Firearms are not subject to federal health and safety regulations—as is the case with most consumer products—rendering the federal government unable to issue consumer warnings about potentially defective guns. In fact, a Congressional ban prevents the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from regulating firearms and ammunition, in accordance with the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. The onus of consumer safety oversight is with gun manufacturers; however, that responsibility might conflict with profits, which is what many critics believe is occurring with some of Remington’s rifles. While the Remington Model 700 is the focus of injuries, deaths, growing lawsuits, and media attention, other Remington models may be involved:
- Model 700 Bolt Action Rifle
- Model 11-48 Shotgun
- Model 552 Speedmaster Rifle
- Model 572 Fieldmaster Rifle
- Model 740/742/7400 Rifle
- Model 760 Gamemaster Rifle
- Model 770 Bolt Action Rifle
- Model 870 Pump Action Shotgun
- Model 878/879 Shotgun
- Model 1100 Shotgun
- Model 7600 Rifle
- Model Four Rifle
- Model Mohawk 48 Shotgun
- Model Six Rifle
- Model Sportsman 48 Shotgun
- Model Sportsman 58 Shotgun
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of a Remington rifle misfire, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our Remington rifle misfire lawyers are offering free case evaluations to anyone injured by these dangerous weapons. We urge you to contact us today to protect your legal rights.
Remington Model 700 Rifle Defect
At issue with Remington Model 700 is its trigger mechanism’s internal component, a so-called “trigger connector,” which is what enables the gun to fire when the trigger is pulled. Remington is the only firearms maker to use the “Walker Fire Control System.” CNBC News explained that the small metal trigger connector—the key component of the firing mechanism patented in 1950 by Remington engineer, Merle “Mike” Walker—provided a smooth action at a reasonable price. The connector is mounted on a spring within the firing mechanism, between the trigger and the sear (the metal bar that keeps the firing pin back). The patent states that the connector smoothes the trigger action and eliminates “trigger slap”
(trigger bounce back after firing). The unique Remington Common Fire Control (CFC) patented design allows the safety to lock the trigger in place, but does not stop internal parts, such as the hammer, sear, and firing pin, in place, a construction element that can lead to deadly outcomes. Because of this, the mechanism enables a gap to occur when the trigger is pulled and the gun is fired, which can then fill with debris, leading to discharge with no direct trigger action.
Engineer, marksman, and trained firearms expert, Tom Butters told Rock Center that he has been a paid expert in more than 100 claims involving reported Remington guns malfunctions. Butters claims that Remington knows about the dangerous Common Fire Control mechanism, which can go off without pulling the trigger and even if the safety is on. According to Butters, Remington is fully aware of this; has been, for years. In fact, Remington’s own documents say it knew about the defect as far back as 1979. Some documents reveal that Remington discussed the Remington Walker Fire Control System back in the 1940s, a sign that Remington was aware of the system’s issues at the start. In fact, Remington then convened a Product Safety Subcommittee designed to review its M700 and the growing complaints it received, but because the trigger defect was believed to only affect one percent of the two million M700s sold at that time, Remington felt it would have been too expensive to issue a recall and locate the some 20,000 guns with a possible defect. Interestingly, Remington opted to include this potentially deadly mechanism in most of its center fire rifles since 1948.
A CNBC documentary also found that Remington paperwork revealed that Remington rejected Walker’s “trigger block”—
a mechanism Walker advocated and that would have kept the trigger and connector in place when the safety is on—over its cost, about 51/2 cents per gun in 1948. It wasn’t until 2007 that Remington stopped utilizing the Walker Fire Control System in its bolt action rifles, despite that it had a safer option in 1997, a new fire control system constructed with no trigger connecters. Remington cited expenses and went with the prior system, dangers and all. The 2007 introduction of the new mechanism for the 700 included Walker’s original feature, marketed as the “X-Mark Pro,” which eliminates Walker’s trigger connector. A source close to Remington told CNBC that the connector was removed over legal issues; however, Remington still asserts that its older system is safe, even telling CNBC its Model 700 “has been free of defects since it was first produced.”
Injuries Associated with the Remington Rifle
Despite Remington’s stance, consumer lawsuits blaming a faulty mechanism continue to mount, all blaming the so-called “Walker Fire Control” trigger mechanism that allegedly misfires. Worse, serious injuries and deaths continue to be reported. In one case, a Montana man claimed a defective Remington rifle trigger left him paralyzed in a 1989 shooting in which the man’s son slipped and the model 700 went off, shooting the man in his spine. A Texas man, shot in the foot in 2009, reached a financial settlement with the Remington Arms Company LLC of Madison, North Carolina over significant injuries he cited in his 2011 lawsuit. The lawsuit also pointed out that while Remington Arms uses a safer alternate trigger mechanism in some rifles, Remington still includes the Walker Fire Control design in many products.
A then-teen, readying for a professional football career was shot in his leg when his gun fell over and fired as he was loading his truck after a day of hunting. The young man spent three months hospitalized, underwent 13 surgeries, received 128 units of blood, and was billed hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs. He settled out of court with Remington, according to a CNBC report. In other cases, an Alaska man was left quadriplegic when his Remington went off, and a 15-year-old boy was shot in the face.
A retired police officer from Oklahoma lost two fingers when his gun slipped off the seat of a boat while duck hunting.
He sent his gun to an independent lab for testing and the lab was able to replicate the issue. According to a report obtained by Rock Center, the forensic lab took the gun “with the safety off and no pressure on the trigger.” The lab dropped the rifle, butt-end down, “(T)he weapon discharged,” the report said. The lab repeated the test with the safety on and reported that “(T)he weapon discharged again.” The report indicates that in both tests, “the hammer had disengaged from the sear and had struck the firing pin, a condition which should only exist when the trigger is pulled.” Remington looked at the gun and responded that “(T)he fire control, as received, showed no defective parts which could have caused the incident although the trigger was loose” … “(T)he firearm was repeatedly bounced on the butt from as high as thirty (30) inches without any discharge.”
A number of police departments rejected the Remington Model 700 Rifle including the Portland, Maine department, which took its supply out of service over unintentional misfires; the Kissimmee, Florida police department, which sold its 700s after a rifle went off unexpectedly in a 2005 drug raid; the national New Zealand police force, which stopped its use of the rifles over safety issues; and unexpected discharges of 700s at the Marine sniper training school at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, which led to a changes in rifle handling procedures there.
Remington Continues to Stand Firm
Headline-making reports, media investigations, mounting legal actions, expert testimony, hundreds of injuries, and even deaths, have not swayed Remington. Butters and a number of other experts Rock Center consulted noted that while other gun makers have changed their designs over similar problems, Remington has not. Butters says Remington is putting its profits before human lives.
With over five million Americans in possession of a Remington M700 or M710 rifle with the defective Walker Fire Control System, the possibilities could be catastrophic. Yet, Remington has not issued a recall or made a public warning announcement, maintaining that the accidents involve user error. Not even a 1994 $17 million jury verdict has altered Remington’s view, other than it now settles claims privately and out of the public eye.
A source close to Remington told Rock Center the company keeps records of every complaint; however, court testimony indicates Remington began destroying some records about 20 years ago. Before that, Remington’s list included 119 complaints over one decade. Meanwhile, a five month Rock Center investigation revealed 125 incidents, which included 75 injuries and seven deaths, linked to alleged malfunctions of the Common Fire Control since 1973.
Remington has never issued a recall and continues to use the “Walker Trigger” in its Remington 770; older 700 models with the “Walker Trigger” can be found for sale, nationwide.
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