A typical family hunting trip in October, 2000 quickly turned into a nightmare for the Barbers when mom Barbara switched off the safety to unload her Remington 700. A shot rang out, and her nine-year-old son, Gus, was dead. Her hand was nowhere near the trigger.
Barbara cannot bear to speak about the accident in public, but her husband, Rich, reportedly said “I went to the funeral home and looked Gus right square in the eye and I said, ‘Son, it ends here and now.'”
Within the next several days, he learned of similar misfire claims involving the Remington Model 700 and has devoted more than a decade to finding answers.
Rich Barber unearthed hundreds of documents linking the Remington 700 to thousands of customer complaints, over 100 serious injuries and two dozen deaths.
Turns out, the world’s most popular — and iconic — hunting rifle has a troubled past. The Remington 700 Series made its debut in 1948 with the Remington 721. Since then, it has been featured in movies, T.V. shows, including C.S.I and video games, like Grand Theft Auto.
Forty percent of bolt-action rifles sold are Remington 700s, sought after by everyone from hunters and target shooters to law enforcement and military snipers. In fact, according to the Remington Arms Company, it has sold more than 5 million guns in the 700 series.
The Remington 700 Model is renowned for its accuracy and smooth, crisp trigger mechanism – a mechanism once hailed as revolutionary in firearm design. But it is exactly this mechanism that is the problem.
It’s called the “Walker Fire Control trigger,” patented by an engineer named Merle “Mike” Walker in 1950. It features a paper clip-length slice of metal called a trigger connector, which floats inside the firing mechanism between the trigger and the sear (the metal bar that holds back the firing pin), connected to the trigger by nothing more than the tension from a spring.
Because the connector is not closely bound to the trigger, it separates from the trigger body when the gun is fired, creating a gap in which rust, debris or dirt can lodge. This can prevent the connector from returning to its proper position, causing the trigger to lose complete contact with the rest of the firing mechanism. Even a small jolt or bump can knock the connector out of alignment. Then, allegedly, the gun can fire when the safety or bolt are operated, even merely touched.
Due to its design, the Remington has been the subject of a number of lawsuits alleging that it’s prone to firing without a trigger pull.
Recently uncovered internal documents suggest that the Remington Arms Company may have known about the guns’ defective design – for decades. As early as 1948, Mike Walker advocated for a modification to his original design, a trigger block that would prevent the connector from misaligning. His changes weren’t implemented until 2002, however, when the X-Mark Pro was introduced.
Despite the updated trigger and thousands of reported incidents of injury and death due to trigger malfunctions, Remington Arms never warned the public of the gun’s faulty design.
Nor did it issue a recall of the 5 million guns on the market. Moreover, the company denies any problems with the gun, citing user error as the cause for misfire.
A score of lawsuits have already been brought against the gun manufacturer in which Remington was ordered to pay damages. In 2012, The Lanier Law Firm represented a Texas man who accidentally shot himself in the foot, suffering severe injury, when his Remington Model 700 inadvertently discharged. The firm successfully negotiated a settlement on his behalf, which remains confidential.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed by a Remington Model 700 misfire, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Ward Black Law today! We can answer your questions, provide a free case evaluation and discuss your potential Remington 700 lawsuit in N.C. You can reach us by phone: 336-333-2244 or toll-free at 1-800-531-9191 or email.