A friend of mine called me up a few years back and told me to rush over to his house to look at a whitetail deer he shot. Knowing this friend had a habit of shooting very large deer, I obliged him, assuming this was an invitation I likely shouldn’t pass up. When I pulled up to his house, I saw hanging in his garage the largest whitetail deer that I have ever seen in the flesh to this very day, an Adirondack monster of a 10 pointer, weighing in at 234 pounds dressed.
The gun my buddy used to slay that deer and many other whitetails of varying sizes like it was the same as his preferred weapon for essentially all big game around his mountain home: his well used Remington Model 760 carbine in .30-06. Though he took most deer with one shot kills, he liked this pump action rifle because if the need arose for a second shot, the fast handling action was quicker than any bolt action and, in the hands of someone with the experience, just as fast as a semi-automatic (not to mention legal in New York state).
The Remington 760 GameMaster was introduced in 1952 and had a machined steel receiver, a very strong rotating bolt that locked into an extension of the barrel, and a detachable box magazine. The action proved to be strong enough to handle cartridges once reserved for bolt action rifles, from the .223 up to the powerful .35 Whelen. The most popular were the .30-06, .270, and the .308. Production of the Model 760 lasted until 1980 when it was replaced by a newer and tougher version, the 7600 in 1981.
As rugged as the rotating bolt of the Model 760 was, the 7600 was made even tougher. Gone were the fourteen locking lugs of the 760’s bolt, replaced by four beefier lugs in the 7600. The twin operating bars and bolt carrier of the 760 became a single unit in the 7600 making the action smoother to cycle and giving it added strength. The magazine latch was also enlarged.
The Remington 7600 has proven itself to be a very popular gun, especially in the thick brush where a quick follow up shot may be necessary and you might only have a small window of a few seconds. Anyone who has ever hunted in heavy timber and brush knows exactly what I am talking about, and this virtue is especially apparent when those whitetails get to playing a good round of “now you see me and now you don’t.” In the time that you have to take that bolt or lever action off target to bring another round into battery, the hunter with a 7600 will already have another down range.
In certain states where semi-auto rifles are not allowed for deer hunting, the Remington 7600 really comes into its own. No other rifle will beat it for speed and its accuracy, which Remington has long touted as being just as good as that of a bolt action. From the sheer numbers of 7600’s and the older 760’s out there I see no dispute to that claim.
Today Remington offers their Model 7600 with both wooden and synthetic stocks and in four calibers, .243, .270, .308, and .30-06. There is the standard 22-inch barrel length and as a long standing carryover from the 760 an 18 ½ inch carbine version is offered in its most popular caliber only, the .30-06.
For more than fifty years Remington has dominated the pump-action rifle market with their fast firing Model 760 and 7600 and has consistently brought home big game every year. Whether its whitetails or something bigger the 7600 has been getting it done for decades without any signs of slowing down.
This article originally ran on Guns.com as “The Remington 7600: Killing deer in ‘the thick stuff’ since 1981” on April 20, 2011 and has been edited for content.