July 24, 2020
In 2013, Remington introduced the Model 783 bolt-action rifle in the highly competitive budget-rifle market. A distinct design departure from the beloved Model 700, the Model 783 provides performance-oriented features designed to optimize a rifle’s accuracy.
In 2019, they hulked up the Model 783 and introduced a new model for varmint hunting, appropriately named the Varmint. The most distinctive features that separate the Varmint from the standard 783 model are the 26-inch barrel and wood-laminate stock. Other details include an oversized bolt handle and a Picatinny rail. These enhancements also increased the price from $354 to $625. You can find a Varmint at your local gun shop for around $500, keeping it within arm’s reach of affordability.
The Varmint has a heavy profiled, button-rifled barrel. It’s free-floated and has a nonthreaded crowned muzzle. The Varmint models are chambered in .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. Remington uses a drop-box, double-stacked magazine that sits flush with the bottom of the stock.
Long, heavy barrels are favored by precision rifle shooters and varmint hunters. These stout barrels allow for higher velocities and are not as sensitive to heat as standard-profile barrels. The extra mass also improves shooting stability and reduces felt recoil.
The extra 4 inches of the Varmint barrel (over a standard model’s 22-inch barrel) allows additional velocity. There are too many variables to give a hard number, but for a 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win., the increase is around 20 to 25 feet per second (fps) per inch of barrel. That amounts to 80 to 100 fps increase in velocity over the standard model.
The increased weight of the barrel benefits a shooter looking for a stable rifle for quick follow-up shots. A heavy barrel also heats up slower than a thinner barrel, allowing a greater amount of shots before precision is affected. When shooting at small targets like varmints, these benefits become paramount.
Some people may think that the combination of a higher-velocity projectile and heavy barrel makes the rifle more accurate, this is not the case since accuracy is independent of these factors. The extra velocity gained reduces the bullet’s flight time, thus lessening the exposure to environmental effects like gravity and wind, while a heavier rifle will aid stability.
In a perfect world, this means that the bullet will get to its destination in a shorter amount of time from when you pull the trigger, and the rifle will be quicker to stabilize. The result is that your hit percentage will increase.
No Action Clone
The rounded steel receiver is a push-feed, two-lug bolt design, but it isn’t a Model 700 clone. The port is smaller, and the bolt head has its own unique design.
Another important difference is that the barrel interfaces with the receiver using a Savage-style barrel nut rather being shouldered to the receiver. Remington engineers chose this with manufacturability in mind. According to Remington the barrel nut is a fast attachment method, so headspace can easily be set to a minimum.
For the shooter, the advantage of a barrel nut is the ability to easily switch barrels and set a minimum headspace with go/no-go gauges.
On top of the receiver, you’ll find a Picatinny rail with zero cant. The advantages of a Picatinny rail are that it allows greater eye-relief adjustment and makes it easier when swapping optics between rifles.
Getting back to the bolt design, the 783 series uses a Savage-style floating bolt head that is pinned to the body. The advantage to a floating bolt head is that the play in the bolt head allows the lugs to adjust themselves to bear evenly against the receiver recess, even when the surface is not perfectly trued. This makes for solid lockup of the bolt while maintaining full contact with the cartridge, both of which aid accuracy. Other differences include a lateral sliding extractor on the outward lug and a small diameter plunger-style ejector.
The bolt may be designed differently than a Model 700, but it still runs like a Remington. The oversized bolt handle is easy to grasp, and the smooth raceways make for a quick-cycling bolt. On budget rifles, I often have to work the bolt a while to adapt to the loose play in tolerances or rough raceways. With the 783 Varmint, I quickly found the right cycling rhythm. It wasn’t finicky nor did it have too much play when completely drawn.
The barreled action sits in a wood-laminate stock. The stock is not just a cosmetic upgrade; Remington chose a laminate stock for its durability and stability. The stock is made from Birch and has a natural satin finish and is a blend of classic and modern designs. The buttstock is a traditional design, but the forend is a modern beavertail and is channeled to free-float the heavy-profiled barrel.
The feel of a wood stock is unique. It has a heft and stiffness that synthetic stocks in this price range lack. Visually, the areas where multiple layers of laminate are exposed are exceptionally attractive and accentuate the beauty of stock’s curves. Remington did a nice job finishing the stock. Even the bed of the stock has clean, smooth cuts and no rough edges.
In my hands, the stock feels like I can crack baseballs with it. The forend fills my hand nicely, and its wide, flat bottom provides a solid platform when shooting off a backpack or other improvised support. The stock has three swivel studs, two in the forend and one in the rear. Remington’s SuperCell recoil pad completes the stock.
If you’re familiar with Marlin’s X7 Pro-Fire trigger, you’ll recognize the Varmint’s Crossfire trigger. The Crossfire trigger was brought over from Marlin after they discontinued the X7 line. Like other triggers in this vein, the blade is a passive safety and prevents the sear from dropping unless depressed. This feature also makes a trigger with little creep and a crisp release.
The Crossfire is user adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds. I checked to see how it came from the factory, and it measured 3 pounds, 13 ounces. I like a slightly lower weight for a hunting rifle, so I tweaked it down to 3 pounds.
Accessing the adjustment screw requires removing the stock. Adjusting the trigger is as simple as fiddling with a nut and then using an Allen key to move an Allen screw in or out. A counter-clockwise turn decreases trigger weight.
The two-position safety is located on the right side and doesn’t lock the bolt in the safe position.
Flipping the rifle over to expose its belly shows where Remington saves you money. They have done away with bottom metal and replaced it with a plastic triggerguard that’s large enough to fit a gloved finger and a small metal magazine catch. The front takedown screw holds the metal magazine catch.
The flush-mounted box magazine holds four to five cartridges depending on caliber. Its walls are steel and uses a plastic follower and a plastic bottom plate. The magazine release sits in front of the magazine and is a simple but effective leaf spring with a plastic tab. The tab is slightly recessed in the well, which removes the danger of disengaging it if you set the belly directly on a support. The positive aspect of this design is that the magazine engages aggressively; there is no doubt it’s well seated. The negative is that the pop the leaf spring makes as it engages the catch will sound loud in the field.
The improvements Remington has made with the Varmint makes you forget that this is a budget-friendly rifle. The wood laminate stock and 26-inch barrel are great performance upgrades. Combined with the Crossfire trigger, there is nothing that hampers this rifle from being a devastating pest eradicator.
Remington 783 Varmint
- Type: Bolt-action repeater
- Cartridge: .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win.
- Capacity: 4+1 rds.
- Barrel: 26-in., 1:8-in. twist
- Overall Length: 45.75 in.
- Weight: 9 lbs.
- Stock: Wood laminate
- Finish: Matte blue
- Trigger: Crossfire; 3-5 lbs.
- Sights: None
- Safety: Two position
- MSRP: $625
- Manufacturer: Remington, remington.com
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