Remington Model 700 Series Bolt Action Rifle Defect
Remington Arms Company manufactured and sold more than 5 million Model 700 series bolt action rifles with a defective trigger and safety system. The defective rifles have been manufactured and sold by Remington in various models from 1948 through today. The defective trigger and safety system is known as the “Walker” fire control in reference to M. H. Walker who was the principal design engineer.
The design of the Walker fire control is unique in the firearms industry because it incorporates an extra part known as a “trigger connector”. The trigger connector is “resiliently” mounted on the trigger body which means that it is free floating and not attached in any way. A small spring holds the trigger connector in place against the trigger body. The trigger connector separates several times from the trigger body during the firing sequence. The small spring is the only means of returning the trigger connector to its proper position under the sear.
Every Remington rifle manufactured with the Walker fire control can fire without a trigger pull. Typically, the rifles will fire when the safety is released, or when the bolt is opened or closed. The rifles inadvertently fire when the connector fails to fully reposition itself under the sear. The rifles typically do not fire without a trigger pull every time. In fact, one of the attributes of the defect is that it can not be readily duplicated. A rifle may inadvertently fire once, and not inadvertently fire again for several months or even several years.
Remington developed a new safety and trigger system that eliminates the trigger connector and incorporates a trigger block to force full engagement of the trigger under the sear when the safety is engaged. Remington calls the new fire control system the X Mark Pro. Remington began installing the X Mark Pro in some, but not all, of its bolt action rifles in late 2006.
Remington has known that the Model 700 series rifles will fire without a trigger pull since the rifles were first sold in 1948. Remington designed a trigger block safety that forced full engagement of the connector and sear in response to customer complaints of rifles firing without a trigger pull in 1948 but decided not to replace the Walker fire control at that time because of cost. The cost to replace the Walker fire control with the trigger block safety would have been $21,000 for tooling and equipment and 5.5 cents per gun.
Remington has received over 10,000 written customer complaints reporting this defect. There have been hundreds of serious injuries and dozens of deaths attributed to defective Remington rifles.
A CNBC investigative report “Remington Under Fire” told the story of the death of 9 year old Gus Barber. Gus Barber was killed when a Remington Model 700 rifle fired without a trigger pull. The Remington rifle fired when Gus Barber’s mother released the safety while unloading the rifle. Mrs. Barber never touched the trigger. The bullet ricocheted, traveled through a horse trailer, and struck Gus who had walked down the other side of the horse trailer. Gus died in the emergency room 30 minutes later.
Attorney Richard Ramler represented the Barber family following the tragic accident. As a result of Gus’ death, Remington instituted a Safety Modification Program to remove the bolt lock feature on pre-1982 rifles and also designed and began to use the X Mark Pro fire control.
Remington has refused to recall the more than 5 million Model 700 series rifles that it manufactured and sold with the Walker fire control. The federal government does not have the authority to regulate firearms or to force a recall. As a result, Richard Ramler is a lead attorney in a class action law suit filed against Remington to try to force Remington to fix the defective rifles.
Knowledge of the defect in the Remington Model 700 series rifles can save lives. Remington has failed to warn its customers that the Model 700 series rifles can fire without a trigger pull. The CNBC investigation and this article are designed to help educate the public concerning the dangerous defect in these rifles and hopefully save lives and serious injuries.