The Remington 572, 870, and 760, the perfect hunting battery?
by Greg Ritchie
A recent conversation had me reminiscing of my earlier times. Life was good to me, I always had enough, but just. Life’s obligations came first. I enjoyed the outdoor sports and used entry level firearms. I developed a like for the inexpensive break barrel single shots that endures to this day. I had a few nice firearms, but by and large, the single shots were what I used.
But I always wanted for a nice trio of small game rifle, shotgun, and big game rifle. I enjoyed trapping and for a few of the coldest months of the year when pelts were prime, that’s what I did. This was always "my money" and it funded my outdoor activities. I was able to squirrel away a bit of this money and over a few years, I finally had the funds to make my wants a reality. But what to get? I have always liked things that I owned that were similar to operate the same way. To this end I chose the Remington pump actions. I didn’t call them by model numbers back in the day, but by the names the manufacturer gave them. I ended up with the Gamemaster .22 long rifle, the Wingmaster 12 gauge, and the Gamemaster 30-06 Springfield.
Remington 552 Fieldmaster
All the firearms operated the same, all the controls were alike, with the exception of the different calibers and gauges, the only difference was how they held ammunition. The Fieldmaster was typical tube fed .22 rimfire that loaded through a port near the muzzle end of the magazine tube. The Wingmaster was typical of the tube magazine shotguns that loaded through the bottom of the receiver, and the Gamemaster used a detachable magazine.
Remington 870 Wingmaster
I gave a lot of thought to the semi-automatic versions of these firearms. I dismissed the idea because I did a lot of walking with my firearms. I have always been distrustful of manual safeties, a firm believer that anything mechanical can fail. And I did not like the idea of a chambered round in my walking around guns with a round in the chamber and nothing but a mechanical device preventing a discharge.
Yes, the proponent of its got to be loaded and ready to go or it’s useless likes an empty chamber. I even carried my DA revolvers with an empty chamber under the hammer. Not until I became comfortable with a transfer bar did I fully load a cylinder, but only on transfer bar equipped revolvers.
At any length, it’s easy to load the magazine and leave the chamber empty. When the critter is treed, or I am safely in my stand or blind it’s a simple matter to rack the slide to load the firearm. While the same can be said of the semi-automatic brethen, there is one very big difference. The semi-automatic reloads itself. The pump only gets reloaded when I want it reloaded.
Remington 760 Gamemaster
Another benefit I have found in the pump actions is that they are accurate. Often rivaling the bolt actions. I believe this to be because the barrels are basically free floating. The pump resides on a mechanism attached to the receiver below the barrel. Action bars operate the bolt. The barrel is not touching anything. True, the Fieldmaster has a ring dovetailed into the barrel that holds the magazine tube, but it is a loose fit and still lets the barrel float.
I lost my Remington pumps to a house fire. My financial situation was, if anything, worse than in my younger years. I had just lost everything except for what I had on my back. And insurance was not sufficient to replace everything. I went back to the entry level break barrel rifles and shotguns. Had I not lost my Remington pumps I dare say that I would still happily be using them today. They suffice for all the hinting I do, except the 30-06 was just a little bit overkill for groundhogs. But then again, the Gamemaster was chambered in the excellent 6mm Remington. Maybe I need a quartet.......