Defect in Remington Rifles Blamed for Series of Injuries, Deaths

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Products on Monday, May 9, 2011

Remington rifles are known around the world, and one of the company’s most popular models is the Remington 700. Remington has sold more than 5 million of the rifles in the past 50 years, the company says. Marketed as having a smooth action and a reasonable price, the 700 is a favorite of the military and law enforcement. It is also popular for hunting and other private use.

However, many consumers say that for the 700 had a defective firing mechanism that caused a series of accidental shootings over the years that killed or injured several people. Though Remington claimed that each incident was the result of human error, some critics accuse Remington of knowing about the mechanical problem and covering it up for decades.

According to an article in the Billings Gazette, the problem was in the design of a part called the trigger connector. The part was a small piece of metal between the trigger and a metal bar that held back the firing pin. Designed by a Remington engineer in the 1940s, it was meant to make the trigger action smoother. However, over the years many Remington users alerted the company that the rifles would fire when the safety or bolt is manipulated. They said that dirt, rust or a knock to the rifle could slide the trigger connector out of alignment and cause the accidental discharges.

Though Remington consistently denied the problem existed, one Montana man’s investigations appear to catch the company in a lie. Ever since the man’s 9-year-old son was tragically killed after a 700 unexpectedly fired at him, the man has compiled thousands of documents about the allegations against the rifle. They included numerous reports of the rifles firing when the safety was employed. He also has company documents, including from the man who designed the trigger connector, expressing concern over the design that go back to December 1946.

Remington redesigned the firing mechanism for the 700 rifle in 2007, eliminating the trigger connector. However, the company continues to deny that the previous design was unsafe. It says that the person handling rifle must have touched the trigger for the rifle to fire.

Source: Billings Gazette, “Son’s death prompts family to dig into Remington,” Perry Backus, May 5, 2011

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