensive 700 model.  I can’t be certain of these claims, but that’s what I’ve read from the other sources.

My Remington 788 is chambered in .308 with a 20” barrel.  This particular model didn’t have factory iron sights, but it did have the dovetail cuts and tap/drilled holes for them.  The wood finish isn’t anything to brag about; however, everything appears to be original.

I did manage to replace the trigger group with a Timney’s model, boasting a trigger-pull of 2.5 lbs.  It made a significant difference.

The bolt isn’t a luxurious experience as it doesn’t cycle like a modern bolt piston.  It rattles, shakes, but the lock up is tight.  There are nine lugs on this rifle.

The box magazines are difficult to find, but I was fortunate to have at least two.  I haven’t had any problems regarding cycling.  That is before I added a scope.

I had no idea that adding a scope would have made such a difference on the dependability on this rifle.  For those who are experienced, you know exactly what I’m referring to.  With a scope mounted, even with medium rings, the brass has a tendency to hit the scope and sometimes causes brass to fall back into the chamber.  It doesn’t happen often, but when I’m in the zone (sight picture, breathing, trigger control, trigger follow through, bang, cycle, jam), it irritates me.  The only remedy is to either raise the scope rings higher, tune the ejector, or purchase a custom bolt; none of which I’m willing to do.  The good news is that I didn’t happen while I was on range at the clinic, but I know Murphy will always hover over any rifle I own.

Shooting the rifle can be a pain the shoulder, but I’m sure that’s true with most rifles.   I was in the market for a recoil pad, but I decided to keep the original plastic butt plate.  Though I could get one of those shoulder pads I see older folks wear, I have a youthful image to maintain.

The barrel does heat up quite a bit, but I think the groups hold up very well despite that.  I have yet to use match grade ammunition, so any indication of such claims shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Overall, the Remington 788 has a solid place in my safe.  If you manage to find one for a good price and want a standard rifle without all the fluff – buy it.  Definitely buy it and sell it to me at a discounted price if you find a .44 magnum model.

David Kerley of TacReady
Mike Cecil of CSGUNWORKS
Mark of Storm Tactical
N.C.P.P.R.C also threw in a few free match coupons to help encourage the new shooters to come out and compete.
Fred Sakai
Shawn Shaw
Rob Thomas
David Kerley
Jacob Denny
John Dunlap
Sam Buckley
Jason Boak
Dennis Lorenzo
Greg W.
Dave Davis

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4 Comments on “A Shooting Clinic and the Remington 788”

  1. Carl Sharp
    February 9, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    i just purchased a 308 model 788. its like new condition and I was wondering how i should set it up with spending a great deal of money to shoot long distance.

    • February 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

      Good question, Carl.

      I suppose that might depend on what you consider long range and your budget.

      You’ll likely explore multitude of options for optics, and likely find the value in recording your shots to keep track of your DOPE (data on previous engagements).

      It wouldn’t be unusual to spend more on an optic, mount, and base that cost more than the rifle; however, there are many manufacturers that may fit your wants/needs. When I wrote this years ago, my 788 was equipped with a 3-9x Nikon . No turrets – just a Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle.

      Vortex, Kahls, Leupold, Nightforce, and Burris are examples of the many manufactures of optics out there.

      The 788 wouldn’t be my first choice for a long range rifle, but it will do the job with the right equipment, guidance from the right people, patience and skill.

      Check out CSTactical.com for optics options. Mike at CS Tactical is a personal friend who happens to be a great resource.

      >

      • Carl Sharp
        February 10, 2017 at 6:28 am #

        Thanks for the advice. I hunt out back of my house witch is 90percent wooded. I been using a 444marlin for years and I defently can’t say anything agaist the rifle. I am thinking there is going to be a day that I will see a buck of a life time off at a distance either in the power line or on the bank of the Aroostook river and I would like to have all my ducks in a row . I don’t think a expensive riffle would be to my best interest because I travle by atv through snow rain and the big hitter is the brush that takes heck on the stock. I had a chance to pick up the 308 model 788 like new apperence. I started reading on this model and figured it would fill the shoes of the feet that carries it. Any thoughts or ideas are welcome. Thanks again for your time.

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  1. CS Gunworks = CS Tactical « - October 7, 2009

    […] range and has generously helped me on several occasions.  Mike also happened to be my coach at a Tactical Long Distance Shooting clinic last year.  CS Gunworks, now known as CS Tactical, is a fine business with a solid following at […]

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